First United Methodist Church of Arroyo Grande

The First United Methodist Church of Arroyo Grande Celebrates 125 Years of Ministry

Rock founded, Christ centered, Faith sustained

Crosses of the Church

Chalk Crosses in the Village. In 1931, E. J. Bradner was all for better cooperation among the churches. He started the Sunrise service. Cora Wright did chalk pictures (pictured above) while he was giving his sermon.

Cross at the Camp. In 1933 Joseph S. Gibson erected the cement cross whose lights (20) have shown over the valley at Easter and Christmas from the hill above the tabernacle (until the wiring succumbed to the weather). He made the forms at home but Clair Gibson and Loren Ballagh remember carrying the water, etc. up the hill from the swimming pool area, while their fathers mixed and poured the concrete. They are listed as "slaves" on the back of the photo. The minister is E. J. Bradner. This is the dedication.

Halcyon Steeple Crosses. While probably not the exact same spire/steeple, the cross (pictured above) that adorned the original sanctuary (now Criswell Hall) on Halcyon looks remarkably similar to today’s cross directly above today’s sanctuary (below).

Bell Tower Cross. Construction of the new bell tower and cross began in late 1999 and the dedication service was held Sunday, February 6, 2000 (despite a week of rain and threatening weather).

Altar Cross. The "IHS" on today's altar cross is one of the most common Christograms, derived from the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus, iota-eta-sigma.

Barnwood Cross in Criswell Hall. The cross on the stage in Criswell Hall was built by Craig Smithback in the Spring of 2004 from old barnwood from the Teixeira “1000 Hills Ranch” along Price Canyon Road. Susan Coho asked him to do it as she was preparing to lead a joint Calvary Chapel/UMCAG Women's Bible Study group that would meet in Criswell Hall.

See Cross Sunday, August 16, 2009.

Stained Glass Cross. The stained glass window with its three-cross motif at the front of today’s sanctuary is a memorial to Harvey Hodges, brother of Fanny Hodges. The Hodges family were charter members of this church and for the following 90 years. The Hodges ranch was out along Halcyon road.

Original Village Cross. This cross, currently on a stone pedestal outside of Criswell Hall, is the 1887 original from the old church on Branch Street in the Village. Bill Paulsen rescued it as the church was being renovated by Amanda and Clem Lambert for "Amanda's Interiors". That old church building in the Village has been reoccupied by a church, The Harvest Church.

This picture of the cross still atop the church in the Village was taken from a service bulletin printed in the 1940s.

Altar Cross. Today's altar cross is pictured here at the Sally Dixon and James Dickens wedding, September 5, 1954.

UMC Insignia Cross. Creation of the United Methodist insignia began in 1968. The Uniting Conference directed the Division of Interpretation of the former Program Council to "design and supervise the use of an official insignia."

Assigned to create such a mark was Edward J. Mikula, the division's art director. Working with him - in research on symbolic aspects - was Edwin H. Maynard, then editorial director. Both men were determined that, whatever the insignia's form, some expression of warmth would be conveyed - a warmth such as John Wesley had experienced on a long-ago spring evening in Aldersgate Street.

Following some two dozen conceptualizations, a traditional symbol - the cross - was linked with a single but dual flame. The insignia thereby relates our church to God by way of the second and third persons of the Trinity: the Christ (cross) and the Holy Spirit (flame).

Apart from Wesleyan Trinitarian theology and warmth, the flame has two other connotations. The flame suggests Pentecost when witnesses saw "tongues as of fire." And the duality of the flame was meant to represent the merger in 1968 of two denominations: The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church. The insignia was formally adopted, one design with lettering (The United Methodist Church) and one without. In 1971, the insignia was registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a service mark and collective membership mark. That registration - officially No. 917,433 - remains in effect.

An 8-panel brochure (front/back on legal-size paper) of this "Crosses of the Church" information is available at the church and online here (PDF, 317kb).