Sunday, August 25, 2013

8155 Painter Avenue

Whittier Church of Christ
Whittier, California

The Whittier Church of Christ is built in a classic Spanish style.  It features a front colonnade of  arched openings.  The whole of the church is roofed in red clay tile.  And above the roof of the double front doors of the auditorium is a circle window.  Another distinctive feature is the tower with a dome of turquoise and maze glazed brick.
Tower and Dome

Colored Glazed Brick Dome of Tower

"During World War I the need for a congregation in Whittier was recognized. A few members of the church lived in the Whittier area for short periods from 1916 to 1938. The earliest know attempts to begin a congregation was in 1916 in the home of R.T. Lyttle.... But, not until May 1938 was there a sustained work begun.

"The church began regular meetings with 32 charter members. They met in the Women’s Club, at the corner of Friends and Bailey Streets.

Front Entrance of Auditorium

"In 1943 the congregation bought a building at 341 South Milton Avenue. The church occupied this facility until property was secured and the present auditorium built at 8155 Painter Avenue. The new building was dedicated December 17, 1950.
"Additions have been made to the property.
"On October 6, 1985 the church concluded a building fund campaign called “To God Be The Glory” by taken up a $1.2 collection to the build our Family Life Center. The FLC consists of classrooms, fellowship hall and gymnasium." (Link 1.)
Photos: Taken in June 2013 by SW.
Link 1:
Link 2:
God, be with the persecuted Christians through out the world. Amen

Sunday, August 18, 2013

6355 Greenleaf Avenue

First Christian Church
Whittier, California

"Whittier is located in Los Angeles County, about 12 miles southeast of the City of Los Angeles....The Charter form of City government was ratified in 1955. The City covers 14.8 square miles and has an estimated population of 85,244. 

"The town was named after fellow Quaker John Greenleaf Whittier, a famous poet, writer and newspaper editor. John Greenleaf Whittier never had the opportunity to visit the town that bears his name but he did write and dedicate a poem in honor of the new City.

"My Name I Give To Thee"

Dear Town, for whom the flowers are born,

Stars shine, and happy songbirds sing,

What can my evening give to thy morn,

My Winter to Thy Spring? 

A life not void of pure intent

With small desert of praise or blame;

The Love I felt, the Good I meant,
I leave Thee with My Name. (Link 2.)

Corner Stone

Whittier First Christian Church was built in 1923.  The total value of the property in 2008/2009 was $982,414. (Link 4.)  The front of this stately church has six free standing Ionic columns.  To each side, on the facade are two Doric columns.  Both sides of the building  are adorned with banks of tall arched windows.  The glass in these windows is marble with a center feature.

Side Marbled Glass Windows

Sunday worship services are presented in both English and Spanish.

Whittier First Christian Church  was designated a heritage landmark in the
California Register of Historic Resources in 2001.(Link 3.)

Photos: Taken in June 2013 by SW.
Link 1:
Link 2:
Link 3:
Link 4:
God, be with the persecuted Christians through out the world. Amen

Sunday, August 11, 2013

                                                                                                August 11, 2013

10830 Downey Avenue

St. George Greek Orthodox Church
Downey, California

"Greek Orthodox Christians have lived in Downey since the 1950's and attended other Greek Orthodox Churches in the area.  In 1982 it was determined that enough families expressed an interest in establishing a Greek Orthodox Church in Downey.  The parish first worshiped in spaces rented from S. Marks Episcopal Church.... In 1995 the parish purchased the present property on Downey Avenues and renovated several vacant stores on the site into a Church and fellowship hall....(now across the street from the church). The doors of Saint George were opened on October 6, 2002...." (REF 1.) and the church was consecrated in 2010.

Storefronts used as a Church and fellowship hall
from 1995 to 2002

"Eastern Orthodox churches generally follow the same architectural formula-the form of a dome superimposed on a cross or a basilica.  Architecturally, the interior of Saint George is heavily influenced by elements found in the Creat Church Christ, commonly called Agia Sofia, in Constantinople (present day Istanbul), particularly in the sweeping arches and the dome.  Unlike non-Orthodox churches which use steeples and spires, the Byzantine roof is typically constructed with one or more domes.

Sanctuary Ceiling Dome

"The dome is a symbol of the union of heaven and earth.  The dome of St. George, influenced by the dome of Agia Sofia, is made of interlocking copper plates and is pierced by 24 windows and reminiscent of the dome of the Great Church floating on a sea of light.  The dome has an internal diameter of 30 feet, external diameter of 34 feet adn an internal height f 55 feet from the floor.  Externally, it is crowned with a cross which symbolizes the holiness and strength of Christ's Church.  The top of the cross is 60 feet from the ground." (REF 1.)

"In the dome is painted the icon of "Christ the Almighty".... Held up by six angels, the ring is called the 'glory' in Greek." (REF 2.)

