I have been asked to share some of the things that stand out to me in the history of Valley Christian. One thing that has impressed me is the generosity of the churches that agreed to house our school before we had our own building in 1994. In 1973, we started in Bethel Baptist Church whose congregation had the vision to have a Christian school in Oshkosh; it was named Bethel Baptist Christian School. Their Sunday School rooms were the school’s classrooms, housing two grades for each teacher. The school added one grade each year.
When the school became independent, it was incorporated as Oshkosh Community Christian School. It continued to be housed in Bethel Baptist Church for several years while the board searched for an adequate facility to rent for the school. Finally, under desperation, OCCS moved to St. John’s Lutheran Church in Oshkosh which was a miracle because they had no families with children in OCCS. They rented their basement to us and made us feel at home in the Sunday School rooms located there. Their pastor had the same vision for Christian education as our school’s parents had. The board continued to look for a building to rent or buy to house the school with very limited funds.
At the request of parents, the board decided to add a high school. This meant they soon had to find another building to house the high school and the overflow from St. John’s as the enrollment continued to grow. The search for a building which would house the whole school failed.
It was Plymouth Congregational Church that came to the rescue in 1989. Their congregation also had a vision for Christian education. The era of a split campus began. For two years we used the PCC Sunday School rooms and in the fellowship hall we made a makeshift classroom which had to be disassembled and moved out of sight on Wednesdays for AWANA and every Friday so the fellowship hall would be available for church activities. The ninth and tenth and first and second grades were housed there first. The neighbors objected to the presence of a school in the PCC building. By this time, the school had dropped the word Community from its name and was known as Oshkosh Christian School.
After much searching again, the board could not find a building to rent or buy. In 1991, the Lord provided another church, Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church, that would rent part of their building to us. This time, after communication with the neighbors and meetings with the zoning commission, we squeaked by with a narrow majority vote for the conditional use permit. We moved the junior high and high school to St. Andrew’s Lutheran, and the grade school was completely housed at St. John’s Lutheran Church. At St. Andrew’s the teachers and students had the custodial and the secretarial duties. There we also had to move partitions on Friday afternoon to get ready for Sunday School on the weekend. The board members continued to look for a building that we could afford to buy.
Can you imagine their joy and surprise when they found out that the Eichstadts were willing to donate the piece of land now occupied by Valley Christian on the condition that OCS could raise enough funds by the end of the year to build a school on the land? They wanted a school built there so people would be drawn to the area to build houses in that housing development! We were flabbergasted (and a little doubtful, ashamedly). We were not accustomed to being wanted in a neighborhood. To God be the glory, the capital fund campaign was successful with many in the community contributing.
In the fall of 1994, we moved into our new school building! It was so exciting to have a principal, secretary, custodian, and all of our students under one roof in a beautiful new building! We had individual classrooms that were designed to be classrooms, a gymnasium, and space outside for a playground and athletics.
We must never forget that the school would not have survived if it had not been for the previously mentioned churches who generously and sacrificially helped us out when we needed them. We are so very thankful for their ministry.