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Celebrating 25 years of Faith

Faith: Newhall church members bless each other and the surrounding community

Posted: April 9, 2010 11:13 p.m.
Updated: April 10, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Senior pastor Steve Jackson, left, and one of the church's founding families, Mitch and Sheri McDiffett, sit inside the Faith Commuity Church. The church turned 25 on Easter Sunday.

The church began with eight couples who met in a living room for Bible study in the summer of 1984. Even then, the group members - most of them new residents to the Santa Clarita Valley - were confident they would form a church.

"That was kind of our plan all along," said Sheri McDiffett, 52, of Valencia.

More confirmation followed as the final offering count was tallied. The offering came in at about $12,000, said Mitch McDiffett, 49.
"I felt that God was in it and was excited to see what he was going to do," McDiffett said. "I was excited."

Sixteen founding members grew to more than 400-plus congregants at Faith Community Church. The Newhall church will celebrate 25 years of God's faithfulness on April 17.

"We always acted like a church, even from the first Easter Sunday service," Sheri McDiffett said.

After initially meeting in the Hart High School cafeteria, Faith Community moved three more times and endured transitions of three different senior pastors after its stay at Hart High School.

"Through it all, it's been trying to seek what God wants," Mitch McDiffett said. The McDiffetts are one of two founding couples who still attend Faith Community Church.

As the church has expanded from eight couples to more than 500 congregants at times, the challenge has been to maintain a close-knit atmosphere. The McDiffetts may not know every church member's name, but their fellow Faith members continue to be the first people the McDiffetts turn to for support and advice.

"We definitely started with the goal of being a family and I'd say in 25 years, we've kept that as one of our main goals," Mitch McDiffett said.

One way of doing so was bringing church members together several years ago to help build Faith's permanent sanctuary, which sits tucked against an oak-covered hillside at the end of Meadowridge Drive in Newhall.

"Everything we could do, we did do - the woodwork, tiles, much of the painting, cabinets was all done by volunteers," McDiffett said. "It helped build ownership."

Besides ministering to each other, the church has also committed to being a good neighbor to the Newhall community, said senior pastor Steve Jackson.

In December, Faith Community and Esperanza Church in Newhall hosted the fourth annual Christmas Festividad, a community outreach for local families. Dozens of church volunteers passed out free food, movies and gifts and provided entertainment for thousands of grateful families.

Faith also opens up its basketball courts to the local community. The church attempts to be a blessing to its surrounding community rather than a nuisance, Jackson said.

"We want the neighbors to say ‘This church is bringing something to us' not ‘Our view is gone,'" Jackson said.

"We don't believe it was a mistake that God placed us right here," Jackson added. "There are plenty of needs here ... and opportunities to serve."


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