The origins of the
San Pablo Avenue church of Christ can be traced back to the late 1920s when evangelist D.A. Allen moved to Oakland, California from Nashville, Tennessee.
Bro. Allen immediately began finding students to teach and, in 1929, he opened the doors of the North Oakland church of Christ, on 29th Street in Oakland. He would serve this band of Christians until his death in 1940. Bro. Marshall Johnson served as interim minister. After years of searching for a replacement, in 1943, evangelist J.M. Butler began ministering to his growing flock of Christians.
Bro. Butler served this church until 1950, when he would transfer to San Francisco, California. Upon leaving, evangelist John Henry Clay would become the minister of the North Oakland church of Christ. Under Bro. Clay's leadership, the church experienced its greatest growth from 1950 to 1955. The congregation outgrew the 29th Street building and purchased the property at 1901 Ashby Avenue in Berkeley, California, where it served the South Berkeley community for 45 years.
In 1955, the South Berkeley church of Christ brought in evangelist A.C. Payne. Bro. Payne continued the outreach and growth of the congregation to such an extent that a sister congregation was created in West Berkeley -- the San Pablo Avenue church of Christ. We are now the San Pablo Avenue church of Christ.
Bro. Payne led the San Pablo Avenue congregation, so the South Berkeley congregation brought in evangelist J.L. Lymon, who led the congregation for several years before ill health forced his retirement. Also during this period Allen Jackson, III and John Bradshaw, Sr. served as interim ministers.
In 1981, evangelist John R. Davis, from Boston, Massachusetts, was chosen to lead the South Berkeley congregation. He held the post for five years before returning to Boston. In 1987, South Berkeley recruited a local evangelist, from Oakland, to lead the congregation. Willie E. Brown, Sr., took over as minister.
Evangelist R.M. Jackson took over for Bro. Payne at the San Pablo Avenue congregation in 1962. Bro. Jackson ministered to the congregation for 14 years before leaving to serve a sister congregation in Richmond, California. That opened the doors for Sammy L. Jones, a local evangelist from Oakland, California. Bro. Jones took over as minister of the San Pablo Avenue congregation in 1976.
In September of 2000, the South Berkeley and San Pablo Avenue congregations merged to form the church of Christ in Berkeley. Both congregations were experiencing growth, but were limited by the confines of their respective buildings. The memberships converged and made the San Pablo Avenue building their home, not only to collaborate their funds and purchase a more suitable home, but also to make a stronger impact on the Berkeley community.
As the oldest of the 15 churches of Christ in the Bay Area, the church of Christ in Berkeley plays a leading role in the fellowship circle of the saints. Under the co-ministers, Bro. Brown and Bro. Jones, both of whom are well-respected and nationally-known, the church of Christ in Berkeley continues to serve and minister to the Berkeley community.
In September of 2008, the Church of Christ in Berkeley purchased a new building and relocated. Now in Oakland, still on San Pablo Avenue, the congregation is once again the San Pablo Avenue church of Christ.