Santa Cruz County History - Religion & Spirituality

Santa Cruz Spirituality: Holiness


  1. Holiness Bands
  2. Christian and Missionary Alliance
  3. Church of God (Holiness rather than Pentecostal)
  4. Church of the Nazarene
  5. Salvation Army
  6. Various Holiness

The Holiness movement grew out of nineteenth century American Methodism and emphasized personal sanctification and social activism. The National Holiness Association, now the Christian Holiness Association, inaugurated in New York in 1880, has had both regional and local components. The subgroups, including the Santa Cruz bands, were characterized by streetcorner and public hall revivalist meetings as well as independence from denominational affiliations. By 1910 the movement had lost its initial force. (Melton, Encyclopedia, pp. 36-37)

The movement, nevertheless, remains a significant sector of Protestant Christianity, and although the Christian Holiness Association is smaller than the National Association of Evangelicals, it functions similarly for its constituents. The present general status of the movement and of the association is outlined in "The Holiness Churches: A Significant Ethical Tradition" by Donald W. Dayton in 2008, reprinted from The Christian Century, Feb. 26, 1975, pp. 197-201.

Holiness Bands

» Holiness Band 1. Santa Cruz, 1883-1884.

This Band was affiliated with the California Holiness Association, which was headquartered in San Francisco under the leadership of the Rev. Mr. Newton. (SC Surf, Dec. 1, 1883; and S.C. Sentinel, Jan. 12, 1884) Although this Band allowed itself to be called "Salvation Army," it was not a branch of the Salvation Army that had been founded in England. (SC Surf, July 12, 1883)

» Holiness Band 2. Santa Cruz, 1883-1884.

The following facts about the Holiness Band led by J. S. Ledford summarize newspaper reports collected by local historian Phil Reader.

J. S. Ledford conducted revivalist services in Santa Cruz in summer, 1883, leaving for Oakland on August 18. (SC Surf, Aug. 18, 1883)

Ledford was back, conducting street meetings by November 5. (SC Surf, Nov. 5, 1883)

As Ledford and the others filed out of a meeting on January 6, 1884, they were pelted with printers ink, and when they were walking down the street they were assailed with rotten eggs. A large crowd of "hoodlums" was outside, looking threatening. (SC Surf, Jan. 7, 1884)

On January 7 again a large crowd awaited Ledford and his followers' emergence from a building where they had met and again eggs were thrown at them. (SC Surf, Jan. 8, 1884)

On January 8 a small group of residents visited Ledford and told him he was disrupting their lives by turning the brother of one person and the spouse of another away from family. The group said Ledford should leave town, and he seemed to accept this, but asked that restitution be made for his clothes damage. A certain Charles Wilson was one of the group who met with Ledford on the eighth. (SC Surf, Jan. 8, 1884)

Charged with the egg throwing of January sixth, Charles Wilson went on trial today. (SC Surf, Jan. 10, 1884)

In Wilson's jury trial, which lasted two days, no one came forth to testify unequivocally that Wilson threw eggs at Ledford. (SC Surf, Jan. 11, 1883)

After four hours of deliberation, the jury reported that there was "a permanent disagreement," with 9 for acquittal and 3 for conviction. The court then dismissed the case. (SC Surf, Jan. 12, 1884)

In an article alluding to Wilson's acquittal, the SC Surf expressed dismay that he had been acquitted, but stated the real guilt to be that of lax law enforcement, which allowed the street-singing Holiness Band to meet and perform in spite of the general sentiment of the people against it. Its unpopularity, according to the Surf, lay in Ledford's lack of credentials. Thus,

"Then came the person who calls himself J. S. Ledford without authority from any society, church or sect, a person who has been repudiated by the very same organization he assumes to represent, and who holds no commission from any organized religious society or church -a religious guerrilla so to speak, and presuming upon the tolerance of the people of Santa Cruz, invades the sidewalks and streets of the city for weeks. His simulated religious fervor united with an excellent musical voice drew about him a band of zealous and sincere, but we believe mis-guided people, and the result has been to seriously agitate society." (Jan. 12, 1884)

The printers ink thrown at Ledford and the others in the group was appropriated from the Santa Cruz Sentinel, which was in the building where the service was held. (SC Sentinel, Jan. 19, 1884)

J. S. Ledford said he came from Hannibal, Missouri, had been converted at the age of 21, and in the subsequent five years had preached in many places. (SC Sentinel, Jan. 19, 1884)

J. S. Ledford left Santa Cruz by boat for Los Angeles on January 22, 1884. (SC Surf, Jan. 23, 1884)

Whatever may have been J. S. Ledford's fate, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, March 22, 1884 reports,

"It is represented that the two Holiness Bands of this city have united their forces, in somewhat diminished numbers, all not favoring the union. The majority seem to have adopted the motto: In union there is strength; in division there is weakness.... Santa Cruz Band of Holiness will hold regular meetings in the upper hall of the Sons of Temperance on Sundays at 3 o'clock P. M. and Thursdays at 7 o'clock P. M., for the promotion of Christian Holiness. All are invited to attend. A. Lemkau and S. Adkins, Leaders."

