THE HISTORY OF OUR CONGREGATION
(This history is a compilation of several very similar accounts that were written over the years and supplemented with information provided by some of our long-time members. It has been gleaned from sparse records, so it may not be complete, and some names and dates may be subject to modification on better information. It was assembled by Jim Crooks on March 18, 2020.)
Our Yucaipa Beginnings
The Yucaipa church of Christ had its beginning in the year 1919. Ellis and Anna Beasley moved from Los Angeles to Yucaipa that year with their two daughters, Mildred (Jones) of Yucaipa, and Mary (Young), later of Redlands. Mr. and Mrs. Orval Vinall and their son Ray also came here that same year. These two families comprised the group that planned the establishment of this congregation.
Together they began meeting in the Beasley's home on Cedar Avenue, and the two men would take turns teaching and preaching. The Beasley home served not only as the meeting place for the young church, but as sleeping quarters for the many visiting preachers and other traveling members.
During the summer of 1920, Brothers Beasley and Vinall arranged for a tent meeting which was held on a vacant lot on Yucaipa Boulevard near California Street. Brother Gideon W. Riggs, the father of Bobby Riggs, conducted this two-week series of Gospel meetings.
In 1924 E. T. Hamilton preached for the congregation when it began to meet at a small one-room store building at the corner of California Street and Yucaipa Boulevard. The rent for the building was $3.00 per month, and it was adequate for the young congregation. Students from Harding and other Christian colleges, which later included Pepperdine, came to assist in the preaching and teaching in exchange for their bus fare ($1.00) to the building.
By 1940 the congregation had outgrown this small building, and the meeting place was relocated to the American Legion Hall. Then in 1945 the church purchased a building at the corner of Avenue A and Adams Street which housed the church for the next nine years.
During those years the church began to grow in number, and by 1953 it became apparent that a larger facility was required. Our present highly visible site at 33981 Yucaipa Boulevard was purchased, and a new auditorium seating 300 people was erected there in 1954 using the labor of many of the members.
In 1964 our current auditorium with a seating capacity of 548 was built, again with much volunteer labor from the members, to replace the outdated facility which was then converted to classrooms and a kitchen. An open house service was conducted on Sunday, September 27, 1964, to celebrate the completion of the new building with Brothers E. Paul Matthews and A. J. (Jack) Harriman presenting the morning and evening lessons.
In 1977, after much thought and prayer, the elders decided to construct a two-story educational building that was designed to be used as a Christian school when not in use by the church. This building was erected during 1978, and on September 10, 1979, the Panorama Christian School was established, and it served as an outreach to the community for many years.
The history of any successful church can be traced to its faithful working members. These are some of the men who have served as ministers of this congregation after E. T. Hamilton (mostly between 1926 and 1939): W. C. Whistle, Brother Read, Brother Willbanks, L. L. McQueen, D. B. Carlisle, W. W. Pace, Floyd Hamilton, Claude Thurman, T. J. Walling, H. Alton Wimbish, and Brother McCann.
Other ministers who have served this congregation since 1939 are listed below:
|Bill Shannon||1939-42||Alton Little||1969-70|
|Roy Key||1942-44||W. P. (Bill) Jolly||1970-74|
|Burt V. Pauley||1944-45, 65-68||Steven Guy||1975-80|
|Jeff Walling, Sr.||1945-46||Delbert Taylor||1980-83|
|Ed Hamilton||1947-49||Richard Shields||1983-91|
|Clyde Griffin||1950-51||Mark R. Guy||1991-95|
|Ben J. Franklin||1951-55||Peter Mostert||1995-2001|
|Lonnie E. Woolverton||1954-56||Bill Bridges||1998-99|
|Lee F. Lambert||1956-59||Jim Laws||2001-13|
|Harvey M. Harriman||1959-61, 75-83||Dustin Campbell||2012-14|
|E. Paul Mathews||1961-65||Robert F. Curry||2014-17|
|Robert L. Nave||1968-69||Milton Beauchamp||2017-21|
Current Minister: Sage Bridges - Sage started in February, 2022.
Some of our associate ministers have included the following: Norman B. Westergard, 1963, A. J. (Jack) Harriman, 1964-65, Max Tarbet, 1965-66, P. L. Winchell, 1966-67, and Don Smith, 2010-11.
