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College Avenue Baptist Church

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College Avenue Baptist Church

College Avenue Baptist Church is a Baptist church located in San Diego, California.[1] It is affiliated with Converge (formerly the Baptist General Conference).[2]


In 1891, Rev. Augustus Bernard Orgen arrived in San Diego to begin work among local Swedish immigrants[3]. The fledgling congregation purchased a piece of property at the corner of 19th and H Streets[4] (now Market Street) for $1,900 and began Bethel Swedish Baptist Church.[5] The church struggled until November 1901 when the property had to be sold until a remnant of nine members could buy a new property in 1906. A new property was then purchased at 16th and E Street. Services were conducted only in Swedish until the 1920s and continued to be offered in Swedish until 1935, the same year the church called its first American-born pastor. It was at this time that the church changed its name to Evangelical Baptist Church.

In 1938 the church purchased two lots on the corner of Adams Ave and College Ave, half a mile south of San Diego State University and the current site of the church. Construction was completed on the new location and the church relocated on July 28, 1940.[3] It was at this point that the church name was changed to College Avenue Baptist Church. Six adjacent acres were later purchased and eventually annexed to nine acres. Construction on the campus continued to expand throughout the 1950s and the main sanctuary was dedicated on November 20, 1966.[6]

The church continued to grow over the next forty years, eventually helping to found Bethel Seminary West in 1977[7] and launching Flood Church[8] as a daughter church in 2005.

List of Pastors[6][9][10][edit]

  • Rev. Augustus Orgen (1892-1897)
  • Rev. Nils Palmquist (1897-1899)
  • Carl Christianson (1900-1901)
  • Carl Nelson (1907-1911)
  • Karl Byleen (1911-1913)
  • John Carlson (1914-1921)
  • Rev. Karl Johanson (1922-1925)
  • Edward Carneh (1925-1934)
  • Victor Johnson (1935-1938)
  • Lew Coates (1938-1939)
  • Edwin Greene (1939-1949)[11]
  • Rev. Milo Nixon (1949-1967)
  • Dr. Robert Luther (1968-1981)[12][13]
  • Dr. Daniel Baumann (1982-1989)[14]
  • Dr. Jerry Sheveland (1989-1997, 2021-2023)[15]
  • Rev. Steve Harling (2001-2003)[16]
  • Rev. Carlton Harris (2006-2021)[1][17]
  • Chris Hilken (2023-current)[18]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "College Avenue Baptist Church, College Area | San Diego Reader". Retrieved 2023-03-06.
  2. "College Avenue Baptist Church". USA Churches. Retrieved 2023-03-06.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "History". College Avenue Baptist Church. Retrieved 2023-03-06.
  4. "Local Intelligence". San Diego Union. XXXVII. 1892. p. 5. Unknown parameter |orig-date= ignored (help)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Storm, Cliff (October 1992). "Centennial Reflections" (PDF).
  7. "San Diego Union-Tribune Archives". Retrieved 2023-03-06.
  8. "Who We Are". Flood Church. Retrieved 2023-03-06.
  9. "Heritage Highlights" (PDF). 1982. Retrieved July 20, 2023.
  10. Smith, Jim (January 29, 2022). "College Avenue Baptist Church 130 Years" (PDF).
  11. "Warner Avenue Baptist Church - About Our Church". Retrieved 2023-07-21.
  12. "85 Years In Review" (PDF). pp. 1–18.
  13. "Baptist Conference Annual 1969". 1969.
  14. Gillmon, Rita (July 9, 1988). "SERVING GOD IN SOME SPECIAL WAYS" (PDF). The San Diego Union. pp. B12–B13.
  15. "Christian worker helps man commit treason". Converge. Retrieved 2023-07-20.
  16. Harling, Steve. "Memoirs of a Move". CT Pastors. Retrieved 2023-07-20.
  17. "It's not about floating around on a cloud playing harp | San Diego Reader". Retrieved 2023-07-20.
  18. "Christopher Hilken". Christopher Hilken. Retrieved 2023-07-20.

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