Most of us have one or more days on our calendar each year in which we remember something that happened in the past. Weddings and birthdays are probably the most celebrated anniversaries, but there are plenty of other things we also remember, including some things we remember but don’t celebrate (like 9/11 in the USA).

This coming Sunday marks a significant day in my life and our family as we look back 37 years to the first Sunday of October in 1984 when we launched a new church in Southern California. After 10 years at a church in the Philadelphia area I was given the opportunity to plant a church in the rapidly growing area east of LA that become the city of Moreno Valley.

Audrey was 2, Rob was 8 months, Jan was 30, and I was 33. I had no experience in starting a church but our nucleus and I had worked hard getting ready for our launch on October 7. We met in a middle school and were so excited that on that first Sunday we had 137 people gather for our first worship celebration.

We bought property in Moreno Valley and eventually built two buildings on the site for worship, children’s ministry, youth ministry, adult classes, banquets, etc. I don’t remember the exact date we occupied the facilities, but it was a great day of celebration on that first Sunday as well as the dedication that followed.

Every year on the first Sunday of October we celebrated the anniversary of the birth of our church. Some of those celebrations were bigger than others. For several years we were known as Moreno Valley Christian Church, but eventually changed our name to Discovery Christian Church to avoid the mix ups with other churches’ with Moreno Valley included in their names.

After 29 years I finalized my decision with our elders to step down from my position a year later. We announced to our congregation on our 29th anniversary that I would conclude my ministry a year later on our 30th anniversary.

My last Sunday was seven years ago on the first Sunday of October in 2014. That Sunday morning time of worship, and the evening celebration of my 30 years, was the most difficult, fulfilling, emotional, and affirming anniversary of all 30 celebrations.

Since I’m looking back in anticipation of this coming Sunday’s anniversary, it’s obvious I remember and rejoice in that first Sunday in 1984 each year. I realize a lot has changed at Discovery Christian Church the last seven years, but not the foundation that was laid at the beginning 37 years ago this coming Sunday.

Congratulations to Discovery Christian Church on the occasion of your 37th anniversary – long time members, newer members, long term staff, more recently added staff, leaders in terms of your elders, and former members who have moved, but still remember Discovery’s anniversaries (like me).

Congratulations to new Senior Pastor Garrison Polsgrove and best wishes as you lead the body of Christ and the ministry of Discovery Christian Church. I’ll celebrate your first anniversary on the first Sunday of October next year as well the 38th anniversary of the church.

To all readers: mark, remember, and celebrate anniversaries that deserve the recognition.

Feel free to leave a comment below and/or share this post on Facebook or other social media.


  1. Oh my goodness! I wasn’t there at the first service, but started the 2nd year, and oh the memories! I cannot believe it has been 7 years since you left. What an emotional roller coaster it was for me the first year after you retired! It took about a year for me to get ‘back on board’ but I did. And then another jolt this past year with the shutdown and losing Dan. Many of us have tried to stay focused and keep praying that God would send the right person to lead us and I believe he has. God uses everything to His glory, but my heart will always remain with you as MY pastor!

    Love you and Jan and still miss you both, but so happy you are doing well and continuing in ministry at this new stage of your lives!



  2. 7 years, seems like yesterday. Sure miss your wisdom and spiritual leadership. By the way, Jan was only 30! Boy, did you rob the cradle.


  3. Thank you, Bob, for the reminder of the upcoming anniversary of Discovery. Orville, our children, and I were blessed during the 28 years that we attended as members; most of them under your leadership.
    We were richly blessed by the biblical teaching, opportunities to serve the body and community, and by the lifelong friendships that developed over the years we were there.
    We, too, always think about Discovery on the first Sunday of every October. Interestingly enough, the church we belong to here in Texas also celebrates her birthday on the first Sunday of October. This next Sunday will be our 4th anniversary.
    We are grateful for our new church but a part of our hearts will always be firmly planted at Discovery Christian church!!


  4. My husband, Hal and I had only three years with you at Discovery, we took your class, enjoyed it very much and decided Discovery would be our church. Then you announced your retirement after our first two years and we were bummed out, but we continued attending. Hal passed away in 2017. Discovery is like family now, I so appreciate the good people there. Love and miss you and Jan, but know you are where you need to be with your grandchildren as they grow up.
    Rachel Hartman


  5. Wow, how time flies. Your are missed Bob, but life and changes in life are a learned constant. At least we figure this out at some point in our lives. Good or bad, Christ is with us through it all. That is the real constant. What you did at Discovery is what has helped to keep it strong and flourishing, even in these rough times. Our elders have done well, a testament to your teaching. God bless you, Jan and your family, and thank you for listening to those promptings back in 1984!!!


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