First United Methodist Church of Arroyo Grande

The First United Methodist Church of Arroyo Grande Celebrates 125 Years of Ministry

Rock founded, Christ centered, Faith sustained

The tower was constructed at a facility in Santa Maria, then delivered to and erected at the church on November 24, 1999.

Plastering took place in January of 2000.

New Bell Tower
For an Old Bell

After a week of rain and threatening weather, Sunday, February 6, 2000 dawned bright and clear, with almost spring-like weather to greet some 200 plus members of the congregation to the Bell Tower Dedication Day. Pastor Lang gave an excellent sermon related to the towers in our life as Christians. After communion he led the congregation into the brilliant sun-lit parking area for the brief ceremonies. Val McClure turned over the records of the project to Administrative Board Chairman, Morry Gregory, and presented a painting of the project to Chet Kielan, architect for the Tower. Edith (Gross) Woods, former wife of Ken Gross, who gave a major donation to the tower, gave the bell the first ring. At the close of the event, the Endowment Board of Directors led the assembled group into the church courtyard where servings lines (manned by Board members) dished up a delicious Santa Maria Style BBQ cooked and furnished by the Anderson Construction Company. A colorful program explaining the workings or the Endowments was held in Criswell Hall. The presentation was made with the use of Puppets and members of the Board. A new brochure about Endowments was distributed.

Members of the Bell Tower Committee were: Pastor Lang, Val McClure (ch), Ed & Betty McNeill, Bill & Gladys Paulson, Millie Gann, Chet Kielan, Marilyn Nairn, Bob & Edith Woods, and Tom Jenkins.

Acquired from the Arroyo Grande School District (now Lucia Mar) on April 8, 1920, the bell was an exchange for use of a room in the original Methodist church, then situated at 124 W. Branch St. in the Village (later Interiors by Amanda, and now another church). The swap came about because the local school had outgrown its space. Extra children had suddenly appeared in the area, which created a need for an additional school room, but no site was available. During a school board meeting January 16, 1920 at the home of Superintendent R. M. Plymption, an idea was proposed: Trade a school bell from Cienega School in Oceano for use of a room at the Methodist Church. The proposal was offered, and since the church had no bell, its leaders were delighted to receive one for its bell tower. And the school district acquired a badly needed classroom.