Fifty years ago, back when Granada Hills seemed a world away from civilization and it had only one general store, 30 people gathered at a local ranch to establish a church.
"These people had a vision, the wherewithal to realize this valley was going to explode after the war," said Pastor Jim Sillerud of First Presbyterian Church of Granada Hills.
Granada Hills residents then looked to nearby San Fernando as their downtown area, where they went to church and shopped, he said. But believing that there would one day be a need for a church in the area, a group of people got together and worked to establish one.
"They decided on Presbyterian," Sillerud said, although not all of the original members had identified themselves as such before. The church was chartered on Aug. 10, 1947, as Granada Hills Memorial Church (Community Presbyterian) and the Rev. Al McNair was the first pastor.
This weekend, the congregation will celebrate its 50th anniversary with two days of events, beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday at 10400 Zelzah Ave.
An anniversary concert will kick off the activities, with performances from the congregation's own Cathedral Choir and the Kids of the Kingdom, a children's choir.
Following the concert, the church will have a banquet, featuring a slide presentation of its history and speeches from Sillerud, as well as former pastors John Lee, Burt Smith and Stan Jones.
On Sunday, the congregation will gather for a worship celebration with its current and former pastors, followed by a reception in the church's Lee Hall.
Sillerud said that although the church has changed along with its community over the years, its dedication to that community has not.
For more information about the celebration, call (818) 360-1831.