Our History

About Imperial Heights

We are a protestant denomination that teaches, preaches and lives according to the example of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Christ.   We have no creed, but take the New Testament as our rule of practice and faith.   We accept the Holy Bible as the inspired word of God and uphold it as inerrant and infallible.

We believe in the practical application of our faith and are committed to living out our lives in service to one another and to our neighbors as well.

We practice adult baptism and observe the other ordinances taught by Jesus in the New Testament.   Among these are the Love Feast, Feet Washing, Holy Communion and Service of Anointing and Laying on of Hands.

Our denomination is heavily involved in peace from the Christian perspective and world mission.  Brethren have always opposed oppression of any kind.  Early on, membership was denied to slaveholders during that era in U.S. history.  As Pacifists we have provided medical, civil and financial aid in all areas around the world where warring factions are present.   We work closely with other religious and civic organizations involved in witnessing for peace and justice.

We are members of the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.   Founded in Germany in 1708, the first American congregation was established in Germantown, Pennsylvania in 1720.  This congregation, now in the heart of Philadelphia, is still active and the 1771 church building remains intact.  There are 32 churches throughout California and Arizona which form the Pacific Southwest District.   The District office is located in La Verne, California.   The general office is in Elgin, Illinois.

History of IHCCoB

  • Imperial Heights Church of the Brethren was an outreach ministry of the Lordsburg and Tropico Brethren churches.   A group of 27 persons relocated in 1896 to a part of the Cantilena Valley known as Inglewood and held services in a large hotel on Main Street.   The young Inglewood fellowship had a Free Ministry at that time where visiting  Brethren ministers and local elders took turns in preaching.   In February of 1901 a special council meeting was held to consider plans for a formal meeting house.   By June 30, 1901 the new building was completed and located on Market Street in Inglewood.
  • During the years that followed, the church experience growth in both the Sunday school and worship attendance.   By 1918 the Inglewood fellowship had hired Rev. William H. Wertenbaker as its first full time pastor.
  • Also in 1918, the church purchased two lots on the corner of Lime and Grevilla streets, in order to build a new sanctuary and parsonage.   By 1923 the construction was complete and the building ready for dedication.
  • As the church made gains in its membership and service to the community, the rural life of the valley slowly gave way to urbanization.   The church once again out grew its surroundings and made plans to expand in order to keep pace with its growth in ministry.   The development of the Inglewood area caused the church to move east, where a larger site would be purchased and developed with the ability to match the pace of growth experienced by the congregation.
  • The dedication of the new building site, on the corner of Imperial Highway and Saint Andrews Place took place August 31, 1947.   The small chapel/Fellowship Hall was completed by March 6, 1949.   The educational wing/bell tower completed in 1951.   In 1956, plans were drawn up to complete the third phase of the Imperial Heights structure, the main sanctuary.
  • “We Would Be Building”, was the theme for the building fund which had a projected budget of $150,000.   The goal of the congregation was to raise at least $90,000 in cash for the project.   Members took seconds on their homes, cashed bonds, borrowed from personal savings, friends, and relatives for support.   The church met and surpassed it’s fund raising goals.
  • In 1962 the main sanctuary of the Imperial Heights Community Church was completed. Imperial Heights’ pastor, Rev. Wayne Crist dedicated the building June 16, 1963.
  • During the late 60’s and early 70’s the congregation widened it’s ministry to include those not traditionally reached by the Brethren Church.  In 1973, the Rev. Nolan Porter became the first African-American pastor of the Imperial Heights Church.
  • In continuing it’s effort of service to the community, the church offered early childhood educational programs through a daycare school in conjunction with the Weingart-YMCA.   Imperial Heights also offered financial scholarships to deserving students and the CoB provides reduced tuition to church members at it’s 6 colleges and 2 seminaries.