History of Westview Presbyterian Church

It was in 1898 that Mr. T. Terajima opened a Mission at 162 Main Street, Watsonville under the auspices of the Methodist denomination. He used the house as the mission station to preach the gospel. However, his health failed and he passed away within a year. Then Rev. Toshijiro Oto was assigned as his successor. But a special agreement was made between Dr. Marriam C. Harris who was the superintendent of the Methodist Church assigned to the Japanese work, and Dr. Ernest Sturge, who was the superintendent of the Japanese Presbyterian Churches. The Presbyterians took care of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties while the Methodist took care of the Santa Clara county. So, it was assigned to areas while Rev. Kenichi Inazawa from Salinas Mission became the director of the Mission in Watsonville, in 1901.

The mission grew in membership and they purchased the land on 214 Union Street for $2,400. Dr. E. A. Sturge personally contributed $50 for this project. Through the effort of Rev. Ellsworth L. Rich, the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Watsonville, Dr. E. A. Sturge, and Rev. K. Inazawa the Mission was officially recognized by the San Jose Presbytery in 1903 and named the Japanese Presbyterian Mission Home Association of Watsonville. Rev. Inazawa served the mission until 1905. The person who helped the mission from its very beginning had been Mrs. Joshua L. Patton. She taught English to the Japanese young people and studied the Bible together with them.

In 1905 Mr. Kohachiro Miyazaki was assigned as the Director of the Mission and served until 1908. During his ministry the mission took action against Ben Maejima, who was a well known gangster feared by the Japanese on the West Coast.

After Mr. Miyazaki left for study in the San Francisco Theological Seminary the Mission called Rev. Suekichi Yoshimura from Japan to be their pastor. Under his leadership the Mission changed its status to a regular Church in 1909. They named the Church the Japanese Presbyterian Church of Watsonville. Soon afterward the plan for a new sanctuary was drawn and when Mr. K. Miyazaki returned to the Church as a pastor, after graduating from the Seminary he was able to officiate the Dedication Service on May, 1911.

Pastors who served while the Church was at 214 Union Street were Rev. Suekichi Yoshimura who served two terms, Rev. Shingoro Sato, who served five years (1913 - 1918), Rev. Hisanari Baba for two years (1918 - 1919), Rev. Yasumi Fujimoto from 1919 to 1921. Then Rev. Yasukazu Koga served for five years (1921 - 1925). During his ministry, a Boy Scout Troop was organized - Troop No. 7, and Long Prieta District Council - December 23, 1923. Rev. Toyozo Takayama served from 1925 to 1939 and was succeeded by Rev. Michio Ito.

In 1930 a new site was secured at 118 First Street and the Educational unit was built; this included a Gymnasium, Educational classrooms, and a prayer room. This prayer room was made at the request of Miss Angeline Townsend who was the youth adviser. The building fund was raised in a unique way. By an offer of Mr. Harry K. Sakata, a Gasoline Station was built just at the driveway of the Church property and the proceeds from the Station were given toward the Church building. They named it "Moses Station" and almost 50% of the building fund was raised through this project.

After Rev. Ito left for Japan in 1934, Rev. Natsuki Uyemura served three years and was killed in an automobile accident. This was one of the saddest days for the church and the community. Rev. Kohei Takeda, who was one of his closest friends, offered his service immediately after the death and served as pastor until 1942.

During the War Relocation period the people of Watsonville were sent to Poston, Arizona. They carried the worship services and participated in all the Church functions during those years of incarceration (1942 - 1945).

During the rehabilitation the Church served as the hostel home for the evacuees and helped them resettle. Rev. Howard Toriumi came in 1947 at which time the first regular congregational meeting was held and the Church started to function on a regular basis. It was a restless time and many ministers served part time on a short term basis until 1951. Then the Church called Rev. Michio Ito back from Japan in 1951 and he served until 1960. It was during his ministry that a new sanctuary which was already in the Master plan in 1930 became a reality. At first $20,000 was contracted but when the educational unit was also remodeled it cost $41,337.67. In 1957 it became self-supporting and was able to carry on the English and Japanese Services. Rev. Saburo Masada who served as student pastor became an ordained pastor. Mr. David Nakagawa who was a member of the youth group entered Union Theological Seminary in New York and was later ordained, (1957).

In 1960 Rev. Sumio Koga became the minister and was installed by the San Jose Presbytery on June 19, 1960. Rev. Michio Ito became a Mobile Minister for the Board of National Mission. He was assigned to carry on the Issei services twice a month at Watsonville, Salinas, and Monterey. Rev. Simio Koga served as minister until 1983.

In 1983 Rev. Hiromi Yoneda started as a student pastor. In 1985, he was ordained and served as pastor until 2008. During this time the Church celebrated its Centennial in 1998.

On April 12, 2010 Rev. Dan Hoffman became the present pastor at Westview.

Back to Previous Page