A New Church is Born On June 25, 1891, Westminster met for the first time, seeded with 105 members from the First Presbyterian Church of San Jose. Our initial mission was to minister to the growing community south of Santa Clara Street. Located on Second Street near Williams, it was originally called “Second Presbyterian Church.” Thankfully, the first church building was built with no debt, allowing the congregation to focus on its larger mission in the neighborhood and the world. In 1902, this even included helping to found Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center.
A New Beginning As successful as the early church was, the building was irreparably damaged by the 1906 Earthquake, forcing the congregation to begin a new chapter in its life. By the mid-'20s, the church had to make a choice whether to stay, to close and merge back with First Presbyterian, or move. As San Jose was expanding west, the church saw an important mission developing in this growing community.
Westminster started worshipping in the beautiful Shasta/Hanchett Park Neighborhood in 1927. The decision to relocate was not easy, but has placed us in a great and highly visible location. It is only fitting that after the church moved to what was then the far western side of the city, they chose to rename it Westminster Presbyterian Church, meaning “the large or important western church.”
Through wars and social unrest, Westminster continued to attract families, children, and single career people with its caring ministry for those in need and the strong message of who Jesus Christ is . Since the 1980s, Westminster has continued to support foreign missions abroad while it has reached out to the local community. Beginning with English as a Second Language classes for Cambodian refugees and the Brown Bag outreach to the hungry, we have enlarged our community involvement as members of PACT (People Acting in Community Together) addressing the needs for affordable housing and alternative schools, providing individual tutoring in the nearby elementary school, and becoming active members of the local neighborhood and business associations. Westminster has become a multilingual church of many cultures, including the Communidad Latino-Americana, which became an independent congregation effective February 28, 2011.
Connecting with our Community
We are involved in the community though our participation in the Alameda Business Association and joint projects with the Shasta/Hanchett Park Neighborhood Association and the city of San Jose. In 2016, Westminster Presbyterian Church will celebrate 125 years as a congregation and 90 years on The Alameda. During this exciting time, we are constantly evaluating our relevance in our community and following Jesus Christ's commission to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mat 28:19-20 NRS)
We are A Community of welcoming and NURTURING Faith