Christian and Missionary Alliance

Founded in 1882 in New York by a Presbyterian minister, the Christian and Missionary Alliance is strongly oriented toward missionary work, and it has generated greater membership outside the United States than it has within it.

» Neighborhood Church of the Christian Missionary Alliance. Santa Cruz, 1925-2001.

This congregation was organized in 1925. It is the same congregation as the Christian Missionary Alliance Tabernacle at 81 Soquel in Polk 1930 and 1935 and the Christian and Missionary Alliance Tabernacle at the same address in Polk 1936 and Christian Missionary Alliance at 260 Soquel Ave. in Polk 1946 and 1955. It dedicated its new church structure in 1959, (SC Sentinel, Oct. 18, 1959) and it was still in this building, at 225 Rooney St., in 2001. (2001 Yellow Pages) Note that "Christian Missionary Alliance" and "Christian and Missionary Alliance" are used interchangeably.

» LifeSpring Fellowship. Capitola, 2002-2006.

This congregation appeared in the SC Sentinel of July 6, 2002. The Yellow Pages of 2006 placed it at 1255 41st Ave., Capitola 95010, tel. 477-0725, and identified it as Christian and Missionary Alliance. It is quite probable that it was a continuation of the Neighborhood Church of the Christian Missionary Alliance. It is not listed at all in later White and Yellow Pages, although there was a Lifespring Preschool at the 41st Ave. address until at least 2008. In 2009, as I observed, the entire structure had been razed, and a large commercial building was going up on the site.

» Christ Community Church. Live Oak, 2007-2010.

Worshipping at the Live Oak Senior Center, 1777 Capitola Road, tel. 336-8079, this congregation has been in the Yellow Pages in 2007 and 2008 under Christian and Missionary Alliance, but without an address in 2010. Its website, which gives the address, is 2010.

Church of God (Holiness rather than Pentecostal)

The name "Church of God" is used by several diverse groupings of churches. One of these, which belongs to the Holiness family, is principally represented by the Church of God of Anderson, Indiana, which dates to 1880. (Melton, Encyclopedia, *221)

Another large group of Church of God congregations, stemming from an Appalachian Pentecostal movement, seems not to be represented in Santa Cruz, but is in Watsonville: see "First Church of God" in Various Pentecostal, no longer in existence.

The second, as well as the first, grouping of Churches of God dates back to the 1880s, but there is another notable group which was started in the 1930s and belongs to the Adventist family. This is the Worldwide Church of God, founded by Herbert Armstrong, who was an early radio evangelist. The "Church of God" of Watsonville listed below in Church of God (Adventist) is affiliated with it.

» Church of God. Santa Cruz, 1925-1963.

Founded in 1925, this congregation dedicated its new church on Seabright Ave. in 1949. (SC Sentinel, Sep. 11, 1949) The cornerstone, on the east side, has two dates, 1925 and 1948. The address of it, at least from 1948 on, was 1307 Seabright Ave. (Polk, 1950) In 1963 it merged with the Community Church of God on 41st Avenue, and the Seabright Avenue property was sold. (SC Sentinel, May 3, 1963)

» Community Church of God. Capitola, 1958-2004.

The church was dedicated in 1958, (SC Sentinel, Apr. 6. 1958) and it was at 1255 41st Ave., remaining at this address until 2000. (2000 Yellow Pages) In 2002 it was gone from there and the LifeSpring Fellowship, as noted above, was at this location.

Starting in 2002 the Community Church of God Chapel by the Sea was located at 3673 Portola Dr., Live Oak. (2002 and 2003 Yellow Pages) According to folders I found at the church door in 2004, this congregation was affiliated with the Church of God of Anderson, Indiana. This affiliation, in addition to the chronology, makes it seem very probable that it was a continuation of the Community Church of God in Capitola. In 2005 it was no longer listed in the White Pages.

» Biblical Church of God. Santa Cruz? 1984.

The SC Sentinel, July 26, 1984, lists this church with no address, only a telephone number, 476-1234. It does, however, group it with the 41st Avenue Community Church of God, which was of the Holiness family.

