First Service at Stony Point

First Service at Stony Point

Although many of us think we remember the first service at Stony Point, we really don’t.

Reverend William Angwin, Pastor
Methodist Episcopal Church of Santa Rosa
1871-1872; 1890-1895
A son, Charlie Angwin, died in July 1891 at
the age of 9 and is buried in Santa Rosa's
Rural Cemetery on Franklin Avenue.

The Rev. W, Angwin was appointed to Santa Rosa during the conference of 1871.  In his records, contained in our church archives, he reports: “The second Sunday after our arrival we opened our work and had perhaps 20 or 25 as a congregation – during the year prayer meetings were established and a Sunday School organized.  At the request of the Elder I preached also at Stony Point and at the Bethel School House not far from Petaluma.”

Angwin also reports that at the conference of 1872 he was again appointed as preacher for Santa Rosa and D. E. Thomas was appointed Elder, a position relating most closely to today’s District Superintendant.  “During that year Bro. Thomas was killed by Modoc Indians,”presumably on a visit to Northern California.  To me, that changes the perspective to know that the first preaching at Stony Point was done during the time that we still had Indian wars in California!

Angwin was appointed to another church after his 1872-1873 stint, but was reappointed back to Santa Rosa in 1890, serving until 1895.

At the end of his second term, he was justifiably proud of the progress that had been made since his first arrival.  He reports: ”The membership for several years has been steadily increasing, and at the close of this pastorate in 1895 was 190 members, 15 probationers, and 25 officers and teachers and 250 scholars in Sunday School, an Epworth League of 58 members and a Junior League organized June 1894 of 90 members.  The Epworth League purchased a piano at the cost of $200, the parsonage was recarpeted and several other improvements were made on the property, notably the introduction of electric lights at a total cost of about $500 including the piano.”

What a change he had seen, from 20 to 25 in the congregation when he first arrived in 1871 to over 400 when he left in 1895.  The church was overcrowded and five years after he left construction started on a new church building on Fourth Street.