Webaster's note: Established in 1878, with its first permanent structure coming in 1891, the First Presbyterian Church on Newhall Avenue was completely rebuilt after the 1971 Sylmar-San Fernando earthquake. The
quake ruined the previous (1923) brick building — although that building continued to be used for church classes and meetings until the 1977 version was completed.
A Church is more than a building. It is, among other things, the hands of people, loving hands, working together in the making of this Church a place of worship, a place of peace and spiritual renewal.
This vast undertaking could not have been planned and brought to realization without the faith and consecrated efforts of many people. In our happiness on this occasion we are thankful for the goodness of God and for all who have given generously and sacrificially of their time and money. We can not name them all here, but we do thank all from our hearts.
Appreciation should be expressed to the members of the Building and Finance Committees. During these Services of Dedication we see, as they do, the reward of their faithfulness. We are grateful to Rev. James I. Oliver, Administrator of the Synod's Presbytery and Congregational Development Committee, for his interest and aid in securing loans from the Synod and General Assembly for our construction. We are grateful to Mr. Robert R. lnslee,,A.I.A. and Mr. Amir Farr, our architects, who have patiently stood by us during days of indecision and increasing costs as we planned together our new sanctuary; and to Mr. James A. Hill, the Contractor, who has proved worthy of the trust we placed in him. A word or appreciation is due also to the Chairman of our Trustees, Mr. David E. Moore who gave of himself in many ways to make our dreams become a reality.
My own personal feelings are beyond expression. I rejoice as I realize that for over eighty-six years the pulpit of this Church has proclaimed the Good News of salvation and renewal through the atoning work of Jesus Christ our Lord. My prayer is that it may ever be so, and that the lives of all who form this congregation throughout the generations may match this magnificant building in beauty and in steadfast service to our Lord and God.
Robert Bingham, Pastor
THE BUILDING COMMITTEE
Jerry Veenendaal, Chairman
James T. Finster
THE CHURCH STAFF
Pastor - Rev. Robert Bingham, M. Div.
Parish Associates - Rev. William G. Ward; Rev. Marvin A. Weishaar
Church Secretary - Margaret Murray
Treasurer - Vernon Vanderpool
Assistant Treasurer - Don House
Chancel Choir Director - Maurita Thornburgh
Youth Choirs Director - Kathryn Headley
Organist - Dennis Ehrhardt
Custodian - Floyd H. Yingst
When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delights, nor for present use alone; let it
be such work as our descedents will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come
when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say as they look upon
the labor and wrought substance of them "See! this our fathers did for us."
— John Ruskin
Devout believers always have made extreme personal sacrifices to find and establish a place of worship. Many hardships were endured and history records that the earliest houses of worship were unpretentious and simple in appointment, and often in secret locations. As Christianity spread over the face of Europe, a new freedom of mankind was expressed in building, to the glory of God, edifices which have become renowned for their beauty and magnificence. These structures, particularly of the Medieval and Renaissance periods, required many years to erect and seldom were completed within a generation.
The new Sanctuary for the First Presbyterian Church in Newhall in its architecture of simplicity and dignity, still expresses man's relationship to God and his desire to honor God by offering only his best. The style is not bound by tradition, nor should it be, since it is important that the Church building be representative of the period in which it is erected. The architecture of the design, is reflection of the desire to combine a material expression of man's relationship to God, present day construction techniques and materials, and the functional application of all building units to meet the church's total program requirements.
The success of a Church building project depends in large measure on the validity of the program requirements as established by the Church authorities. The First Presbyterian congregation, through it's Pastor and Building Committee, determined that the Sanctuary should be established not only as a landmark in the community to symbolize its tradition of many years of service, but that it also be a structure to provide the necessary space and liturgical arrangement for corporate worship in the reformed tradition. The shape of the Church evolved out of the committee's study involving many months of time.
Suggestive of the "reformed" tradition the wood Communion table, with its inlaid ceramic artwork, rests as a free-standing unit on the quarry tile Chancel floor. The pulpit, symbolizing the "word" has been carefully located to emphasize this important item of furnishings.
The arrangement of the pews to the Chancel area was designed to emphasize the historic Protestant tradition of the importance of the preaching of the Word of God and the fellowship of God's people about the Communion Table.
The universal language of symbolism is one of the rich heritages of the Christian faith and the worshipper may experience many enriched moments in reading the iconography portrayed by the beautiful stained glass windows and the symbols for the Chancel furnishings. The stained glass windows have been executed by one of California's outstanding glass artists. Some of the original stained glass panels or medallions in the First Presbyterian's Sanctuary have been incorporated in contemporary window designs.
The Chi-Rho symbol on the pulpit consists of the two Greek letters used to abbreviate the name of "Christ" and clearly proclaims the truth, "I believe in Jesus Christ, His Son, Our Lord". This symbol is one of the most ancient of the so-called monograms of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is superimposed over the famous Alpha and Omega symbol. The former expresses Christian knowledge as well as the word, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." The Alpha and Omega proclaims that Jesus Christ is the beginning and end of all; He is the first and the last.
The leg supports for the Communion Table are decorated with interwoven symbols of the Cross and the Vine, the grape leaf and grape fruit. These symbols are also interspersed on the pew ends.
Natural materials and applied color play important parts in supplementing and accentuating the desired atmosphere. All materials including furnishings have been carefully selected for texture and color to focus the attention of the worshipper to the Communion Table and Pulpit. All items of furnishings and the liturgical artcraft are of original design to conform with the basic design of the structure and expert craftmanship has been employed to execute and achieve the beauty of these various appointments.
Robert R. Inslee, A.I.A.
Jos Maes, Stain Glass Windows Designer
Karl Weibach, Ceramic Tile Designer