Water’s Edge Congregation to Be Terminated on Christmas Eve, Church to Be Sold by Methodists

by on September 19, 2023 · 49 comments

in Ocean Beach

First United Methodist Church in Mission Valley, the parent church for Water’s Edge, wants to terminate the Water’s Edge congregation after 90 plus years, and sell the church.

Water’s Edge church — formerly Point Loma United Methodist –at 1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd — has for a number of years been functioning as a community center, home to its congregation, of course, and also for the OB Historical Society, the Pioneer School for developmentally disabled kids, the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry and several AA and NA groups who hold meetings there.

The Methodist trustees would like to see “affordable” housing go in on that corner, Saratoga and Sunset Cliffs. The church also owns the little duplex immediately west of the church school building on Saratoga Ave, which would also be sold.

Ironically, according to plan, the Methodist Church wants to terminate the Water’s Edge congregation on Christmas Eve. This is not a joke.

First United Methodist Church in Mission Valley

One of the big issues for the First United folks are the costs for all the deferred maintenance at Water’s Edge. So, the trustees feel it’s a good time to sell and find a developer who would construct affordable housing as part of the legacy of Water’s Edge. Now, that’s a lofty goal, of course.

Another issue for the Methodists is the loss of Warren Walker school as a tenant at their Mission Valley site. Warren Walker has been there many years and reportedly wants to enlarge its footprint at their Point Loma Avenue school.

This is all quite a shock to the local congregation and the groups that utilize the sanctuary complex on Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Insiders believe that none of the groups who use that OB campus have been contacted directly by the Mission Valley Church. One confidential source told the Rag the church secretary has already been fired and the Rev. Brittany Hanlin will move to the Mission Valley Church. The Methodists hope that the OB congregation will just go to Mission Valley but it could be doubtful after this “betrayal” any of them would.

There may be some local groups who would be interested in buying the church or working to find another church to purchase it and move in to serve the community.

Here is the agenda for the First United planning meeting held Saturday, Sept. 16. If you go down to page 15 and review the last four pages, you will read the bad news.  They will sell the parsonage up the hill at 4483 Saratoga and then try to sell the church.

It doesn’t appear at this point that the First United Methodists are soliciting any community input. Perhaps it’s time to give them some heavenly advice.

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

nostalgic September 19, 2023 at 5:20 pm

New law: “The California State Senate passed a bill this week that would permit the construction of affordable housing units on land owned by faith-based institutions and nonprofit colleges, even if local zoning ordinances and laws would normally prevent construction.” Is it just colleges, or any school? Isn’t this the law now?


Geoff Page September 19, 2023 at 9:38 pm

This would not apply if they plan to sell the land, as it appears to be.


FrankF September 20, 2023 at 7:41 am

“So, the trustees feel it’s a good time to sell and find a developer who would construct affordable housing as part of the legacy…”

I don’t want to be picky, but if the church sells the property they wouldn’t be part of the process of finding a developer to build affordable housing.

If the church is interested in affordable housing why don’t they do what St. Paul’s Episcopal does and make affordable/elder housing construction and management part of their mission?


Geoff Page September 20, 2023 at 6:39 pm

Considering that the property already belongs to the church, and is either paid off or has a low mortgage, the best possibility for affordable housing would be to have the church do it. Once the property sells in this vastly inflated real estate market, affordable will not be even possible. If that is sincerely what the church wants, the church needs to step up and make it happen.


FrankF September 20, 2023 at 7:59 pm

Spot on.


nostalgic September 20, 2023 at 9:19 am

The word “sell” has many flavors.


Pam Keel September 21, 2023 at 8:45 am

Mission Valley Methodists/Waters Edge in Ocean Beach, previous owners, supplied housing for several Autistic adults and highly disabled persons, for their properties in Ocean Beach about 3 years, without infrastructure or building and autistic outreach. Now, all the small homes are being condemned and possible sale of the property. Autistic residents are being removed from their housing without transition services. Please help. Transitional resources needed.
Now being purchased by developers, what’s going to happen to these people?! Transitional resources needed. How can they call themselves Christians?!




