The First Presbyterian Church of Newhall celebrated its 131st anniversary at a small party in the church’s courtyard recently.
Although the church is not in its original location, the church has continued to operate for well over a century.
Times have changed but Jana Tatch, an elder on the mission committee, said the church has tried to keep up with them and that their inclusiveness is what makes them unique from other churches.
“We really pride ourselves on welcoming and being friendly and being open,” said Tatch. “This has been a really tough time in our country, lots of polarization. But we welcome everybody, and we’re open to diversity and inclusion.”
Attendees celebrated the anniversary as a birthday party with balloons, ice cream and two birthday cakes. Attendees posed in front of the original church bell, decorated with birthday balloons, and there was a pinata near the playground for the children.
The anniversary celebrations are also a way for members to swap stories and reminisce. Kevin Johnson, a church member chatting with another member, said he loves the church because it reminds him of home.
“I always look forward to the celebrations for just kind of the history and the time that church has been here,” said Johnson. “For me, it reminds me of how I grew up in Montana. It reminds me of the church I grew up with [there]. So that draws me to here.”
His conversation partner, Dearyl Fisher-Ogden, said she loves the church for its welcoming atmosphere.
“Oh, it is wonderful. I’m so privileged to be here and the people are so great,” said Fisher-Ogden. “I’ve been able to meet a number of them and they’re so gracious to me, and I really appreciate it. They’re welcoming, very welcoming.”