As a child, David Shoemaker spent his Sunday mornings surrounded by a
close-knit group of family and friends at the First Advent Christian Church
As an adult, Shoemaker, 57, extends his
hand and a hearty “Good morning” to other church goers as they enter the
historic building for Sunday services.
On New Year’s Eve Shoemaker joined about
70 people for a 10 a.m. service that marked the 125th anniversary of the
church dedication. The service included songs, scripture readings and
remarks from church and community leaders.
“The fact that we celebrated our 125th
anniversary is a tribute to God’s presence and protection and to the
quality, commitment and faith of the people who have attended this church
since its inception,” said Pastor Rev. Jim Gilroy.
Political leaders presented
proclamations from the City Council and Sen. Dick Ackerman.
“You are not just another church in our community,” said city councilman
Jerry Amante from the pulpit. “You are an anchor to our past and remind us
of whence we came and continue to remind us of who we are as you perform
The church was dedicated on Dec. 30, 1881. Event organizers say that the
white wooden church is home to the oldest continually meeting Protestant
congregation in the county. A bronze plaque outside the structure shows that
it was named a historical site by the Orange County Historical Commission in
1981 for being the oldest church in the city.
One glance at items inside the building
also reveals this link to the past.
In the foyer hangs a large portrait of
Cynthia Snow, an original member of the congregation. In it, her wavy hair
is tied into a loose bun and the collar of her black dress is buttoned at
the top and accented with a round brooch.
In a staircase leading to the balcony is
a stained glass window that was dedicated in the 1930s to “all future
And in the main sanctuary hangs a wooden
clock dating back to the church’s founding.
“As long as we continue to wind it, it continues to run,” Shoemaker joked.
Just like the church structure,
Shoemaker’s own past and future is tied into the building.
His grandfather served as church pastor
in the 1950s. He now attends church functions with his wife Kathy, 52, and
three grown sons. When the time comes, he says he would also encourage his
grandchildren to attend the church, which continues to attract him with its
loving and embracing atmosphere.
“Everybody here gives of themselves to
others,” he said. “The one-on-one feeling here is what keeps me wanting to
1881 - Church dedicated
1916 - Classrooms added
1928 - Original sanctuary of the Tustin Presbyterian Church moved and added
on to the back of the church
1936 - Stained glass windows, baptistery, foyer, bell tower, and balcony
1967 - Fellowship hall dedicated
2006 - 125th anniversary celebration
Source: David Shoemaker of the
First Advent Christian Church of Tustin
Location: 555 W. Main St., Phone:
Pastor: Rev. Jim Gilroy