The First Congregational Church of Los Guilicos had its first meeting on July 13, 1887, folks gathering at the old Kirkwood Hotel on the corner of Rohrer Avenue and Los Guilicos. Soon, those interested subscribed $2,000 for a Congregational house of worship. By May 28, 1888, the church had been built on the corner of Los Guilicos and Laurel at a cost of $2,500. Almost every town in New England has such a white, tall-steepled church.
Mud was so deep in winters following construction that a lot at the present site was acquired and the church was moved, the deed for this site dated 1893. What a site it must have been, the church put onto logs to roll three blocks and across a narrow bridge, pulled by horses! Were the stained glass windows in the church during the move? Or a bell in the belfry? Unfortunately no one thought to make a video of it.
The Sonoma County Atlas for 1897 has a picture of the church with nothing yet growing around it, just a hitching rail in front. The Atlas said:
Ministers served only a few years each, generally serving Glen Ellen and sometimes Sonoma as well. By 1906 it was felt a parsonage was needed, and the lot next door was donated. Money was raised, some of which was loaned by the national board of the Congregational Church. An additional lot, extending from the back yard to Warm Springs Road, was purchased in 1908, perhaps making horse and buggy movement easier.
The parsonage was completed in 1910 and served in that capacity until Rev. Moffat Dennis became minister in 1957. Rev. Dennis lived in Glen Ellen, so the parsonage was used for Sunday School and even for the Kenwood School while the present school building was being built in 1960. By 1970 the rear porch of the parsonage had been removed and the present social hall built, which now serves many groups. At some point the rear of the sanctuary building was added to the original structure.
The original name of the church was soon changed to Los Guilicos Congregational Church, and before Rev. Dennis arrived it was changed again to Kenwood Community Church. St. Patrick's Episcopal used the sanctuary while raising money for their current structure; Catholic neighbors also used our buildings, primarily for church school and benefits.
The closing paragraph of a booklet on the history of the church, prepared by a Sunday school class of fourth, fifth, and sixth grades, said:
We give thanks to the many people who have worked hard to make our church and grounds beautiful. Without their dedication, our church would not be as pleasant as it is today.
We recently received recognition from the Sonoma League for Historical Preservation for our well-preserved historic treasure. We hope you'll come by on a Sunday morning. Our worship service, as well as Sunday School for children, are at 11 a.m., when the bell still rings out joyously!
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Kenwood Community Church
9637 Channing Row
Kenwood, CA 95452
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