June 7, 2013

The History of our Church

2010 was the 100th Anniversary of St. Andrew

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On July 24, 2010, we celebrated 100 years of ministering to the community of what is now Pacifica. St. Andrew began with a small group of people in what was then called Salada Beach who wanted to organize as a Presbyterian congregation. They petitioned the Presbytery of San Francisco to be chartered and, on July 24, 1910, they chartered the congregation and dedicated the new church building.

At that time, the Presbyterian Church of Salada Beach, or, as it was known for over 50 years, the Little Brown Church, was the only religious presence between Daly City and Montara (where another Presbyterian Church had been established). In time, Roman Catholics began worshiping in a firehouse in Rockaway Beach, but until the early 1950’s, the Little Brown Church was the only house of worship. Therefore, it became a true community church where people were married, baptized and buried regardless of religious affiliation. The long-time pastor of the church, Herschel Harkins (for whom the Pacifica Pier is dedicated), served the church from 1943 to his retirement in 1965.

In the early 1950’s, the big news was the development of what was then called Pedro Valley. Pedro Valley was an area of farms and ranches. Following the Second World War, and responding to the demand for housing, several developers including Andre Oddstad and Jack Higgins, bought up tracts of land and built instant communities. Oddstad gifted a parcel of land to the Presbytery of San Francisco for a Presbyterian church and, in 1955, the Presbytery assigned a pastor, L. Duane Woodfin, to assemble a congregation and begin the building of the church. That congregation was initially called the Pedro Valley Presbyterian Church and that building on Valencia Way is now the home of the local Buddhist congregation.

For some time, the two congregations grew in what became, in 1957, the City of Pacifica. It was eventually determined that they would merge. In 1967, they united into St. Andrew United Presbyterian Church and occupied the Valencia site together. That site was immediately inadequate for their needs.

In 1979, through the efforts of the Presbytery of San Francisco and American Baptist Churches of the West, a new site, the Terra Nova Church Center, was dedicated and occupied by St. Andrew and Vista Del Mar Baptist Church. In 1983, as an outreach to the community, the two congregations opened the Terra Nova Christian Preschool and Day Care which continues to serve families with quality teaching and child care.

It has been a challenging and rewarding 100 years of service to God.

We look forward with great hope to the next 100!