Our historical roots in the Baptist tradition are full of standing on the side of love, justice, and peace.
In the spring of 1891, before the town of Palo Alto was founded, three young Baptist families and a single man met for cottage prayer meetings in what was then Mayfield, now South Palo Alto. As the meetings grew they gathered in one of the towns thirteen saloons – legend has it, when the saloon ran out of beer they would turn the water into wine.
In 1898 some of the women formed the Women’s Baptist Home Mission Society. From then on we have had many strong women leaders over the years. One of the great sheros was Mrs. Offenhiser. She was greatly concerned about the 30+ businesswomen and women with small babies who had little in the way of support. In the fall of 1928 she called them together and proposed a plan for evening meetings once a month. She set forth a varied program for them, making direct contact with a foreign missionary, Miss Agnes Anderson, a nurse in the Congo, and a home Missionary, Miss Faith Joice –Whaley, working with the Chinese in the asparagus fields near Sacramento. The club went on for 21 more years of women empowerment.
By 1945 enough critical mass was sustained and enough money was raised that a Building Fund Committee was created. On June 30, 1948 ground was broken and the building we are in today off Bryant and North California was built.
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley. We find ourselves surrounded by neighbors like Larry Page (CEO of Google) and the Steve Jobs family. Though our environment is wealthy, we are a decidedly middle class congregation whose community stretches 25 miles to the south and 25 miles to the north. Though many may think of us as a traditional Euro-American Baptist congregation, we are increasingly multicultural. Our community consists of people with Burmese, Chinese, Guyanan, Japanese, Korean, Lebanese, Mexican, Vietnamese as well as European heritage. We have members who have lived and worked in Haiti and India, among other countries. Though our community life has been largely influenced by Euro tradition that is changing as we live into the future.
The San Francisco Bay Area is among the most culturally diverse regions on earth. The growing demographic in our immediate vicinity is from the Pacific Rim, in particular from China and India, but also from Latin America. Claiming and growing our multicultural identity as a congregation is essential to our ongoing life and health.
We continue now into the 21st century not knowing where God will lead but knowing we will follow.