On November 11, 1911, just one year after settlers first came to the Yucaipa Valley, Rev. Alfred Inwood, the Riverside District Superintendent of the Methodist Church, offered to provide $1000 to build a new church and match the money raised by the local church to pay the pastor. Sixteen of the 22 attendees joined the church at this meeting, which was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Lane.
The first pastor was Rev. Frank Lucas, who concurrently pastored Grace Church in Redlands. After preaching in Redlands at 11:00am, he would travel in an open buggy drawn by a small team of horses to preach in Yucaipa at the Lane home, and return to preach a 7:00pm evening service in Redlands. The church grew rapidly and soon outgrew the Lane home.
The Redlands and Yucaipa Land Company donated land for the church at Fifth and Montana Streets, now known as Acacia and Adams. Ground was broken for a 28' x 46' church in the fall of 1913. Much of the work was donated, even by the ladies. The church history notes, "One day the women took lunches and hammers, and by night they had lathed the walls."
The church was dedicated (without paint) on November 3, 1913. The Rev. Fred Trotter became the church's first resident pastor in 1913 with the addition of a parsonage in 1914. He was followed by the Rev. L.O. Bostwick. The church continued to grow, and added another lot in 1920. The building was enlarged, adding classrooms and a basement kitchen. In 1928, another classroom was added. Many different pastors served throughout this period.
In 1946, the church voted to build a new sanctuary and remodel the old sanctuary for classrooms. Additional lots were purchased, and a ground-breaking ceremony was held on September 14, 1947. Church members collected and hauled over 100 truckloads of river rock from Mill Creek before construction work was started. All ages took part in this effort, combining work with picnic meals. On July 25, 1948, the cornerstone was laid. Even though the inside was still not quite complete, the sanctuary was consecrated in September 1949. To celebrate the final payment on the $20,000 mortgage, a dedication and mortgage burning ceremony was held on May 22, 1955. A new parsonage was built in 1946.
A ground breaking for the first section of the new Education Building occurred in 1958. The second section was started in 1963, and consecrated on September 29, 1964. The old sanctuary, which was called the Social Hall for many years, was bulldozed in March 1966. The current Fellowship Hall was immediately begun, and it was completed and dedicated on March 19, 1967 by District Superintendent Rev. Frank Matthews. In 1968, the Methodist Church united with the Evangelical United Brethren Church. The name was then changed to the United Methodist Church of Yucaipa.
Light flows into the sanctuary through many beautiful stained-glass windows depicting saints and symbols of faith. Combined with Swiss-style carved wood, rock walls and arches, the stunning architecture lends itself to worship and meditation.
The pipe organ was dedicated on October 13, 1978, while the chimes were dedicated in 1979.
The church bell came from a one-room school in Utah that was being demolished.
As part of celebrating the church's 75th anniversary, many people worked together to create a hanging quilt that was designed by Martha Gregory. The 18 square inch center is a lovely embroidered picture of the sanctuary, done by Shirley Rolf. The surrounding 12 square inch blocks symbolize other groups, activities and elements of the church. Seven people accomplished the quilting within a month at the Gregory's home. It was completed on July 29, 1986. The finished quilt is 80 square inches, and hangs in a frame in the Fellowship Hall.
The church has celebrated its 90th anniversary on November 12, 2001.