David & Melissa Mowry, current DS
Northwest District history
The Northwest District is the oldest district in the Church of the Nazarene. In 1903, Phineas Bresee embarked on a deliberate strategy for church planting, and as the number of new congregations spread up and down the Pacific coast, the need for area supervision became more acute. In 1904 he set in order the Northwest District and appointed Rev. H. D. Brown of Seattle as the first district superintendent.
Where had the idea of the district come from? It came from Bresee’s 35 years of experience in the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He had served as a district superintendent (then known as “presiding elder”) twice—once in Iowa and once again in Southern California, as superintendent of the Los Angeles District. So it was very natural for him to employ the Methodist district and superintendency that he had known throughout his career. Why H. D. Brown as the first district superintendent? There were two reasons. Brown had begun his ministry in Iowa Methodism, as Bresee had done, and the two men were acquainted from that period. And then, too, Brown had served as a Methodist presiding elder, so he understood the duties of a district superintendent. By 1906, Bresee had also organized the Chicago Central District, the San Francisco District, and the Southern California District.
Who was this first district superintendent? When he died, the Herald of Holiness noted that H. D. Brown was “the largest man in the Nazarene movement.” Those who knew him, or had seen him at district or general assembly, understood immediately that this was a play on words. It referred to his largeness of soul, but it referred also to his physical attributes: he was head and shoulders taller than most of his contemporaries, and he was a man of very ample girth. He was—literally and figuratively—the “largest man in the Nazarene movement.”
He also was a compassionate man. In Seattle, he was a founder of an orphans’ home and a maternity home for unwed mothers, so he exemplified the ideal of conjoining deep vital piety with compassion toward those in need. He traveled the district as opportunity permitted, and later he ventured into western Canada to initiate work in the western provinces.
The Northwest District of the Church of the Nazarene is unique. Organized in December 1904, the Northwest District had already held four annual district assemblies before the Church of the Nazarene was officially organized in Pilot Point, Texas in 1908. The original boundaries included churches in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. In its 15th district assembly (1919), the Northwest District reported 23 churches with 795 members. By the time the district had been in existence for 25 years it had been divided into five districts. In all, eight districts have been formed out of the original geographical boundaries.
H.D. Brown, Superintendent
Contact us at the District Office
David Mowry, Superintendent
Joy Lindner, Assistant to the Superintendent
Debbie Roth, District Accountant
The District Office is located at
8607 N Division, Suite B
Spokane WA 99208
District Advisory Board
David Mowry, chair, ex officio
Jeremy Carr (Lewiston First)
Herminia Esqueda (Wapato)
Cindy Reynolds (Yakima West Valley)
Dale Shafer (Spokane Bethel)
Jeff Shea (Spokane First)
Jim Clifton (Spokane Bethel)
Mike Malmin (Wenatchee First)
Cliff Purcell (Lewiston First)
Bill Vaugh (Spokane First)
Chad Wilks (Sandpoint), secretary