The conditions that led up to the organization of our church were very closely allied with the early settlement of Sierra Madre. The community of Sierra Madre was established in the fall of 1881, and in February 1882 a Sunday School Class was organized. This class met in the local Schoolhouse located at the corner of Hermosa and Live Oak (now known as Orange Grove Avenue). Each Sunday, the organ, hymnbooks, and firewood were carried to the bare one-room building by those attending.
As time passed, the adults desired to have worship services. They invited ministers from various denominations to preach. This format continued for a few years until March 7, 1886 when an invitation was extended to all those interested in organizing a Congregational Church to "tarry at the close of the morning service." On Saturday, March 27, a number of Christians, believing that it was God's will for them to organize themselves as a Congregational Church, requested representatives from neighboring Congregational Churches to examine their condition and to advise. They assembled together as an ecclesiastical council at eleven o'clock in the morning in the Schoolhouse to organize the First Congregational Church of Sierra Madre. Thirteen people joined, their denominational backgrounds diverse: three Methodists, three Baptists, three Congregationalists, two Presbyterians, and two by confession of faith.
The original thirteen members were: C. Edwin Cook, Mrs. Belle W. Cook, Mrs. Mary A. Abbey, Joseph W. Goodwin, Mrs. Mary A. Reed, Mrs. Fidelia Blanchard, Mrs. Josephine E. White, Irving A. White, Hubert A. Whithead, Mrs. Fanny A. Andrews, Mrs. Annetta M. Carter, Miss Florence Carter (Mead), George B. David.
In 1890, the Old North Church (pictured on the right) was constructed on the north side of Sierra Madre Boulevard. The young church struggled through numerous pastors and financial crises before stability arrived.
The current church building on the south side of Sierra Madre Boulevard was dedicated in June of 1928. SMCC grew to be a church of several hundred members, becoming an important part of the community in the 1920s-1950s.
Christ-centered efforts, empowered by the Holy Spirit, stimulated dynamic growth in the 70s and 80s. SMCC added a second and then third Sunday service. The recession of 1990-1994 hit Southern California especially hard, and some members of the church family relocated or retired elsewhere.
In October 2005, Rev. Richard J. Anderson, Senior Pastor of SMCC for nearly 40 years announced his intent to phase out of this position. This launched an intensive two-year process which culminated with the installation of Rev. Paul S. Beck as the 24th Senior Pastor of Sierra Madre Congregational Church on October 26, 2008.
MISSION AND VISION
Over the years, two characteristics have come to make up the fabric of SMCC. One is family. Not only are our church ministries are designed to reach the entire family, but our entire congregation functions like a family community. SMCC is a place to know and be known, a place to be connected, a place to belong. The second characteristic is rootedness. SMCC is deeply rooted in the history of Sierra Madre and the surrounding communities, and has been as a key institution in the area. As we seek to reach out to the rising generation with the gospel of Christ, we draw from this sense of rootedness and connection.