Next Sunday, May 7th, marks the 30th anniversary of our first services as Calvary Baptist Church of Rancho California! The early developers of this area named it Rancho California before we had incorporated as a city and chose the old name, Temecula. We got to vote on the name. Developers liked the trendy name Rancho California for the town, but it was a little odd telling people we were from Rancho California, California. (It was, “Hey, I got a speech therapist friend who can cure that stutter of yours…”)
The church was incorporated before the city of Temecula was, so we are “officially,” on our incorporation document, Calvary Baptist Church of Rancho California. In 1987 Temecula boasted a population of about 15,000, and we had the one stoplight at Rancho California Rd. and Ynez. Hitting all the model homes of all the developers took about 20 minutes. It didn’t take too long to knock on every door in our little city in 1987.
I went into one model home office and gave a tract to the man who was at the sales desk. We struck up a conversation and he said he’d come visit the church, which was meeting at Hillcrest Carden School. He did, and brought his wife and daughter Sandy and her kids with him. Several of the family were saved and baptized and Marvin and Jo Kepler and their family became charter members, involved with helping us get the church going in those early days.
You’d probably recognize the name Dana Rohrabacher. He is now a prominent congressman representing California’s 48th congressional district in Washington. His parents, Don and Fluff Rohrabacher, were early Temecula residents who became part of our church that first couple of years, and helped us along. Dana, who was then a senior speechwriter for President Reagan, came to church with them a couple of times when visiting home from Washington.
Still with us from those memories of the early years are the Schmitts, the Rangels, and Aubrey Bagley, and don’t we thank God for their testimony of long term faithfulness, and their example, for all of us, of steadfastness in serving God!
Happy 30th Anniversary!