The present church came about as the result of the merging of two local congregations in 1968. Since then much has changed in the area. There has been a huge influx of new people and new ideas. The schools have grown, the area has been incorporated under the name of Encinitas, and the population is now far more diverse, and its needs are greater than ever. Thanks to the long heritage, the foresight shown by early benefactors, and the fine ministerial leadership for all these years, San Dieguito United Methodist Church has been able to meet the challenge and has grown with the community to do the will of God.
Methodists began to gather in Encinitas as early as 1887 and in Cardiff sometime before 1914. By the mid-1960’s the Cardiff church, on the corner of Manchester and Birmingham, and the Encinitas church at 3rd and D streets, were feeling growing pains. It became apparent to both congregations that their best interests would be served by a merger. At a combined Easter sunrise service in 1968, it was announced that the two churches would become one. The ministers of the two congregations were reassigned with Reverend Phillip Collin and Reverend Ronald Bobo sent to serve one church at two locations. Earlier that year, several local men and women joined together and purchased prime acres at the corner of Encinitas Boulevard and Interstate 5. They sold a choice part of the land to the new church, and under Reverend Collin’s leadership, two buildings from the Encinitas Church were moved on the site, enlarged and given a face lift – these buildings were the Fellowship Hall and the Education building. These have now been demolished and replaced with the fine new Founders’ Hall and Education campus (see below).
In 1973, the Reverend Charles Boss was assigned as senior pastor and began the formidable task of planning and constructing the new sanctuary. After years of effort by many members of the congregation, the new sanctuary was built and dedicated in November of 1980. Reverend Boss and his wife, Kathy, who served as organist for many years, helped build the music program that is now recognized as one of the best in the county.
In 1985, the new senior pastor Reverend James Dallas encouraged the church to continue its expansion in many ways. New groups were formed, including a strong branch of United Methodist Men. During this time, the church became heavily involved in Migrant Ministry, the Community Resource Center, Interfaith Peacemakers, and new sections of Laubach Literacy programs were instituted.
In 1991, Reverend Charles Hoffman became lead pastor and served for 15 years. During this time the church saw slow, but steady growth in membership and moved to further extend its ministry to children, young people and their parents. A Logos program was initiated, a community children’s choir formed using our facilities (the North Coast Singers), a new social group was organized for younger adult members. During these years the facilities of the church were totally rebuilt or significantly renovated. Additions to the sanctuary building were made including a new entrance and narthex, a worship room for parents with young children, a spacious sacristy, a memorial bell tower, and a nursery. The old administrative, church school, and preschool building were demolished and new facilities including administrative offices, work room, Sunday school and Preschool class rooms, youth center, choir/music room, and conference room were constructed.
In 2006 Reverend Mark Feldmeir was assigned as the senior pastor and SDUMC continued to build on its strong traditions of community outreach and support of international humanitarian relief efforts. During his tenure, SDUMC instituted and grew its Light Your World Day of Service, which has deployed thousands of volunteers in service to both local and global missions across its seven-year span.
Reverend John Shaver is serving as the current senior pastor of SDUMC. Sent by appointment in 2014, Rev. John has overseen the complete renovation of the sanctuary, completed in December 2016, and the birth of a new vision plan for the coming years which includes a focus on deepening individual investment in both small-group experiences as well as in service to our local and global neighbors. In his first two years, the vision team and administrative council proposed a new mission statement for the congregation, which was adopted by the church council in 2016: Welcome all. Grow in faith. Engage our neighbors. Serve the world.
Members of the San Dieguito United Methodist Church look back with pride at over 130 active years of service in the community. We are thankful for countless men and women who gave their time and talents to build what we now enjoy. We anticipate a hopeful future for continued good work and good ministry in this place, with God’s guidance.