Church of the Nazarene

The roots of the Church of the Nazarene go back to the late 19th century and the desire to lay greater stress on personal sanctification within the Wesleyan Methodist tradition. In 1908 the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene was established, but in 1919 it eliminated "Pentecostal" from its name because it was not a specifically "gifts of the Spirit" type of group. (Melton, Encyclopedia *224)

» Church of the Nazarene Santa Cruz. 1930-2010.

The congregation, now at 115 S. Morrissey Ave., tel. 423-3630, (2010 Yellow Pages) appears to be the same as the Church of the Nazarene which first appeared at 146 Seabright Ave. in 1930, (Polk 1930) First Church of the Nazarene at 156 Seabright, (Polk 1935 and 1946) and Church of the Nazarene at 1335 Seabright. (Polk 1950) A structure built for it at the current address and dedicated in 1952 was intended for use eventually as an educational unit. (SC Sentinel, Jan. 25, 1952)

» Church of the Nazarene. Watsonville, 1934-2010.

Presumably this is the successor to the Church of the Nazarene at 1221 Lincoln St.; (Polk 1934 through 1940) then 300 Madison, Watsonville. (Polk 1946 through 1973) However this may be, the Watsonville Church of the Nazarene was incorporated in 1938. (Santa Cruz County Articles of Incorporation no. 1251) The church has been at its present address, 710 Green Valley Road, Watsonville, tel. 722-2407, since at least 1975. (1975 through 2010 Yellow Pages)

» Beulah Park. Conf center, Santa Cruz County, 1938-1970s.

This Summer Camp of the Church of the Nazarene was established in 1938 on 24 acres above Carbonera Creek, between Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley, and a "tabernacle" was erected in 1941. (Clark, Place Names, p. 28) It was sold to investors "almost two decades [before 1991] ago." (San Jose Mercury News, Nov. 20, 1991)

Salvation Army

Founded by William Booth in England in 1878, the Salvation Army was established in the United States in 1880 and in California (San Francisco) in 1882.

» Salvation Army. Service org, Watsonville, 1886-2010.

The Salvation Army has had a presence in Watsonville at least since July 1, 1886, when, according to the July 8, 1886 Watsonville Pajaronian, two eggs were thrown at "representatives of the Salvation Army" as they "held services in front of Lewis's store." The organization's earliest Watsonville address was 18 Peck; (Polk 1925) then it was at 12 Central Ave. (Polk 1930) In 1930 it took over the Union Street building which had housed the Japanese Presbyterian Church since 1911, and in Polk 1940 its address in this building was 216 Union St. The structure was razed in 1992 so that the present Salvation Army facilities at the corner of Union and Grant could be erected. (Pajaronian, Feb. 17, 1992) The present structure was built in the 1940s. (SC Sentinel, May 15, 2007) The address is 112 Grant Ave., Watsonville 95076, tel. 724-3922. (2010 White Pages)

» Salvation Army. Service org, Santa Cruz, 1909-2010.

The Salvation Army has been in Santa Cruz at least since 1909, when it was soliciting money and supplies so it could open a shelter for men in the former Southern Pacific Railroad station, which it proposed moving to a new location. (SC Surf, Nov. 27, 1909) Two years later it announced that it had paid most of its debt on its building, which was on Bulkhead St. (SC Surf, June 11, 1911) Presumably the structures mentioned in these articles were the same; in any event, an article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on Jan. 25, 1966 states that the Salvation Army erected its first Santa Cruz structure at 10 Bulkhead St., and in 1966 a commemorative plaque was placed there. I could not find this plaque when I looked for it in 2004.

Its Santa Cruz address was 75 Riverside in Polk 1925, 11 Washington in Polk 1930 and 1946, and 708 Washington St. (in the former German American Methodist Episcopal Church) in Polk 1950 and 1960. Ground was broken for a building on Laurel St. in 1960, (SC Sentinel, Dec. 29, 1960) and this, 721 Laurel St., Santa Cruz, tel. 426-8365, is where it is now. (2010 White Pages) The Salvation Army entry in the 2007 Yellow Pages also listed Templo de Santa Cruz at the Laurel St. address, tel. 425-3775, but the 2010 Yellow Pages list this Templo only in the White Pages, and under its own name.

» Camp Redwood Glen. Conf center, Scotts Valley, 1945-2010.

Formerly Summer Home Farm, it has belonged to the Salvation Army since 1945. (SC Sentinel-News, Apr. 22, 1951) It is located at 3100 Bean Creek Road, Scotts Valley 95066, tel. 461-2000. (2010 White Pages)

» Silvercrest Residences. Service org, Capitola, c1990-2007.

