It All Started in a Home.

The First Southern Baptist Church of Anaheim began as a mission in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Chester W. Harroun on February 16, 1951. The following excerpt was compiled by Fern Harroun.

"We, my late husband and three of our five children moved from Oklahoma to Anaheim in September of 1942. We could not find a Southern Baptist Church so we visited the Calvary Baptist Church. We met two families that were Southern Baptists but were not happy in this church.

One day we were in Santa Ana looking for a place to live when we met a real estate broker by the name of Crawford who was a Baptist and he told us of a little church that was getting started and meeting in a dwelling house on North Ross Street.

We began attending with them as they were young and needed us as much as we needed them. We attended there for 8 years and saw them grow from a small beginning to what is now Bristol Street Baptist Church. Then we began to feel that we could do more effective work if we could serve in the same area as our residence. One Sunday the area missionary visited in our church. Of course his interest was missions. We felt like he was sent to us so we invited him home with us to look and talk the situation over.

“There were 10 present for the first meeting which was on February 23, 1951. The offering was $7.00.”

Then after much prayer and consideration we decided to contact the two families that we had met several years earlier. They were eager to get Southern Baptist work started in Anaheim. They in turn knew other families that were interested but we had no finances in which to rent a building. So again after much prayer we decided to open our home which was at 1206 West Broadway. We decided to meet each Tuesday night so as not to interfere with the positions that each held in the church they were attending. We put an ad in the Bulletin and Brother Moon met with us each time and we always had a good message and prayer. There were 10 present for the first meeting which was on February 23, 1951. The offering was $7.00.

One of the men said ‘we would not be Baptistical if we did not take an offering’. All agreed and we continued to take an offering each time we met. The first Sunday in May we were able to rent the V.F.W. Hall at 146 N. Philadelphia St. for $10.00 a Sunday. We moved to the Hall with 14 present the first Sunday.

In June, 1951, Miss Lois Williams, a summer worker, was sent by the Home Mission Board. She organized a Vacation Bible School in La Palma Park with the help of Mrs. C.W. Harroun, Miss Myra Harroun, Miss Thelma Clamp, Mrs. E.O. Burgess and others. The enrollment was 60 and average attendance was 40. The school was held before the church was organized and without a building.

Brother Moon continued to meet with us and would make visits during the week. We grew very slowly at first but soon the work began to grow. In July we organized into a church with 25 charter members.”

The following are the original charter members.

  • Mr. and Mrs. H.V. Dobkins

  • Dr. and Mrs. C.R. Dean

  • Nancy Dean

  • Myra Harroun

  • Mercy Baldinger

  • Mr. and Mrs. C.C. Hall

  • Mrs. Bert Noblitt

  • Mrs. T.C. Nations

  • Mary L. Henson

  • Mr. and Mrs. A.C. Willis

  • John Dobkins

  • Thelma Clamp

  • Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Harroun

  • Mr. and Mrs. G.B. Clamp

  • Mary L. Thomas

  • Mr. and Mrs. Wm. J. Rogers

  • Mr. and Mrs. H.L. Looney

One month was held open from the date of organization for Charter Members and the following came:

  • Mrs. Anna Dietz and Robert

  • Mr. and Mrs. Roy H. Dowis

  • Mrs. Gladys Pittman

  • Mrs. Daisy McCloud

October 21, 1951: First Baptismal Service

Brother Moon remained with the church most of the time between the first meeting and the time Reverend Whitehurst came to be interim Pastor.  On October 21, 1951, Brother Moon officiated at the first baptismal service at Santa Ana, California. Mrs. Mercy Baldinger, Mr. Edward Dunn, Linda and Doyle King and Mrs. Elsie Smallwood were baptized.

A.F. Whitehurst (Oct 1951-Jan 1952)

A.F. Whitehurst (Oct 1951-Jan 1952)


Rev. Newand's First Message

On January 27, 1952, Reverend Newland brought his first message to a “patiently waiting membership”.  The Newland’s lived in an apartment furnished by Dr. Dean located at Anaheim Dog and Cat Hospital.

Property Purchased

On March 1, 1952, the church began meeting in the Ebell Club for $80.00 a month and still had prayer meeting at the V.F.W. Hall for $15.00. In June 1952, the church purchased the Grace Lutheran Church property, located at Palm and Elm Street, for $18,000, with possession in 60 days.  Sunday and Wednesday nights were available immediately. In September, the church borrowed $15,000 from the Home Mission Board and repaid the loan at the bank, and members who had borrowed money on their homes, cars, insurance, etc.

Organizations Formed & Orange County Association Joined

In October, the W.M.U. and Brotherhood were organized and the church joined the newly formed Orange County Southern Baptist Association. Our Pastor, Reverend Newland, was the first moderator.  In December, Mrs. Charlotte Kilbourne was hired as a part-time secretary and visitor.


Pastor Newland Resigns & Preston Howell Called

Reverend Newland resigned in January 1953 and the church called Reverend Preston Howell, Midway City, California, to be Pastor.

