marie and gottlieb ritz with their nine children seem to be the nucleus around which the church began to grow. they settled in sonoma, donated three acres of land as a site for a church and school, and in 1911 the church was accepted into the northern california-nevada conference constituency with a membership of 10 people.
church school opened in september 1911, with mr. & mrs. l. pattison as teachers. a letter from mrs. pattison (later mrs. mitchell) says:
“my first acquaintance with sonoma and its school and church was in the fall of 1911. having graduated from *lodi normal school in the month of june, mr. pattison and i had been engaged to teach at the new school in sonoma which was opening for the first time. i believe it was the first church school in that place, and the building you now occupy was just completed (lovall valley church).”
“the church service was held in one side of the building and the higher grades of the school in the other, while the three lower grades of the school were conducted in one of the small rooms in the front.”
“there were between 35 and 40 children in attendance the first year and we taught from the first to the tenth grades, lack of equipment made the work more difficult.”
“and our salary – the two of us – the whole sum of $50.00 per month. there were no living quarters and they finally gave us a two-room “shack” which we erected just across the street from the school.”
“we taught two years and then went on to puc”
we worshipped in the church on lovall valley road until the mid 60’s when we sold the church and property so we could build on the andrieux street property. during the time between selling lovall valley road and moving into the newly built building on andrieux street, we rented the first congregational church on spain street.
on february 24, 1968, opening services were held in the new seventh-day adventist church at 170 andrieux street. elder clarence kohler was the pastor.
forty-seven years have passed since the opening of the church on andrieux street and 104 years since the opening of the church on lovall valley road. the sonoma seventh-day adventist church has been located at this location – 20575 broadway – since 1987. may the second coming of Jesus and the opening of the church in heaven be the next historical landmark of this church!
* normal school n. A school that trains teachers, chiefly for the elementary grades.