The Story of Arden Church
The Arden Church of the Nazarene was started by a group of 50 men and women in the early months of 1951. These believers had felt led to move out from their home church they loved at the Sacramento North Church of the Nazarene, and begin a new ministry in the Arden area. They had no building or location in which to meet, but asked their district superintendent, Dr. George Coulter, to meet with them and begin the steps needed to launch a new congregation.
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On May 24, 1951, Dr. Coulter met with the group at the Sacramento First Church for their first meeting. He suggested they begin the meeting with prayer, and they all knelt, and began to pray together at the same time. When they had finished praying, Dr. Coulter said, “I have never been in such a prayer meeting in all my life!” And so, The Arden Church was born in a spirit of prayer and a holy anointing.
Dr. Coulter instructed the group to find a place for worship the next Sunday morning in the Arden area. Rev. Raymond Kiel, pastor of Placerville, was called as their first pastor. It was agreed that Rev. Frank True would serve as supply pastor until Rev. Kiel was able to be available.
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On the way home from that meeting, Elvas Morrison suggested they go by a vacant field and small building on Arden Way and see if it had potential as a meeting place. They were able to rent that building for one dollar a week.
The following Friday evening, the group was cutting down three foot high weeds and cleaning out the building. By Saturday night, they were ready for their first Sunday worship service. They had seats, a stick pulpit, song books, and a piano borrowed from Ralph and Lois Burgess.
When Sunday morning arrived, the excited group of ninety worshippers gathered to sing and pray and celebrate their new church together. In their 18 by 30 foot building, the worship service was something of a miracle of new life.
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That day was May 27, 1951
Not long after, the group made an offer of $6,000 for the two and one half acres and the building, which was accepted. They paid $3,000 down and promised to raise the balance in the next 45 days. Thirty families all pledged $100 each for the balance that was owed on the property. Several of them had to take out a loan. But the balance for the church property was paid in full and paid on time.
Not long afterward, the church began plans to enlarge the building for adequate worship space, and then later on adding space for a kitchen. In 1953 and 1954 the children’s Sunday School unit was added on. In 1957, the church built their first parsonage. And the construction for the present sanctuary began in 1961. All through these years, the church continued to grow.
Then in June of 1986, construction began on the Family Life Center. There were a number of challenges, but on February 1, 1989 the sign-off was given making it possible to occupy the new building.
The church was blessed to enjoy ample classrooms, youth center, nursery, kitchen and gymnasium for the various ministries of Arden Church to the surrounding communities.
We offer a special thanks to Evelyn Morrison for her contributions to this brief history of the Arden Church. We hope that as you enjoy these pieces of our church’s past, and that you will become a key part of writing its bright future.