During the last three years, the congregation of Guerneville Community Church-United Church of Christ endured a long struggle that began with a red-tagged bridge over Fife Creek, ending all vehicle traffic to the church site at 14520 Armstrong Woods Road.
The congregation persevered, but in 2017 they made the painful decision to offer the two and a half acre church site for sale. There were several offers to purchase the property, but eventually they fell through.
In the spring of 2018, another blow came when serious illness forced Pastor Rebecca Schroeder into early retirement. Former Pastor Pam Tinnin returned to provide pulpit supply—on Aug. 1 she accepted the ongoing position.
Bad news arrived again with this year’s February flood, which seriously damaged all church structures except the sanctuary. In the first days of the flood, a third purchase offer was withdrawn. Major flood cleanup consumed the next months while the congregation wondered whether the end had come for a faith community that would have celebrated their 125th anniversary next April.
But on May 22 the neighboring Guerneville Elementary School purchased the church site “as is” at a greatly reduced price.
“We were thankful that the Guerneville Senior Center just down the road rented us a temporary space to worship,” said Pastor Tinnin.
Toward the end of June, church moderator Megan Hope drove past a property on Highway 116 just a few miles east of Guerneville. A large sign proclaimed the property for rent. By the middle of July, the church held its first service at 12060 Hwy. 116.
The congregation will hold a special consecration and blessing during their 11 a.m. worship celebration on Sunday, Oct. 13. If people can’t attend the morning worship, they are welcome to share dinner from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
Pastor Tinnin said, “We want to share our gratitude and excitement with the wider community. Now we can look forward to celebrating our 125th Anniversary next spring.”
— Submitted by Guerneville Community Church