Early History and Vision of Elk Grove Baptist Church

February 16, 2024 0 Comments

The Mission of Elk Grove Baptist Church

During the gold rush in the 1860s, religion was an important part of the community. Families started churches in their homes.

A special meeting was held to collect funds for building a church. Among those listed were the DaRosa family. They were responsible for mass once a month. Priests came from Sacramento and served the area.

The History of Elk Grove Baptist Church

The church building was a focal point of socialization in these early years. The members were a very close-knit group and the church was a source of community spirit for these families as they moved into their new neighborhood.

In 1944 a building fund was started for the purpose of constructing a permanent church. Special collections were taken once a month during that year to finance this project.

Later, when the membership grew the church was not large enough and the church members purchased land from Fred Frey on Elk Grove-Florin Road and built a larger church. It is on this property that the cemetery now sits.

At this time the church was a mission of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Lodi, California. A delegation from the church was sent to seek help in establishing the church and found the Ebenezer congregation sympathetic to their request. The first pastor of the newly established parish was Fr. Ferdinand Zahl and he was supported financially by special collections.

The Mission of Elk Grove Baptist Church

The Mission of Elk Grove Baptist Church is to bring the message of Jesus Christ to people in the community, and to disciple them in his name. The Church accomplishes this through a variety of programs including Sunday School, Children’s Ministry, Deacon’s Family Ministry Program and the Pastor and Deacon Visitation Program.

The Church also maintains a yearly budget, and holds regular business meetings and communion services. The Church also provides assistance for those in need through their food pantry and other programs.

Jan Rau is an active member of the church and works with the AWANA 3-4 year olds in the Christ-centered Bible training program. She and her husband, Reinold “Rinny” Rau have two children, Joe Rau a fireman with the Elk Grove Fire Department and Shari Salazar who works for a law firm in Sacramento. The couple are involved with various youth and physical activities in the community as well. Jan and Rinny have 11 grandchildren.

The Vision of Elk Grove Baptist Church

As the new year began, a group of believers decided to start a church in Elk Grove village. They felt that they needed to impact their community with the life-changing Gospel.

By February 1926 they were ready to build a church of their own. They had a building committee and business meetings were held every other month. Communion was celebrated four times a year. Membership was limited to men.

In 1986, Rev. Leo McAllister came to St. Joseph’s parish. His ten years here saw great progress made on the buildings and grounds. He was responsible for the purchase of an adjoining piece of property, which became the Social Hall. He also built new classrooms and enlarged the kitchen. He was the guiding spirit that allowed the church to continue its good work. He was well-loved by the members and he continued to live in the Church until his death. A memorial window to him is located in the Church.

The Values of Elk Grove Baptist Church

Jan Rau – Jan volunteers to assist with the 3-4 year old age group in the Christ-centered Bible-training program for children at AWANA Clubs International through First Baptist Church of Elk Grove. She has also worked for years to promote physical activity in the youth of the community.

In the late 1950’s a group of families felt led to begin a new church in what was then a brand-new suburban community. Their desire was to impact their surrounding neighborhoods with the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.

The congregation started by meeting in the homes of local families. Then, a preacher on horseback would come to the area and hold services in the Franklin area at least once a month. By 1923 the church was located on Grove Street, across from Elk Grove Park. This little church became a mission of St. Joseph’s in Sacramento as well as other Catholic churches in Folsom, Jackson and Galt.

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