The History of Our Big Bear Lake Church
As Compiled by Tamara Breunig October 16, 2017
In 1935, our first Christian Science services were held just during the summer months at private homes of the members. In 1940, our services moved to the Masonic Temple until 1943. Services were discontinued in 1943 due to gasoline regulations. On June 23, 1946 services resumed and were held at the Big Bear Theater. At this time it was decided to explore the possibility of forming a Christian Science Organization in the Big Bear Valley. July 1946 the organization was formed and a Sunday school was established in August of 1946, six pupils enrolled. Wednesday evening services were also started and held at private homes of the members.
A building fund was created with a gift of $4.00 in January 1947. In the spring of 1947, it was voted that the entire collection on the first Sunday of each month be placed in the Building Fund. A distribution committee was also appointed. A distribution box offering free copies of periodicals was placed in the Mountain Auto Bus station and copies of the Christian Science Monitor were given to the Fire Station each week. Copies of the Bible, Science and Health, by Mary Baker Eddy, and the Hymnal were placed in the County Library. By-Laws were adopted and voted on. On March 6, 1947 a letter was written telling of the activities and asking for an application to the Mother Church in Boston for recognition as a Christian Science Society. On May 24, 1947 a letter was received from the Mother Church telling the members that it would be necessary for them to hold services in a public hall before application for recognition could be made. It was voted that the services be moved to the Wigwam Hall on June 1, 1947.
In July of 1947 another attempt was made to apply for application for recognition to the Mother Church, as a Christian Science Society. This title was granted by the Mother Church on March 19 1948, and it was decided to incorporate as a Society, and to obtain a State Charter. On May 28, 1948, the Charter from the state of California was received. The Christian Science Society of Big Bear Lake was now a branch of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, Massachusetts and in 1949 the members opened a Christian Science reading room in town.
Through prayer and inspiration, in March of 1950 the Church Society purchased property, a 68 year old log cabin on a knoll in the heart of the village. This dwelling was built of logs taken from the lake when the first dam was constructed in 1875. The Church families and friends worked lovingly, harmoniously, and untiringly together to remodel the log cabin to be a suitable church building. Members and friends generously donated time, supplies and needed furnishings for the church edifice. The work was carried on without interruption, during the coldest winter months of the year, the weather conditions remaining excellent, without the usual deep snow. Many improvements were made to the facility both inside and out.
The property also included an additional small house and spacious grounds. The first service in the new edifice was held on Sunday, May 7, 1950. The reading room was moved from town and set up in the cottage next to the church along with the Sunday school. The buildings became known as "the little church that had been established in the mountain tops". In May of 1955 the church was given a new title, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Big Bear Lake, California. In the following month, June 1955, the Articles of Incorporation were delivered.
In 1959 it was necessary for the church to sell the cottage that housed the reading room and Sunday school. The members moved them up to the main church building.
In late spring of 1960 plans were put in place to dedicate our church edifice. Announcements went out to local media and to the Mother Church. On August 21, 1960 two dedication services were held which marked an important milestone in the history of our wonderful church.
In 1963 the members of the church voted to purchase the cottage next door which again became the reading room and Sunday school.
In 1967, fulfilling an order by the City Safety Department the 100 plus year old rock chimney, which was thought of as an old landmark, needed to be removed. When the outside rocks were removed, it was found that mud from the lake had been used in the construction in place of cement. Time and heat had caused the mud to return to dust and this had resulted in cracks between the rocks. It is believed that our original log building is over 140 years old.
On June 16,2017 a fire unfortunately destroyed our Log Building and we have moved our church services to the Reading Room in the cottage next door.