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Stone Church History

History Links:
Beginning: 1944-47
First, the Chapel
Building, 1948-57
Next, 1958-67
Later, 1968-87
Recent, 1988-2007

The First Building: The Chapel

(See a photo of the Stone Church Congregation in its first year, 1947)

Mr. Simpson from the very first intended to have the chapel follow the traditional form of the missions of California, stone being used both inside and outside.

The very name, Stone Church, savors of its unique quality and style. Every detail was designed to create an atmosphere of worship and a thing of beauty. During the post-war period of 1945-46 materials were rationed; wood was scarce. Because of this, Carmel stone from Soledad was selected for the building. By October 6, 1946, 200 tons of rock were on the grounds. The Carmel stone is said by geologists to be several million years old, belonging to the Miocene period. Imprinted in the many stones of the walls are fossils of prehistoric marine life. A complete form of a fish is to be seen on the inside South-East wall in the Simpson Chapel. Markings resulting from the ink of squid are in the west wall. The first altar was located in the East wall outside above the sign made of wood. Note the hole in this large rock where Mr. Simpson had the candle lit for services. To honor Rev. Simpson's pledge to the neighbors of no bell noise, a simulated bell of wood was placed in the belfry.

Of sentimental interest is a stone high above the fireplace mantlepiece [now in the pastor's office] brought from Blarney Castle in 1921 by Mr. Simpson who was a native of Londonderry, Northern Ireland. On the stone he painted a green shamrock. Engraved on the massive face of the mantel is the Greek word KOINONIA, "Christian fellowship." (See a photo of The Rev. Thomas Simpson preaching in the Chapel, 1947)

The original doors of the chapel were designed by Mr. Simpson. The doors are carved with a traditional design representing the river of living water. The antique wood and huge hinges simulate those of early California missions. The doors have been moved and now are the south entrance to the Social Hall.

The grounds were originally landscaped reminiscent of a Biblical garden, some 56 plants, shrubs and trees mentioned in the Bible being used. They have long since disappeared. [A new landscape plan was initiated in 1995, incorporating many from the original list, plus drought-resistant and native California plants.]

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