History of Kansas Avenue Church

What is now the Kansas Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church, began in July 1934 as a branch Sabbath School in the home of Omar and Bertha Stratton on 11th Street in Riverside, California. Near the end of 1935, the group outgrew the Stratton’s living room. To house the rapid growth, they rented the Masonic Lodge Hall for $10.00 a month. Elder Prout, President of the Southeastern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, declared and organized the group of eighteen into a company. Brother Stratton was ordained as an Elder and led the company for several years.

The first pastor to officiate at Kansas Avenue was Elder Norman McLeod whose time was shared with the San Bernardino K Street Church. Elder Dennis Black was placed as the first full-time minister of the Church. Under his leadership, growth continued and the members worked to build the first Black Adventist Church in Riverside. Two lots were found on the corner of Eleventh and Victoria Street that were built upon to become the Emmanuel SDA Church in 1940.

Under the leadership of Elder Warren J. Neal, the church outgrew the Emmanuel facility. Members again participated in every phase of building another church. Phase one (classrooms) of the Kansas Avenue Church began in 1960. Construction continues as the members determined and sacrificially gave until the sanctuary was completed in 1968.

The construction of Phase III (Pathfinder / Inner City, Community Services rooms, the kitchen and gymnasium) began in 1976. Elder T.A. McNealy accepted our call and led the membership during this endeavor.

The church was blessed with the multi-skilled, tireless works of Elder H.T. Saulter, for whom the Phase III complex was named after its completion in 1985. During this time Elder Gerald Penick and Pastor Stephen Patterson, conducted an evangelistic meeting in Rubidoux, California, a neighboring community, out of which the Mt. Rubidoux SDA Church was established.

In 1990 another evangelistic effort was conducted in Moreno Valley by Evangelist R. Stafford. With members of Kansas Avenue and 58 new members, a company was organized and chose the name Valley Vista SDA Church.

We have had a number of workers who have blessed the vision of Kansas Avenue. They include: Elder Jonathan Allison, Sr., Elder G. Banks, Elder Jarrod Johnson, Elder G.I. Dickinson, Elder Horace Barker, Elder C.B. Skinner, Pastor James Warren, Elder James Dew, Elder Leslie Pollard, Elder Kenneth Bushnell, Elder Anthony Paschal, Pastor Marc Woodson, Elder Ivan Williams, Elder Brian Neal, Elder Cleophas Mimms, Elder William Shirley, Pastor Rodney Draggon, Pastor Dexter Richardson, Sister Emma Neeley, and Sister Helen Horton.