Sebastopol UMC Commemorates 150 Years of Service

September 21, 2016

It was a glorious warm day at Sebastopol UMC on September 18, when the Rev. Schuyler Rhodes, Bridges District Superintendent, challenged the church to envision the future for another 150 years. He preached from 1 Peter 3:8-12 on the subject, "Blessings," which was followed with a church potluck.
According to the West Sonoma county Historical Society the church is "the only continuous owner of the same Main Street property in Sebastopol since 1867."
There have been 32 pastors and many deaconesses who have led the congregation. The first building was accidentally destroyed by fire in 1896, and a new building was constructed and dedicated in 1897. The second building was burned down in 1914 (along with Occidental Methodist Church, Green Valley Congregational Church, and Sebastopol Congregational church) by arsonists who opposed the fervent preaching for prohibition by Rev. Rankin. This is the third building, a Spanish colonial revival style that was dedicated in 1915 with a 42” Blymer bell placed in the tower.      
Helping with the service were Charlotte Fisher, chair of the Administrative Board, the Rev. Stanley Simpson, former pastor and a current member of the church, Gail Powers and Jim Johnson with music, Julie Barbic from the Golden Girls, and the current pastor of Sebastopol UMC, Pastor Iunisi Tovo, with all the family of Sebastopol UMC.