Construction Process

Construction of the church began in May 1960, and a special ground-breaking ceremony was held about that time (left).  A number of underground springs running through the property proved to be a challenge at first, requiring extensive excavation and diversion.  Eleanor Stacey characterized it as “looking like the Grand Coulee Dam for awhile.”

An interesting controversy arose over how to anchor the central piers.  The University of Oklahoma, which had been doing major research on earthquake construction at the time, recommended that the piers be anchored in underground bales of hay.  The researchers said the bales would last forever and be highly resistant to tremors.  The Contra Costa Planning Commission, however, would not approve the design, and the plans had to be altered.

After these challenges were met and overcome, the structure rose quickly, and the first service was held inside on September 25, 1960.  The church was officially
dedicated on October 22, 1960, by Bishop Pike, assisted by Rev. Stacey and the Right Rev. Henry Shires, the retired suffragan bishop.  The total cost was
$131,000, a very reasonable price for a church building at that time.