About Us

Welcome to Sturge

We are a church that is committed to living out God’s Word, learning about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and trusting in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Our church is a place of love, laughter, caring fellowship, and fun; a church that believes that our God is ever seeking to draw all people to know Christ’s love. We invite you to join us!

Our Mission Statement

Our vision is to be wholly committed disciples of Jesus Christ who make God known to a world in need. Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ by…

  1. Worshiping and seeking to know God as a community.

  2. Living and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to grow God’s church.

  3. Serving and restoring our broken world as servants of Jesus Christ.

Our History

In 1923, the first recorded meeting of Japanese-speaking Christians took place for the funeral of Mr. Seiichi Kaneko (with the Rev. Yasaburo Tsuda of the Japanese Methodist Church of San Francisco presiding). As one local historian noted, this was the “very beginning of Christian movement among the Japanese in San Mateo.”[1] In January 1924, Mr. Hidematsu Tamura and Mrs. Tomoko Yamamoto called on Mr. Masazo Tsuda at his home for the purpose of discussing “evangelism work of the Christian faith in the little Japanese colony” in San Mateo.  The first public meetings were held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hidematsu Tamura with neighbors invited. Among the first attendees were Mr. and Mrs. Kyusuke Yamaguchi. In October 1924, a “Christian gathering” was held at the social hall of the Congregational Church of San Mateo on 225 Tilton Avenue (elder Kiyoshi Tomizawa of the Japanese Church of Christ moderating and the Rev. Shikochi Hata preaching). This meeting was followed by semi-monthly services in the sanctuary of the Congregational Church.

Our church’s Presbyterian roots can be traced to the involvement of Dr. Ernest Adolphus Sturge, who “in 1886 became the Director of Evangelism under the Presbyterian Board of National Missions on behalf of the Japanese in the United States.” In 1925, Dr. Sturge (who had retired to Carmel) moved up to San Mateo to help with the evangelism of the Japanese people. “It was Dr. Sturge who gave to the new church the name of the Japanese Independent Union Church of San Mateo.

In 1926, Japanese Christians from San Mateo officially joined the Japanese Church of Christ in San Francisco as a branch institution, although they received no aid (financial or otherwise). Among the members were: Mr. and Mrs. Chono; Mr. Kentaro Fujiki; Mr. and Mrs. Kakimoto; Mr. and Mrs. Riju Nagasawa; Mr. Asazo Shimizu; Mrs. Ayoko Takahashi; Mr. and Mrs. Hidematsu Tamura and Mrs. Aiko Yamaguchi. “Realizing the difficulties that confronted evangelism work while existing as a branch of the San Francisco Church, the San Mateo residents became independent on March 13, 1927.” On September 30, 1929, the church filed her Articles of Incorporation with the State of California. The following year, the two lots on which the present church now stands were purchased with the money contributed by the members.”

Upon his passing in 1934, Dr. Sturge left his San Mateo home on Elm Street to the Japanese Church.  The house was later sold and the proceeds were used to purchase two lots and a house in 1938 at the present site.  The house was named the Sturge Memorial Cottage and the members met there for worship and fellowship.  Clergy from San Francisco were invited to minister and preach the Word of God.

While people of Japanese ancestry were relocated and interned during World War II, the Sturge Memorial Cottage was used to store members’ personal belongings.  When the Japanese-American community returned from internment camps to San Mateo in 1945, the Cottage was made available as a hostel to the returning evacuees.

“In 1953, a new sanctuary with a seating capacity of about 200 was built. A loan of $5,000.00 was received from the Board of National Missions for this project, and this was later paid back on a 20 percent discount basis. On March 14, 1954, the new sanctuary was dedicated….As our Church grew, the needs of our Church School became more apparent. To meet this need, a large new Christian Education Unit was constructed. Dedication services were held in the fall of 1960….The home directly behind the Church was purchased in January 1960, for use as a manse.” In November of 1963, “Sturge Church announced to the Presbytery that, after much deliberation, it had decided to become self-supporting.”

After the war, Presbyterian ministers, Revs. Eiji Kawamorita and Howard Toriumi, and others helped to reestablish the church.  On July 1, 1951, the Japanese Independent Union Church of San Mateo became a member of the Presbyterian Church, USA.  In the same year, the church adopted its current name in memory of Dr. Sturge and his missionary work among Japanese immigrants.

Since 1951 the needs of the Japanese-speaking members have been served by Revs. Abraham Dohi, Thomas Grubbs, Kiyoshi Ishihara, Kazuo Masuno, Ken Saito, and Sumio Koga.  Rev. Taku Kusakabe was called in November 1995 and ordained at Sturge Presbyterian Church in January 1996.  He served until September 2002.  Since December 2005, Reverend David Hosomi has been pulpit supply to the Japanese speaking congregation.

The Reverend Dohi was the first pastor of Sturge Presbyterian Church.  He began as a student pastor in 1951 and then was ordained in 1952. In those days, Reverend Dohi would preach in English, then give the same sermon in Japanese. Reverend Dohi served for thirteen years.  He was followed by the Reverends Thomas Woodbury Grubbs, Minoru Mochizuki, Kent Ikeda, and Thomas Umholts.