"Saint George was designed by Sam Grillas and Mark Lawrence of Grillas, Pic, Roser and Alves of Irvine, California.  The floor space is approximately 10,000 square feet and has a designed seating capacity of 383 persons.


"The floor of the Church is in the shape of a Greek Cross with four equal arms.  There are three separate ares of the Church proper:  The Narthex, the Nave and the Sanctuary....The Narthex is the entry vestibule of an Orthodox Church....The Nave is (where) the people gather for

"The Sanctuary, or Altar, is separated from the Nave by an Icon Screen or Iconostasion.  The Iconostasion is symbolic of the Temple Veil in the Old Testament which separated the Holy of Holies from the remainder of the Temple.  On the Iconostasion are icons which are painted according to the Orthodox Tradition.  There is a definitive scheme of placement of the chief icons on the Iconostaision. The icons on the right side are those of the Lord Jesus Christ and St. John the Baptist, the Archangel Gabriel and St. Demetrios. Those on the left are, the Virgin Mary and St. George, the Archangel Michael and Sts. Constantine and Helen.

"Behind the Holy Table is a large, wooden cross bearing an icon of the Body of Christ." (REF 1.)  "On the the icon of the Virgin Mary.  Her arms are stretched out and the Christ Child is  enthroned within her..."More Wider than the Heavens". (REF 2.)

Left Transept of Sanctuary

"The right and left transepts contain figures of well known saints of the Orthodox church.  On the right lower transept are figures of male saints.....In the left transept (are) female saints...(REF 2.)

Right Transept of Sanctuary

"The internal beautification of Saint George began in 2005 with the commissioning of the iconographers Spiro Tsilikaras and Katerina Valchou of Athens, Greece to paint the icons for the iconostasion and the wall icons."  It was completed in 2010.  "The woodwork is hand carved by artisans in New York and Los Angeles." (REF 1.)  The Bishop's Throne in the front right of the sanctuary is an example of this work.  It is "where the presiding hierarch sits when he is present." (REF 1.)

Bishop's Throne

"The Greek Community in Downey shares its cultural, religious and ethnic hereitage with the annual Greek Festival held the first weekend of June each  year." (REF 1.)

Thank you: To Lina Ifantis, Secretary for information and a tour of the church.
Photos: Taken in June 2013 by SW.
Reference 1: "Saint George Greek Orthodox Church, A Brief Overview"
Reference 2: "Iconography 'Windows Into Heaven' " Saint George Greek 
                            Orthodox Church
God, be with the persecuted Christians through out the world. Amen

Sunday, August 4, 2013

                                                                                                            August 4, 2013

8441 East Florence Avenue

Downey Memorial Christian Church
Downey, California

"Downey Memorial Christian Church’s Story
"This is the story of a dream, of love, of fellowship, of life and yes of death; and interwoven into all is the 

love of God.  It is the story of how a few people gathered together to dedicate their lives so that a church might be born.  Devoted to knowing God and to being His people in the world, they became family sharing hope, disappointment, excitement and tragedy, but always secure in the undergirding support of our the Lord.

Corner Stone

"The sun rose on Downey on October 9, 1966, and it woke many of the community to a true day of excitement.  For it was on this day that they were to see the fulfillment of a dream.  This was the day of the public dedication of Downey Memorial Christian Church’s first “real” sanctuary.  Eight and a half years of loving work, sharing life, worshiping and being part of a greater family had gone into this dream of building a congregation and, ultimately, a house of worship.  It was not to be an ordinary structure, but truly a unique symbol of Christian beliefs – an inspiring testimony of this church’s warm Christian love and open invitation to a needy world. 
"The dream began with an idea sparked in the mind of one man, Jack E. Robinson.  When he, his wife Margaret and their four children moved to Downey, they were disappointed to find no Christian Church (Disciple of Christ).  Immediately, Jack expressed to Margaret the thought that they should move together in an effort to establish a Disciples of Christ witness in their new community. 

Chancel (through window)

"So began a new movement in the history of the Christian Church.  However, this was not to be the first Disciples Church in Downey.  A century ago a Disciples Church had flourished, but later became independent over an early twentieth century dispute.  The name Downey Memorial Christian Church eventually was chosen in memory of those early Disciple pioneers and of that short-lived movement.
"The First Worship Service was held on May 18, 1958.  The official charter was established on March 29, 1959, there were forty-four charter members.  They were not alone as many visitors began attending regularly as well.  For the first two months of its life the church was served by the Rev. Louis Mayo, a retired Navy chaplain, who acted as Interim Pastor.  On July 27, 1958, the Rev. Lewis Eloe became our first official Minister, serving the congregation and the community with vitality and excitement for the next two years." (Link.)

The large statue of Christ in the Chancel is lit at night, blessing all who pass the church.

Photos: Taken in June  2013 by SW.

God, be with the persecuted Christians through out the world. Amen