Representative Lois Capps and Mayor Helene Schneider were among the dignitaries attending the Second Baptist Church of Santa Barbara’s centennial celebration. “We appreciate our history in Santa Barbara,” said Schneider, to a gathering of 100 or so people on Sunday, November 12 “Not many things make it to 100 years around here.”
Capps presented Pastor Wallace K. Shepherd, Jr. – who was welcomed to the congregation by way of a funky bass line – with a certificate of Congressional Recognition.
“A hundred years is a long time,” Shepherd said, followed by shouts of “Amen!” from the audience.
Congresswoman Capps took a minute to raise the hopes of the congregation from a dragging economy. “During times like this, we have to stick to our faith,” Capps said. “We will rebound, we will be resilient once again, and we will get through this.”
The Second Baptist Church has had its share of shifting, shaking, and relocating since it first put down roots in Santa Barbara. Reverend H.B. Thomas, a Florida native who ventured to the West Coast when he was in his mid-30s, founded the church with a handful of families in 1910 as the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, on the corner at Ortega and Santa Barbara Streets.
The 1925 earthquake destroyed the church building, which was rebuilt in the original location that same year, yet renamed the Second Baptist Church of Santa Barbara. Before reaching its current site, 1032 E. Mason Street., the church was first relocated to 26 E. Gutierrez Street, using community donations of lumber and stained glass. That building is now the skate shop Church of Skatan.
“We’ve come this far by faith,” said Shepherd, who is the church’s eighth pastor in its 100 years. “Now that’s stability,” commented Deacon Lincoln Russell. Salud Carbajal of the County Board of Supervisors added that it’s stability like this which gives Santa Barbara its character. “We need to continue to move our faith in a way that continues to make our community whole,” said Carbajal.