Immanuel Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church

Oakland | CA
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Immanuel Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church in Oakland, California, Serves for Over 100 Years

Immanuel Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church history dates back to a tent meeting conducted in 1868 by Elder J.N. Loughbourgh. In 1870, Elder James White conducted a tent meeting with one convert; followed in 1874 by a second tent meeting with 23 converts. The first convert was on July 4, 1873. From these humble beginnings the small congregation first met in rented halls in East Oakland near East 14th Street, now called International Boulevard. The first time the Melrose Church appears in the street directory is in the year 1912 and was listed at 1450 47th Ave. By 1914 the congregation reported a membership of 149. 

It was in 1914 that they built a new church with most of the work donated by the members and families around Oakland. As they dedicated the new $6000 structure located at the corner of Thirty-seventh and San Juan Streets, one block above the boulevard, they also changed the name of the church to Fruitvale Seventh-day Adventist Church. The local newspaper reported, “It is an imposing structure, seating 350. The latest in church structure is embodied in it. Funds for the structure were raised through the efforts of Elder J. Adams Stevens.” The church was the scene of a dedication on November 15, 1919. Elder James Taphouse, pastor of the church was in charge of the program. Elder E. W. Farnsworth, who was the president of the California Conference when this church was organized, preached the sermon, calling attention to the temple built by Solomon and others used in the service of the Lord.

The Fruitvale Church building served us well from 1914 to 1943. That year, Elder Heubach, pastor of the church contacted officials of the Pillar of Fire Church group who had expressed interest in purchasing the building. The sale was arranged, and in August of 1943 the congregation rented a Methodist church on Bond Street. 

Our present church edifice is a miracle and the choice of this particular site seems certainly providential. The reason a lot worth at least $35,000 had been turned down and was purchased by our members for $6,500 will remain a mystery. Elder A.O. Sage was now the pastor. Under his leadership, the site was purchased and our present beautiful church was built. World War II was underway and building materials were very difficult to obtain. Despite the obstacles, this $61,000 sanctuary was opened debt free. Th open house was held May 4, 1946, and again the church name was changed – this time to East Oakland Seventh-day Adventist Church.

During their six years, Elder and Mrs. Sage not only built the church building, but strengthened the membership with active programs of public evangelism. Other pastors have built upon this foundation: Elder B.W. Mattison was pastor from 1948 to 1951; Elder H.C. Retzer, from 1951 to 1953. Elder Charles Mellor served the church from 1953 to 1958; Elder Arnold Kurtz from 1958 to 1963. Elder Earl W. Amundson preached his first sermon in this church on September 21, 1963. After Elder Amundson came Elder Lehman and followed by Elder Lynhoff. In 1975, Elder Curtis came to East Oakland Church. By this time the church membership was over 600. 

Elder Curtis retired in 1979. Elder Aggie Jones became the first African American pastor of the church. The church has had five pastors since Elder Jones; Elder Ezra Mendinghall led the church from 1979 to 1985. He was followed by Elder George E. Huggins 1986 to 1991. Elder Melvin Janey led from 1991 to 1996. Elder Norman Knight began his pastorate October 5, 1996 to 2002. It was during his tenure that church name was changed to Immanuel Temple Seventh-day Adventist Church. Byron Hill was the pastor of the church from 2002 to 2008 and he was followed by Pastor Gregory Johnson.

Many things have changed from those days in 1909, when Sanitarium Food company advertised Protose at 30 cents a pound, Nuttolone at 30 cents a pound, and peanut butter at 15 cents a pound for our health-minded forebearers, who in those days, turned in under $1000 annually as tithe. Our task is not yet completed. One hundred years brings a lot of changes, but our Lord and His Truth are still the same!
 
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