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Moneta / Gardena Valley Baptist Church (1930-1940)

Licensing

Rev. Masahiko and Kuni Wada's family photo collection of their years at Moneta Baptist now Gardena Valley Baptist Church in Gardena, CA. Most of the photos are from around 1930 - 1940.  Additional photos are from the collection of May Yanaga Koga donated by Melissa Kitano.

Rev. Masahiko Wada came to Moneta Baptist of Gardena in 1931.  Previously, he was the pastor at Garden Grove Baptist Church after he arrived from Japan.  His last church in Japan was First Baptist Church of Kure, Hiroshima-ken.  

In 1928, Rev. Wada was asked to come to California from Japan as a missionary under the Los Angeles City Baptist Mission Society in California to minister to the farm workers in the Garden Grove and Pomona areas. In 1930, the Los Angeles Mission Society sent Rev. Howard Ross, who recently returned from Japan as a missionary, to help with the growing Nisei congregation. In the 1930s, the Sunday school program under the direction of Mrs. Takeno and Mrs. Wada continued to flourish. The Sunday school was fashioned after the famous Kure Baptist Sunday school in Hiroshima-ken. The YMCA also sponsored events at the church. It was the only church in the South Bay area that had YMCA activities.

The Wada family had close ties with the YMCA in Japan and served as YMCA sponsored missionaries to Japan occupied Manchuria, Korea, and Russia. The church had a blue Los Angeles Baptist Missionary Sunday School bus that picked up children from all over Gardena Valley. One of the bus drivers was Mrs. Takeno’s oldest son, Roy, who was a student at USC.  Youth minister Rev. Paul Nagano also drove the bus in the late 1930s. 

During this time, the church Sunday school was very large and continued to grow until the church had to close due to Executive Order 9066, which relocated most of the church members.  The famous lantern slides of bible stories used in the Sunday school classes have been digitized and preserved. Rev. Wada stayed at Gardena Baptist church until 1940 and was also the director of the So. Cal Japanese Church Federation.  

The church had very popular youth and leadership programs. Famous future Japanese Baptist church leaders served as Youth pastors during this time.  Rev. Paul Nagano and Rev. Jitsuo Morikawa served as Youth pastors.  My grandmother, Mustu Wada Homma, played the piano and taught in the Sunday school.

In November 1940, Rev. Wada was brought to First Pomona Baptist by Rev. Frank Kepner. At Pomona Baptist church, the Wadas were reacquainted with the famous missionary, Rev. Herbert Nicholson. Rev. Nicholson visited each Wada family member in the different internment camps and wrote about them in one of his books, Treasure in Earthen Vessels.

Slides in this album 

Moneta (now Gardena Valley Baptist Church) before WWII

Moneta Baptist Japanese Mission Church (now Gardena Valley Baptist Church) before WWII. Rev. Mashahiko Wada and Rev. Howard Ross standing in front of the church around June 1930. The Ross family came to serve at Gardena after being missionaries in Sendai, Japan where they knew the Wada family.

Moneta / Gardena Valley Baptist Church (pre-WWII)
Contributed by: mhomma

Moneta / Gardena Valley Baptist Church

In 193O, the church experienced growth among the youth under the leadership of Rev. Masahiko Wada and Rev. C.H. Ross. This resulted in the construction of a new youth building, which was dedicated in March of 1932.  Photo taken around 1932 when the new church building was dedicated.  Mrs. ...

Moneta / Gardena Valley Baptist Church
Contributed by: mhomma

Rev. Wada and eldest daughter Mutsu

Circa 1929.  Rev. Wada and daughter Mutsu came to Moneta / Gardena Baptist church from Garden Grove Baptist church.    The rest of the Wada family came to the USA in 1931.

Rev. Masahiko Wada and eldest daughter Mutsu Wada
Contributed by: mhomma

Terminal Island Baptist Summer School Aug 11,1929

Correction: Terminal Island Baptist church was knonwn for its Sunday school and Japanese language school programs.  The Terminal Island Baptist Church served as a Japanese language school. Rev. and Mrs. Ito were the early administrators. Rev. and Mrs. Shiraishi succeeded Rev. Ito and they were followed by Rev. K. Yamamoto.

The Terminal Island Baptist Church staff included ...

