Church History

The church was organized in 1880 at the residence of Elva Downs, located just below the present location of the church.  There were 18 charter members including eight members of the Field family, 2 Snows, 3 Downs, 2 Adamses, 2 Hunts, and W.L. Shatts.  During 1881, the 18 members grew to 45 members, 
including names such as Godfrey, Randle, Belts, Dresser, Chandler, Shull, Blackman, and Gates.  The church finished construction in 1881, and a complete charter dated December 30, 1881 was issued by the County of Los Angeles (now Orange County).  Early members and friends of the church included Ella Jones (missionary to India), Thomson, Finster, Beltz, Utt, Brown, McFadden, Orgen, Squires, Trowbridge, Crawford, Hatch, Crain, Stevens, Warner, and Tustin.  The first minister was Virgil Hunt. In 1916 six Sunday School classrooms were added.  In 1928 Reverend William E. Snider arranged for the purchase and moving of the Presbyterian Church for use as a social hall.  In the mid-1930’s, extensive renovations were made to add the frond foyer, steeple, balcony, and a two-story Sunday School facility with stained glass windows placed in the chapel area.

The latest improvements were made in 1967.  Additional Sunday School rooms were added and the social hall was removed and replaced with a new fellowship hall.

Many of the greatest services in the church should include the faithful friends and members who have gone out to serve in other areas.  Those who have given their lives in service for our country include Gilbert Bristow, who died on “D-Day” in the Normandy invasion of World War II in France, and Reverend Arthur Mills, who left our church as pastor to serve as a chaplain in the same war.  Prior to coming to the church in 1884, J. H. Brown fought in the Civil War and in the face of extreme peril to his own life, took a message through enemy lines, which later brought to him a Congressional Medal and personal commendation from the lips of President Lincoln.  His medal is now kept by the church.

The original pews, it is told, came from Boston, Massachusetts by boat, before the Panama Canal was built, to San Diego.  They were then brought to Tustin by a team of horses.  They were placed in the building for the dedication on December 31, 1881.  The clock on the wall was also placed at the time of the dedication and Pastor Hunt proclaimed that the clock would continue to serve until the Lord returned.  The value of the stained glass window in the foyer is priceless.  Since the 100th year celebration, the chapel has been completely redecorated with new carpet, and pews.  At the entrance into the sanctuary you will find an original pew on either side to remember where we came from and honor those who built the church we still gather in.