MORRO BAY — It is with sorrow that members of the Disciples of Christ First Christian Church of Morro Bay announced it has closed as of June 30. Declining memberships and advancing age of the small, but stalwart group, drove the decision that it was time to end.
During the month of June, on each Sunday the remaining congregation celebrated their history that began with a group of interested people on May 27, 1959, with a planning meeting. At that time, they called in the Rev. Quentin Mitchell as their organizing minister and elected Mrs. Inez Wise as general chairperson. June 7, 1959, saw the first regular church service in the Wise home on 11th Street in Baywood Park where 18 people declared their membership and voted for the name Bay First Christian Church.
In that year the new congregation met through July in the Morro Bay Theater and then for a time at the Morro Bay Art Association building. The Church Constitution was adopted on Dec. 13, 1959, and the Church Charter presented Jan. 3, 1960, which was signed by 42 members.
Fellowship continued and on Feb. 21, 1960, moved to a building on Quintana Road that at that time was known as Fifth Street. This location was dedicated as a place of worship and continued as such while four years of planning went into the design of a new church building. On Aug. 25, 1963, the group broke ground for their new church on Ironwood Street that was then known as Ninth Street.
In 1965 the church building was completed and opened with a congregation then numbering 80 members. A Fellowship Hall and Sunday School building were completed in November 1969.
The First Christian Church of Morro Bay celebrated its 50th birthday on June 7, 2009, and now just a few weeks beyond that date in 2019, it closed.
Current members Ed Riley and Richard and Ethel Girard, who have been members since the beginning, were honored on June 2nd and Pastor Richard Kurrasch and his wife Ann also receive much thanks and love as honored during the June 9th service. Ministers Carol and Jerry Walton, who many times took to the pulpit to lead the congregation in prayer and service received acclaim on Sunday, June 9, as well as Margaret Yun who also led services. I am proud and grateful to say that I too was honored for my work in their Earth Care Ministry program and my dedication to peace and nonviolence with the workshops and Sunday School I led.
There are others in this outgoing congregation who deserve honors, Pat Mangione and her husband Tom, Richard Elliott, Gayle Woods, Choir Director Betty Rivers, Pianist Ron Labrie, Joann Kulczyk, Rollie and Sue Bigbee, Sunday School teacher Kay Pinniger, Donna Archer, Phyllis Balsano, Meredith Johnson, Bambi Castillo and sons, Jim Johnson, and Jose and Betty Salas.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) grew out of two movements seeking Christian unity that sprang up almost simultaneously in western Pennsylvania and Kentucky - movements that were backlashes against the rigid denominationalism of the early 1800s.
The Disciples have a long heritage of openness to other Christian traditions - having come into existence as a sort of a 19th-century protest movement against denominational exclusiveness. At the local level and beyond, Disciples are frequently involved in cooperative and ecumenical work.
So, it is with sadness that Morro Bay bids farewell to the Disciples of Christ First Christian Church of Morro Bay.