FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
The Beginning – A Summary
On October 28, 1945, a group of Christians began meeting in the home of Mr. And Mrs. Warren at 209 E. Maple Street for prayer and fellowship. Their desire was to plant a Baptist church in El Segundo. It was decided to seek the help of Dr. Ralph Jensen, Executive Secretary of the Southern California Baptist Convention. Dr. Jensen sent Rev. J. Frank Gasser to confer with the group.
On November 25, 1945, they met in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ritch, where a tentative organization was formed. Mr. Gasser was called as pastor. On April 28, 1946, a meeting was held at the Hermosa Beach Baptist Church, where the organization of the First Baptist Church of El Segundo was completed with 23 original members.
The first official organized meeting took place at the home of Rev. and Mrs. Gasser; it was conducted in a garage apartment until meager tents were finally raised in the Gasser’s backyard to allow for a more comfortable meeting place. Officers were elected, and a constitution was adopted at this first meeting.
Property was purchased when $1000 was raised by those first planters, and the rest of the money that was needed was subsequently loaned from the Southern California Baptist Convention. On June 23, 1946, a groundbreaking ceremony for a permanent building was held at the corner of Palm and Penn.
From 1945 through 1948, the Reverend Frank Gasser was the first pastor of FBC El Segundo.
From 1948-1952, Rev. Paul Howard was called to the pastorate. During the ministry of Rev. Howard further improvements were made on the education section/Sanctuary (now the current Fellowship Hall) and plans were drawn for the new sanctuary.
April, 1952-55, Rev. Jesse Powers was called as pastor of the church. Work on the new sanctuary was begun June 30, 1952, and it was completed on September 27, 1953. There was a dedication service of the Lord on September 27, 1953. The sanctuary had a seating capacity in the choir loft of 25, balcony 65, and the main auditorium 240, making a total seating capacity of 330. Other rooms in the new building makes the entire campus adequate for a Sunday school of 500. The membership at the time of dedication was 250, and the prospects for future increase were bright.
1955-59, G. Kenneth Longmore. Rev. Longmore was responsible for starting the youth groups and the Women’s Missionary Society. The parsonage was built and the parking lot paved.
1959-61, Dr. Kenneth Nelson was the interim pastor.
1961-66, Allen Johnson. He oversaw the plans for the educational unit and funds to finance the project.
1966-78, Chester Harter. He oversaw the completion of the classrooms (the educational building). There was a significant growth and spiritual renewal in youth at FBC under the leadership of Wilber Griffith and Dean Bradford.
1978-81, Marshall Hoffman. Marshall was responsible for a $20,000 building improvement project (Operation Face-lift) that included a new color coating of plaster, the trim painted, landscaping and floodlights.
1981-89, Lawrence Swain. Swain’s ministry saw the refurbishment of the fellowship hall, new church offices and an addition to the parsonage.
1989-90, interim pastors
1990-2017, John Svendsen assumed the pastorate. In 1994, Henry Walton became the minister of Missions and Ty VanHorn the minister of youth. In 1994, the church kitchen was refurbished in memory of Ersie Morrison. The church was also fumigated and painted.
2018, merger with Water’s Edge Church, Pastor Bill Crawford.