History

A Brief History

Since Our Beginning in 1906

The first church to appear amidst the barren sand dunes of Manhattan Beach was our own Community Church at the turn of the 20th century.

Our “Little Gray Church on the Hill” was erected at the corner of 9th and Highland in 1906.  Founded by a small group of citizens interested in a Sunday School experience for the children of the fledgling seaside community, the Manhattan Congregational Church began with nine charter members.

After a remodel and expansion of the structure at 9th and Highland in 1924, the church came to be known as the Manhattan Beach Community Church, with 125 formal members.  Following an earthquake in 1933, the congregation built a new and larger church at the same location, incorporating as much of the original structure as they could salvage.

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In 1957, the church joined with 5,000 other Congregational churches and 3,000 Evangelical and Reformed churches in the largest mainline protestant merger in history to form the United Church of Christ (link is external).  The merger was based on a vision set forth by church leaders at the time: “Depending, as did our fathers, upon the continued guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth, we work and pray for the consummation of the Kingdom of God, and we look with faith for the triumph of righteousness and for the life everlasting.”

Shortly thereafter, the expanding congregation moved into newly constructed facilities at 303 S. Peck Avenue.  Situated on 2 ½ acres just north of Mira Costa High School, the Manhattan Beach Community Church campus encompasses a classic midcentury-style sanctuary, casual library and meeting room, modern classrooms and dedicated theater building.

The old building at 9th and Highland still stands today as a private residence. The original stained glass window from that structure overlooks MBCC’s present courtyard.  The bell that first rang for the founding congregation members still rings today at Peck Avenue.  A lot has changed since those early days, but MBCC remains a bedrock of the South Bay community.  MBCC’s 700 family members still enjoy an open, interfaith approach to worship.  All visitors receive a warm welcome.  And children receive a vibrant, affirming Sunday School experience.

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