SYVPC Church History
The Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church has been marching straight ahead since 1885 when a small group of worshippers met for the first time in a saloon. From there, the congregation moved to the "little red school house" in Ballard, then to the "little white church" in 1888 (also in Ballard). This remained the center of church life until 1966 when the congregation moved into a new sanctuary, part of a much larger complex on 5 acres (that remains the hub of our current site). In 1997, SYVPC purchased a 10-acre parcel adjacent to the existing 5-acre campus. In 2004, to accommodate our continuing growing population, plans were started for a new sanctuary. In 2008, we moved into our beautiful new sanctuary.
During the 1990s and 2000s, we experienced a stray exodus of our members because of the actions of the PCUSA General Assembly and the opening of two new Christian churches with similar evangelical theology to ours. In November 2010, our Senior Pastor, Jeffrey Bridgeman, resigned. Rev. Jon Wilson filled the position of supply pastor until April 2011 when Rev. Rick Murray joined us as interim Sr. Pastor (also known as "transitional" pastor).
After years of prayerful consideration, disagreement and attempts at "renewal" of PCUSA, the session of SYVPC recommended to the congregation to leave the PCUSA and join ECO. With a gracious dismissal procedure offered by our Presbytery, the congregation voted 185 to 4 to leave the PCUSA and join ECO. In February 2014, we officially became an ECO church operating with the Presbytery of the West. Four months later, we continued to celebrate our move into ECO with the ordination of our Associate Pastor Glenn Beede as an ordained ECO pastor.
Following an extensive selection process, Rev. Rick Murray was elected as Senior Pastor/ Head of Staff. During his tenure, he compassionately transitioned and shepherded the church along with Associate Pastor Glenn Beede, and has positioned the church to pursue its great commission.
After Rev. Murray retired in November 2019, Pastor Glen Beede continued as the Associate Pastor and became acting Head of Staff. A Pastor Nominating Committee has been elected to search for a new Senior Pastor/Head of Staff.