Led by The Rev. Ross Purdy and Mayor Jess Talamantes, congregants of the First Presbyterian Church of Burbank were invited to join pastor and pol to turn a small patch of earth, ceremoniously commencing the groundbreaking for major renovations at their Olive Avenue house of worship on Sept. 25.
Organized in 1887, the structure that first housed Burbank Pres, as it is referred to by congregants, was located at the corner of Fifth Street and Palm Avenue. Leveled by a windstorm in 1891, a new church was built in 1894 at Third Street and Angeleno Avenue. After two decades of service, that structure was destroyed by a fire in 1915 and rebuilt at its current location at Fifth Street and Olive Avenue. In 1948, the present building was erected with the sanctuary completed in 1956.
As the years have passed, church staff has become increasingly aware that the layout and design of their existing church was not optimally efficient. With a majority of the structure not properly conducive for functions and inaccessible to elderly or physically challenged parishioners, growth was once again in order. The new design will optimize the functionality of the facility and campus; create a more asthetically inviting and sustainable structure, and bring it into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Among the special guests who took part in the groundbreaking ceremony were the church’s associate pastor, Andrew Kasberg, the Rev. Tim Anderson of Burbank’s Calvary Chapel, the Rev. Dr. Ken Baker representing the Presbytery of the Valley, pastoral associate David Lessley and his wife, Carolyn, whose father once pastored the church, 83-year-old church member Ralph Walroth and those overseeing the project including Property Committee Chairman John VanderGiesen and his committee Matthew Bond, Ralph Beauchamp, David Flynn, Doreen and Norm Roadarmel and Paul Wemyss.
Others in attendance for the ceremony and following reception included Kathy Purdy, Kyle and Cathy Kelley, Bob and Christine Ralphs, Kathy Rohwer, Marcia Slack, Ed and Bev Chambers, Jane Shanks, Dana Elliott, Justin Fallon, Skip Flora, Aleta Smith, Bill and Trish Vosper, Ralph and Holly Hitchin, Kathy Rohwer, Kaye Norris, LaDonna Morris, Merwin Chew, Anita Black, Lyle and Alice Jellings, Elise Dragna, Jim and Merle Woodburn, Jane Mulder, Nancy Foote, Mai Forster, Carolyn Jackson, Cory Elliott, Carol Sparling, Paul Frantz, Alice Allen, Frances Kim, Wilma Myers, Avo Tolmie, Carly Jones, Mark and Julia Wallace, Rosemary Frankian, Carol Flynn, Doreen Roadarmel, Anne Kaiser, Jim and Marilyn Graves, David and Sylvia Herman, Kathy Bond, Marie Ellis, Ralph Wenig, Ilse Forsse, Jean Skinner, Marcia Baroda, Mike and Kathy Ellis, Ron and Sally Geraci, Sharon Landrum, Lorraine Essex, Linda Mayo, Elaine VanderGiesen, Margaret Bogenschutz and Mel Meredith.
The new facility is slated for completion in the summer of 2012.