By JOHN FORTMEYER
SILVERLAKE, Wash. — At the foot of Mount St. Helens, a small museum here has for nearly two decades sought to link the truths of Scripture with the famed volcano’s own fascinating story. This month it reopens for the summer in a new temporary location.
Founded and guided for 16 years by Lloyd and Doris Anderson, what is now called the Mount St. Helens Creation Center has been seen by thousands of visitors —some who just “drop in”, and others who have booked events, from home-school groups, to university students and creation meetings. In late 2014 the Andersons fully retired and the center, after an extensive search, found Paul and Geri Taylor to take the reins of the ministry, which is dedicated to upholding the biblical creation account by appealing to the mountain’s rapidly formed features and by providing “young earth” literature. The Taylors moved from Pensacola, Fla., with a vision to build on the good foundation laid by the Andersons.
“The center exists to tell people about the truth of God’s Word, starting with the very first verse,” said Paul Taylor. “It is in an ideal location, with a lot of tourists visiting the area. We are here for tourist people who like to drop in and for those who like to look at the displays and books that we have.”
The center last year had a very good summer, with a notable increase in visitors. About 3,000 people signed the museum’s visitor registry and perhaps many more stopped in but didn’t sign, said Taylor. But increased expenses meant the center, which had operated at 4749 Spirit Lake Hwy., had to find another leased location.
Efforts to find a new permanent location have not yet borne fruit, so for 2016 the center’s exhibits and bookstore will be housed in the Silverlake Grange at 3014 Spirit Lake Hwy., near the highway’s Milepost 6 and two miles from the former location.
The center this season opens on Monday, May 2 and will operate through October. Hours are 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
A native of Britain, Taylor has been speaking on creation and apologetics, and against evolution, for more than 35 years. He taught science in public (government) schools in the United Kingdom for nearly 20 years. He has worked with ministries such as Answers in Genesis and Creation Today, and has spoken in Britain, Ireland, Europe and across the U.S., in churches and at conferences. He has authored nine books including The Six Days of Genesis, Itching Ears, and Don’t Miss the Boat.
His wife is also a former schoolteacher, having taught language and special needs to many different age ranges —from kindergarten to adult male prisoners and in high school. She co-authored the children’s book Frankie’s School Day.
Taylor says his links with the wider creationist community have probably helped boost the visitor count at the center and given it increased visibility. The Taylors also have sought to give the center an increased Internet presence. But like any small ministry, it also seeks financial support, particularly as a permanent new facility is sought.
“We have an increased vision for Christians locally on how the center can be used,” he said. “We want to offer an educational facility so Christian schools and home schools can come work with us.”
For details, go to mshcreationcenter.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 360-274-5737.