Our History

Our Formation

Pioneer Ocean View UCC wasn’t always POV (Pioneer Ocean View) UCC. In fact, at one point Ocean View UCC and Pioneer UCC were their own separate churches with their own congregations, but their values and beliefs were very much the same. In 2004, Pioneer and Ocean View merged to become what is known today as Pioneer Ocean View UCC.

History of Ocean View

Ocean View was the first Japanese Christian Church founded in San Diego back in 1907 with the help of the supporting First Congregational Church. At this time the congregation came together as a branch of the First Congregational Church to celebrate their customs and heritage all while studying and learning the English language. After about one month the congregation grew to about half of all Japanese men living in San Diego, so the grown congregation moved to a larger facility in downtown San Diego. They continued to study English and help new migrant workers.

In January of 1967, after remodeling their sanctuary, the congregation voted to join the United Church of Christ conference and changed the name to Ocean View United Church of Christ. The Church experienced a time of trial during the early 1970s when membership declined. In 1975 things began to look up and the Women’s Fellowship and the Youth Fellowships were revitalized under the leadership of Pastor Dr. Yoshikuni Kaneda and his family.

Some of the original church members of Ocean View United Church of Christ

History of Pioneer

The name “Pioneer” has been the first name of almost all the names that this church has enjoyed throughout the years. The name is derived from the fact that the early congregation began the very first church in the new Clairemont community in 1952. It was truly a pioneering endeavor.

The first service was held in 1951 in the Bay Park home of Mrs. Florence Benson, a founding member. Some 20 locals formed this non-denominational congregation and called it Easy Bay Community Church, commonly known as EBCC.

1954 was a banner year in history for Pioneer. The congregation engaged the now-renowned San Diego architect, Lloyd Ruocco, to design a new church on the present site. It stands as one of the few churches, if not the only, for which he wrote plans. Many of the members helped build Mr. Ruocco’s vision. This labor of love was recognized by Mr. Ruocco and was both accommodated and incorporated in the final design. Fred Meyer, Mr. Ruocco’s assistant and the on-site supervisor, remains a member of Pioneer’s (now Pioneer Ocean View’s) congregation.

As the community aged, many of the original congregants moved out of the area as they became successful in their vocations and their children grew up and left the area as well. By 2004, the membership numbered 61 loyal members, mostly older people on fixed income. Despite prayers and heroic efforts, including developing the Point to showcase the beautiful view in hopes of developing a wedding ministry, the remaining members faced a bleak financial future as a church.

Groundbreaking ceremony at Pioneer Church

Finding One Another

Elsewhere in San Diego, another UCC congregation was praying for a new site that would enable them to expand: Ocean View United Church of Christ. A merger was proposed and successfully completed in 2004. We are now united as one church, Pioneer Ocean View UCC!

Members of the merger team at POVUCC

Our First Worship as POVUCC !

The first worship service of Pioneer Ocean View UCC was held by Pastor Norma DeSaegher on October 3, 2004. The official Uniting Service was held on October 31, 2004 with guest preacher Rev. Dan Romero.

Ocean View UCC and Pioneer UCC each brought their own strengths together to further develop and expand the various styles of worship in our church services. This congregation has expanded to accommodate all people of different ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles, who have the desire to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

POVUCC sign in at church entrance