Victorville Members Celebrate 50th Anniversary in Current Location

Posted on Nov 30 2017

A church known as home to many held more than 250 people on Oct. 21 to celebrate Victorville church’s 50th anniversary in its current location. A youth vespers was conducted Friday night. A Sabbath school panel, award presentations, special music, and testimonies filled the sanctuary all day Sabbath with current and former members and pastors.

“Over and over, we saw rejoicing as people came ‘home,’” said Ricki Ricketts, chair of the 50th anniversary planning committee. “Over and over, we heard, ‘This is what it must be like when Jesus comes and we have the grand reunion.’”

Former pastors and members attended the “welcome home” event, some driving eight hours to be there, some flying from Arizona, Washington, and a family even flying from Maryland.

Key leaders of the church 50 years ago also attended. The church was organized on Dec. 11, 1928, and slowly outgrew its building during the next 30 years. Robert (Bob) Grady was pastoring there when the current church was completed in October 1967. During his time there, Grady encouraged the congregation to band together to pay off the debt that had accrued during the three years it took to build the church. When some members questioned when he was going to stop talking about money, Grady showed holes in his clothes and said, “My wife and I promised we wouldn’t buy new clothes until the church was paid for.”

Motivation to pay off the debt spread, and former stay-at-home wives and mothers started jobs and gave all their income to help pay. On April 6, 1968, the church held a special dedication service as a completely debt-free sanctuary.

During the 50th anniversary celebration, Grady shared his testimony about how all the members worked together to set a legacy for the ministry being done there today. One couple, Al and June Castellucci, still attend Victorville church and are the longest current members there—since 1959.

During the main service, a representative for Jay Obernolte, from the 33rd State Assembly district, presented a wooden plaque congratulating Victorville for 50 years in its location and thanked and acknowledged the community service work for God’s Lighthouse, a clothing, food, and service ministry within the church.

“We’re working on being a welcoming, intergenerational family church that cares,” said Raewyn Orlich, senior pastor at Victorville. “We’re here to help people of all ages and backgrounds know Jesus better, encourage one another without judgement, and reach out to our community, especially to young families and those hurting because of addiction or homelessness.”

Orlich and Ricketts agree this will not be the last reunion.

“People were so happy to see each other again, we are planning on smaller reunion events in the future,” Ricketts said.

Jessica Anzai