Terminal Island Church Summer School Aug 11,1929
Contributed by: mhomma

American Baptist missionaries and visitors

Rev. Masahiko Wada, Issei pastor, standing far left.  Rev. Charles H. Ross, Nisei pastor, standing 2nd from the left.  Photo taken in from of Gardena Valley Baptist Church.   Rev. and Mrs. Ross were American Baptist Japan missionaries to the Sendai area from 1910 - 1929 and knew the Wada and ...

American Baptist missionaries and visitors
Contributed by: mhomma

Gardena Baptist mens group

Photo was taken before 1940 in the new church building.  Rev. M. Wada seated in the front row to the far right.

Gardena Baptist mens group
Contributed by: mhomma

Gardena Baptist Issei church

Rev. and Mrs. Ross seated in the middle of the front row.  Rev. M. Wada is seated on the far right and Mrs. Wada is standing behind him.   Photo taken in the new church building around 1940.

Gardena Baptist Issei church
Contributed by: mhomma

Rev. Masahiko and Mrs. Kuni Wada

Circa 1931.  Photo taken after the rest of the family came to the USA in 1931 sponsored by the American Baptist.

Rev. Masahiko and Mrs. Kuni Wada
Contributed by: mhomma

1928 Moneta Baptist Church

Photos are from the collection of May Yanaga Koga donated by Melissa Kitano.

Sunday at Moneta Baptist Church, 1928
Contributed by: mhomma

Minami sisters

Parents owned a nursery

Minami sisters
Contributed by: mhomma

Outreach to the farm fields

Rev. Wada often went out to the farm fields for evangelism.

Outreach to the farm fields
Contributed by: mhomma

Outreach to the local community

Rev. Masahiko Wada would spend a lot of time spreading the gospel and inviting people to church in the open fields of Gardena, Compton, Dominguez, Torrance, Hawthorne, and Redondo.

Outreach to the local community
Contributed by: mhomma

Moneta Baptist of Gardena (now GVBC)

The blue bus picked up church members from all over the "Gardena" valley...   Many of the farmers had no way of getting to church on Sunday.

L.A. Baptist Missions Bus in front of Gardena Church
Contributed by: mhomma

Los Angeles Baptist City Mission Society's bus in front of Moneta Baptist

The blue Moneta Japanese Mission Sunday School bus picked up church members and dropped them off on Sundays.  The Sunday school soon grew to several hundred people with the help of the bus ministry.   The missionary bus picked up children from all over Gardena Valley.   One bus driver was Mrs. Takeno’s ...

Los Angeles Baptist City Mission Society's bus in front of Moneta Baptist
Contributed by: mhomma

Famous Moneta Sunday School Bus

The blue missionary bus picked up children from all over Gardena Valley. Rev. Wada organized a new Sunday School program with the help of Mrs. Takeno. Mrs. Takeno was the Sunday school superintendent. 

Famous blue Moneta Sunday School Bus
Contributed by: mhomma

1939 Gardena Valley Baptist Church dedication

Dedication of the new sanctuary (now where the Gym building is) in 1939. Several prominent Baptist missionaries and families attended the dedication.

Gardena Baptist Church new sanctuary dedication 1939
Contributed by: mhomma

Gardena Baptist Church Dedication 1939

Gardena Baptist Church dedication for the new building

Gardena Baptist Church Dedication in 1939
Contributed by: mhomma

GVBC Sunday School

circa 1939
Gardena Valley Baptist Church Sunday school class around 1939. Midori Wada, daughter of Rev. Wada, is in the 2nd row from the front 3rd from the left. Yasushi Wada is to the far right on the 3rd row against the post.

Gardena Valley Baptist church Sunday School, circa 1939
Contributed by: mhomma

Gardena Valley Baptist Church Sunday School class of Yasushi Wada

Gardena Valley Baptist Church Sunday School class of Yasushi Wada, the youngest child of Rev. Wada.  Uncle Yas is in the second row 5th from the right.

Gardena Valley Baptist Church Sunday School class of Yas Wada
Contributed by: mhomma

Gardena Valley Baptist Issei Women's Group

Kuni Wada front center between two missionaries. Photo taken in the Issei chapel at Gardena Baptist church.

First Row (l to r)
1. Kisoi Kamada,
2. K. Shiraishi,
3. Moto Tashiro,
4.
5. Kuni Wada,
6. Mrs. Ross,
7.
...

