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Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - July 12, 2013

Valley Christian Center at 50

Hundreds have joined this week in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Valley Christian Center in Dublin, and with good reason. This church and K-12 school have a rich history of community service to the Tri-Valley that goes far beyond its religious and education programs. Its "bridge building" effort to the communities it serves encourages members and students to place priorities on serving those in need. Its emphasis on outreach, called "The City," has helped many thousands throughout the region.

At Santa Rita Jail, for example, VCC volunteers work with the Inmate Services department and jail chaplain in conducting bible study, mentorship and one-on-one spiritual counseling programs for many among the 4,000 who are incarcerated there. Another program called "Night Strike" takes VCC volunteers into the Tenderloin District of San Francisco where they offer clothing, food and compassion to the less fortunate. VCC also joins with others at community events to serve those in need of counseling and financial aid. These include the New Living Expo and the Haight Ashbury Street Faire in San Francisco, the Art & Soul Festival in Oakland, at San Jose's downtown Outreach programs and at the Art & Wind Festival in San Ramon.

Locally, VCC volunteers hold evening coffees on many Friday nights at Starbucks in the Hacienda Crossings Center on Hopyard Road, sessions that are open to the public to talk about individual concerns and needs. By actively supporting Convoy of Hope, Valley Christian Center expands its financial aid globally by providing assistance to those affected by earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and more.

Three years ago, VCC made a commitment to Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti to contribute 2,500 hours of community service that year through a wide range of volunteer opportunities. The organization far exceeded that goal, and the hours parishioners and Valley Christian school students now give in volunteer services in Dublin far exceed that 2010 goal. To encourage volunteering, the church even has a website for its members to determine how best to help at www.cityservetrivalley.org.

It was back in 1961 that church leader James Swanson of Bethel Temple in Hayward started the organization that is now Valley Christian Center. The congregation grew rapidly and, in 1966, purchased property to build its first chapel on the current site of McNamara's restaurant. In 1968, the church adopted the name Valley Christian Center, it opened the Tri-Valley's first interdenominational Christian elementary school, and started the fundraising drive that led to the construction of its state-of-the-art 850-seat worship and performing arts center at 7500 Inspiration Drive in the hills overlooking Dublin.

Hundreds attended Valley Christian Center's anniversary celebration festivities last weekend that included a Legacy banquet and the opening of an exhibit hall showcasing the history and various ministries over the 50 years. Thanks to the good work of this organization, hundreds, even thousands more can celebrate the help this group has provided to them in their time of need.

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