Gardena Valley Baptist Church started over 100 years ago with a heart for immigrant children. On August 16, 1914, Rev. Shibata gathered together 20 children of Japanese immigrant families in a small rented cottage for Sunday School. Within just a few years, GVBC, then Moneta Japanese Baptist Church, experienced such growth that Los Angeles Baptist City Mission Society (LABCMS) aided in the purchasing and building of a new chapel facility, just a few blocks from our current location. Not long later, a new youth facility was built, and GVBC continued to experience considerable growth in community and spiritual renewal.
Our church movement was suddenly cut short by the start of World War II with the forced evacuation of our church facility and with our congregants forced into internment camps. During this "exile," Dr. Ralph Mayberry, executive minister of LABCMS, drove to the internment camp and coordinated the ordination of Rev. Paul Nagano who would continue to gather our people together within the internment camps. In January 1946, post-war GVBC reconvened and, piece by piece, our community was reestablished.
GVBC continued to grow as a church, purchasing our current land in 1965 and constructing our new Sanctuary and classroom facilities in 1970. By 2007, we completed a major renovation project that included: a new gym facility, new offices, and audio/visual upgrades. By God's grace, GVBC continues to be a steadfast light and presence of Jesus Christ right in the heart of Gardena. Our church community has grown more multi-cultural, reaching out both locally to our neighborhood and globally to many parts of the world. For over 100 years, our mission has not changed: helping people discover Jesus and become his fully devoted followers.
What started out with a handful of children in a little cottage has today become a vibrant community of faith bringing together hundreds of people from all generations in the South Bay.