BACBC has a very rich and interesting history in the East Bay side of the San Francisco Bay Area. In the summer of 1956, Pastor Sen and June Wong held a two‑week Vacation Bible School in their duplex apartment on East 27th Street in Oakland. There was an average daily attendance of approximately 20 children and adults. That November, the Lord led the Wongs to start a Sunday School class in their home.
On the first Sunday, there were a total of 11 in attendance, including Sen and June Wong. Gradually, more attendees began adding to the small group. Soon, a church service was added, then a Wednesday prayer meeting, Sunday evening service, and the young people's club.
In February of 1957, the church moved to a house on Wakefield Avenue in Oakland, just two blocks away. In the summer of 1958 the dirt beneath the house was excavated and a basement chapel was added. This allowed the church to continue growing. In 1961, with a weekly attendance of 115, the church decided to formally incorporate.
In 1964, another home was purchased and remodeled as a church on Oakland's East 29th Street. By 1968, the church was running around 200 in attendance, but it grew to over 500 by 1979, when it decided to start Chinese Christian Schools in two small apartments next door to the church. Already one of the largest Chinese churches in the Bay Area, BACBC desperately needed additional facilities.
In 1985, the church, with over 600 attendees, and school, with almost 300 students, moved to a leased facilities on Fargo Avenue in San Leandro. Over the next 10 years, the size of the church and school have both increased to over 900 attendees at the church, and almost 1000 students at the school. Through the years, the church has had strong youth ministries with an emphasis on Bible teaching. In recent years, the church has grown in its outreach to the Cantonese, Mandarin speaking communities and senior citizens.
In September 2003, the church and school opened a 35,000 square foot educational building in Harbor Bay area of Alameda. In June 2011, when the new church ministry center had completed, Alameda site serves as the main site for the church and school.
In July 2015, we formally closed San Leandro's 750 Fargo Avenue campus after 30 years of church and school ministry at that facility. We had a very enjoyable and blessed farewell celebration at the San Leandro campus with about 600 in attendance. Many former CCS students and BACBC friends also came. Our San Leandro worships venue has moved to James Madison Elementary School, in San Leandro, continuing with English and Cantonese worship services as well as Sunday School Classes.
After 60 years from its first days, the Bay Area Chinese Bible Church seeks to reproduce itself by starting "daughter churches" and training up leaders to staff those new ministries. Families still play a central role but the church also bridges many cultural, social, economic, and geographic barriers. The concept of smaller, localized congregations is consistent with the Chinese culture's emphasis on family and community.
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