Gardena Baptist Issei Women
Contributed by: mhomma

Gardena Valley Baptist Girls club

Gardena Valley Baptist Church Girls Club (Midori Wada in front 2nd from left). Circa 1939.

Front Row (l to r)
1. Toshiko (Minami) Mayeda
2. Midori Wada
3.
4. Tai (Shigaki) --------
5. Shiz Yanaga

Back Row (l to r)
1. Mrs. ...

GVBC Girls Club (Midori front 2nd from left)
Contributed by: mhomma

Rev. Masahiko Wada and family outside GVBC

Rev. Masahiko Wada and family with Dr. Kyushiro Homma. Photo taken outside of Gardena Baptist Church circa 1933. Left to Right: Michihiko Wada (back), Mrs. Kuni Wada (front), Rev. Masahiko Wada (back), Yasushi David Wada (front), Dr. Kyushiro Homma, Mutsu Wada Homma, Midori Wada.

Rev. Wada and family with Dr. Homma outside Gardena Valley Baptist Church
Contributed by: mhomma

Rev Wada front row 3rd from the left

Rev Wada front row 3rd from the left

Rev Wada front row 3rd from the left
Contributed by: mhomma

Rev. Masahiko Wada and family with Dr. Kyushiro Homma inside Gardena Baptist church

Rev. Masahiko Wada and family with Dr. Kyushiro Homma. The Wada family lived at the church parsonage.

Rev. Wada and family with Dr. Homma
Contributed by: mhomma

Luncheon for Missionaries at GVBC

Luncheon at Gardena Baptist Church Issei building for returning Japan missionaries. Mrs Kuni Wada seated far left. Rev. Masahiko Wada seated to the left of possibly the wife of Rev. Ross. The Wada family knew Rev. Ross and family when they were missionaries in Japan.

Luncheon at Gardena Baptist Church Issei building
Contributed by: mhomma

Mutsu Wada Homma

Mutsu Wada Homma, left, in 1933 at Gardena Baptist

Mrs. Ross in the middle

Mutsu Wada Homma
Contributed by: mhomma

Kimono day at the church

Left to Right: 1, 2, 3, 4. Mrs. C.H. Ross, 5. Matuie (Yanaga) Hatanaka, 6. May (Yanaga) Koga, 7. Kay Kobata, 8, 9, 10. Mabel (Kobata) Takata, 11,

Identification by Harold T. Kobata & Reiko Kobata

Kimono day at the church
Contributed by: mhomma

Mutsu Wada Homma outside Gardena Baptist church

Mutsu Wada Homma at Gardena Baptist church on kimono day

Mutsu Wada Homma outside Gardena Baptist church
Contributed by: mhomma

Mutsu Wada played piano at Gardena Baptist church

Grandmother studied piano in Japan since she was little.   She was a music major at USC.

Mutsu Wada played piano at Gardena Baptist church
Contributed by: mhomma

Dr. Toyohiko Kagawa at Gardena Baptist

Dr. Toyohiko Kagawa (2nd row center) and Rev. Wada were close friends from their days in Japan.  Dr. Kagawa often visited the family at their churches in Tokyo and Kure.

Dr. Toyohiko Kagawa at Gardena Baptist
Contributed by: mhomma

So. California Japanese Church Federation ministers

Dr. Toyohiko Kagawa front center often visited the Wada family at Gardena. They were goods friends from Japan. When Dr. Kagawa converted to Christianity he was disowned by his remaining extended family.

Dr. Toyohiko Kagawa visiting California from Japan
Contributed by: mhomma

Gardena Baptist Church Feb 1940

In 1940, Rev. Jitsuo Morikawa became pastor and with the help of Paul Nagano.  Both were youth leaders under Rev. Wada.   Former American Baptist Northern Japan missionaries Miss Amy Acock, Rev. Ross, and Mrs. Ross served the church and spoke Japanese fluently.   Miss Amy Acock taught grandmother Mustu Wada Homma ...