First Deacon Ordained

The church ordained its first deacon on April 19, 1953. The deacon’s name was Robert Yount.

Church Programs of the Time

In May 1953, the Training Union had an enrollment of 64, average attendance – 38. In August the Sunday School enrollment was 140 – average attendance – 80.

Deacons recommend on March 3, 1954. We encourage your participation in the following:

  • Central Training School

  • Sunday School Study Course

  • Youth Week

  • Orange County Association, Easter Sunrise Service at Knott’s Berry Farm

  • Vacation Bible School, June 21 – July 2

  • Summer Camp, July 19-23

  • Simultaneous Revival, September 5-19

  • School of Missions, October 3-8

  • Fund Raising Campaign for California Baptist College


Pastor Howell Resigns & Thomas Ashby Called

Reverend Howell resigned in July, 1954 and on August 18, 1954, the church called Reverend Thomas G. Ashby of Nevada, Missouri to be Pastor.


Education Space Rented & Land Purchased

In February 1955, the church voted to rent a house at 416 W. Elm to use for educational space. Also, the church voted to buy 2 ½ acres at 1275 E. Broadway (the present location) for $23,000. The average offering was $313.00.

Ground Breaking Ceremony

On May 8th, 1955, ground breaking ceremonies for the church were held. Dr. Gray from Santa Ana and Brother Moon were the speakers for this occasion. On July 1, 1955, the church had $6490.08 in the Building Fund.  In October, 1955, after moving into the new building, the Sunday School attendance was 165, in November, Sunday School attendance was 221 and Training Union was 77 and by February, 1956 the Sunday School attendance was 264 and Training Union was 99. Offering was $680.39.


Two Morning Services

In February, 1956, the church voted to have 2 church services at 8:15 and 11:00.

Crescent Mission Started

The church voted in July, 1956 to start a mission at 9685 Crescent Avenue. They met at this address with 49 in Sunday School and 48 in Training Union. In this month, our church went back to one church service on Sunday morning.  Sunday School attendance was 210 and Training Union was 77. Average offering was $ 492.00.

Update: They are currently at 629 N Gilbert St.  You can visit their website at: www.crescentbaptist.org


Reverend Thomas Ashby Resigns

Reverend Thomas Ashby resigned in April 1957 as Pastor.

Don Howell Called to be Minister of Music

In April 1957, Don Howell was called to be Minister of Music.

Rev. Emery Collins Called as Pastor

In July, 1957, Reverend Emery Collins of Richland, Washington, was called as Pastor. In October, 1957, there were 67 enrolled in the church choir. In December, Brother Collins reported $ 698.00 a week had been pledged as a result of the Forward Program of Church Finance. Enrollment in Sunday School in January, 1958 was 474 with an average of 229. Training Union enrollment was 184 with an average of 107.


Don Howell Resigns & Joseph Abston Called

Don Howell resigned as Minister of Music in April, 1958, to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. Joseph Abston was invited to visit the church on March 30 and was called to be Minister of Music as soon as his school was out. He was to serve full-time in the summer of 1958 and part-time when school began.

Building Committee Formed

The Building Committee for the new auditorium was Clyde Finch, Chairman; Chester Harroun, Norman Dunton, Henry Giddens and Jim Jewell. Finance Committee was: Ross Dean, Chairman; Jerry Burgess, Roger Anderson, A.C. Pollock, Loyd Woodson and Lloyd Lowry. Two morning services were begun again in October, 1958. The choir had a Christmas party at the home of Miss Doris Uber and several new members were welcomed.  


Music Committee Formed

A music committee was formed in March, 1959. The Building Committee recommended that the church build a new auditorium as sketched by the architect. In April 1959, there were three church choirs. The church voted to buy a Baldwin organ and the Annie Armstrong offering was the largest in the history of the church.

Another Mission Helped & More Deacons Added

In July 1959, the church’s eighth anniversary, the church voted that heating and air-conditioning be installed in the new chapel. They also voted to “extend an arm of the church” to West Anaheim-Cypress Area where Reverend Mack Wilder was leading a mission and had 55 in Sunday School.

Mr. D.D. Douglas was elected an honorary deacon in September, 1959. Deacons ordained by this church are: Robert Yount (April 19, 1953); W.M. Morrison, E.S. Nelson, O.K. Smith (November 27, 1955); Clyde Finch (Nov. 1956); Jim Sims, Everett Pendergraft (January 19, 1958); Charles Kelley, A.C. Pollock (December 28, 1958); Charles Hinckley, Don McCamey and David Maddox (December, 1960). The church licensed George Davey to preach in 1956. In November 1959, $ 4,000 was offered for pews by a member of the church and gratefully accepted.

Thomas Ashby (Aug 1954-June 1957)

Thomas Ashby (Aug 1954-June 1957)

629 N Gilbert St Anaheim, California

629 N Gilbert St Anaheim, California



Founded in 1951, our church has been a staple in the community for Jesus Christ. We continue to look to grow new ministries to meet the needs of our everchanging community while maturing our own people to do effective work for Christ in Anaheim.