June Heinz September 21, 2023 at 11:13 am

Excellent job taking a look at this. Thank you! It’s really just the tip of the iceberg though. First church started this planned takeover a decade ago. As a former staff member, teacher, and lay leader of the church known as PLUM, I left because I could not tolerate the hypocrisy and the lack of ethics trickling down from above. First Church has shown blatant disregard for the members of Point Loma United Methodist and let me be clear, none of this is accidental or in response to membership decline. In fact, perhaps the decline in church membership in general is due to these kinds of shenanigans and very unchristian behavior!


Geoff Page September 21, 2023 at 11:38 am

I hate to have to say it, but it looks just like Christian behavior to me.


June Heinz September 21, 2023 at 11:48 am

Well, that’s true too! I can’t argue with you there!


Lawrance Wishneff September 21, 2023 at 1:26 pm

People get affected by uncaring people people govto church disabled people live there people matter people get food there


June Heinz September 21, 2023 at 5:22 pm

That is very true. There are two bungalows that are section 8 housing. If their motives are so altruistic, why would they kick those people out?


Debbie September 21, 2023 at 1:32 pm

Waters Edge has been very generous to the Ocean Beach Historical Society. We greatly appreciate the generosity extended providing the OBHS space for archive storage for many years, use of the facility for board meetings, and use of the facility for presentations to the public. I wish them well and thank them.

Who knows what the future brings! One thing for sure is the City of San Diego needs to get going on the OB Library expansion and put in a community room for groups to utilize.


Pam Keel September 21, 2023 at 2:03 pm

They have been generous to the OB community but what about the neglected tenants who are disabled/autistic who will have no home with sale of this property. It’s like they don’t exist they have no transitional services for these residents who live in filthy conditions , just a roof over their heads for now and no help now or the future?! They are responsible for these people! We must demand transitional services for these people!


Debbie September 21, 2023 at 3:22 pm

Please explain, who is responsible for these people? Is the church their guardian, caretaker? I am asking because I do know the situation.

Was this church not generous in providing housing for many years? What is filthy, the units in back of the church? Who condemned the units, the city? Do these disabled tenants have family, are they on Social Security, does the state provide any funding, are there social services which can assist? Have they been kicked out or given notice to leave?


Pam Keel September 21, 2023 at 4:30 pm

They have not been notified or communicated with for years. The housing was hud but they were disqualified by his years ago. The was no outreach or follow up care. They need attention and transitional housing. They have ignored too long. It’s a disgrace!


June Heinz September 21, 2023 at 9:37 pm

One correction I’d like to make is that the church that has been there for 90+ years was PLUMC. “Water’s Edge” was a name given to Point Loma United Methodist Church after they “merged” the two churches. First Church Mission Valley absorbed the smaller church and renamed it. Again, it was a money issue, the small community church could never keep up with the money owed the state conference. PLUMC provided the housing and space to the historical society and others for many decades. And yes, the section 8 housing was the church’s responsibility and mission. I cannot speak to how Water’s Edge managed the property or if it was still HUD housing. It’s very sad that the tenants have been blind sided. First church will stand to benefit greatly from the sale of all the properties on this site, as well as, a large house on the hill that was once the parsonage. RIP PLUMC


Lawrance Wishneff September 21, 2023 at 5:30 pm

People matter church tenants need people church tenants are part of ocean beach community


Lawrance Wishneff September 21, 2023 at 5:44 pm

Please let us cool the negative rhetoric and work for good Good solutions forbyhese tenants that are and will continue to be PART OF THE OCEAN BEACH COMMUNITY


nostalgic September 21, 2023 at 6:08 pm

The first sentence here say, “First United Methodist Church in Mission Valley, the parent church for Water’s Edge … ” There is a congregation that has always been in and a part of OB. I don’t know the church or the people, but it seems that the “trustees” of “the parent church” made the decision we are talking about.


Shae Heinz September 21, 2023 at 11:05 pm

If they supposedly care about affordable housing, they should prioritize any current tenants of the church and make transparent plans to keep them from being displaced.


Pam September 22, 2023 at 8:53 pm

The church is responsible for the relocation of these people. Is there a lawyer in the house?


Lakshmi September 28, 2023 at 1:58 pm

Well this question will, if answered in part, fill up several hundred pages. Morally and ethically, what is the church’s duty, responsibility, and mission. That will take a few books. Now the lawyer in the house can write a few more books about the complex set of laws that are exclusive to church property. Now throw in the new law in question about using church parking lots (that are the correct size) to build low income housing. How many more books will this part of the question generate? As my favorite singer/song writer said, “it’s simply complicated”.


