St. George's Episcopal Church

Did you know that the local St. George's Episcopal Church began as a parochial mission way back in mid-1958? The mission purchased land where the church now stands and opened its chapel-size sanctuary in 1962.

Its first vicar was the Rev. Oswald Jefferson who accepted a call to Claremont after one year of service and was replaced by the Rev. Joseph Redinger, who became a prominent figure. The church's first headquarters office temporarily opened in early 1960 before a permanent church site was found.

The congregation, numbering a little more than 100 members initially, started meeting for its worship services at the La Cañada Thursday Club, which could seat only 120. Sunday School enrollment was 125 with classes being held at the adjacent Ballet Petit dancing studio.

Seeing an increasing membership problem as early as five months after the mission was started, St. George's began looking for more room and was able to get permission from the La Cañada Unified School District to use the multi-purpose building at Oak Grove School on a lease arrangement. Monthly payments of $100 were made, which covered gas and electrical costs.

The number of communicant members had jumped to 260 in the 22 months after the Oak Grove School rental agreement as the church began a search for a permanent location.

It was announced in late 1960 that St. George's was in the process of buying three pieces of land, totaling two acres, at the southwest corner of Foothill Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue. This would become the home of the church.

Occupying the property at that time were Showcase Properties, Eve's Hat Shop, a colonial-type home ? once the residence of movie cowboy Tom Mix and a medical facility after that ? the home and garage of Mr. and Mrs. Mal O. Giaimo at 4463 Commonwealth ? the church address would be 4467 Commonwealth ? and a vacant lot owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jack Schwinn. Included was a driveway access onto Foothill.

Names associated with the church plan included Leonard Tingey, senior warden; Cassius Culberson and his church site committee; James Lang who headed the Zoning Committee; also James Roberts, William Boneli and Mrs. Edwin Busch of the Architect Search Committee; attorney Frank P. Doherty, church counsel, who represented St. George's in the successful zone exception case, and Father Redinger.

There were many significant events at the church.

In 1960, St. George's purchased a vicarage on Olive Lane to house Father Redinger, his wife and four children.

Participants at the dedication of the St. George's Chapel two days before Christmas in 1962 were the Rt. Rev. Francis Eric Bloy, bishop of the Los Angeles Episcopal Doicese and a Flintridge resident; clergy of the three sponsoring parishes; Lewis Barth, lay reader of St. George's; Richard Barth as the crucifier and Father Redinger.

In 1968, six years after its sanctuary made its debut, the local church gained important parish status.

Heading the one-year campaign to attain status was a committee comprising Father John Lathrop, vicar after Father Redinger; Leonard Tingey, Tom Stoever and John Houston. The panel's final job was to submit the mission's credentials to the Diocese.

The approval was given at the annual Diocese Convention in Los Angeles.

Following the county's okay of its zone exception application, St. George's took occupancy of its new split-level education building in 1969.

The church began its operation with six support guilds.Don Mazenvsl-mazen,don.b.tifPhotoInfoUF1Q43NL20060420UF1Q43NLDon Mazen(LA)

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