First Christian Church, Vallejo traces its origins to an 1899 gathering of women who laid the groundwork for the formation of the church later that year. Even in those early days, the strength of the women of this congregation was evident. Initially, the church met in rented halls in downtown Vallejo, and some of these historic buildings are still standing today. Similarly, the church’s first permanent home - a building on Virginia Street near the old downtown - also still exists, although now as a private residence.
The church built that first building in 1907, and remained there until the completion of its current facilities in 1944. The church’s mission was seen as so important as to warrant special permission from the government to construct its new building even in the midst of World War II, with the rationing, high prices of materials, and general shortage of resources that accompanied the war effort.
First Christian Church, Vallejo, has always been a progressive church, and its openness to women in leadership roles is a prime illustration of that. For example, the church elected women as elders of the church beginning in 1959, while many other churches in the Disciples of Christ denomination lagged behind in filling church offices with women. And of course, many other Christian denominations even today exclude women from pastoral and other positions within the church.
But that has not been the path that First Christian Church has taken. The church was the first in the city of Vallejo to have a husband and wife team of ordained ministers, has since then had another husband and wife team as co-pastors, and also has had three women as solo pastors (including the present minister).
In other areas as well this church has been on the front-line of progressive Christianity. In the ecumenical movement of the 1960s and 1970s, First Christian Church participated in discussions, meetings, and joint efforts that brought many different congregations together across a wide array of denominations. The church also pioneered by sharing its building with other congregations (over the years, First Christian’s building has been used by Baptist, Old Catholic, and United Church of Christ churches, and four other congregations continue to meet in our facilities). Today, many of the church’s projects continue to be joint efforts with other churches, and this is one of the great strengths of our church.
In 1994, First Christian Church became the first congregation in Vallejo to publicly announce its support for members of the LGBT community by declaring itself to be “Open and Affirming.” Not only was this progressive in the city of Vallejo - nationwide, only 26 other Disciples of Christ bodies had chosen to become Open and Affirming. In terms of its overall commitment to causes of social justice and mission (today grouped under the title of “Outreach”), the church has also shown that it is a forward-thinking body. To learn more about these aspects of the church’s ministry, explore the rest of this web site, including the links above to the church’s Outreach and LGBT ministry pages.