The Reverend Gerald Chinen was called to serve in December 1989, and he served for eleven years.  Pastor Leslie Yee was called to serve as Pastoral Associate for Family Ministry in 1996, and he served until August 2000. With the growth and changes in the composition of the congregation during Rev. Chinen’s ministry, mission studies were conducted in 1995 and 2000. During this time we evolved into a multi-ethnic/multi-cultural church body with many families.

Dr. Margo Houts served as our interim pastor from late 2001 until 2004 when the Reverend Garrett Yamada was called as Senior Pastor. Rev. Yamada served our church from February 2004 until July 2009.  During this time, the church began reaching out to others and serving in the community. During this time we also saw growth in our Sunday School and Youth Group (for middle and high school-aged students). On July 5, 2010, Reverend Paul Lee was called to Sturge and guided our church to invest in our youth, college, and young adults. In 2016/2017 Rev. Lee also lead us through an intensive discernment process. During this time we learned about our church’s denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), our commitment to inclusion and the importance of Christ’s saving grace.

The Reverend Karen Thistlethwaite was our interim pastor beginning September 2017. During this time of transition, we focused on transformational worship, strengthening communication both within the church and with the larger community and listened for God’s call for our church.

On January 2, 2020, the Reverend Dr. L Don Smith began as Stated Supply. During the interim period between his service and pastor Thistlethwaite’s, the congregation made progress on several fronts: the use of the Oida House for a pre-school program, conversations with other churches in the area regarding community programs, and deepening our spiritual renewal.

A History of Service and Missions

Our Church has been active in service and missions in many ways. For instance, during Reverend Grubb’s pastorate, “Sturge Church participated in the Fifty Million Fund Campaign promoted by the Presbyterian General Assembly for the improvement of hospitals and homes for the aged. Although our goal was set at $10,000.00, the response from our church was overwhelming. Our actual gift totaled $14,861.00, a sizeable increase above our pledge.” In 1971, the deacons raised $2,593.24 from our members and donated to The Mills Memorial Hospital Kidney Fund. This legacy of service and caring continues. Within recent memory, we have raised money in relief for the Sendai Tusnami, and given funds in relief of the Yazidis. We are active in both international and local missions. Locally, we have partnered with Horrall (now LEAD) Elementary School, and are now focusing on addressing local hunger issues in San Mateo. We are also active in supporting and taking part in SF Impact, which reaches the people of San Francisco’s Tenderloin District.

Sturge Church has also actively engaged in missions all over the world. Recently, our members have served in medical missions in Africa and Asia. Our members have also shared the Good News of Jesus Christ in places like Thailand, Japan and China. Our mission teams have serve nationally in places like South Dakota, Alaska and nearby San Francisco.

[1] The History of Sturge Presbyterian Church, 1923-1973 (Shichiro Oida primary author). Herein, all quotes unless otherwise stated from this source)

Key figure pleads guilty in APS cheating scandal

The principal of an Atlanta school where cheating was rampant pleaded guilty Friday, saying both his boss and Superintendent Beverly Hall put extreme pressure on him to falsify standardized scores.

Christopher Waller, the former principal of Parks Middle School, will become an important witness for prosecutors in their case against Hall and other former educators who have maintained their innocence.

“I orchestrated cheating by several teachers and fostered a culture of cheating,” Waller said as he teared up during cheap nhl jerseys china an apology. “No matter how much we actually improved the school, there was no way wholesale jerseys china that we could keep up with targets. The targets were unattainable, at least not by legitimate means.”

Waller will testify during a trial that his area superintendent, Michael Pitts, told him to keep his mouth shut about cheating, or else Waller could lose his job, said Deputy District Attorney Fani Willis. Waller also will testify that Hall rewarded him with praise and first class plane flights on cheap nfl jerseys trips, despite her knowledge about complaints of cheating at the school.

He pleaded guilty to a felony charge of making false statements, and he agreed to cooperate when the case goes to trial.

Booking photos of APS educators

Waller avoided prison time as a first time offender. Instead, he must pay $50,000 in fines and restitution, serve five years of probation, perform 1,000 hours of community service and apologize.

Friday was the last day a judge will accept negotiated plea deals. Any defendants in the widespread Atlanta Public Schools cheating case who don’t make guilty pleas by the end of Friday will likely go on trial this spring, including Hall and senior members of her staff.

Sandra Ward, a former administrator at Parks Middle School, also pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor obstruction. She was sentenced to serve one year probation, repay $5,000 she received in bonus money, perform 250 hours of community service and cooperate with the prosecution.

New: Ward apologizes for her role in APS scandal

“The leadership at APS was focused more on improving test scores than helping the students learn,” Ward said while reading her apology in court.

A 2011 state investigation said “erasure parties” took place under Waller’s supervision at Parks Middle School, where teachers would gather wholesale nfl jerseys to correct students’ answers on standardized tests so the school could meet its academic goals. The school’s students scored unbelievable results on their standardized tests since 2006, shortly after Waller took leadership of the school.

Waller told investigators at the time he wouldn’t have cheated because he didn’t want to risk losing his $107,000 annual salary and because he was a minister.

The former educators who pleaded guilty have been required to serve probation, do community service, repay bonus money and cooperate with prosecutors.Articles Connexes:

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