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Woodland Hills | VALLEY FOCUS

Church to Celebrate Its 50th Anniversary

September 13, 1997|SYLVIA L. OLIANDE

Woodland Hills Community Church, which has been the keystone of the surrounding area over the years, will celebrate its 50th anniversary Sunday with a service and luncheon.

The church started out as a meeting place for Boy Scout Troop 54, led by its first pastor, the Rev. Ellsworth Smith.

But soon it began to play a role in the development and expansion of the southwest Valley, said Delores Burton, a church member.

The campaign for a church in the middle of what was then mostly ranchland began in 1942.

With a lot of work, fund-raising and the support of the Southern California Council of Protestant Churches, the community effort to establish a church achieved its goal in 1947.

"After it was built, it was the keystone to all the stuff that was about to take place in this area," Burton said.

The building, at Dumetz Road and Canoga Avenue, has been home to Scout troops and the Woodland Hills Chamber of Commerce, in addition to serving as a place of worship.

Through community activism, church members have worked to keep the surrounding area residential.

"The church was the meeting place, our pastor was the coordinator," said Burton of the efforts to keep commercial development from encroaching on the area.

The congregation will gather Sunday to celebrate the decades gone by with speeches from former pastors at a 10 a.m. church service and from congregants and friends at a luncheon afterward at the Warner Center Marriott.

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