1971 First Sunday
Whittier Area Baptist Fellowship (WABF) began in the auditorium of McNally Junior High with 384 people. The choir was led by Ray Lindskog, and Rev. Don Pugh preached the first sermon. After a few months, the church moved to East Whittier United Methodist Church on Cole Road, where it soon expanded to two services.
1972 Dan Bauman
In the Spring of 1972, WABF was formally received into the General Baptist Conference. A few months later, in August of 1972, Dr. J. Daniel Bauman was hired as the first pastor of WABF. Pastor Dan formerly taught at Bethel Seminary in Minnesota. The congregation met at the YMCA for a rodeo party to welcome Pastor Dan, his wife, Nancy, and their children, Steve and Lynette.
1972 – Circles of Concern
“Circles of Concern” was the first small groups ministry at WABF. The ministry was led by staff member Julie Gorman. At its height, there were 90 circles which met regularly to study Scripture and grow in relationships with others. Each circle averaged about seven families who met monthly in a home for Bible study, discussion, sharing, and prayer. At one point, a pastor from the Korean Methodist Church visited and took the program back to Seoul, Korea where it grew to 1500 groups.
1975 – Groundbreaking on Worship Center
In 1975, Whittier Area Baptist Fellowship broke ground on its first worship center after the church outgrew the facilities at East Whittier United Methodist Church. Congregant and building committee member Don Bishop had come across property for sale on Mar Vista and Colima. The church was able to purchase twenty-two acres of land for $10,000 per acre. Pastor Dan, church staff, members, and deacons came together for a groundbreaking ceremony.
1976 – First Sunday in Original Worship Center
The first Sunday on Colima and Villa Verde was described by one charter member as filled with “excitement and jubilation.” Pastor Dan preached from behind a Spurgeon’s rail that had an inscription on it saying, “Until He Comes.” When the new church opened, WABF began a period of growth, growing from 400 to 1600.
1981 Building B
Building B was built on campus providing much needed space for children’s ministry and small group communities. The building campaign was called, “Now is the Time,” based on the theme of Ecclesiastes 3, which says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens […] a time to tear down and a time to build.”
1983 Pastor Lee
After Dan Bauman left WABF in 1982 to accept a pastoral position at College Avenue Church in San Diego, a pulpit committee conducted a year-long search. Dr. Leland Eliason was called to be the next pastor of WABF. Dr. Lee came with his wife, Carol, and children, Karin and Jonathan. Under Pastor Lee’s leadership, several significant ministries were birthed including groups that cared for people overcoming addiction and