Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, or MPPC, was founded 140 years ago on November 30, 1873. The first members were thirteen men and women who organized to serve the spiritual needs of what was once a small farming village. The original one-acre church site, now home to local businesses, was donated less than a year after the church was founded. MPPC moved to 700 Santa Cruz Avenue and Chestnut Street, where the church met for 76 years. (Photo: Menlo Park Parsonage, summer of 1894)
In 1880, Jane Lathrop Stanford became involved in MPPC, financing renovations and construction of the minister’s house and starting choirs and a kindergarten. After the untimely death of her son, Leland Stanford, Jr., who attended Sunday School at MPPC, Jane Stanford turned her interests toward building Stanford University. On May 14, 1887, the MPPC choir sang for the laying of Stanford University’s cornerstone, and the histories of MPPC and Stanford University have been closely tied for over 100 years.
In 1920, after serving the soldiers of Camp Fremont, the U.S. Army’s World War I training ground in Menlo Park, church membership had dwindled to seven members. Though the Presbyterian denomination’s leadership wanted to close the church, one member insisted that it not be sold. Shortly thereafter, a new Sunday School led by a retired minister brought fresh energy and growth to the church. During the Depression of the 1920’s and ‘30’s, new ministries began, and the church became the community’s spiritual and social center.
MPPC's sanctuary was built at 700 Santa Cruz in Menlo Park by asking 60 people to chip in $0.11 a day for a 50-month period. They were able to raise the $10,000 needed for the new building.
Following World War II, MPPC developed new ways to reach Menlo Park’s exploding population. Ministries for every age group sprang up, and soon the congregation vastly outgrew the “little white church of the pioneers.”
Abandoning plans to rebuild in the heart of the business district, MPPC laid a new cornerstone at its present location, 950 Santa Cruz Avenue and Johnson. The sanctuary was expanded again in 1970. The 1950’s and ‘60’s, though often turbulent, marked the growing membership’s commitment to Jesus Christ, to prayer, and to missions outreach. New Bible studies were established, and by 1973 the church began to commit more of its budget to mission ministries. (Photo: Easter service in 1950)
In 2007, MPPC launched a satellite campus in San Mateo and, the following year, MPPC launched a campus in Mountain View.
In the Spring of 2014 through a congregational vote, MPPC officially joined the ECO denomination (A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians).Learn more about ECO
In 2015, the church changed its name from Menlo Park Presbyterian Church to Menlo Church and launched a San Jose campus. The following year, the church launched a campus in Saratoga, in collaboration with Saratoga Presbyterian Church. In 2017, Menlo Church launched a campus in South City, which ultimately was combined with the San Mateo campus in Sept. 2021, with the hope of relaunching it as a solo campus in the future.
2020 - After the pandemic hit, Menlo Church moved to fully online services for 18 months. During this time, the church launched a search for a new Senior Pastor.