In 1976, the Chinese United Methodist Church (UMC) of Los Angeles, under the leadership of Rev. Joseph Ma, felt that an English-speaking ministry was necessary, as each generation of their congregation was becoming more assimilated to the western culture around them. The following is an account of our history.
We began the mission church in Orange County in a small chapel at the Orange UMC in the city of Orange. Rev. Leo Hsu, Associate Pastor to the Chinese UMC was assigned to the mission church. Thirty people together with several friends, which included five core families Tom and May Lou, Ed and Mabel Joe, Eddie and Ruth Wong, Charlie and Minnie Lou, and Sen and Clarice Lew, began Sunday evening worship services. Bing Wong was the Administrative Board Chairperson. The first choir consisted of two members, Celeste and pianist Arleen Lew. Craig Miller from CUMC of LA served as our Youth Director and Music Director, until July 1979 when he became an ordained pastor and was appointed to another church.
Rev. Leo Hsu was officially appointed as our Pastor.
The church was chartered as “Chinese United Methodist Church of Orange County.” Rev. Leo Hsu was transferred back to Chinese UMC of Los Angeles, and we were without a pastor for four months.
Rev. Ken Zeller was assigned as our Interim Pastor.
Rev. Timothy Ting from Chicago, Illinois was appointed our new Pastor. Under music director Arleen Lew’s lead, the Wings of Faith youth choir gave many concerts at several churches throughout Orange County, Los Angeles and even traveled to Northern California to perform. They were awarded a certificate by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship and were recognized as one of the most Outstanding Youth Groups in the United Methodist Church.
CUMC of Orange County became a self-supporting church. A separate Chinese language mission under the leadership of Rev. Violet Wong was organized.
After serving 6 years, Rev. Timothy Ting was appointed to the Alhambra UMC.
Rev. David Tsang was appointed our Pastor.
We relocated to the Lark Ellen Christian Church in Brea and the Chinese Language mission church moved into a commercial complex in Walnut. Rev. David Tsang served both congregations.
Rev. Marilynn Huntington, District Superintendent of Santa Ana together with the pastors of Orangethorpe UMC and Cornerstone UMC had a vision of establishing a shared facility covenant relationship. After 1 1/2 years of cooperative and careful work, the shared facility covenant was established.
The Administrative Board approved changing the name to “Cornerstone United Methodist Church.” Ministering to the Asian American community was the goal and the reason for the name change.
After serving 5 years, Rev. David Tsang accepted a position to serve a church on the East Coast. Rev. Steven Tsang became the pastor for the Chinese Language mission church which moved to the Rowland Heights UMC and became a chartered church.
Cornerstone UMC moved into the Orangethorpe UMC facilities in Fullerton.
Rev. Daesun Chung was appointed as our Pastor.
A one-year trial period of the covenant relationship between Orangethorpe UMC and Cornerstone UMC began. The covenant relationship was formally adopted by the two churches in April 1992.
After serving 4 1/2 years, Rev. Daesun Chung was appointed to Grace UMC in Riverside.
Rev. Jimmy S. Nih was appointed as our Pastor and served for nearly 7 1/2 years.
The church moved into the Placentia UMC facilities. A new covenant relationship with both congregations was created. An official signing of the CUMC-PUMC Covenant took place during our Charge Conference with Rev. Cheol Kwak on November 2003.
Rev. Jimmy Nih was appointed as Pastor to San Gabriel UMC.
Rev. Jerry Owyang was appointed as our Pastor and served us for 12 years.
Karl Freeman faithfully served as our Youth Director for 5 1/2 years.
Stephen Hale served as our Youth Director for 3 years, and now serves as Director of Youth Ministries at Redondo Beach UMC.
Pastor Ewin Grace joined us as Director of Family Ministries and serves us at the present time.
Laura Terasaki served as our Youth Director for 2 years, and now serves as Senior Pastor at Wilbur Uniting in Washington State.
Rev. SonHye Kim was appointed as our Pastor and serves us at the present time.