Beacon of Hope Christ Chapel

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History of Christ
Chapel M.C.C. Santa Ana


You have to learn about the Beacon of Hope history to understand where we are headed. Christ Chapel's beginning was early September 1969, in the back of a gay bar in Garden Grove. After two Sunday services, the local police came and shut the services down because the music was deemed "way too loud."

The formal meetings of Christ Chapel began on September 20, 1970, in the living room of Rev. Roger Harrison. The die was cast, the seeds were sown, and Christ Chapel was on its way to becoming the oldest and largest M.C.C. Church in Orange County.

On the first Sunday in April 1971, the church moved into the Unitarian Church building in Costa Mesa. On April 11, 1971, Easter Sunday, Rev. Elder Troy Perry granted Christ Chapel its M.C.C. charter and dedicated the church. Rev. Roger Harrison was now the first pastor of Christ Chapel M.C.C.

On March 6, 1977, Christ Chapel moved from Costa Mesa to 723 North Bush Street in Santa Ana. The building the church had bought was of unique historical, religious, and architectural value. This building was built on the floor plan of a typical 16th century eastern European synagogue. It was the first synagogue built in Orange County and was constructed in 1896 using native California Redwood.

Church Before the Fire Second Church Property

On January 24, 1979, this historic monument was destroyed by arson. The church then moved into the building currently occupied at 720 North Spurgeon, Santa Ana, which at that time was three apartments and is part of the historic French Park District.

In February 1982, Rev. Harrison resigned as pastor after eleven and a half years. On May 16, 1982, Rev. Dennis Chapel was elected Pastor. Rev. Chappell resigned as pastor in April 1990, after eight and one-half years.

In January of 1991, Rev. Ronald Jesser was elected Pastor. Rev. Jesser resigned on April 28, 1993, after the death of his spouse and because of his health issues.

After a long period of being without a pastor, Christ Chapel elected Rev. Patricia Leffler as the pastor, and she assumed the duties in January 1995. Rev. Leffler served for six years and resigned on December 31, 2000, because of personal health issues.

Rev. Robin White came to us from Louisville, Kentucky, and was elected pastor in July of 2001. He assumed pastoral duties on October 01, 2001. Rev. White served the church for six years and resigned on September 30, 2007, to return to Louisville and assumed the position of assistant pastor at MCC Louisville.

Rev. Onetta Brooks served as our interim pastor from December 1, 2007, to May 31, 2009. We are currently searching for a new Senior Pastor. In 2010 the congregation elected Rev. Randy Besta to serve as our new permanent pastor. After serving for approximately two years, Rev. Besta resigned due to some irregularities regarding his immigration status, and Shawn Eisner was designated as our Interim Pastoral Leader in 2012.

Over the last eight years, Shawn has led the Board as our Clerk/Moderator and been responsible for all Christ Chapel business-related concerns, organizational leadership and helped maintain the Spiritual Life of the Church. Assisting in this leadership has been our Semi-Permanent Guest Pastor, Rev. Eric Butler. Rev Eric has served as our interim CSO (Chief Spiritual Officer). In August 2018, the congregation voted unanimously to sell the property at 720 North Spurgeon and relocate to a location with greater potential to attract new members and easier maintenance costs.

On Sunday, November 17, 2019, we held the first worship service in our new location: 1582 Parkway Loop Suite J, Tustin, California 92780. The congregation also decided to rename itself Beacon of Hope - Christ Chapel. This name was selected because it indicated both our commitment to the future and our respect for the past. The congregation anticipates beginning the search for a new permanent pastor during 2020. Rev. Eric was appointed Associate Pastor, and Shawn Eisner was promoted to Executive Director in addition to being the Clerk/Moderator of the Board of Directors.

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