Under the name Silvercrest, "The Salvation Army operates a number of moderate cost older adult residences which seek to provide clean, safe and comfortable housing in an environment that is sensitive and responsive to the needs of individual residents. Subsidies are available at most facilities to low income residents who qualify." The Santa Cruz County Silvercrest was one of 24 in California, 37 throughout the Western states. ( 2007) The address of this apartment complex was 750 Bay Ave., Capitola 95010, tel. 464-6435 (2007 White Pages)

According to a SC Sentinel article of Sep. 25, 2006,

The Salvation Army purchased the Silvercrest property after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake to provide affordable homes for seniors who were displaced by the quake.

First Community Housing, a San Jose-based nonprofit, is in the process of purchasing the 96-unit complex from the Salvation Army to maintain it as affordable housing for seniors.

The Silvercrest Residences are not listed in the 2008 White Pages, and the Salvation Army name and shield was removed from the entrance to the driveway in 2008.

Various Holiness

» Peniel Mission. Service org, Santa Cruz, 1901-1926.

This rescue mission existed at least from 1901 (exact location not noted) according to the June 8, 1901 SC Surf. Later it was located on Locust Street, (SC Surf, Jan. 2, June 26, and Dec. 11, 1909) and still later at 41 Vine, (Thurston 1912-1913) where it was still to be found in 1926. (date on a photo of it in UCSC Special Collections)

The Peniel Missions, founded in Los Angeles in 1886, (Melton, Encyclopedia *237) existed until 1999. There is additional information about them under "CityTeam Camp MayMac" below. The name Peniel, which means literally "the face of God," is found in the Bible, Genesis, Chapter 32, in which Jacob applies it to the place where he wrestled with the angel.

Peniel Mission
Peniel Mission
Image courtesy of P. Tutwiler.

» Mountain Bible Church of Loma Prieta. Santa Cruz County, 1929-2010.

This congregation arose from a Sunday school endeavor started in 1929 under the auspices of the American Missionary Fellowship (AMF), which at that time was the American Sunday School Union. It became a worshipping congregation in 1950, still in connection with the American Missionary Fellowship, but it incorporated as the non-denominational Mountain Bible Church in 1977.

From 1929 until 1973 it met mostly in a building on San Jose-Soquel Road, which in the beginning of that period was the Hester Creek School, but came to be owned by the congregation from 1957 to 1973. Since 1985 it has met at its present location, which is 23946 Summit Road, Los Gatos 95033, tel. 353-2302. (2010 White Pages)

A detail to be added to the early history furnished by the website is the incorporation of the congregation as the Hester Creek Community Church in 1956 (Santa Cruz County Articles of Incorporation no. 1984) The church was subsequently known as the Hester Creek Community Church. (Los Gatos Times — Saratoga Observer, July 21, 1959)

To be reconciled with the website history is the fact that the congregation incorporated in 1975 with the clause that if it were to be dissolved its assets would be turned over to the American Missionary Fellowship. (Santa Cruz County Articles of Incorporation no. 4427)

The American Missionary Fellowship clearly characterizes itself as belonging to the Holiness Family. ( 2010)

» CityTeam Camp MayMac. Conf center, Felton, 1930s-2010.

Located off East Zayante Road, this was founded in the 1930s by May and Mac McLean for underprivileged children of the San Francisco Bay Area, and it still is a children's camp and conference center. In 1969 it merged with the San Jose Rescue Mission, and in 1983 the resulting organization took the name of CityTeam. In 1999 the Peniel Mission, headquartered in Los Angeles, also was incorporated into the organization. CityTeam is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, the statement of belief of which is non-denominational, albeit fundamentalist in tone. ( 2010 and 2010) The address of Camp MayMac is 9115 East Zayante Road, Felton 95018, tel. 335-3019. (2010 White Pages)

» Father Divine Peace Mission. Service org, Santa Cruz, 1936-1941.

Polk 1936 lists "Divine's Father [sic] Peace Mission Joy Harmony rep 141 Chestnut av." Polk 1937-1941, however, gives its address as 21 Roberts Ave., Santa Cruz. The telephone directory White Pages for these years do not list the Peace Mission.

Father Divine, born George Baker, c1880-1965, initiated the Peace Mission Movement in 1919 in the New York City area. From 1933 its headquarters were in Harlem. At its peak in the 1930s it had an estimated 2,000,000 members. After Father Divine's death his second wife, known then as Mother Divine, continued the movement. (Encyclopedia of Religious History. Revised Edition. Boston: Proseworks, 2001) I classify Father Divine's activities here in the Holiness Family on the basis of two oblique references in Melton Encyclopedia *262 and *937.

