Our Mission

We are a community of people from every walk of life and every part of the country, called together through the love of God and the grace of Jesus Christ. Through the enabling of the Holy Spirit we are pursuing the purpose of making disciples in authentic community for the sake of the world.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
— John 8:32

Our Story

Set in the scenic Wood River Valley in the mountains of central Idaho, the story of the Church of the Big Wood mirrors the development and growth of the town of Ketchum and the resort community of Sun Valley.

As war was breaking out across Europe in 1939, the Reverend Lester Smith, along with his family and friends, formed the Rocky Mountain Mission at the corner of Warm Springs Road and 7th Street in Ketchum.  With donated materials and sweat equity, they built the building that still stands there.  Some fifty children came for Sunday School and worship services were held on Sunday evenings.

In 1942, the Sun Valley Resort became a naval convalescent hospital.  While the resort served a distinguished purpose, the economy waned and many of the church leaders left the valley.  The building was vacated.  Then at the end of the war, the building was re-opened and the Sunday School program resumed.

In 1948, Sam Sloan, a Sun Valley employee and ordained minister, began to teach and preach weekly.  Then in 1953, the pastor of the Church in the south valley community of Bellevue, began a mission outreach to the nascent congregation in Ketchum.  The Rocky Mountain Mission was officially chartered as a Presbyterian congregation in 1954.

Over the next twenty years, this family of faith was in search of a permanent home.  The Episcopal church extended hospitality for a season, and then it was the Opera House on the grounds of the Sun Valley resort.  Finally in 1974, a local realtor donated property alongside the Big Wood River to the church.  For the last forty years, that spectacular location has been our home.

As the congregation has grown, so has the building they call their home.  The original building was completed in 1975, and remodeled in the mid-eighties.  As Ketchum and Sun Valley grew and developed, the church family envisioned a new house to meet their growing needs.  Construction of the present church home began in 2001, and the mortgage burning was celebrated on January 31st, 2010.      

The Church of the Big Wood celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2014.  During these sixty years, the congregation has been served by a total of nine senior pastors and a myriad of dedicated elders and staff.  The church family has come a long way since those first days as the Rocky Mountain Mission.  PCBW today is comprised of members as well as affiliate members from around the country, and participants from every walk of life and every church background, with many celebrating either a renewed or newfound faith in Christ.