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SCV Community Pride • FAITH



Pride Faith

SCV Community Pride • Faith

Churches get involved with their community

John Lopez

Parents, students, Principal Rick Drew and Sanctuary Church volunteers at Valley View Community School in Newhall.



SCV Community Pride • FAITH

Church reaches out to Santa Clarita Valley community By Marcie Geffner


he Sanctuary Church isn’t only about reaching out to the Santa Clarita Valley community. But community, whether that means kids, adults or everyone, is a crucial aspect of the church’s mission and programs. “We’re not just a house of worship that keeps to ourselves,” says Worship Pastor Andy Gregory. “We pride ourselves on making a difference, whether it’s giving away food and other necessities for people in need, to providing grief counseling and relationship counseling and other services.” Located at 26444 Friendly Valley Parkway in Santa Clarita. The Sanctuary Church was established in the community in 1939. In addition to helping others, service to the community helps to sustain participants’ relationships with God, Gregory explains. “We believe that church is one of the ways to find and develop a relationship with God through Jesus, but that relationship with God is also sustained and developed in community with others,” he says.

For kids

Children of all ages are a key aspect of the church’s community focus. The church has an existing relationship with nearby Valley View Community School, thanks to a rapport

between Outreach Pastor Julie Sandeen at the church and Principal Rick Drew at the elementary school. “A big focus for us this year is our relationship with Valley View Community School and reaching out to their families, bringing them together,” Gregory says. Volunteers from the community are welcome to join this program, known as Project SCV. “There are a lot of ways to get involved in Santa Clarita,” Gregory says. “We believe this is a powerful one because it touches kids. When kids are in need, it doesn’t matter your religion, race or ethnicity. Kids matter.” Gregory himself grew up as a member of the church and has been on staff five years. When he was a teenager, the church’s youth pastor was Marty Walker, who has lived in the Santa Clarita Valley and pastored at the church since 1989 and is now the lead pastor. “He’s committed to the community,” Gregory says. “He’s been here and wants to stay here and see our Valley View program expand to other schools.” Currently the elementary schools in Sulphur Springs school district must travel to the district office and pay for laminating services out of each of their budgets. Principal Rick Drew said, “We are just blown away by the ongoing support of The Sanctuary. When I shared

with my teachers that we would be receiving our own laminator paid in full by The Sanctuary, you could hear the sighs of joy and gratitude.”

Friends for life

Community connections keep longtime members coming back to The Sanctuary Church week after week and year after year. “They’ve found community, made friends and developed relationships that extend outside the walls of the building. And they’ve found a way to serve God and the community with the abilities and skills they have. Whether it’s cooking a meal, reading a story to a kid, playing music or whatever, there’s a place for people to share that with the community,” Gregory explains. Skeptics might think churches generally are inward-focused and only interested in promoting themselves and their own narrow interests. Gregory says self-serving is not on the agenda at The Sanctuary Church. “Our core is what Jesus has called us to do,” he says. “I know the heart of our lead pastor and leadership and it has never been about getting people through the doors. It’s about meeting people where they are and meeting their needs.” To find out more about the church or to get involved with Project SCV, check out their website at ProjectSCV. com.

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John Lopez


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SCV Community Pride • FAITH



Developing an organically growing faith in the SCV By Alicia Doyle


he Santa Clarita Valley Church of Christ has earned a reputation for its family-friendly atmosphere that fosters a relationship with God – not only on Sundays. “What we’re not is a worship service experience and then you leave,” said Cheryl Hammer, women’s ministry leader. “It’s more centered on our relationship to God and relationships with each other so when church is over, literally an hour later, we’ll still have people talking and hanging out,” she said. “There’s no rush to leave – people enjoy being together.” The congregation is known for practicing Christianity together throughout the year. For instance, members participate in an annual service project for Carousel Ranch, a charitable nonprofit organization in Santa Clarita that provides therapeutic horseback riding for children with special needs. Additionally, the church partners with a benevolent organization called HOPE worldwide, a nonprofit that provides community-based services to the poor and needy around the globe. The congregation also supports foster children through the Department of Children and Family Services. “These are some of the most needy families in Santa Clarita,” Hammer said.

