Bishop Brown Leads Consecration and Dedication Service for San Jose First UMC

January 23, 2014

By Dr. Larry R. Hygh, Jr., Communications Director
"This room is full. I know you see a few empty seats…those seats have names on them. They are names of those clouds of witnesses, and some of those seats are reserved for people we don't know yet," said Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr., about the few empty seats in the packed sanctuary of San Jose First United Methodist Church for the consecration and dedication of the new building. "This day is a day to stand in awe of God because it is a testimony of what God can do," he said.  He challenged those gathered to, "demonstrate God's goodness to everybody you can."
The church burned to the ground in March of 1991 after an electrical fire.  This was not the first fire in the church's history.  Founded in 1847, an anti-immigrant mob burned the church down in 1889 after the church admitted Chinese Children into its Sunday school.  After the congregation rebuilt, the church was largely destroyed by the great earthquake of 1906.
In addition to the worship service of consecration and dedication, the Sunday afternoon celebration featured tours of the new building. The state of the art building includes an atrium lobby, LED signs that face outside corners, a community service room, sanctuary, kitchen, multi-purpose room, youth center, children's spaces, classrooms, bistro, outside rooftop patio, and an office that includes three staff workstations and two pastoral offices.
On the first floor, there is also a stained glass window from the original structure.
The Rev. Shinya Goto, the church's senior pastor, said, "We envision many collaborative works happening in through this facility." Goto said, "We seek to partner with other Methodist churches, non-Methodist churches, and social agencies to bring transformation in this area of San Jose."
Goto said the church is committed to doing mission in the downtown area.  "In the last year, we started a ministry called Acts community that reaches into the heart of San Jose to meet people where they are."
The Rev. Kristie Olah, District Superintendent for the El Camino Real District and Dean of the Cabinet, said, "As I see these walls, I feel it's all just a witness…working among you as the power of Jesus Christ." She added, "This work is people work."
The church is situated directly across from city hall. For more information about the church and its ministries, click here.