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The History of Foothills United Methodist Church

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The congregation of Foothills United Methodist Church was organized in 1958 through the cooperative efforts of the California-Pacific Annual Conference, the San Diego District of The United Methodist Church and other local United Methodist churches. The congregation met in a number of temporary meeting places with music for worship services consisting of hymn singing accompanied by the piano.


The first building on the present site was multipurpose, containing a large meeting room, a kitchen, and four smaller rooms. A growing membership supported a choir, soloists and instrumentalists. A one story classroom building was then added. In 1972 the temporary sanctuary was enlarged and a two story education building constructed and named in honor of the Reverend Floyd H. Zerbe. Children’s choirs and handbell choirs were added to the music ministry. With the completion of the new sanctuary, the multipurpose meeting room was named in honor of Dr. James A. King, Foothills’ first minister.

On October 26, 1986, Foothills celebrated its first Sunday in the new sanctuary building. Bishop Jack M. Tuell presided over the consecration services on February 1, 1987.

In 1984 an organ selection committee was formed to choose a pipe organ that would serve not only Foothills United Methodist Church, but the entire community where it would be available for concerts as well as worship services. After researching and listening to organs throughout the Southern California area, the Reuter Organ Company was selected to design and build the pipe organ. Reuter representatives worked closely with architect Lew Dominy to assure all major considerations for the placement of the instrument was included in the design and construction of the sanctuary building.

In 2001, the Building Our Faith campaign was begun to fund the renovation of the Zerbe Building. Our Preschool area was enlarged and a larger meeting room, kitchen, nursery care facilities and office space was added. The remodel was completed in 2004.

Foothills United Methodist Church continues to grow steadily to a present membership of over 1300 and to be a community serving community for the transformation of the world.

Ministers Who Have Served Foothills UMC:

1958 Rev. James A. King
1964 Rev. Floyd Zerbe
1973 Rev. Norman Knight
1979 Rev. Bill Word
1981 Rev. Tom Robert as Associate Pastor
1984 Rev. Kevin Jones as Associate Pastor
1985 Rev. Neal Montgomery as Associate Pastor
1986 Rev. Dr. James Mahin as Senior Pastor
1987 Rev. Martha Kogle as Diaconal Minister for Church Growth
1988 Rev. Will Fairbanks as Associate Pastor
1994 Rev. Bob Morley as Senior Pastor
1996 Rev. John Farley as Senior Pastor
1996 Rev. Cindy Arntson as Associate Pastor
2004 Rev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw as Associate Pastor
2006 Rev. Christian DeMent as Associate Pastor
2013 Rev. Jeanette Ham as Associate Pastor
2013 Rev. Dr. Eric Smith as Lead Pastor