HISTORY

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The current church is located on the second site, but is the third building. This property was donated to the Untied Methodist Church by a female doctor who had first used the site to house and aid unwed mothers and other women in trouble. The second incarnation of the church building was a tall white clapboard, high-steepled church. It was one of five churches that were the victims of arson, during the struggle over Prohibition. This was a grape growing area and Prohibition posed an economic threat to the grape industry. It was during Prohibition that grapes were taken out and apple trees were planted, and this became an Apple Growing area known for its apple pies and apple blossoms. The original or “Mother” Methodist Church in the area, in Green Valley, (part of the greater Sebastopol area) was never rebuilt after the fire. The Forestville Methodist Church, 6 miles away, also burned that night.  The local Catholic Church was also set fire.The arson was in 1914. This building, with its Spanish Colonial architecture was built in 1915, with both professional and volunteer labor.
A computerized carillon was donated by the Burdo family, and has given many years of pleasure to members of the community. The pealing bells ring just before noon and just before six pm Monday through Saturday. On Sunday the bells ring prior to worship. The carillon hymns change seasonally, and can be heard throughout downtown Sebastopol.
There are endangered honeybees living in the Bell Tower. The bees are not visible outside the church or present in the sanctuary, and have never stung anyone, but sometimes there is evidence of their honey in crevices near the bell tower.  On an exterior wall of the church hangs a home for bats. It was made by men in the congregation and reflects the commitment to caring for creation, so predominant in this congregation and in Sonoma County.
The stained glass window, designed by local artist Helen Caswell, was installed in the 1990s. It pictures Jesus reaching out to children of all races. The window reflects the congregation’s commitment to children and to Jesus’s inclusive love of all people. It is a tribute to the biblical mandate, “my house shall be a house of prayer for all people.”

 

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