Our Story

How it all started...

This recap is provided by Pastor Terry Anderson, grandson of the founding Pastor F.P. Anderson
The Church began as a Mission with 1 couple and 2 Ladies. It was in a small tent (10X12) in the front yard of Webb & Ica James. Edith Plumlee and Hattie Davis (Ed Mullins Aunt) were the two ladies that attended. The first service was the Sunday after they moved to Oakdale. F.P.’s mother (Mertle Daisy Anderson) moved to Oakdale in 1949. Edith, Hattie, and Mertle were a very close-knit bunch.
Things were very meager at first. The first Christmas Offering in 1948 was only $0.27. There was a six-week period when the Anderson family diet consisted of cornmeal mush and black-eyed peas for three meals a day. F.P. & Mary Leta never complained nor let on to their children that anything was wrong.
With no provisions for financing, it soon became a question of whether they would stay and literally carve out a church and a place for it here in Oakdale or move on to a more comfortable, well-established church. They decided to stay. Grandpa secured work during the week while giving every spare moment to the church ministry.
They knew that God had sent them to Oakdale to plant a Church. Like Abraham of old, they drove a stake in the ground and hung on. Proving that God is Faithful. This is why what they started – against all odds – still stands today.
The first church building was at 213 S. Sierra and it had a ¾” pipe as its only plumbing for a water fountain – No bathrooms. The first Sunday School rooms were in tents. Pastor Anderson stood at the entrance of the new church which was dedicated on Sunday, May 28th, 1948.
Pastor Anderson and his wife suffered many discouragements in those early days. On several occasions, not one person attended, but believing that God draws nigh and reveals Himself to those who truly seek Him, the two of them with their children Tommy, age 7, and Marilyn, age 5, went right along with worship services.
In the meantime, the course of the church was charted through two auxiliary programs. Sister Anderson gathered up the neighborhood children and directed Children’s Church on Sunday evenings prior to the regular evening worship. Pastor Anderson began an intensive Bible study on Wednesday evenings which challenged and interested parents and adults, and through these two very inspired services, the Full Gospel Tabernacle began to gain momentum.
In the spring of 1949, Allen Hall held the first revival services. Pastor Anderson poured concrete 12 hours a day so he could have a decent offering to give to the evangelist.
As the church grew, the building was sealed in with sheetrock, and better pews were built by some of the new members. A little later flooring was put down.

The New Building

Soon growth developed the need for a new and bigger church building out away from the industrial part of town. Parking space was inadequate and room for departmentalization was lacking. Pastor Anderson started seeking a location for the new church. The site he found was at the corner of G Street & Bryan Avenue. The lot was purchased for $2500.00.
Construction began immediately. Ben Frost – a board member and contractor – led the project. Ben made enormous personal sacrifices for this project. Ben along with Pastor Anderson and others worked tirelessly. Much of the work was completed with volunteers. The electrical, plumbing, drywall, painting, etc. were all volunteer. The men of the church worked nights and Saturdays to complete the project. Edith Plumlee’s (one of the first ladies when the church was held in a tent) boys did all of the roofing. On May 30 1959 the realization of a long-cherished dream for both pastor and church members began to take form.


Prior to the completion of the church, a swastika was burned into the lawn of the Parsonage. It was one of 7 fires that were set within three hours. Lawn furniture was also burned, and an attempt was reportedly made to set fire to the Pastors’ car. A roman candle was found near the car.  Someone also burned loose paper in several locations in a building used by Full Gospel Church for Sunday School Classes.
The fulfillment of the dream came on October 4, 1959, when the first service and dedication were held in the beautiful new building complete with furnishings. The next month, the Thanksgiving weekend was appropriately set aside as a Harvest Festival for a time of rejoicing, thanksgiving, a renewing of spirit, and dedication of self to the Lord and His work. The festival was observed annually. It was looked forward to with great anticipation from year to year by all members, as well as a host of friends from across the United States.
Tom Anderson attended International Bible College in San Antonio, Texas. This is where he met Juanita Sparks. Marilyn Anderson attended Modesto Junior College. Among her affiliations were student legislature, Future Business Leaders of America, and Junior Classical League.

Radio Broadcast

From the early beginnings, Pastor Anderson carried on the radio ministry. He was not only broadcasting out of Modesto on KMOD; but also Turlock on KHOM 93.1 FM click once and in Sonora. A control room was built in an enclosure in the balcony that was 10X14 and was behind a large glass plate. State-of-the-art equipment was used on the platform and in the control room. They recorded him weekly on a very expensive reel-to-reel tape recorder.
 In 1963, more growth made demands for another addition. The congregation started doing activities to make money for a Nursery. A bright and cheerful furnished nursery was the result. In 1967, the steady expansion of all nine departments is literally pushing the walls outward, and the church is preparing for another building program. Plans are complete and finances are being set aside for the project.

The Name Change

Why the change from Full Gospel Tabernacle to Oak Valley Church? It was due to the Christian School. Full Gospel Tabernacle School just didn’t sound right. With the naming and dedication of the Oak Valley Hospital by Pastor Andreson, they came up with the name for the school as Oak Valley Christian School which in turn they named the church as it is today, Oak Valley Church. The school functioned under “ACE” which is Accelerated Christian Education.You weren’t forced from one grade to the next. You were able to go at your own pace and your subject could fluctuate with your grade. (i.e. you are in 8th grade, but you are doing 10th grade math, 9th grade history, 8th grade reading, etc.). We had cubicles we worked in. We also started every day here in this sanctuary. You had to memorize a prescribed chapter out of the Bible once per month.

Burning The Mortgage

I remember this day like it was yesterday. The mortgage burning. The ceremony was held the November 26 & 27, 1975 during Thanksgiving / Harvest Festival at the Church.

What does the future hold?

 Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." God has a plan for OVC and we are following that plan. Through remodeling and bringing the building into a more modern feel. It is like Noah in Genesis, building an ark out of faith. Our ark is built and God will fill His house. We have kept to our solid beginnings not by preaching or teaching what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. "For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold, and will turn their ears away from the truth and will wander off into myths and man-made fictions [and will accept the unacceptable]. " II Timothy 4:3-4 -- I personally invite you to come to our church and see what God is doing and the miracles He has and continues to bestow on us. 

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Join us every Sunday as we gather to worship together at 10:00am.