Making Disciples Now and into the Future
St. Paul UMC is a multi-cultural, multi-generational faith community called to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” We are growing in our life with Jesus and in the Spirit through groups, classes, ministries and outreach to the community and world. This growth is limited by our current space.
Our goal is a 2 story ministry building named in honor of Deaconess Virginia Maniti Williams who served at St. Paul UMC for many years in Christian Education. The Ministry Center would have classrooms on each floor, some with movable walls that allow for combining classrooms into a larger meeting space. This would primarily allow expansion of our Precious Time Preschool and growing Kingdom Kidz ministries.
St. Paul began in 1963 with a decision by the California-Nevada Annual Conference to start a new church in Newark. St. Paul UMC was chartered in November 1964. It started in a store front on Newark Blvd. in Newark with 84 members and Rev. Travis Campbell as its pastor. The church moved in 1968 to share facilities with First Presbyterian Church of Newark. This became a season of decline with several short term and part time pastors. A turning point came in 1973 when Rev. Maurice Cheek helped move St. Paul to a historic chapel at St. James Episcopal Church in Fremont and they regained their identity as a church.
Rev. Wayne Kessel was appointed part time in 1973, moved to full time appointment in 1976 and stayed until retirement in 1987. The Building Committee began searching for property in the Tri-City area in 1977. With great joy, 4.4 acres at the corner of Lowry Road and Alvarado Blvd was purchased in 1984 with the Islamic Society of the East Bay (ISEB).
Rev. Ardith Allread came in 1987, generating enthusiasm and energy with a growing music and church school ministry.
In 1990, Tri-City Christian Fellowship joined St. Paul after trying to start a new Filipino congregation. They transferred the responsibility of ministering to Filipinos in the area to the church. St. Paul moved to worship at Cabrillo Elementary School in Fremont in 1991.
Construction of the current building (Fellowship Hall/sanctuary, offices and kitchen) at 33350 Peace Terrace began during the summer of 1993 with its first worship service here on Easter Sunday 1994. Rev. Blake Busick came in 1994. During his ministry, a second worship service was added, many small groups started, and a modular building (temporary Williams Ministry Center) was brought as home for the Preschool and Kingdom Kidz.
Our current membership is at 299 with an average of 250 in worship that includes 50-60 children each week in 2 services with concurrent Sunday school classes. Our youth group has an average weekly attendance of 25 teens. We have 8 weekly small groups, prayer meetings, short term adult classes, UMM and UMW groups for study, faith sharing, mutual care and service. St. Paul is in mission through activities such as the 30 Hour Famine, Crop Walk, UMCOR giving, VIM, serving dinner monthly at the homeless shelter, and Thanksgiving meals and Christmas gifts to those in need through our local church network. Our congregation is a majority Filipino with Caucasians, Asian Indians, Ghanaians and others worshiping together. We are growing in spirit and numbers and want to expand our presence in the multi-ethnic community around us!
Wonderful things happen when people learn about Jesus and serve him! Children feel the love of God; youth and adults ask questions; students and teachers build relationships with God and each other; people learn to hear God’s call and love and serve God in their daily lives. The faith community grows in love and faith.
Precious Time Preschool was started by Mrs. Williams and is a valuable part of St. Paul’s ministry to the community. They have been in operation since 2001 and are currently serving 38 children and families. With the Ministry Center completed, they would move into the first floor of the building and finally be able to expand their ministry. Our planning has included their particular needs and requirements from the beginning.
Kingdom Kidz Sunday school classes outgrew the temporary Ministry Center long ago with nursery through 6th graders sharing a common space. Though our leaders do a wonderful job, it is difficult to maintain focus with another small group of children so near by. Separate classrooms are important for a quality learning experience with adequate space to concentrate and explore with hands on experiences and conversation. We also have a steady stream of newborns which highlights the need for a safe, clean Nursery as well as a safe educational space for preschoolers.
We will have a valuable discipleship opportunity in offering additional classes and small groups for all ages on Sundays while our membership is already at church. Last year, we added junior high and short term adult classes on Sunday mornings that meet in the pastors’ offices. Anywhere from 4-15 people gather in each of these classes which, at times, are quite crowded. Currently our high school age students have no class on Sundays as there is no space to meet. Many adults are unable to come during the week for small group study due to work schedules and other commitments.
We anticipate that the Ministry Center would be actively used on weekdays by the Preschool and on Sundays, weekday evenings and Saturdays with expanded classes, meetings and events. I believe we could immediately fill the schedule today if we had additional space now!
We are currently working with an architect on the Ministry Center. He is helping us with next steps in the building process, exploring the anticipated costs of different options and selecting the best option for our needs and finances. The current estimate for the 2 story building is $2.5 million.
Our 2011 church budget anticipates income of $317,850 with $285,000 from pledges and additional income coming from special offerings and gifts.
The feasibility study is to help us determine how much we might raise through a Capital Campaign. We will then look into the possibility of a loan for the balance of the building cost.
As of Dec 31, 2010, our Building Fund has a balance of $527,816.64. Presently we receive $6848.25 each month from building, parsonage and cell phone tower use fees. This income now goes directly into our Building Fund with other individual donations. At 6% interest, this monthly income can pay for a $1 million loan. That leaves $1 million of building costs to cover through donations and loans. This is well within the ability of this faith community to do!
Energy and excitement fill St. Paul concerning what God is doing! God’s Spirit is at work! How will we continue to grow in love and faithfulness to God and spread the gospel? The potential is so great! Your spiritual commitment and financial contribution will help tell children and families about the love of Jesus! We are making disciples today and into the future. God is calling us forward! May God’s Spirit move mightily in us and through us!