2015 Marks an Important Year for Mission Hills United Methodist Church

| December 11, 2014 | 0 Comments
Taken in 1922, this photo commemorates the Sunday school annex dedication for Mission Hills United Methodist Church.

Taken in 1922, this photo commemorates the Sunday school annex dedication for Mission Hills United Methodist Church.

Mission Hills United Methodist Church  (UMC) will celebrate 100 years of worship and ministry when the congregation marks its centennial in the New Year. The church at 4044 Lark Street was dedicated on Jan. 17, 1915. The celebration will include:

• A rededication of the church building and sanctuary at 10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, with Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño of the California-Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
• A community centennial celebration on from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015, with tours of the building, musical entertainment, fun activities for children and families and an old-fashioned barbeque, complete with hamburgers, hot dogs and throwbacks like molded Jello salad.
• A celebratory worship service at 10 a.m., Sunday Jan. 18, 2015, with birthday cake immediately after.

“I’m glad I’m still here,” to celebrate, said Luther Harris, who joined the congregation in 1952 shortly after moving to San Diego for a job as a naval electronics engineer. “It’s been like a second home to me all these years.”

Harris, who settled in Mission Hills, directs the church’s Tone Chime Choir and, behind the scenes, he is the person each year who installs the Three Wise Men above the main entrance to the sanctuary.

When a building has been part of the community for a century, it becomes a fixture, not just for those who attend services, but neighbors as well.

In the past few years, the community has taken note as the church has undertaken extensive renovation projects in preparation for the centennial. Both the interior of the Craftsman-style sanctuary and the exterior of the building were preserved, including the precious Judson Studios stained glass windows and the wood surrounding them. Mission Hills Heritage presented the Hauck Award to the congregation for excellence in preservation for the efforts.

But preservation is not all Mission Hills UMC gives to the community. The church has partnered with community organizations, for instance, serving as the charter organization for Boy Scout Troop 20, a relationship that also began almost a century ago — in 1918. More recently, the church has partnered with Kids Corner, a non-profit provider of after-school care for children from nearby Grant School.

The church also is host to 12-step organizations every night of the week and is the rehearsal home for Sacra/Profana, a dynamic new presence in American choral music, currently performing in the U.S. debut of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” at the La Jolla Playhouse.

Mission Hills UMC always has served as a place of community for families. This year, at the bottom of the steps to the historic sanctuary, the church launched “Sidewalk Play Stop,” offering free lemonade, crafts and silly science experiments, to children after school.

Rev. Karen Clark Ristine, who has served as the church’s minister for the past six years, said, “Our hope and prayer is to be a continuing connection to the community for the next 100 years.”

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