River City Grace

Who We Are : History

Photo of the church in 1967 The Church in 1967


Photo of the church as it looks today The Church Today

A Brief History of River City Grace Community Church

In September 1957, Pastor Conard Sandy and his wife drove into Sacramento prepared to establish a Grace Brethren church in the area. After months of visiting and making contacts, a Bible class was started in the home of Pete and Betty Miranda on January 2, 1959. The first Sunday worship service was held on November 8th in a brand new YMCA building on Eastern Avenue. There were approximately 35 people in attendance.

The church grew slowly during those first years, and there were many discouraging days. At the end of 1964, Pastor Sandy had to resign due to continuing poor health. At that time, the church voted to go under the care of Brethren Home Missions. They helped secure a new pastor, Charles Martin, of Johnson City, Tennessee. Pastor Martin’s first service was Easter Sunday, 1965.

By this time, the church was meeting in a little chapel at the YMCA. Pastor Martin was anxious to find a new location the church could call its own. In October 1965, the church leased a former Nazarene church building at the corner of Mission and Engle. At the end of 1966, the Lord directed the church to its present location. At that time, the only existing building on the property was an abandoned Air Force Radar Station. The first church service was held on Easter Sunday, 1967.

In September 1967, Pastor Martin resigned. The new pastor, Richard Cron, arrived in February of 1970. In 1971, the church began making plans to build a new sanctuary. Groundbreaking services were held in July of 1972. After much hard work by many willing volunteers, the building was completed in late 1973. The dedication service was held on October 7, 1973.

In 1977, the church went self-supporting after 12 years of help from Brethren Home Missions. During this time, Ollie Schantol served as an Associate Pastor for a short time. In the fall of 1979, Pastor Lee Burris was hired as an Associate Pastor. In December, 1979, Pastor Cron resigned to accept a position at Whittier Community Church. For several months, Pastor Burris served as the interim pastor.

Roy Halberg was the next Pastor called to lead the church. His first service was Easter Sunday, 1980. During his ministry, the name of the church was changed from the Sacramento Grace Brethren Church to River City Grace Community Church. In 1982, Pastor Burris resigned as Associate Pastor. Pastor Halberg left in April, 1985 to accept a position with Big Valley Grace Community Church in Modesto. Pastor Tom Lynn was called to be the new Pastor. He and his family arrived in July of 1985. During 1987, Phil Sparling served as an Associate Pastor. Phil eventually become pastor of the Grace Brethren Church in Auburn.

After 13 years leading the church, Pastor Lynn resigned in January, 1999. The church was without a pastor for the next 10 months. The Lord blessed us during this time of transition as willing Elders and various guest Pastors filled the pulpit and preached the Word.

The church celebrated its 40th anniversary on Sunday, November 7, 1999. The guest speaker was Pastor Greg Stoever from the Simi Valley Grace Brethren Church. The Lord led the church to call Pastor Stoever to become its new Pastor. He and his family joined the church in January, 2000. Pastor Stoever continues to serve the Lord and the body at River City Grace.

Last update: October 26, 2011

Sunday Service Times

9:00 am - Equipping Hour
         (Equipping hour does not meet in July or August)
10:30 am - Corporate Worship
5:00 pm - Evening Gatherings

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Contact Us

4261 Whitney Ave, Sacramento, California 95821
phone: (916) 972-1106 fax: (916) 972-1178
e-mail: info@rivercitygrace.org

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