Faith is a member congregation of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. As a Synod, we are 6000+ congregations, 1100+ parochial day schools and 2.5 million members strong. In our Concordia University system we operate thirteen college campuses and two seminaries. We have missionaries in thirty-seven countries around the world and major expansions are planned.
We do not receive any monetary support from our national church body. The funds needed to conduct our congregational ministry come from the generosity of our members. .
As a member congregation of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, we are also a member of the California/Nevada/Hawaii District. In our District, there are many mission congregations and ministries either subsidized or supported in full by District funds. New congregations are begun each year. Our congregation financially supports this work of our District.
History of Faith Lutheran Church
Faith emerged out of the explosive growth of San Francisco’s East Bay following World War II. Beginning as a mission in 1951, it was named Gregory Gardens Lutheran Church to reflect its location in a growing Pleasant Hill subdivision. The Women of Faith began simultaneously, leading the way in sharing Christ’s love in word and deed.
In June of 1951, Emil Paul Leising was installed as the first pastor, and the first building—the current Fellowship Center—was dedicated. The charter of the church under the official ministry name of Faith Lutheran Church was signed by 39 members on December 2nd, 1951. Within ten years, worship attendance was 290 with Sunday School topping 300. More ministry space was needed so the Education Center was built in 1956.
Faith’s second pastor, D. William Backus, was installed in July of 1956. Under his leadership, construction of a Worship Center to accommodate 200 people was begun. Church offices were also included. Construction was completed early in 1964 during the leadership of Faith’s third pastor—Arthur Wright—(1963 to 1965). Dedication took place on Feb 9th, 1964, with the installation of a Bosch tracker-action organ that same year.
Pastor Wright accepted a call to military chaplaincy in November 1965 and Richard Brewer was installed as Faith’s fourth pastor in February of 1966. His lengthy service (1966 to 1998) oversaw healthy growth in numbers and ministries.
Faith celebrated her 25th anniversary in 1997. Throughout the 1980’s, Faith supported a strong youth program including a European bike trip and snow retreats to Lake Tahoe. The Over The Hill Gang began in the late 1970’s, which has provided a valuable source of knowledge, maintenance, and repair of church facilities.
In the 1980’s and 90’s, women began to serve as Elders and other leadership positions. Faith added the Bible Study Room, paved the parking lot, built the Maintenance Shed, added the patio, and remodeling the Fellowship Center and the Sanctuary.
Pastor Brewer retired in May of 1998. After a year-long study, Thomas Norris was called as the fifth pastor. He initiated Policy Based Governance and within a year added a Youth and Family staffer—Caitlin May. Faith celebrated its 50th anniversary in July 2002.
The new millennium saw refreshment of Sunday School and Stephen’s ministries, the addition of Alpha Bible Study, mid-week F3—Family Fun & Friends, Contemporary Worship, Housegroups, and VBS as a multi-week Day Camp that reached into the community. Mission trips to Mexico began, as well as the Backpack Project, Caring Hands, and Feed the Poor ministries. Light of Grace Korean Church began renting Faith’s facilities during this time. Ms. May got married, so Jason Moreno was called as an associate pastor in August 2007 to replace her. He later took a call in 2008 to serve Benicia Lutheran Church.
In July 2008, Pastor Norris accepted a call creating a two and a half year vacancy. The congregation engaged an interim pastor— Joe Schruhl. After comprehensive self-study and property improve projects, Faith extended a call to their sixth pastor, Peter Woodward, who began serving in early 2011. Over his eight-year tenure, the congregation freshened the sanctuary and the Fellowship Center, formed huddles to develop new leaders, and reinvigorated their financial stewardship. The congregation also began Footprints Preschool as a way to serve the community’s growing child and family population.
Faith’s mission continues to “Grow Christ’s Love In Every Heart.” It shows in their love for one another, and their constant willingness to share their talents, time, and treasure. With a renewed focus upon meaningful worship, intentional discipleship, and significant relationships, Faith is poised to lead many in its community to receive Christ’s love as well.