The men who have served as ministers to our seniors are: Bill Bridges, 1999-2001, Jack Shupe, 2001-2016, and Dub Coffer, 2018 to the present. Our youth ministers have included: Donovan Fox, 2000-2004, Michael Guy, 2003-2006, who was our family involvement minister, and Kennon Olison.
The elders who have served our congregation since 1962 are listed here:
|William A. Dale||1962-66||Will Rogers||1985-90, 97-2006|
|Lonnie E. Woolverton||1962-66||Quill Fuchs||1990|
|Buford Jarvis||1962-71||Jack Shupe||1990-91, 2004-16|
|Vernon Williams||1963||Marvin Morrow||1990-92, 97-98|
|Vernon Ewton||1963-66||Mike Swager||1990-97|
|Burt V. Pauley||1966-67||Harold Alexander||1990-98|
|Ralph N. Chase||1966-85||Forest Riddell||1992-2003|
|Stover Sinter||1967-69||Bruce Williamson||1992-2006|
|Clarence Crabb||1967-71||Richard Smith||1999-2001|
|Fred Weibel||1967-84||Onis Ellis||1999-2002|
|Vern Collins||1969-84||Ken Hammond||2000-03|
|Cecil Bishop||1974-78||Jack L. Hall||2000-13|
|Van Counts||1976-85||Dale Harriman||2004-07|
|Bill Bridges||1985-90, 99-2010||Dan Campbell||2008-14|
|Herman Wilson||1983-89||Richard Timko||2014-16|
|Carl Collier||1983-90||John Powers||2014-16|
The Hispanic ministry here in Yucaipa began with Polo Trujillo, 1996-1997, and it is currently being led by Rene Hernandez, 1999 to the present. We have also supported the training of new preachers of the Gospel by sending the following young men and their wives to Bear Valley Bible Institute in Denver, Colorado: Dustin Campbell and Sage Bridges.
Gospel meetings and workshops have brought into our congregation men like these: Hugh Shira, J. J. Turner, L. O. Sanderson, Alan Bryant, Jerry Rushford, Don Humphrey, Roger Dickson, Buster Dobbs, Furman Kearley, Cecil May, and Jim Bill McInteer. We have also welcomed prominent women to our congregation, such as: Janet Fortner, Rhonda Lowry, Billy Silvy, Susan Giboney, and Emily Lemley.
Foreign missions have always been important to the congregation. Mission work supported by this church in times past have been conducted in New Zealand and in many places in the United States. Families who have shared the Lord's Word in foreign lands include the following:
|Richard and Ellen Shields, Kenya||1991-96||Sondra Boyd, Benin and Togo||1996-97|
|Julio and Erma Mejia, El Salvador||1992-2002||Don and Rita Boyd, South Africa||1996-2002|
|Julie Weibel (Giordano), Italy||1993-94||Steve Mocks, Mexico||2000-01|
|Glenn and Glenda Rogers, Nigeria||1996-97||Robert F. Curry, Peru||2015
In addition to Panorama Christian School, our service to the community of Yucaipa has included many other ministries and outreach programs for the youth, the ladies, the deaf, and the seniors. Also, we have continued to maintain a food bank and a clothes closet for the needy.
Our congregation has supported the World Bible School, local radio programs, and several Gospel meetings. We have hosted the annual West Coast Missions and Evangelism Workshop and numerous Ladies' Days, drawing Christians from throughout California.
For the youth, our church has sponsored summer Bible camps, the JOY bus program, vacation Bible schools, and frequent youth rallies. We have also supported Christian children's homes in Tijuana and Ensenada, Mexico, and in Gallup and Portales, New Mexico. For the senior saints, we have conducted Bible readings and studies in the Sunset Haven and the Golden Oaks Retirement Homes. The Yucaipa church of Christ cares about people!
Today, the Yucaipa congregation is still growing and looking to the future. New ways of serving the community with the knowledge of God's Word are constantly being explored. The Yucaipa church of Christ is grateful to God for all the ways He has blessed our congregation. We believe that the best is yet to be in Christ! This faith is the cornerstone of our church, and with God's help, we know that the church will continue to be a body where each serves the other, and all serve Christ. May God bless us in our continuing walk with Him.