In 1885 a group of about 17 families gathered together to form a Christian church here in Concord. They met wherever they could find space: for a while in a building at the Presbyterian Church; for a while above a saloon.
Soon they grew enough to have a building; a place to call their own. In 1889, they built our original sanctuary (which stood at the corner of Mt. Diablo & Concord Blvd). They realized, as the construction near completion, that they were going to be about $1500 in debt. Not wanting that hanging over their heads, two of the women, Mrs. Whitman & Mrs. McClellen, drove through the streets of Concord in a horse-drawn surrey getting donations, so that they could focus on ministry and serving the community, not paying off a debt. History books tell us that they got that $1500, and “even Presbyterians and Catholics contributed.”
Those early days were difficult, but the church held together. Sometime in the fall of 1900, in his report to the board, Secretary Charles Dunn wrote in the beautiful cursive of the time, “$36.36 due on pastor’s salary for month of August, and only seven cents in the treasury.” In its own way, how well this simple notation tells us of the dedication, tenacity and faithfulness of these early members.
The church continued to thrive and grow in these early years and in 1951 plans were begun for a new church facility, a long-range plan was created and land was purchased and developed. We’ve been worshipping here since 1955. We are currently involved in an extensive remodeling project, Widening Our Welcome, to update our facilities to make our campus more inviting and accessible.
Over the years we’ve welcomed and sponsored a number of refugee families, from Germany, Romania and later from Vietnam.
For over 30 years, FCC has been the home to one of AA’s meeting places. We host several of these recovery groups that meet throughout the week.
In 1992, after a yearlong process of study and discernment, we voted to become an Open and Affirming congregation, adopting the following Mission Statement: “With God as our guide and Christ in our hearts, we will celebrate the past, nurture the present, and empower the future. As an open and affirming congregation, we will affirm the dignity and worth of all persons and their right to enter into the full life of the congregation, work in partnership with other people of faith and reach out to the local community and the world with shalom, by meeting needs and sharing the Good News of God’s dawning kingdom.”
Each year since 1978 we have taken a group of youth and “young-at-heart” on a Mission Trip across the border into Tijuana, Mexico to encounter first hand abject poverty and to do something to relieve that poverty through building homes. In the 30+ years we have built close to 100 homes. Just as importantly, this deeply formative experience has changed countless lives on both sides of the border.
Since 1984, we have been the home of the SHARE Food Pantry, which serves the communities of Concord, Walnut Creek, Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Dublin, Danville, Pleasant Hill, San Ramon, Alamo, Pacheco and Marsh Creek. SHARE is the oldest independent, Ecumenical non-profit organization that continues to operate as an emergency food pantry in central Contra Costa county. It is staffed entirely by volunteers from the local community and funded entirely by various types of donations.
We have a rich history of reaching out, welcoming the stranger, and proclaiming the unconditional love of God for all people. For over 130 years this congregation has been a light in this city; a people of welcome and radical inclusivity.