CUCC History

Claremont United Church of Christ, Congregational, was organized in 1891 as the Claremont Congregational Church under founding pastor Charles Burt Sumner. In 1906, the first building was dedicated on the site where the Henry Kingman Chapel now stands. The church grew steadily and was the only Protestant church in Claremont. In the mid-1920s, the Guildhall was constructed and dedicated in 1928.  At this time the church was called The Claremont Church or Claremont Community Church.

After the Second World War, the old wooden building was in disrepair and not earthquake-proof, so the congregation built the current Sanctuary. Theodore Criley was hired as the architect, and contributing artists included Millard Sheets, Albert Stewart, Jean and Arthur Ames, David Scott, Harrison McIntosh, Phil Dyke, Betty Davenport Ford, and Sam Maloof. The Sanctuary building was dedicated in 1955.  Upon completion of the Sanctuary, plans were made for a chapel. The old building was torn down and the Kingman Chapel was dedicated in 1963. In 1966, the congregation voted to join the United Church of Christ and again changed its name.

In the 1970s, the Guildhall and Sanctuary were redecorated and repainted. 1992 was the centennial year of celebration. The next decade the congregation voted to become Open and Affirming, where all persons are accepted regardless of their race, background, or sexual orientation. The Sanctuary was again remodeled with the addition of the new organ, sound system, and lighting and acoustical work and the Guildhall refurbished. We entered the communication age with radio broadcasts some years ago and have televised services and special programs to retirement centers.

Through the years, church members have been leaders in the community serving as Council Members and members of various commissions. The establishment of Pilgrim Place, Mount San Antonio Gardens, Oak Park Cemetery, and Casa Colina were all the result of the congregation’s efforts. The church continues to have outstanding lay and clergy leadership.