Pastor Jim Day and wife Barbara
Pastor Jim Day and wife Barbara

I have had the privilege of serving The Journey Church as Pastor for just over 1 ½ years. Oddly, I thought I was I was retiring in 2014, but apparently God had other plans. Since that time I have “retired” “ three times for a grand total of 18 months off. I’m not complaining. Over the years I’ve had the privilege of serving in small churches, mid- size churches and in one church that grew to 1500, and I’ve learned while needs in each are similar, they each differ greatly in their scale of need. It’s all proportional.

Barbara and I were married in 1968, and back then had no idea the places God would take us, or the various ministries God would lead us into. For one, this is my first time working as a boomerang pastor. In 2015 I stepped into the role of “part-time and temporary Pastor,” I was here for 3 ½ years, and when the church was financially and spiritually stable they called Pastor Randy Ehle to a full-time position. He served four years. Following his resignation I was asked to step in and help again, returning on June 1, 2022.

One unique feature this time is the church had been had been destroyed by arson in March of 2022. Dealing with issues such as insurance claims, insurance being canceled, figuring out where to worship temporarily and trying to rebuild an under-insured property have proven to be a major challenge for me and for the congregation.

In spite of those things, our people are united in their efforts, and are willing to face the challenges together as a body of one. As one said, “The Journey is still on fire for Jesus.”

Since that time we have grown both numerically and spiritually and the people of The Journey Church are united, warm and welcoming, and our guests never leave without being loved on. Our atmosphere is casual, our music is superb and our worship of the Lord Jesus Christ and commitment to His Word are second to none.

If you have been hurt in other churches, The Journey Church is for you. If you have seen legalism, take precedence over biblical truth, The Journey Church is for you. If you are looking for a loving church family, The Journey Church is for you. If you are looking for quality worship music, The Journey Church is for you. If you are seeking a meaningful relationship with Christ and other believers, The Journey Church is for you. If you want a church that honors the Bible as God’s timeless word, The Journey Church is for you. No matter how you shake it, THE JOURNEY CHURCH IS…

A Place For You

Pastor Jim


The City of Sonora, known as the “Queen of the Southern Mines,” was established in 1848 by miners emigrating from the State of Sonora, Mexico. The early settlement was often referred to as the Sonoran Camp, however the official name was, and still is that of the miner’s home in Mexico, SONORA.

As with many communities in California’s Mother Lode, gold mining was the driving force behind Sonora’s early development. By 1849 the population of the town was approximately 5,000 and remains so today.1

In 1857, a group of believers came together to discuss the possibility of starting a new church in Sonora, and below is a copy of some of the minutes of that meeting.

Sonora, Nov 22nd 1857 Pursuant to notice a meeting was held at the House of C.L. Street in Sonora at 3 o’clock P.M. the above date, by the friends favorable to the organization of a Baptist Church, to take into consideration the expediency and practicability of said object. 2

Out of that meeting was established THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH and the first Pastor to be called was the Rev. C. King. The services were held at the Tuolumne County Court House.

Eventually a church building was built (history not available) but it was destroyed by fire in 1897. The church was later rebuilt. Seventy years later, in 1967, the current property was purchased on Mono Way, and a new church was built at that site.
In 2011, the church name was changed, so it is now doing business as THE JOURNEY CHURCH.

Old Journey Church
First Baptist Church on Mono Way DBA The Journey Church

Sadly, 1897 would not be the last fire for this church. In March 2022, a suspected burglar/arsonist, using an accelerant, set fire to the inside of the kitchen, so the main worship center, along with the kitchen, social hall, offices and classrooms was totally destroyed, and the children’s wing severely damaged. The large building with the cross is no more.

A wonderful memory for many is the glass cross shown at the front of the building where a glowing light showed through each night. A more shocking memory was seeing the flames as they burst forth from that same cross while our beloved building was burning to the ground.

Isaiah wrote words of comfort to the people of Israel, and his words resonate with us today. Isaiah 61:3 …to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes. NIV

Journey Church on fire

Our church building was left in ashes, seen below, but here Isaiah reminds us that God is in the business of returning “Beauty for ashes.”

Journey Church after the fire
Picture Courtesy of the Union Democrat

Please note that while the building was completely destroyed, the symbol of Christianity still stood, and that “Old Rugged Cross” is God’s reminder that “HE NEVER LEAVES OR FORSAKE US.” (Hebrews 13:5). Through destruction and chaos, the real church, the people, were only rejuvenated. Since that time the people have responded in faith, the congregation has grown numerically as well as spiritually and in unity, and once again, beauty has arisen from ashes, AND we have also remodeled a modular building on campus as a temporary worship center.

Modular building being used for church service
And it easily converts to an amazing place to gather for a Thanksgiving or Easter meal.

Our old C.E. building has been repaired, remodeled and renamed the PATHWAY BUILDING. After all, every journey needs a path. This building now houses our offices and classrooms., and in back is a fenced playground for children. We now are in the process of planning the next steps for our church, and invite all to join us in our efforts.

The Pathway building