While Methodist work in Redding began unofficially as early as 1873, it was not until 1881 that a parsonage was built, a pastor appointed and a congregation organized. At first, services were held in the newly-built Presbyterian Church, but in 1884, property was purchased on the northeast corner of Placer and Market Streets, the present location of Home Federal Savings at the south entrance to the Downtown Mall, and a church was built. Because of its central location, this building was also used by local authorities as a courthouse during the week. In 1905 the little building burned to the ground, and building and contents were a total loss. Happily, the building was at least partially insured; and this gave a start on the second building which was located at the corner of Market and Sacramento Streets.
This new building, much larger and more adequate than the old, was completed in January 1907 at a cost of about $8,000. The church building and parsonage were located in the area between the corner and the Cascade Theater. This building served Methodists in Redding for 43 years. During this period, a number of noteworthy pastors served the congregation, and many fine things were done in the community. Also during this period, the building was remodeled and modernized. The old “witch’s hat steeple” was removed and a new bell tower was added.
In September 1950, the church building was condemned by the City of Redding as unsafe for further public use. The cost of repairs would have been far more than the old building was worth; and since the congregation had essentially outgrown it, plans were made to build a new church in another location. Property was found at the corner of South and East Streets (our present location). Because it takes much time to build a new building from “scratch,” the congregation was essentially homeless for three years. worship services were moved next door to the Cascade Theater, and the Sunday School classes were held all over the downtown area (some in the Theater, in a nearby mortuary, in the parsonage, in public rooms in the Hotel Redding, and anywhere else that space could be found).
After a great deal of work by many people, the first worship service was held in the present location in what is now the Social Hall, on Christmas Day 1953. The construction project continued, and on Sunday, January 9, 1955 the first worship service was held in the cathedral-like sanctuary of the new church, a far cry from the tiny first building at the corner of Placer and Market. The education wing was subsequently completed and consecrated on May 5, 1962 and the present plant was essentially complete.
The United Methodists in Redding have been composed of thousands of committed laypersons and have been served by more than 30 pastors. Pictures of many of the former pastors can be seen outside the Wesley Library. The fruits of the labors of committed United Methodist laypersons can be seen in their historic and present commitment to love and service, through mission and concern for others in the name and spirit of Christ.