came to what is now Orange County in the early 1870's. Anaheim was a
small town with 881 people. The
first Methodist minister in the area was a Circuit Rider, Rev. J.E.
Miller. He preached every fourth
Sunday. The first Methodist
minister in Anaheim was the Rev. L.M. Leihy, appointed here on September 24,
1878. Some services were held in
the Robert’s Apartment building at the corner of Lemon and Center St (now
Anaheim Methodist Episcopal Church
first Methodist church in Anaheim was built on South Philadelphia St. near
Center St. Under the leadership of
Rev. D. O. Chamberlayne, several men of the town built the church. (An old receipt shows that 5½ pounds of
wire nails were purchased for 55 cents at the Hippolyte Cahen dealership at the
southwest corner of Center and Los Angeles St., now Anaheim Bl.) It was dedicated on September 29, 1889. The small
white church was 26 feet wide and 52 feet long with an impressive steeple. The pastor’s invalid wife, Mrs. Chamberlayne,
sold her much-prized piano so that a bell could be purchased for the tower of
the church. This church, known as
the Anaheim Methodist Episcopal Church, served the community from this location
parsonage was built in about 1904.
It stood beside the little church.
1905, two rooms were added to the small church – one 16x24 and one 12x12. New oak pews were purchased to replace
the old benches, which had varied in size, color and comfort. An organ was purchased. In 1906, electric lights were installed
in the form of brilliant chandeliers. The church was rededicated on June 10, 1906.
outgrown the little church, plans were made for a new, larger building. The old church property was sold and
the church town down. During the
demolition, the bell from the bell tower was stolen. During this time, services were held in the Mason Hall,
which was upstairs over a store at Philadelphia and Emily.
1916-1918, the Rev. H.H. White worked to see the construction the new church
reach fruition. His successor, Rev. J.F. Humphrey, saw the completion of the
new church project. Built at the
corner of Philadelphia and Broadway, the First Methodist Episcopal Church of
Anaheim was dedicated April 11, 1920. It cost $90,000 for the property
and building. The church was well
known as White Temple Methodist Episcopal Church, so named in honor of Rev.
Harry White. A bungalow cottage adjoining the church property to the
east, was purchased and used by the youth of the church.
First Methodist Episcopal Church (White Temple)
this time, a new parsonage was purchased at 506 E. Center St. It had ten rooms,
all the modern comforts and conveniences, and was considered the best parsonage
of the conference.
local newspaper, The Orange County Plain Dealer, in an April 9, 1920
article, described the new church:
“The church auditorium was outfitted in leather upholstered opera chairs
of ‘ample dimension’ seating 400.
Seating for 750 could be accomplished by opening sliding doors and even
extend to 1,000 by other extensions.
Velvet carpet, in a restful shade, is down the aisles and on the
An Estey pipe organ, a gift of Mrs. Charles Eygabroad and Mrs. William
Wagner, will not be ready for dedication, as it is in transit from the factory
at Battleboro, Vermont. It will
have two keyboards and wide variety of stops. The air, furnished from a blower in the basement, will
connect with the wind chest through a pipe 80 feet long. Screens for the organ have been built
into the structure to show no organ pipes. It was thought that highly burnished reflective light would
be trying to the audience.
“Thirty individual classrooms and a large social hall, kitchen, and a
ladies parlor equipped with a buffet kitchen make up the interior. Modern equipment in the main basement
kitchen includes a large range, oven, steam table and serving table.
“The auditorium itself is heated with a natural gas furnace with
automatic electric units. Large
exhaust fans expel the fumes and foul air. Classrooms use gas radiators.
“The architecture of the exterior is Italian Renaissance and is 80x139
feet. The extreme height is 50
feet. Outside are eight large
columns and three main doorways, with a cemented basement.
