In 1994 God placed a dream in the minds and hearts of a small group of people. Led by founding pastor Paul Jetter and his wife Mary, they envisioned a new church with a positive, vibrant, uplifting environment that would appeal both to lifetime followers of Christ as well as those with little or no church experience. Their goal of a church that presents God’s word in a clear and relevant way resulted in the founding of Upper Valley Community Church on July 14, 1994.
The first Sunday morning service was held in the basement of the HoJo Inn. After a few weeks, the church moved upstairs to what is now El Sombrero Restaurant. Each Sunday for the next two and a half years members of the congregation faithfully rearranged the furniture, set up sound equipment, and prepared the nursery area for each worship service.
In January, 1997, the church moved to a vacant store in the Miami Valley Centre Mall. During that time the nursery was held in the mall conference room, children’s church was held at the conference room of the Comfort Inn, teens met at the Salvation Army, and Mothers of Preschoolers met at a loaned church building in town. It was very apparent that UVCC needed a building of its own.
A few months later the congregation was on the move again, this time to a vacant store building at the edge of the mall parking lot. And then on October 5, 1997, the church made one final move – to its new property on Seidel Parkway. Through the sacrificial giving of God’s people, the first worship center was completed with only a modest debt. The very next year, the congregation was moving forward again, adding the north classroom wing to the building.
By early 2000 the vision to reach the world “one child at a time” came more clearly into focus. To support that vision, the dream of adding a cutting-edge children’s facility was shared with the congregation. The vision caught on and, after the congregation gave sacrificially, construction began. The new addition was opened in February, 2001. The new space, including an indoor children’s playground, worship center, classrooms, a new foyer and more office space allowed the children’s program to explode and great numbers of new families began attending UVCC.
New pastoral staff was added over the next few years and weekly attendance in worship services and other events continued to climb as more and more people came to know Christ. In early 2009, it became clear that additional space was needed to continue to reaching the 83% of people in our area who didn’t know Christ. Plans were developed to build a new multi-purpose worship center to double UVCC’s capacity for people here at UVCC. The building project began in April 2010 and was finished by the fall.
Our church has always understood the importance of ministering to persons of all age groups and especially to those with young children. We believe that the best way to change the world is one child at a time. Our building has been used constantly throughout the week by groups such as Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS), the Jr. High 68 Gathering and other activities for teens, Children’s Events, Life Groups, Ladies’ Bible study groups, Men’s groups and various community events.
This brief history of UVCC has been rewarding but what is truly exciting is that God has many great things planned for us yet to come. We encourage you to come and be a part of that excitement at Upper Valley Community Church.