Finding aid for Church of the Foothills records, 1858-1981. MVC029
Finding aid updated by Isabel Cline and Peter Smilanick, 2022.
This finding aid was made possible in part through funding from the County of Ventura and the Heritage Fund at the Ventura
County Community Foundation.
Museum of Ventura County
100 East Main Street
Ventura, CA 93001
Museum of Ventura County
Title: Church of the Foothills records
First Congregational Church of San Buenaventura and Santa Clara Valley.
Church of the Foothills
Identifier/Call Number: MVC029
2.74 Cubic Feet
Date (inclusive): 1858-1927
Abstract: Church of the Foothills was the first Protestant church in Ventura County. Throughout its first hundred years, Church of the
Foothills consisted of two churches: The First Congregational Church of San Buenaventura and the Saticoy Community Church.
Church of the Foothills was officially established in 1971 after these two churches merged. This collection contains archival
records of the First Congregational Church of San Buenaventura and Santa Clara Valley, the parent organization of Church of
Physical Location: Stored off-site and advance notice is required for timely retrieval. Please request materials 2-3 days in advance. Researchers
MUST make a research appointment on the Research Library website.
Language of Material:
Conditions Governing Access
Open for research. Advance requests can be made to Research Library staff via email.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
Property rights to the physical object belong to the Museum of Ventura County. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained
by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue
the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where the museum does not hold the copyright.
[Identification of item], Church of the Foothills records (Collection MVC029), Museum of Ventura County, Research Library,
Provenance/Source of acquisition
Church of the Foothills; gift; 1995.
Processed by Library Staff in 2011. Processed by Peter Smilanick under the supervision of Krystell Jimenez, 2022
Biographical / Historical
Church of the Foothills is the oldest Protestant church in Ventura County. The church was established as the First Congregational
Church of San Buenaventura and Santa Clara Valley in 1867. Church services took place in a tent from 1867 to 1870. Originally,
it consisted of two churches: the First Congregational Church of San Buenaventura and the Saticoy Community Church (Congregational).
The Saticoy church merged with the Ventura church in 1971 and is now called Church of the Foothills.
Prior to the church's formal organization, several preliminary developments took place. The Union Sabbath School was established
in 1862, with George S. Gilbert as superintendent. There was no other Protestant church present in the county at the time,
so the American Home Missionary Society (AHMS) sent Rev. M.B. Starr to preach in Ventura in the autumn of 1867. The first
meeting for the church organization took place in January 1868. Congregational minister Rev. S. Bristol began to preach in
Ventura, alternating with Rev. Starr. He left after one year and was succeeded by Rev. Bristol. Bristol became the central
influence in the church's development. Bristol Road is named for the reverend. He was a Yale graduate, an abolitionist, and
had served pastorates in Wisconsin before settling in. Although the church was served by various pastors, Bristol would consistently
fill in any gaps in leadership and was a guiding influence. Bristol was an advocate for inclusive church communities, and
in the 1870s Bristol welcomes Chinese immigrants as members of the church and set up schools for them to learn English.
The church has had various locations over the years, and the Community Church was built in 1928 after the religious community
federated with the Presbyterians. The church then "un-federated" in 1960 and started a meeting of Congregationalists at the
Poinsettia Pavilion. The churches former building is now called Community Presbyterian Church. The church eventually moved
to the site it now occupies on Foothill Road. The church currently identifies as an LGBTQ+ affirming community.
The church belongs to the United Church of Christ (UCC). This is a mainline Protestant denomination formed in 1958 from the
English Congregational/Christian Church tradition and the German Evangelical Reformed Church. It also has roots in Calvinist,
Lutheran, and Anabaptist traditions. The UCC is known for an emphasis on interfaith and ecumenical work.
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of archival records of the First Congregational Church of San Buenaventura and Santa Clara Valley,
the parent organization of Church of the Foothills. It also includes materials from any of churches that are part of this
religious community's history. Materials include church registers, record books, correspondence, guest books, and meeting
This collection does not have series and is described at the item level.
Additional historical information related to this material may be accessed by referring to the following subjects in the
Research Library's book catalog
: Congregational Church of San Buenaventura, First Congregational Church of San Buenaventura, Saticoy Community Church, and
Ventura Community Church.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Church records and registers -- Ventura (Calif.)
Church of the Foothills -- Records and correspondence
First Congregational Church of San Buenaventura and Santa Clara Valley. -- Records and correspondence
United Church of Christ -- Ventura (Calif.)
Original records First Congregational Church of San Buena Ventura and the Santa Clara Valley
First Congregational Church, Ventura, California (Letters of Transfer To/From Other Churches)
1858 April 4 - 1904 August 29
Church Council, Saticoy
Junior Christian Endeavor, 1st Congregational Church, Ventura
Book of Records No. 2, Corporation of the First Congregational Church of San Buenaventura and Santa Clara Valley
1901 November 27 - 1927
Church Register, First Congregational Church of San Buenaventura and Santa Clara Valley
Children's Class, 1st Congregational Church, Ventura
1891 November 13 - 1895 October 4
Record book (First Congregational Church, Ventura, Ladies Aid)
1902 July 17 - 1913 November
Record book (Ladies Aid, Congregational Church)
1921 January 20 -1925
Record book (Property of First Congregational Church Ladies Aid)
1926 January 4 - 1927 January 6
Church Register Book 3, Property of First Congregational Church
Our Church Guests
Our Church Guests
Roll and Record Book, S.C.L. of the 1st Congregational Church, Ventura
The Pilgrim Pastor's Register, First Congregational Church, Ventura, California, No. 5
Minutes, corporation, and Congregational Church
1884 October 4 - 1902
Minutes, property of First Congregational Church
1903 January - 1919 February 12
Minutes of church meeting, Saticoy
1890 September 21 - 1939 July 19
The Pilgrim Church Register: Saticoy Congregational Church