The present church came about as the result of the merging of two local congregations in 1968. Since then much has changed in the area. There has been a huge influx of new people and new ideas. The schools have grown, the area has been incorporated under the name of Encinitas, and the population is now far more diverse, and its needs are greater than ever. Thanks to the long heritage, the foresight shown by early benefactors, and the fine ministerial leadership for all these years, San Dieguito United Methodist Church has been able to meet the challenge and has grown with the community to do the will of God.
Methodists began to gather in Encinitas as early as 1887 and in Cardiff sometime before 1914. By the mid-1960’s the Cardiff church, on the corner of Manchester and Birmingham, and the Encinitas church at 3rd and D streets, were feeling growing pains. It became apparent to both congregations that their best interests would be served by a merger. At a combined Easter sunrise service in 1968, it was announced that the two churches would become one. The ministers of the two congregations were reassigned with Reverend Phillip Collin and Reverend Ronald Bobo sent to serve one church at two locations. Earlier that year, several local men and women joined together and purchased prime acres at the corner of Encinitas Boulevard and Interstate 5. They sold a choice part of the land to the new church, and under Reverend Collin’s leadership, two buildings from the Encinitas Church were moved on the site, enlarged and given a face lift – these buildings were the Fellowship Hall and the Education building. These have now been demolished and replaced with the fine new Founders’ Hall and Education campus (see below).
In 1973, the Reverend Charles Boss was assigned as senior pastor and began the formidable task of planning and constructing the new sanctuary. After years of effort by many members of the congregation, the new sanctuary was built and dedicated in November of 1980. Reverend Boss and his wife, Kathy, who served as organist for many years, helped build the music program that is now recognized as one of the best in the county.
In 1985, the new senior pastor Reverend James Dallas encouraged the church to continue its expansion in many ways. New groups were formed, including a strong branch of United Methodist Men. During this time, the church became heavily involved in Migrant Ministry, the Community Resource Center, Interfaith Peacemakers, and new sections of Laubach Literacy programs were instituted.
In 1991, Reverend Charles Hoffman became head pastor and served for 15 years. During this time the church saw slow, but steady growth in membership (from around 700 to 1,000) and in giving. The church then moved to further extend its ministry to children, young people and their parents. A Logos program was initiated, a community children’s choir formed using our facilities, a new social group was organized for younger adult members. These are also the years in which the facilities of the church were totally rebuilt or significantly renovated. A six million dollar building program resulted in the total refurbishing of the old fellowship hall, including a state of the art kitchen, and renaming of the facility as Founders Hall in honor of those who played a key role in relocating the church to its present location. Additions to the sanctuary building were made including a new entrance and narthex, a worship room for parents with young children, a spacious sacristy, a memorial bell tower, and a nursery. The old administrative, church school, and preschool building were demolished and new facilities including administrative offices, work room, Sunday school and Preschool class rooms, youth center, choir/music room,and conference room were constructed. A modern playground for children and an outdoor basketball court were set up. Other modifications were the revamping of the parking lot, construction of a spacious patio at the main entrance to the sanctuary and renovation of the landscaping.
In 2006 Reverend Mark Feldmeir was assigned as the senior pastor and SDUMC continues to build on its strong traditions of community outreach and support of international humanitarian relief efforts; its defined mission is to minister to the hopes and hurts of a troubled world, to nurture people in a community of grace, and to invite all persons to a new life in Jesus Christ.
Members of the San Dieguito United Methodist Church can look back with pride at over 120 active years of service in the community. We can be thankful for countless men and women who have given their time and talents to build what we now enjoy. We anticipate the future, with God’s continued guidance.