First Church of Christ, Scientist

Sharing Christian Science in Laguna Beach, CA
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Historical sketch

The first Christian Science meetings in Laguna Beach were held in 1916, in the lobby of the Arch Beach Tavern.  (The Tavern was built in 1915 and housed people from the movie industry.) The attendance averaged about ten. Before that date a few Christian Scientists had met in a private home and read the Bible Lesson together.
As interest spread, larger quarters were necessary and meetings were held in three different locations on Forest Avenue.
In 1923 church services and a Sunday School were conducted in the theatre on Coast Boulevard.  It was there, under the auspices of First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Santa Ana, that the first lecture was given.
In 1924 a move was made to the corner of Forest Avenue and Glenneyre Street, and the Reading Room there was open for a few hours each week.  Later the Reading Room was moved to an upstairs location on Forest Avenue.
In 1925 the group became a Society under the Manual of The Mother Church, with a card first appearing in The Christian Science Journal in June of that year.  Articles of Incorporation were approved by the State of California on December 19, 1927.
In 1930 the Society became First Church of Christ, Scientist, Laguna Beach, a recognized branch of The Mother Church, the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.  Services were held in what was then the Woman’s Club House where the City Hall now stands.
In January, 1928, a building lot on Glenneyre Street was acquired.  In May, 1930, this was exchanged for a more desirable location at the corner of Glenneyre and Legion Streets.  The Building Fund grew and plans went forward for the erection of a church edifice.  This was completed and first occupied in May, 1937, and dedicated on November 5, 1944.  The Reading Room was located in the church edifice until December, 1947, when it was moved to 284 Forest Avenue.

As interest spread and attendance increased, larger quarters became necessary for both the Sunday school and the church services.  In April of 1950, the site on the corner of High Drive, Rose Place, and Hawthorne Road was purchased and in May of the following year, work began on the new edifice on a “pay-as-you-go” basis.  This method of financing continued until the fall of 1953 when, having sold the Glenneyre Street property and being obliged to move from temporary quarters in the Laguna Theater, on Ocean Avenue, a small loan was negotiated in order to finish the edifice for its first service in May, 1954.  This church edifice was dedicated May 20, 1956.

Properties directly across Rose Street from the church between Hawthorne Road and High Drive were acquired in 1957 and 1961.  Structures were removed and the property paved and landscaped providing additional parking and greatly enhancing the outlook from our church.
Installation of a twenty-five rank, three-manual Moller Pipe Organ was completed in the summer of 1961.
In July, 1966, the Reading Room property on Forest Avenue was purchased.  The old building was removed and a new Reading Room was built and opened to the public on December 1, 1968.

An extensive remodeling and redecorating of the church took place in 1972 and 1973.  A wooden beam and chandeliers were installed in the auditorium and paneling was added.  Large-scale louvers and shutters were installed.  The entire church was repainted and recarpeted.  The project was completed on a “pay-as-you-go” basis and expressed the warmth, beauty, and love of its members.

As loyal Christian Scientists, working together for the true concept of Church, let us continue to demonstrate, step-by-step, our Leader’s statement in Science and Health, p. 233:6  “...progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfill.”

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