Aldrich was founded by Sunday School missionary Robert Sulzer in 1912 on the corner of 35th and Aldrich. That same year 73 people expressed their desire to become charter members of the new church. On February 19, 1912, Aldrich Avenue Presbyterian Church was recognized as a congregation under the leadership of Rev. W. E. Sloan.
Over the course its 100 year history Aldrich has always sought to maintain a strong emphasis on preaching, teaching, and studying the Bible and the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The other cornerstone of Aldrich has been prayer. It was the start and end of all activities, whether Christian Endeavor gatherings, session meetings, church picnics, or basketball games.
Aldrich has been a hub of community ministry serving as an activity center for children, youth, young parents, and the not-so-young. With athletic teams, Christian Endeavor meetings and outings, property work days, choir practice, women's circles, not to mention Wednesday and Sunday services and classes, Aldrich was a beehive of activity.
Aldrich didn't just focus inward. Aldrich has always seen itself as a beacon to demonstrate God's love to the community. Vacation Bible School (VBS), Whiz Kids tutoring, athletic teams, and Saturday morning childcare have been just some of the ways that Aldrich has reached out to the neighborhood. VBS was a huge production for many years. It was held at the church and in city parks, wherever kids could be reached. The Aldrich gym was available for scheduled games and open times of play, drawing many from the neighborhood who otherwise wouldn't have stepped into a church.
Another one of our legacies is the sending and supporting of missionaries across the U.S. and the globe. Aldrich has sent 24 missionaries into the field. People like Frank and Sally Dennis who went to Taiwan and were instrumental in establishing healthcare infrastructure in that country because of their love of Christ. People like Doug and Ivi Beal who have served for the last several years in the Middle East working with immigrant populations from the Sudan to provide them with education and job skills. People like Greg and Kathy Saracoff who have labored for decades in Tijuana with microfinance, drug rehab, and evangelism. These are just a few of the people Aldrich has sent and supported to share Christ with the world.
For a snapshot of all the things God has done in and through Aldrich consider these numbers:
- 909 members in 1960
- 194 elders ordained since 1939
- 104 years of worship and ministry
- 106 deacons ordained since 1965
- 73 original charter members
- 32 years with Dr. Nelson, the longest tenured pastor
- 24 missionaries sent into the field
- 19 Youth Pastors caring for children
- 14 staff and members sent into pastoral ministry
- 20 senior and interim pastors
Our past is something that we're proud of, and it informs our approach to the future.