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La Cañada church's long history documented

The 'La Cañada Congregational Church History & Memorial Book' will be presented Sunday.

April 25, 2014|By Sara Cardine, sara.cardine@latimes.com
  • La Cañada Congregational Church book committee member Carol Kulluk shows a 50-year-old scrapbook at the church in La Cañada Flintridge on Tuesday, April 22, 2014.
La Cañada Congregational Church book committee… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

When a small group of La Cañada Congregational Church members first got the notion to make a list of donations and memorials made by congregants over the years, it seemed like an interesting side project.

What the small committee didn't know then was that the church historian books and records kept throughout the past century would take them on a journey, not only into LCCC's own rich beginnings, but through the development of the community and its founding families.

After two years of research, longtime church historian Sally Emerson — along with church members Joyce Holmes, Jo Anne Kennick and Carol Kulluk — compiled the "La Cañada Congregational Church History & Memorial Book."

They will present the book to the congregation for the first time Sunday, as LCCC celebrates its 117th anniversary with a luncheon. Proceeds raised from the $25 purchase price will cover printing costs and, beyond that, a fireproof cabinet in which to store historic records.

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"When we started this project, it was just going to be a little bulletin kind of thing," said Emerson, who joined the church in 1961. "When it got to be 100 pages, we decided it was more of a book than a pamphlet."

More than a mere list of gifts made to the church, the 112-page book gathers together information on the people and circumstances that coalesced around the time of its creation in 1898.

"The church is really important. It's the oldest religious institution in the Crescenta-Cañada Valley," said Melissa Patton, executive director of Lanterman House, a repository of local history and the former home of Roy Lanterman, an offspring of one of LCCC's founding families.

Early LCCC bulletins were the de-facto newspaper of a nascent La Cañada, and the local Boy Scout troop originated there.

"It's really a gold mine of local history," Patton added.

In addition to a list of donations of time and money made over the past century, the new book includes a list of all the church's pastors and gives information on several momentous occasions, including donations of stained glass windows land plots and the reorientation of the sanctuary in the 1970s.

"When they started going through all our archival books, we realized there was so much history there we thought we could share with our members, and it just got bigger and bigger and bigger," said Kulluk, who helped out with the book's assembly.

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