Community of Christ
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History

Community of Christ History

In the early 1800s, a young boy named Joseph Smith knelt in the woods near his family home in Manchester Township, New York. He felt separated from God; he also wanted to know how he could make his life count for good in a world full of confusion and sin. He wanted to join with God’s people, but he had no idea how to do that. So, in response to the scripture from James, he prayed to God.

How long this first attempt at verbal prayer lasted is not known, but he came to a point of deep despair. At this point, a vision surrounded him with love and mercy. From that light came a voice as clear as his own. As the vision ebbed and the voice faded, Joseph felt that he knew the truth. He felt the healing presence of God within and the forgiving mercy of Christ. He knew that God would be with him.

He struggled through his teen years, trying to balance his experience with God with his desire to be accepted by others in his community. He continued to have significant spiritual experiences, one of which led to the Book of Mormon. He also felt called to establish a church, officially organizing it on April 6, 1830.

Visit History at the World Church History page for access to more Historical information on the church.


Pasadena Congregation History

Profile of the Community of Christ, Pasadena Branch - 1950-2006

Seeds for the birth of the Pasadena Branch were planted when a handful of people began meeting at a member’s home on 5-15-1950. These people formed the nucleus which brought the work to fruition. When need for space dictated, the group moved to a Hall on Peerless & Old Spanish Trail (known as Al’s Bar) for over a year, then to the Pasadena Library and finally a store building on Wafer Street in Pasadena. The Heights Branch in Houston, TX, was the mother of this group which was officially organized into a Mission on 2-23-1955. A Mission Pastor and an Assistant Pastor was appointed.

The rice farmer who owned the land could be persuaded to sell only when he learned we wanted it for a church. It was acquired 1-27-1954 for $6000. Building plans were furnished by Albert Waters. The Ballinger Construction Co. erected the building at a cost of $40,000 but it was worth double that as the contractor was a member of the church and deducted work of members from the cost. It was built in true biblical style “by the sweat of their brows”. Ground clearing began 9-1954. By 10-1954, the foundation and walls were complete. On 12-12-54 there was an Open House at the Mission. The first meeting held in the still unfinished building was in January 1955 in an upstairs room. An organ which had to be pumped with the feet was used until an electric one was rented and then purchased. On 11-6-55, the formal opening took place with the Pasadena Mayor, District President and the Heights Branch Pastor , an Apostle and other dignitaries of the World Church were in attendance. The Pastor of the First Christian Church of Pasadena was guest speaker representing the Ministerial Alliance of Pasadena. The congregation had a membership of about 100 people. 21 people have served as pastors or co-pastors over the past 50 years

In 1958, individual members purchased pews or pooled their money to buy one at a cost of $80 per pew until the sanctuary was furnished. It took two years to save for the air conditioning unit which was installed in 1960. Upstairs carpeting was also purchased and the fire escape installed to meet city requirements. In 1962 beautiful drapes were hung. In 1963, members purchased, singly or jointly with another member, to purchase a pane of stained glass to complete our windows. The stained glass was the handiwork of a member of the congregation. Downstairs carpeting was added around 1965. On 8-27-66, members began construction of an addition to the building under the free supervision of a member who was a professional contractor. The size of the Fellowship Hall was doubled, new rest room facilities added and nine classrooms, a result of successful fundraising by members, On 2-23-75, we dedicated our Moeller Pipe Organ which was purchased for $7,560 raised by the congregation. In 6-1975, a new Everett piano was purchased for $1,150 for cash. The old organ was donated to the Cleveland Mission. In 12-1977, the long-awaited Public Address System was purchased and installed by a member. The most recent Pastor who has served the past ten years was instrumental in having the congregation purchase a satellite dish, so that the congregation and other branches in the Mission Center can view World Conference and other events that are broadcast from World Church headquarters in Independence, MO. In 2005, members again came up with the money to purchase a new projector. In 2006, to keep up with the times, this website has been created.

Over the years, the leadership has put much effort into increasing membership - over 200 baptisms took place. In 1963, the NASA Project brought many families to the Houston area who immediately became active in the branch.

Over the years, groups have been formed to meet specific needs in the branch: The Skylarks (for girls), a Boys Club, Men’s Club, Zion’s League, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Orioles, Young Adults, Zioneers, Adult Choir, Junior Choir, First Saints Softball Team (some years there were three teams), the Women’s Department. Annually, a Vacation Bible School was held for one week.

Outreach included two inspiring Witnessing Week-ends in 1973 and 1974. Cottage meetings, priesthood visits to homes, hospital visits, pastoral care groups and outreach to the community , such as the After School Tutoring Program, in which members assisted with the tutoring - free to students needing help with their studies. We donated teddy bears to the Inter Faith Ministries in Houston for children having to appear in court. Supported Houston Outreach Task with donations of clothing, etc. for the needy for many years. The Foster Parents Association has been meeting in our building, free of charge, for years and the congregation supplied baby sitters for the meetings. Some members are doing Prison Ministry currently. On May 13, 2006, members will have a float and booth in the Pasadena Strawberry Festival Parade. On 9-23-2006, we will be supporting the Bridge Over Troubled Waters (known as “The Bridge”) by organizing a 20 to 80 mile Bike Ride ($25 to $30 a participant). A Website will be established so that participants can register on line and send their money. 70% of proceeds will go to The Bridge; 30% to the Branch (after expenses, that is.)

In January 19, 1977, it came about that we were ready to divide and begin a group in the Bay Area just as Heights Branch had done with our group in Pasadena. The Bay Area Branch was established in Clear Lake City and we were both sad at losing their frequent association and happy that the work was expanding.

Social activities have included: Branch Campouts, Gym Night, Ice Cream Socials, Valentine, Halloween and Christmas parties and annual New Year’s Eve Watch parties. In 1963 Ealie Diamond started a Sunday evening Social Hour and Friday night socials at his place, after church picnics and volley ball get togethers at his place. There have been regular Christmas plays, Easter Cantata’s by the Choir. There have been bowling parties, trips to the Astros Baseball Games, dinner theater plays. Trips to International Youth Festival. One year in a group of 18 members went on a Church Historical Venture to Palmyra, NY, Nauvoo, etc. and also visited Niagara Falls. Another Peace Journey was made to visit the Temple. On April 23-30, 2006, about 30 church members will go on a Carnival Cruise aboard the Conquest to Cozumel, Jamaica and Grand Cayman as a fundraiser for the Pasadena Branch.

On October 22 and 23, 2005, the Pasadena Branch celebrated its 50th Anniversary. To celebrate the congregation and former members over 50 years joined together on the 22nd for a barbecue and a time of “looking back”. On the 23rd a “looking forward” worship service was held. U. S.Rep. Gene Green presented an American Flag which had flown over the White House on July 4, 2005. The president of the Foster Parents Association in the area spoke, and a letter was read from the Pasadena Mayor’s office. The Coastal Bend Mission Center President spoke of the congregations hope for the future, and a member of the First Presidency brought a moving and inspiring message.

Joyce
Branch Historian


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