Our History

Our church was originally founded in Needles in the 1890's as a Congregational Church located at Broadway and C Street. In 1898 the Methodist Episcopal Church was founded and took over the above-mentioned church site. The church burned down in 1906 but was rebuilt in a similar style. This building still stands at Broadway and C Street today.

In 1939 at a General Conference in Kansas City, a unification event took place that brought several branches of the Methodist Church into one denomination. Our church became the Community Methodist Church. In 1968 at the General Conference held in Dallas, Texas the Methodist Church joined forces with the Evangelical United Brethren and became the United Methodist Church. Our church's official name became the Community United Methodist Church.

In 1966 the church purchased 2.5 acres of land at Bailey and J Street. Ground-breaking for the new church site occurred on December 1, 1974. In 1975 the first services were held at our present day site. The original site was later purchased by the Assemblies of God Church and operates as such today.

In June 2006 we disaffiliated from the United Methodist Church due to doctrinal differences. Negotiations with the UMC allowed us to obtain the property and contents.

Pastor Craig A. Freitag

Sandy and Craig Freitag

Pastor Craig grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. His father, who passed away in 2001, was the city editor of the Arizona Republic. His mother, who passed away in 2015, worked as a family therapist in Phoenix. Pastor Craig was saved at a Baptist revival meeting in Claremore, Oklahoma the summer after his senior year of high school. He was a serious, devoted Christian for one month, then backslid for the next 10 years. During this dark decade, he completed a Bachelor’s degree in English (graduating summa cum laude) and a Master of Divinity degree from the School of Theology at Claremont (graduating first in his class and receiving a preaching award). His plan was to be a religious journalist. But God got his attention again through a series of painful personal struggles, and he rededicated his life to Christ in the fall of 1987.

Soon after, he felt a strong call to be a local church pastor, something he had never considered prior to this. In the spring of 1988, a District Superintendent from the United Methodist Church called him and asked if he would consider being the pastor of a small church in Needles, California. Pastor Craig and his wife Sandy visited Needles and both immediately knew that God was calling them to this church.

They began their ministry at Needles United Methodist Church in July, 1988. 18 years later, in June of 2006, the church disaffiliated from the United Methodist denomination and became Calvary Church of Needles.

Pastor Craig and Sandy have been married 41 years (August 2) and have three children: daughter Emma age 29, son Caleb age 28, and daughter Michaela age 20.

Published: November 2021