Gardena Baptist Church Feb 1940
Contributed by: mhomma

So. Cal Japanese Church Federation Resolution 1942

So. Cal Japanese Church Federation Resolution 1942

So. Cal Japanese Church Federation Resolution 1942
Contributed by: mhomma

Poston 1943 - Yas Wada 2nd row far left

The start of World War II and the E.O. 9066 evacuation led to the Gardena Baptist Church being disbursed and forced to leave the church buildings at 164O0 Dalton Avenue. The ministry to the congregation continued from the LABCMS. Dr. Ralph Mayberry, LABCMS's Executive Minister 1937-1956, drove to the ...

Poston 1943 - Yas Wada 2nd row far left
Contributed by: mhomma

Moneta / Gardena Baptist church served the farming community

Kuida family members attended Gardena church and YMCA functions.

Moneta / Gardena Baptist church served the farming community
Contributed by: mhomma

Baptist conference

Photo from May Yanaga Koga family photo collection donated by Melissa Kitano.

Baptist conference
Contributed by: mhomma

Kimono day at Gardena Valley Baptist Church

Left to Right:  1, 2, 3, 4. Mrs. C.H. Ross, 5. Matuie (Yanaga) Hatanaka, 6. May (Yanaga) Koga, 7. Kay Kobata, 8, 9, 10. Mabel (Kobata) Takata, 11,

Identification by Harold T. Kobata & Reiko Kobata

Photos are from the collection of May Yanaga Koga donated by Melissa Kitano.

Kimono Day at Gardena Valley Baptist Church
Contributed by: mhomma

Baptist Young Peoples Union (BYPU) Rally at Gardena Baptist church 1939

Baptist Young Peoples Union (BYPU) Rally at Gardena Baptist church Sept. 10, 1939

Photos are from the collection of May Yanaga Koga donated by Melissa Kitano.

Baptist Young Peoples Union (BYPU) Rally at Gardena Baptist church 1939
Contributed by: mhomma

Michihiko Mike Wada

Rev. Masahiko Wada's eldest son.

Photos are from the collection of May Yanaga Koga donated by Melissa Kitano.

Michihiko "Mike" Wada - Photo from May Yanaga Koga family photo collection donated by Melissa Kitano.
Contributed by: mhomma

Sunday School at Moneta / Gardena Baptist

Photos are from the collection of May Yanaga Koga donated by Melissa Kitano.

At Gardena Baptist Church
Contributed by: mhomma

Nov. GVB Sunday School

Back Row: 2nd from the left: Kuni Wada; 5th from the left: Mutsu Wada Homma

Front Row: 2nd from the left: Rev. Ross; Far Right: Rev. Wada

Photos are from the collection of May Yanaga Koga donated by Melissa Kitano.

Gardena Valley Baptist Church Sunday School leaders
Contributed by: mhomma

Sunday School Children at Moneta / Gardena Baptist

Photos are from the collection of May Yanaga Koga donated by Melissa Kitano.

Sunday School Children at Moneta / Gardena Baptist
Contributed by: mhomma

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Photos are from the collection of May Yanaga Koga donated by Melissa Kitano.

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Contributed by: mhomma

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Photos are from the collection of May Yanaga Koga donated by Melissa Kitano.

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Contributed by: mhomma

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Photos are from the collection of May Yanaga Koga donated by Melissa Kitano.

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Contributed by: mhomma

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Photos are from the collection of May Yanaga Koga donated by Melissa Kitano.

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Contributed by: mhomma

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Photos are from the collection of May Yanaga Koga donated by Melissa Kitano.

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Contributed by: mhomma

Gardena Dressmaking School

Photos are from the collection of May Yanaga Koga donated by Melissa Kitano.

Gardena Dressmaking School
Contributed by: mhomma

Nisei Soldier Abe from Company B Jan 1944

Jan 1944.   Nisei Soldier Abe from Company B writes to Rev. and Mrs. Wada

Nisei Soldier Abe from Company B Jan 1944
Contributed by: mhomma

Nisei soldiers write to Rev. and Mrs. Wada

Former church members write to Rev. and Mrs. Wada

Nisei soldiers write to Rev. and Mrs. Wada
Contributed by: mhomma

1939 Japanese Baptists Marching On

Twenty-fifth Anniversary (1914 - 1939) Japanese Baptist Missions in Southern California program and history

1939 Japanese Baptists Marching On
Contributed by: mhomma

Album Type

community history

mhomma — Última actualización Sep 21 2020 9:03 p.m.


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