Ocean Park Methodist Church began its existence as "South Santa Monica Charge," an off-shoot of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Santa Monica.
In 1898 Brother J. H. Snyder and Brother H. Comstock were appointed Class Leaders for South Santa Monica and at once began holding cottage prayer meetings. In October, 1898, "South Santa Monica" was named at the Annual Conference as a place "to be supplied," and Robert Fisher, a student in the University of Southern California, became Pastor, holding services in the Ocean Park Pavilion of the Santa Fe Railroad. January 18, 1899. Bro. Stevens, also a student in the University of Southern California, was appointed pastor. In March, 1899, the services were changed to the dis-used Baptist Church on So. Second Street, now Main, and in June of that year a Sunday School was organized with Bro. Andrew Mills as Superintendent.
"The South Santa Monica Methodist Episcopal Church" was organized on the evening of August 13, 1899, by Presiding Elder George F. Bovard, with the following members: J. H. Snyder, Andrew Mills and A. T. Mason, and Catherine Beatty, Anna L. Beatty, Emma Leavitt, Susan Dominic, Mary Forsyth, Minerva Wilhite, Mary Mason and M. J. Irwin.
In August, 1899, B. D. Snudden, a U. S. C. student, became pastor, remaining lour years. He was instrumental in securing the old church building of the First Church of Santa Monica, and in the summer of 1900 it was placed on a lot already purchased and located near the northeast corner of Hill and Lake Streets (now Hill Street and Washington Boulevard). As South Santa Monica had now been named Ocean Park, the Church organization was incorporated as the "Ocean Park Methodist Episcopal Church." In 1902 the building was enlarged, practically doubling its capacity.
In September, 1903. W. C. Botkin was appointed Pastor, remaining one year.
At the Annual Conference of 1904. Rev. E. W. Pasko was appointed Pastor, remaining four years. The next summer (1905), a comfortable parsonage was built on the northwest corner of Third and Beach Streets, at a cost of about $1800, which with the value of the lot, $675. made the total cost about $2500. In 1907 the gymnasium building adjoining the Church was purchased and attached to the rear of the Church building and changed into Sunday School rooms.
The Annual Conference of 1908 appointed R. L. Bruce as Pastor. He completed one year then superannuated. During the year the parsonage debt of about $1000, was fully subscribed.
At the Annual Conference of 1909, George C. Skafte was appointed Pastor, remaining six years. During the year Mrs. F. E. Royston and Mrs. Ida M. Patterson presented the Church with opera chairs for the whole auditorium. The inspiration of the generous gilt resulted in the complete renovation of the Church interior. The total cost amounted to about $1000. This was all paid; also the subscriptions on the indebtedness of the parsonage, and the Church property left entirely free from indebtedness.
In the fall of 1915, W. J. Boyd became Pastor. In the two years that Bro. Boyd was Pastor, many united with the Church, and on account of deaths, removals, or withdrawals. the membership decreased from 140 in 1913, to 89 in 1918.
In the Fall of 1917, A. C. Welch became Pastor. And during Ills pastorate the Centenary was put on, and a fund started for the building of a new church.
In 1920 William McKinley Walker became Pastor. And spent a very active year in securing new members and agitating for the building of a new church.
On our appointment to this charge in 1921 we found the seed already sown by former pastors for the building of a new church had made some growth within the hearts of a few optimistic members, but with the church as a whole it was rather a wish than a hope. All recognized the need of a new church but the difficulties seemed insurmountable. In 1921 there was a strong sentiment in favor of remodeling the old church at a cost of $10,000.00, but the following year It was decided to sell the old church and lot, and the parsonage lot. The church was sold for $6,000.00, and the parsonage lot for $5,000.00. The present site was purchased at a cost of $10,000.00, and the parsonage was moved at a cost of a little over $1100.00. We broke ground July 16. 1923, District Superintendent Dr. E. J. Inwood made the address. District Superintendent Dr. Alfred J. Hughes laid the conerstone, and preached the opening sermon in the Royston Social Hall December 2, 1923. The church was dedicated May 17th, at a cost of $32,000.00.
This achievement has been made with great sacrifice on the part of the members and friends of the church; and is an achievement of which all may justly feel proud. That mistakes have been made none would deny, but I know of no one who has made half as many mistakes as your pastor. That there should always have been perfect harmony and agreement it would be more than human to expect, and possibly some of us have not yet learned that, "Love is not provoked;" but on the whole there has been manifested the democratic spirit of tolerance, and a willingness to abide by the majority rule.
1. "Historical Sketch", Ocean Park Methodist Episcopal Church Directory, September, 1925, pages 3 and 5.
See AlsoOcean Park Methodist Episcopal Church 1925 Directory