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Newhall church throws its 117th birthday bash

Posted: July 12, 2008 11:58 p.m.
Updated: September 13, 2008 5:02 a.m.

The three-man ski racing teams had to synchronize their steps to win the race. Most teams fell at least once. Some teams never left the starting line.

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On June 1 members of First Presbyterian Church, Newhall, flooded Hart Hall with kids and adults, eating, singing, praying and playing. Pastor Bill Barnes estimated that more than 240 family members celebrated the church’s 117th birthday.

The party started after the last church service ended, around noon, and lasted until 4 p.m. A lot of the family members walked over to the birthday celebration in William S. Hart Park, most wearing their blue Presbyterian T-shirts. 

Hart Hall, located at the main entrance to William S. Hart Park, was picked for the birthday celebration because the building could hold the large party turnout. And it was packed with people eating hotdogs, hamburgers, watermelons and salads. Many birthday party goers spent the whole time talking and resting, but a lot of the church family members played party games most of the afternoon.

Around 3 p.m., after the picnic and games, everyone re-gathered into Hart Hall to sing Happy Birthday to the church. The birthday celebrations commemorated 117 years of prayers and service to the community from the church family.

The church’s birthday bash took five months of planning by the Church Life Committee, headed by Sandy Mantik, a church elder. Her seven-man committee planned most of the party, but the games were planned and headed by Pastor Barnes.

“He was adamant from the beginning that he wanted to do the games. At an early meeting, he gave us his vision of the party, and then he said that he would take care of the games,” Mantik said. “I was glad because my committee had a lot of planning to do. Anyway, I knew he would do a great job with the games.”

The birthday picnic ended with songs and a prayer. The Second Service Band led the partygoers in a series of songs, including “Onward Christian Soldiers.” Pastor Barnes ended the birthday bash with a prayer.

The First Presbyterian Church, Newhall, was founded in 1891. The first service was attended by 16 members in a New England-style building. Services continued from 1891 to the present on the same site, but church’s sanctuary building has changed. In 1923, the original church building was replaced with a larger one.

This was replaced with the present sanctuary building after the old sanctuary was severely damaged in an earthquake. The first services in this building were held on Christmas Eve in 1977, and, since then, the church family has worshiped in the same sanctuary. In spring 2007, a major sanctuary facelift was initiated, and it has almost been completed.

“The people and the sanctuary may change, but the church family continues outreach to needy people within the church family and the larger community, the city of Santa Clarita.” Mantik said.

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