Lawrance Wishneff September 23, 2023 at 4:26 pm

Please call the rhetoric and remember that the cottage tenants are people in the ocean beach community and will stay that way


Lawrance Wishneff September 23, 2023 at 4:26 pm

Please call the rhetoric and remember that the cottage tenants are people in the ocean beach community and will stay that way these people will stay in Ocean. Beach


Bill Joyce September 26, 2023 at 11:36 am

Am a 55yr member of Point Loma UMC and Waters edge. Please forward comments on this as hoping Sale is stopped and different option can come forward.


Lawrance Wishneff September 26, 2023 at 4:56 pm



Frank Gormlie September 27, 2023 at 2:26 pm
Frank Gormlie September 28, 2023 at 11:38 am

We’re glad NBC picked the story up – but the Rag broke the news and not a word about that from NBC. Very typical, however, of local mainstream press.


Pam Keel September 27, 2023 at 6:57 pm

Still no mention off these disabled people who live on this property!


Don Wood September 28, 2023 at 11:14 am

The minister and her church board may have good intentions, but chances are that OB is about to see another bunch of huge market rate boxes with balconies going up soon. Talk is cheap and what any housing developer builds is based on the market, not on religious ethics. I won’t be surprised if we see expensive new apartment blocks instead of truly affordable housing.


Pam Keel September 28, 2023 at 2:27 pm

Still no mention of the relocation of these special needs residents! Are they invisible?!!


Frank Gormlie September 28, 2023 at 2:30 pm

Pam – Not certain whom you’re addressing here.


Pam keel September 28, 2023 at 2:40 pm

There are two units behind the church with disabled and autistic people who have been allowed to live there for over 3 years with no infrastructure or care, who are living in ruins! They were given these residents with no care or even recognized, bought and sold with this property. The church is responsible for these tenants and must relocate them with this sell of this property!


nostalgic September 28, 2023 at 3:21 pm

Who goes to Mission Valley to go to church? Doesn’t seem very residential.


Frank Gormlie September 28, 2023 at 3:40 pm

Me thinks ye need to drive your wagon through the north side of I-8, through places like Civita – mega-mini-cities within the large metropolis.


Chris September 28, 2023 at 5:12 pm

My guess is church goers who live in or near Mission Valley?


Lawrance Wishneff September 28, 2023 at 5:31 pm

Need positive stuff i this mess


Lawrance Wishneff September 28, 2023 at 4:07 pm

Thsnk you for concern let us cool the negative stuff and worry about keeping the disabled AUTISMO RESIDENTS IN OCESN BEACH WHICH I WILL SAT IN OCEAN BEACH NO MATTER WHAT


Lawrance Wishneff September 28, 2023 at 5:33 pm

I need positive stuff in this mess


Pam Keel September 28, 2023 at 8:43 pm

These folks live behind the waters edge. What kind of Christians treat people with special needs so poorly? No concern outreach or relocation plans?! They gave them housing then forgot about them. They need transitional services!
The church is responsible for these residents!


Lawrance Wishneff September 29, 2023 at 5:56 am

We need positivity the disabled cottage residents
Are parts o f the ocean.Beach community and will remain that need spring people caring people


Lawrance Wishneff September 29, 2023 at 9:48 am

Need caring people not dictatorial transitional services


Pam keel September 29, 2023 at 2:47 pm

Lawrence you be lucky if you get transitional services


Lawrance Wishneff September 29, 2023 at 4:21 pm

Need positive people in life real caring people so please let us end TBE negativity


Lawrance Wishneff November 7, 2023 at 5:13 am



Pam Keel November 7, 2023 at 6:05 am

It’s not likely to find homeless housing in the beach communities because the area is expensive to live there.


Lawrance Wishneff November 7, 2023 at 4:39 pm

Let us please end and think of the beach HOMELESS AS HUMSN BEINGS


Lawrance Wishneff November 7, 2023 at 5:36 pm

Pogo ne don’t print well phone don’t print well ocean beach HOMELESS ARE HUMAN BEINGS


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