St. John’s Valley of Faith is a very new and a very old church! We are very new - as Valley of Faith, we began July 1, 2014. We are very old - as we had our beginnings as the Union Congregation Church of Arvin in 1914. We celebrated our 100th anniversary and our new beginning in the summer of 2014.
Our story starts …
On the second Sunday of June, 1914, with seven charter members, the Union Congregational Church of Arvin (AUCC) was organized.
Ten years later the cornerstone for the first church building was laid. Ten years after that the mortgage was burned, and the church was paid off.
And this was no small feat to accomplish between 1924 & 1934 as the depression hit Arvin hard. Then two congregations of Arvin … AUCC and the Nazarene church … pitched in together with a third church in Mt. View to share the expenses of a minister.
In 1961 the two denominations, the Congregational Church and the Evangelical Reform Church merged, and Arvin Union Congregational Church added that new affiliation as a tag line to its name. Now we were the Arvin UCC UCC … Union Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ.
In 1964, the year of AUCC’s 50th anniversary, we were finally ready to begin to build our new sanctuary which was completed and dedicated in 1965.
At AUCC’s 60th anniversary in 1974, it was written:
Our church is now 60 years old. During its existence the world has changed from horse and buggy to scientific development so precise that we have put several men on the moon. Although times have changed greatly in the past 60 years, the message of Jesus Christ is still the same.
The Arvin Union Congregational Church celebrated the 100th anniversary of the church on Sunday, June 8, 2014, at its facility on Campus Drive.
March 4, 2014, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bakersfield, officials from St. John’s and the Arvin Union Congregational Church signed documents whereby the Arvin congregation gifted its 100 year-old church to St. John’s. The legal transfer of the facility was July 1, 2014. It was a pivotal moment in the histories of both churches. The agreement specifies that St. John’s will use the church facility to enhance the current ministry to reach the people of Arvin with the saving message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The new church was named St. John’s Valley of Faith and services will fit the culture of the citizens of Arvin and the surrounding area.
Pastor Trinidad Castaneda was installed December 21, 2014, as a pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Bakersfield, to serve as the first pastor of St. John’s Valley of Faith, Arvin. His first service was Christmas Eve 2014. His last service was Sunday, January 21, 2018.
Recognizing that it is God who makes the seed to grow
May we be faithful to continue to plant and water …
and use every means at our disposal to get the seed out there
and then watch our God work miraculously
to sprout and grow disciples of Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory. Amen.