Church History

The cost of this structure was $36,000. On the day of the dedication, the presiding bishop, Adna Leonard, required the pastor, Channing Richardson, to give a financial report. Rev Richardson reported that $31,000 was subscribed leaving the building fund short by $5000. The bishop said that he could not dedicate the church until the cost was fully underwritten and he declared a collection to be in order and that the congregation would remain in their places until he declared the service to be over. The bishop wrote the amounts promised on a blackboard until the remaining $5000 was pledged. The benediction was spoken and the doors were opened and the congregation was allowed to go home.

After WWII in the 1950s the church enjoyed significant growth and needed more room for its many programs. In 1952 at the time of the church’s 100th anniversary, Centennial Hall, which is now called Adams Hall, was built with a large social hall, kitchen, and much-needed classrooms. In 1955 the two-story Youth Building, now the Bonner Building, was added with more classroom space.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s pastor Andy Juvinall brought to the church an awareness of the church’s need to fulfill a mission call to serve all people without fear or prejudice in our own community. Under his leadership an “Open Housing Covenant” urging the opening of available housing to all peoples was signed and published in a full-page ad in the Napa Register. In reaction to this position, a cross was burned on the parsonage lawn.

In 1957, influenced by the growth of the city projections of growth patterns, Napa First Methodist Church purchased a parcel of land on Linda Vista Ave for the purpose of establishing a new church. In 1960 the Rev Dorothy Gleason was appointed to the new church, and on February 12, 1961 the first worship service was held in the parsonage. In May of that year ground was broken for the first building at the new site and on July 16th the first worship service was held in that building. By September 2, 1962 a ground breaking for an addition to the building was celebrated and on April 14, 1962, Bishop Donald H Tippett consecrated the Methodist Church of the Valley. Church of the Valley pioneered many social service programs, Creative Living, Release Time for persons with mental disabilities, Head Start was begun there, interpersonal groups such as creative writing, psychodrama, arts and crafts, cooking, etc were formed.