“At Christmas we do a huge toy drive and Christmas party for DCFS in which our members donate hundreds of toys. It’s one of our signature events working with the community.” In related efforts, congregation members create food baskets during the Thanksgiving holiday for families in need, and donate food, blankets and other needed items to Bridge to Home, a local homeless shelter. “We love being involved in the community and meeting real-life daily needs, making our faith authentic within the community and making it real with each other,” Hammer said. “Christianity needs to be helpful. It needs to be more than an experience – it needs to transform your heart otherwise it’s an event versus a Christian lifestyle.” While the church’s primary goal is to help people with their spiritual lives, “we really want to roll up our sleeves and help the poor and needy,” Hammer said. “Whether it’s through Carousel Ranch or a homeless shelter, we are making Christianity real every day in our lives.” Efforts that take place throughout the week include bible study, marriage and parenting classes, which take place at the Santa Clarita United Methodist Church on Bouquet Canyon Road on Tuesday nights at 7:30 p.m. “You can only do so much on a Sunday morning, so it’s deeper in the sense of meeting specific needs,” Hammer said. “We also do an an-

Courtesy photo

Youth Ministry Serving at Carousel Ranch. nual marriage retreat for one weekend in Indian Wells every November with about 800 people. We meet a lot of marriage needs that weekend.” The church offers counseling in other areas on a regular basis. “We help people deal with other things going on in their lives, whether it’s financial or educational,” Hammer said. “It’s practical help for people to excel in their spiritual lives, but it affects all areas of their lives. We care about the individual and if someone really wants help, we’re there for them.” Above all, the Santa Clarita Valley Church of Christ is a church family with a pas-

sion for moving people toward Christ. “Our dream is to be used by God to change thousands of lives for eternity,” Hammer said. “Individually and collectively, we’re on a spiritual journey in which we are actively seeking God and his guidance for our lives. We believe that God’s word teaches, inspires and convicts us to develop an organically growing faith.” The Santa Clarita Valley Church of Christ is located at Rancho Pico Junior High, 26250 W. Valencia Blvd. in Stevenson Ranch. The Sunday service takes place at 10 a.m. For more information visit php/10-static/i-m-new

Courtesy photo

Ron and Cheryl Hammer, Evangelist and Women’s Ministry Leader.


SCV Community Pride • FAITH

SCV Community Pride • FAITH



SCV Community Pride • FAITH


Crippen Mortuary offers personalized, compassionate service for community By Alicia Doyle


n an age where large corporate funeral homes offer overpriced service, Crippen Mortuary is independent, family-run, and has earned a reputation for offering personally tailored programs that are administered with compassion. In 2007, Crippen opened an arrangement office, chapel and tribute center at 16653 Sierra Highway in Canyon Country, to give families a choice of mortuary services in the Santa Clarita community. A direct cremation costs $1,595 at Crippen, compared with up to $2,500 at other funeral establishments. A burial package including a casket, complete chapel service, and embalming is priced at $3,700. Arrangement counselor David Redlus explains, “Our goal is to simplify this process, which is commonly a difficult time for families. We contact their cemetery of choice, and handle burial arrangements with them directly, so there is less worry for the family.” Crippen Mortuary was founded in La Crescenta by William and Ethel Crippen in 1928. It is now owned by Funeral Director Robert Hanson, who has been with the mortuary for over 40 years.His nephew, Cordero Hanson, a U.S. Army National Guard Staff Sergeant,

is also a managing funeral director with Crippen. Others on staff include Louis Brousseau, a licensed funeral director and embalmer, and former owner of Bade Mortuary in Tujunga. A 95 year-old World War II veteran, and resident of Santa Clarita, Brousseau is one of the reasons Crippen Mortuary opened an office in the area. Santa Clarita is also an ideal community for Crippen to exhibit local philanthropy through the York Children’s Foundation with donations to the Santa Clarita Boys and Girls Club. In addition, the mortuary is now offering educational pre-arrangement and living trust workshops. These guide people through the advantages of setting up details ahead of time, relieving their family members from the overwhelming task of making difficult decisions at an already challenging time. Their next event is scheduled for April. Whether at their flagship mortuary in La Crescenta, or the new Santa Clarita establishment, Crippen is dedicated to providing the finest, most compassionate care to each and every family it serves, Redlus added. “We have proven that it is possible to provide affordable funeral and cremation services without sacrificing quality.”

Dan Watson/The Signal

Crippen Mortuary Arrangement Counselor, David Redlus, with the casket display wall at Crippen’s Santa Clarita Valley location in Canyon Country.

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SCV Community Pride • FAITH

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SCV Community Pride • FAITH

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