Our story


In 1875, William N. Monroe bought 240 acres of land from Lucky Baldwin and built a ranch on the property.  He began selling parcels of his land to speculators, many of whom were farmer and ranchers hoping to grow oranges for export and raise cattle. In 1886 the town of Monrovia was incorporated and named after Monroe.
 
The following year, on May 28, 1888, 29 Presbyterians organized the First Presbyterian Church of Monrovia. They met in different buildings in town until J.H. Studebaker of the Studebaker Carriage Company gave the church land on the corner of Lime and Myrtle. By 1893 the land boom went bust and decimated Monrovia.  Many people left, including church members. Church membership declined so quickly that the Presbytery moved to dissolve FPCM. The founding pastor, the Rev. J.A. Gordon, successfully argued for a loan instead of closure. Within three-years, the membership grew large enough to begin construction on the Studebaker property.
 
In 1918 the Monrovia Congregational Church merged with FPCM, and membership continued to grow. In 1921, the Church outgrew its original building, so the session bought vacant lots on the corner of Myrtle and White Oak; now Foothill Blvd., and built our current Spanish Mission style church.
 
The late forties through the fifties were expansion years for FPCM. Membership grew to almost 1,500. By 1955, the average Sunday attendance was 504. Growth was so rapid that a Christian Education center was built in 1951, and the Pre-school was added that same year. By 1956, the 1920’s Spanish style sanctuary was completely remodeled and expanded, removing all of the original Moorish decorations. The chancel was expanded, the balcony changed and the old Sunday school classrooms, once separated by curtains were walled off and offices built in their place.
 
Growth continued until the 1970’s when the city began another economic slide. As businesses closed and left Myrtle Avenue, many of the residents left the area as well. The Church continued to survive, helped by healthy endowments, but the glory days of the 50’s were over. FPCM had to face the reality of declining membership and giving.  Several short pastorates only exasperated the problem.
 
In the 1990’s FPCM began to recover adding new families.  Towards the end of the decade, the church dealt with some difficult situations and declined. In 2002, after a three-year period of temporary and interim pastors, the church called the Rev. Dr. Anthony "Tony" Osimo.  The new pastor along with the staff and leadership of FPCM, began to focus on serving the needs of our community.  Several new ministries were begun all with the vision of creating a community that will Belong, Grow, Serve and Celebrate Jesus Christ together.

A brief look at First Presbyterian Church of Monrovia and a word from Rev. Dr. Anthony "Tony" Osimo. From March 2016