“With the real estate, furnishings and organ total of $90,000, the
recently purchased parsonage on Center Street adds another $10,000. This $100,000 investment is the most
up-to-date church in Orange County and the best in the Southern California
Conference of the Methodist Church.”
of the great memories of White Temple was the carillon chimes that sang out
over the town at noon and 5:00 p.m. every day, and on Sunday mornings. (A tradition that continues at AUMC
this church, the only other place in town with kitchen facilities was the Elks
Club. Thus, the church was used by
many groups for meetings and banquets, and became an important place in the
Peoples Church and Wesley Methodist Church
In 1926, White Temple
divided over religious philosophy and local political issues. A new
congregation was formed and called the People’s Church. A church was
built at 630 N. Los Angeles St. (now Anaheim Bl.) The Rev. Harold L.
Thatcher served as the first minister. In 1930, Peoples Church was renamed Wesley Methodist Episcopal.
In 1959, the Wesley
congregation purchased a church facility at Romneya and Acacia in
Anaheim, and would soon become known as East Anaheim United Methodist Church.
|Meanwhile over the
years, White Temple changed names to become First Methodist Church of
Anaheim, and later First United Methodist Church of Anaheim. |
September 1930, Wesley Hall was built at the north side of the church
property. The large, 26x54 foot,
building included a stage and small kitchen. It was built with an expenditure of $3,000 for materials,
and at the hands of the Men’s Bible Class. Wesley Hall was used by the Bible class, as well as the
Epworth League. (John Wesley was
born in Epworth. These youth
groups were renamed Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF) after World War II.)
East Anaheim United Methodist Church
great flood of March 1938 inundated much of the town when the Santa Ana River
overflowed its banks. The flood
filled the church basement to overflowing. Tables, chairs, hymnals, music, Bibles and the piano were
ruined and floating. After pumping
out the water, mud and silt were a foot deep. The airbag that supplied the pipe organ had to be
1939, the church celebrated its 50th anniversary. The sanctuary was redecorated with new
furnishings, new rugs and drapes.
The pews were rearranged.
large Fellowship Hall was built in 1953.
It was named Wagner Hall in honor of William Wagner, the father of
Muriel Lenz. For weeks before
Christmas, youth and adults would work together to bake fresh Fruitcakes in the
Wagner Hall kitchen. These fruitcakes were sold by youth, raising funds
for activities and service throughout the year. The sanctuary was remodeled in 1954.
In 1968, First United
Methodist and East Anaheim United Methodist developed a plan to
reunite. On December 14, 1969, that joyous union took place. A family
who were long-time members donated nine acres of property at Wagner Ave.
and State College Blvd. for a new facility.
In 1971 the
combined congregations, now known as the Anaheim United Methodist
Church, began worshiping at Katella High School. The united
congregation met at the school for two years while our new campus was
under construction next to the school at the new church site.
On Palm Sunday, April 15, 1973, our present sanctuary and church facility was dedicated. The campus included several classrooms and meeting rooms. A new Fellowship Hall center was completed in July 1981, providing a large social hall, state-of-the-art kitchen facilities, church offices, a library, and meeting rooms.
AUMC before Fellowship Hall was built
Today our congregation continues to unite each week in joyful worship and in Christian service to our neighbors in Anaheim. We are deeply grateful to all those who have gone before us, and who built the foundation for us to reach out, serve and invite with the love of Jesus Christ. We pray that many new friends will join us as we embrace God’s future, touching many neighbors with the life-changing love of God.
Anaheim United Methodist Church
Click on the links below for more memories of our church's history...
For more information on the History of the global United Methodist Church, click here.
| ||Sharing Our History with Future Generations...|
Since 1878, our church has served the people of Anaheim and surrounding communities. We have a rich history. We would like to make sure that history remains alive for future generations. If you have any old photos, historical documents, or other memorabilia relating to our church history, and are willing to share with us, we would love to post it here on our website. Original materials will be returned to you if you desire.
Here are just a few of the items we are looking for:
Sunday Church Bulletin from December 14, 1969, when the former First
and East churches combined to form Anaheim United Methodist Church
Sunday Church Bulletin or Dedication Program from Palm Sunday, April
15, 1973, when we dedicated our current church facility.
photos, Chimes, Sunday Bulletins, papers or other items that covered
landmark events of the church, or may be of historical or anecdotal
interest. Of course, this includes items from the former First (White
Temple) or East (People’s and Wesley) churches.
Please contact Dennis Gray (714-879-2367 or email@example.com).