Church History

Elder and Mrs. Lyne came to Fresno in 1930, the first workers for the minority population of this cosmopolitan com-munity. They would fan that flame with an evangelistic meeting in May 1931. A tent was pitched on the 100 block of Divisadero between Modoc and Plumas Street.

Elder Lyne was the speaker. Dr. Phillip Cling supported the meetings faithfully in many ways including presenting health lectures and liberal financial contributions. The tent was filled each night. From this effort five precious souls responded to the messages of truth and were baptized in the San Joaquin River. The five that composed the nucleus of this infant company of believers were: Mrs. Ella Reeves, Mrs. Ruth Page, Mrs. Alma Brown, M. Person and Mrs. Royer.

Soon after, Mrs. Lyne started a Dorcas Society, which was a blessing to the church and to the community. This small company distributed literature, visited the sick, gave many bible studies and continued to grow.
The next pastor family was Elder and Mrs. Nathaniel Banks, who gave untiring service for a time. This little company was meeting in homes and rented buildings during this time.

In 1941, Elder and Mrs. F. H. Jenkins came from Buffalo, New York to pastor the Fresno Company of Believers. There were 20 members at this time. Elder Jenkins conducted a very profitable Community Bible School. With the aid of the Central California Conference, a place of worship was purchased. Mrs. Della Richardson was called from San Francisco to serve as Bible Worker.
On November 28, 1942, the dedication of the first chapel at 1447 “F” Street was held. Many souls were added to the church under the next pastor, Elder 0. Joseph.

Elder and Mrs. Richard Berry became the pastoral family in 1948. Under this leadership, the members built a new church. When the building was about two-thirds completed, it was destroyed by fire. The congregation gathered courage and began rebuilding the church. Before it was fully finished, they were informed by the State of California that the building was standing in the middle of the proposed Freeway 99. The building was moved from that spot by Brother Church of the English Seventh-day Adventist Church (Central Church) from Calaveras and ~D” Street to Calaveras and “C’ Street where it stands today. Elder and Mrs. Richard Beny gave untiring service and the church continued to grow. The building was completed and dedicated in 1954.
In the fall of 1954, Elder and Mrs. William Galbreth became the pastoral family. Elder Galbreth worked with members of all ages but was recognized for his work with the youth of the church. He encouraged education and a knowledge of Christ as avenues of success in life. He established a Youth Club for high school and college age members. The landscaping was added to the church and the membership rose to 181 under their leadership. Sister Helen Horton served as Bible Worker.

Elder and Mrs. W. C. Webb followed and served from 1964 to 1973. Under their leadership the church continued to make itself felt in the community. Air-conditioning was added to the sanctuary, which was a blessing to all. In 1972 the membership had grown to 219. Sister Helen Horton continued as Bible Worker.

Elder and Mrs. C.J. Williams and family came in November of 1973. Through many evangelistic campaigns, many precious souls joined this remnant church. The membership increased to 417 under this leadership. Sister Shirley Brown and Sister Marguerite Bolden served as Bible Workers.

Elder and Mrs. E. J. Mendinghall followed in January 1985. With their arrival came much enthusiasm to work in the Lord’s vineyard to harvest precious souls for His soon return. The need and desire for a new place of worship had become obvious during Elder Williams’ pastorate. Sister Sutton’s home, which had been willed to the church, resulted in the first money for the building fund. Several Stewardship Seminars were held to encourage the members to be faithful in total stewardship to the Lord. Under Elder Mendinghall’s pastorate the building committee was formed and plans were made. Mission Church Builders came in January of 1989 to help the members build the sanctuary and a multipurpose building. The “Grand Opening” celebration, with a theme of “Making a Difference” was held August 5-12, 1989. Elders Kevin Rhamie and Reginald Miller served as Assistant Pastors. Sister Mildred Lester served as Bible Worker.

In 1992 Elder and Mrs. Steven Horton and son became the pastoral family. Under their leadership small group ministries serving married couples, singles, men, women, youth and senior citizens were added to serve the needs of the congregation. Community ministries such as day camp and summer basketball camp were also added. Elder Ron Michel served as Assistant Pastor and Sister Norma Cofield Gulley served as Bible Worker.

In December 1997, Pastor and Mrs. Lacy White and son, Aaron, became the pastoral family. Pastor White’s dedication to evangelism resulted in one large tent effort and a five-week effort. Evangelizing the entire West Fresno community is an ongoing goal. Children’s Church, initiated by Sister Bessie White, became a vital part of the church for children 2-12 years of age. Our membership was then listed at 642.

Dr. Joseph A. Jones and his wife Dolores joined us at the end of the year 2001 as our new pastoral family. Pastor Jones’ passion for evangelism prompted him to have a number of evangelistic efforts, which in conjunction with his Pastoral Bible Class have been used to add over 60 souls to the church. Our membership is now 706. The soul winning efforts continue at the Fresno Westside Church as we await the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Elder Earl A. Canson Jr. and His wife Vivian joined us in the fall of 2005 to support Dr. Joseph Jones in the ministry of Fresno Westside.  In 2006 Pastor Trevor Barns Jr. Joined the pastoral Staff as assistant Pastor for Youth & Young Ministry’s, Pastor Barns served Westside until fall of 2009 when called to Pastor in Northern California Conference.  Media and technology have been introduced along with traditional methods to reach the South west Community.   The Lord is working through our team at Fresno Westside to call men and women to Christ. Membership is 742.