Who We Are
Christians from the local community in voluntary association. Together we learn more about our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ and what it means to be His followers. It is our goal to put into practice His teaching in our everyday approach to life and thereby become a community of people who bring the outworking of God’s love into our lives.
Our Mission Statement
The mission of the First Congregational Church of Anaheim is to bind together followers of the Christian way of life. As we come together to worship and grow in faith, we seek to make God’s will dominant in our individual lives, in our church and in the community.
We truly are an extended Christian family and we welcome and invite you to join us and make our family stronger.
HISTORY OF THE GRIFFITH HOUSE
Mrs. Griffith’s grandfather started a Congregational church in Ashtabula, Ohio which served as a station in the underground railroad for escaping slaves from the south. He had an old two-seated carriage with side curtains that he used when taking the escaping slaves from his barn to the harbor when he learned that a boat from Canada was coming in. Mrs. Griffith’s grandmother helped feed the slaves that were hidden in the barn.
Mrs. Griffith’s father, Preston B. Plumb, was also an Ohioan and at the time of the troubles in Kansas, before it became a state, he was working on a newspaper in Zenia, Ohio. He felt so strongly on the slavery question that he left when he was eighteen to become a Kansan. He helped found the town of Emporia and from there enlisted in the Army. After the war Mrs. Griffith’s father brought her mother to Kansas. In 1891 her father died, leaving behind a widow with five children (three girls and two boys). In 1971, Mrs. Griffith’s mother died, leaving the family home in Emporia, Kansas to the girls.
Mrs. Griffith joined the Congregational Church in Emporia, Kansas. The church valued the freedom to think, to speak, and to change. Growing up in the church helped broaden Mrs. Griffith both mentally and spiritually. In her own words she said “freedom imposes responsibility.”
George D. Griffith married Caroline Southwick Plumb in Emporia, Kansas. His family were also early Kansans.
In August of 1928 Mr. and Mrs. Griffith and their two sons came to live at 515 Placentia Avenue in Anaheim. It is believed that the Griffith House was built in 1926. As the years passed, Mrs. Griffith was left a widow, her sons grew up and married and the time came when the care of the property became a burden. Mrs. Griffith, who had a strong Congregational background, wished to share what she had received. She felt her husband’s spirit was with her in sharing this gift. In 1957 she donated a portion of the property, together with the buildings, for the founding of a Congregational Church. Four other Congregational ministers, who believed in the principles of the free church which she cherished, became the trustees of this gift – deeded, debt-free property. These men – Rev. Perry Schrock (he grew up in the church in Ashtabula that Mrs. Griffith’s grandfather helped to found), the Rev. Harry Butman, the Rev. Niedringhaus, and the Rev. Raymond Waser – held title to the property until the church was fully gathered and incorporated in January of 1959.
Reverend Vernon was chosen to be the first pastor of the Anaheim Community Congregational Church in 1958. His wife, Eleanor describes the family’s arrival at the property as follows:
“I was struck by its simple beauty and tranquility. It was like an oasis in the desert. Driving up the dirt path from Placentia Avenue, the first thing our daughters spotted was the circular, red brick fish pond with its golf fish and lily pads. The next thing that caught our eye was the big old pepper tree. At its base we could see pulleys, ropes of various sizes, even a ship’s lantern – all evidence of the Griffith boys’ love for sailing. As you stepped into the entryway today, you may have noticed the flooring made of cross-sections of orange tree wood, also the red-tiled flooring in the kitchen and down the long hallway. In Mrs. Griffith’s living room, the heavy cross beams above, giving he illusion of a vaulted ceiling, made this room ideal for using as a chapel. The home, as well as the auxiliary buildings, were made of adobe – with a red tile roof – so typical of early California. At the time our family moved into the home, we noticed that the casing around every window and door was painted in a strong blue color. When we inquired about this, Mr. Griffith told us that the reason for the blue trim was because, in keeping with old Spanish tradition, the color blue signifies “truth,” and truth would keep the evil spirits from coming in through the windows and the doors.”
On Sunday, March 9, 1958, twelve adults, five children, and one baby gathered in the living room of the Griffith House for the first service. About four months later, 83 people signed their names as Charter Members of the Anaheim Community Congregational Church.