A Brief History of the Church

At the turn of the century five Mexican families of Presbyterians soon followed by three more, arrived in Redlands from Mexico.

La Capillita
The families joined the newly organized Mexican Presbyterian Church of San Bernardino. Even though they were members in San Bernardino, they met in "La Capillita," at the rear of the Gavino Trevino home-place at the North East corner of Webster and Union Streets.
On March 18, 1913 the Mexican Presbyterian Church of Redlands was dedicated with the Rev. Cipriano Frausto in the pulpit. There were 34 charter members. Of those, 22 were from the original Mexican families. "La Capillita" was now known as "Iglesia Presbiteriana Mexicana de Redlands."

Diega Villanueva and Gavino Trevino
The Rev. Helidora Pure was now the minister and the church had 51 members.
A celebration was held July 19th to dedicate a new and expanded church and yard. There were 105 members in the Rev. Livingston Falcon's congregation.
Rev. Trinidatd Salazar became the new minister. There were 77 members on the rolls.
The congregation voted to change the name of the church from "Iglesia Presbiteriana Mexicana de Redlands" to "El Divino Salvador Iglesia Presbiteriana Unida." The Rev. Abran Fernandez was the pastor and there were 95 members.
During the Rev. Jaime Quinone's ministry, the leadership of the congregation took a hard look at the effectiveness of the church's thrust into the community. Because of changes in the community and the fact that the children of the church were exposed to more English than Spanish, services were changed from all Spanish to alternating weeks of Spanish and English, the name was changed from "El Divino Salvador Iglesia Presbiteriana Unida" to "The Divine Savior United Presybterian Church." 105 members were on the rolls.

Impact Presbyterian
With the calling of Rev. Harold Hudspeth to the pulpit, both the style of worship and the church name were changed. On December 5, 1969 the church was rechristianed "The Impact Presbyterian Church" for In Mission Pursuit And Community Thrust. Many old-timers withdrew, but many others were attracted to the new style of worship. At the chartering, 49 members were included. 28 were from the Divine Savior church. In March of 1970 the church was dedicated as the Impact Presbyterian Church.
The Rev. Harold Hudspeth resigned leaving a void that needed filling.
The Impact Church's issue orientation was feeling a need for a spiritual basis for action through worship. By late 1983 and early 1984 the congregation was barely holding on to life.

Rev. Beltran conducting a worship service
The Rev. Joseph E. Beltran was called to fill the ministry. A new stimulus was injected into the church. There were 40 active members and 55 inactives on the rolls.
On June 16th, 8 new membrs were received into membership as well as 2 inactive members restored. This was the first time any new members had joined Impact since 1981.
Rev. Beltran resigned effective Sunday February 13th. The church was, once again involved in a theological thrust and recommitment of faith. On April 3rd 4 adults and 4 youths became new members. There were then about 30 active adults and 10 active children.
The Rev. Jamieson Matthias was installed as Pastor on May 21st for a two year term. The church had voted to change its name once again. This time to "The Community Presbyterian Church of Redlands."

Rev. Karcher before the new stained glass window of the Eucharist
The Rev. Sylvia Pruitt Karcher was elected to become pastor in April. At her first service two adults joined the church. Since that time, the programs and outreach of the church have grown and the congregation has become very active in the church.
The Inland Empire Presbyterian Fellowship, a Taiwanese/Ethnic Chinese Presbyterian church began sharing Community Presbyterian's building with its worship service Sundays at 12:30 PM. Rev. Caleb Wu is the pastor. In 1999 Community and Inland Empire have shared many moments. We shared a service with them, with an African Baptist giving the sermon. It was all wonderfully chaotic with each group singing hymns, doing responsive readings, and praying in its own language. Words of the pastors were translated into Mandarin or English as necessary. A great poluck of Chinese food was enjoyed by all after the service. At Christmas time we had a combined Christmas party and worship service.

Full house at worship during the Christmas service

Pastor Jan in the Church Yard
Rev. Sylvia Karcher retired in 2007, and her associate, Jan Opdyke, commissioned lay pastor of the Presbytery of Riverside, is now the church's pastor. Opdyke is also President of the Redlands Community Hospital Foundation. "She's a fine preacher," parishioner Helen Huntley said. "And absolutely a great minister, too." The congregation is small -- about 40 members -- but lively," said Reverand Dr. Bill Huntley, an ordained Presbyterian minister who has taken an active role in the church over almost 40 years. "The inter-racial, intercultural and interlanguage aspects of our worship are very special," he said. "We have our roots in a Hispanic ministry, and many of those families are still connected a century later. We sing in Spanish part of the time. Our congregation also represents many other traditions." "The future is what is important," said the church's oldest surviving former pastor, Jaime Quinones, who preached at 90th anniversary in 1993 and the 100th anniversary celebration in 2003. Quinones and his wife, Ruth, served the church from 1957 to 1964. "I'll not be here for the 125th anniversary," Quinones said in his sermon, "but Mama and I will be watching."

Pastor, Jan Opdyke
e-mail: pastorcommunpres@gmail.com

Web address: http://www.redlandscommunity.org

There is a place for you at COMMUNITY.

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