Sunday, July 21, 2013

                                                                                                                                 July 21, 2013

8348 3rd Street

First Baptist Church
Downey, California

"First Baptist Church of Downey is a Bible-believing, Bible preaching church committed to living out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) and the Great Commandments (Mark 12:29-31) by making disciples who love the Lord with all their heart, all their soul, all their mind and all their strength.  We are just one part of the family of God, the church universal.  But here at First Baptist Church of Downey, we desire to build relationships with one another that are centered on the Bible and Jesus Christ." (Link 1.)

The first Baptist Church in Downey  was built in 1876.  This simple rectangular sanctuary with an entrance below a single peaked steeple was moved to Knott's Berry Farm in 1955 where it is used for wedding ceremonies.

1876 Church on church site

1876 Church at Knott's Berry Farm
(1955 Photo)

The Church was constructed in 1876 and built of Redwood. It was the first used as a house of worship by the First Baptist Church of Downey California. In 1922 the building was acquired by Saint Marks Episcopal Congregation and used until 1953. The Church was destined to be demolished when it was acquired by Walter Knott in 1955. The Church was torn down and reconstructed at Knott's Berry Farm and renamed the "Church of Reflections" Many of the Churches original fixtures were preserved.
The Church was located in Knott's Theme Park from 1955 to 2004. It was relocated (See Link 4.) to it's present address where numerous weddings take place every year. (Link 2.)

The second Baptist Church of Downey was constructed in 1955 and used for only ten years.
1955 Church Building

In 1965 the sanctuary/worship center building that is used today was built. (See top photo.)  A mosaic figure of Christ with the inscription  "Come Unto Me and Learn" is above the front doors of the building.  To the right of the entrance is a tall cross and a tablet of the ten commandments. (See photo below.) The corner stone and a heritage plaque are on the right corner of the building.

Ten Commandments

Corner Stone and Heritage Plaque

Deep tones of colored stained glass are used at the entrance and throughout the church narthex and sanctuary/worship center. Yellow glass crosses randomly run along the low wall at the entrance to the narthex.  A green glass cross is above the center doors.  The life sized statue of Christ washing the feet of one of the disciples sits in the corner of the narthex.

Entrance from  inside the Narthex

Narthex Statue
John 13:05 "Then he poured water into a basin 
and began to wash the disciples' feet,..."

The tall center cross of the sanctuary/worship center reredo is flanked by the banners "Make disciples for Jesus and Love one another" and "Give glory to God and enjoy him forever", floor to ceiling screens, and banks of organ pipes.  The chancel is filled with a stepped choir stand. At Christmas this has been used to present a "Living Christmas Tree".


Along the sides of the sanctuary/worship center are floor to ceiling pillars and two story rectangles of vivid stained glass windows.  Through the clear glass windows below, are a garden walk and a wall dotted with squares of colored glass. The balcony across the back of the sanctuary/worship center repeats the square design on its back wall.

Sanctuary/Worship Center Side Windows

Sanctuary/Worship Center Balcony

The First Baptist Church of Downey campus is a rectangle with a plaza in the center.  The sanctuary/worship center forms the anchor on the right.  A covered walkway is across the front row of offices and meeting rooms.  A colonnade stretches across the back of the rectangle.  Stamps Center is the left hand border.  And forward from Stamps Center is the Chapel with a cross, rounded exterior corners, and the double front doors with two half circle windows.


Separate Sunday worship services are held in both English and Spanish.

Sunday, September 29, 2013 the First Baptist church of Downey will be celebrating its 145th anniversary.  Congratulations!

Thank you: To congregation member Katheryn Tritz for a tour of the church
              and to Debbie Fox for information about the 145th anniversary.
Note: Suzanne and Alan Wilson attended the wedding of Betty and  Hal 
Lowen inthe original 1876 Church Building at Knott's Berry Farm.
Photos: Colored photos taken in June 2013 by SW.
(Link 1:)
Link 2:
Link 3:;jsessionid=BAE0372334F99F8F9E17C3135A609DD5?id=17000076
Link 4:
God, be with the persecuted Christians through out the world. Amen

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