» Father Divine Peace Restaurant. Service org, Santa Cruz, 1937-1942.

The restaurant, located at 401 Front St., is listed in Polk 1937 through 1941 and in the White Pages from 1938 through 1942. At this address in the White Pages of 1945 the restaurant "Chicken Villa" made is first appearance.

» Pajaro Rescue Mission. Service org, Monterey County, 1964-2010.

The earliest listing I have for this is in the 1964 Yellow Pages. The Mission's entry in the Community Information Database of 2010 states, "Nightly shelter for homeless men in a Christian community. Dormitory atmosphere, dinner and breakfast served, beds and showers provided. Attending a daily Christian service is encouraged, but not required." The Monterey Bay Teen Challenge, which "operates the programs," (SC Sentinel, Dec. 19, 2008) is a nation-wide "Christian Men's Discipleship Training Program." ( 2008)

The Mission is at 111 Railroad Ave., Watsonville 95076, tel.724-9576. (2010 White Pages)

» Santa Cruz Rescue Mission. Service org, Santa Cruz, 1970.

The only information I have about this charitable facility is that in 1970 it changed its name to Santa Cruz Mission Christian Center. (Santa Cruz County Articles of Incorporation no. 3378)

» Elm Street Mission. Service org, Santa Cruz, 1972-2010.

Called Elm Street Rescue Mission on its 2004 website, "The Elm Street Mission has been helping the homeless and hurting of Santa Cruz since 1972. We are a Church with a focus on working with those who are bound by addictions or mental illness. We serve a big God who can and will help all those who desire a change in their life and will surrender their lives to Him in repentance. We feed, clothe, help get into programs." ( 2010) The facility is not listed in the 2010 telephone directory, but the sign on its door at 117 Elm St. gives its schedule of worship and service activities and its telephone number, 420-0543.

The mission's structure was the former Advent Christian Church, which was built in 1912. In 1976 the Teamsters Union Local 912 was using the building. (Santa Cruz Historic Building Survey, Vol. I, p. 78) In 1974 and 1984 it was the site of the Bible Missionary Church, (Polk 1974, SC Sentinel, July 26, 1984) which became the Elm St. Bible Missionary Church, (1988 White Pages) which in turn became the Elm St. Church in 1989 and the Elm St. Mission in 2004. (1989-2004 White Pages)

» Global Youth Evangelism. Service org, Santa Cruz County, 1976-1984.

In its website, 2008, this organization says of itself, "The vision of Global Youth Evangelism and its associated ministries had its origin in the late 1950s in a small mountain house church near Los Gatos, California." The website goes on to say that it expanded its quarters in 1961, and that in 1979 it launched its principal activity, the assisting of missionaries by distributing to them the Christian Worker Bible Study Series.

As revealed by the White Pages from 1977 to 1984, the address of Global Youth Evangelism was 23946 Summit Dr., which is the address of the Mountain Bible Church of Loma Prieta. In 1978 Global Youth Evangelism also had a "women's home" at 135 Belmont St., Santa Cruz. (1978 White Pages) In the mid 1980s, according to the website, it moved from Los Gatos to Orland, California.

» Mountain Bible Christian School. Santa Cruz County, 1983-2010.

According to the website, the Mountain Bible School was founded in 1983, and from 1985 to 2004 was at the Mountain Bible Church location. This website, however has not been operative since 2006.

In 2010 the K-8 Mountain Bible Christian School is at 23946 Summit Road, the same address as the Mountain Bible Church, and its telephone number is 408-353-2192. ( 2010)

» Volunteers of America. Service org, Live Oak, 1986-2010.

Ballington and Maude Booth, son and daughter-in-law of William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, established the Volunteers of America in New York in 1896. Its headquarters are in Metairie, Lousiana. Its mission is to provide social services of many kinds, including the ownership and management of housing facilities. ( 2010)

VoA's only activity in Santa Cruz County is the East Cliff Village Apartments at 1635 Tremont Drive, Santa Cruz 95062, tel. 462-2400, where it provides over 70 low cost independent living units for the elderly. ( 2010)

» Santa Cruz Revival Apostolic Ministry. 2007-2010.

In the Holiness tradition, although this is not mentioned on its website or in newspaper accounts, this group meets in outdoor public places. Its creed is neither fundamentalist nor Pentecostal. Also called Santa Cruz Revival, its contact address is PO Box 1893, Capitola 95010, tel. 465-0616. ( 2010)

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