Sherman Oaks Presbyterian Church

SOPC had its humble beginnings in 1941 when a small but tenacious group of devoted Christians made the decision to form a Presbyterian Church in Sherman Oaks. Thirty eight charter members, who had been faithfully meeting in each other’s homes, petitioned the Presbytery for a meeting place and a pastor to lead this new congregation. In March, 1941, they were rewarded with both, and Reverend Ralph C. Shanks became the first pastor.

The first church services were held in the Blue Dome Theater on Ventura Blvd. with a leaking roof prompting congregational members to bring umbrellas into Sunday services. When the building was converted to a nightclub, a barn in Encino was provided by the popular character actor of that era, Edward Everett Horton. This congregation would later split to form what would become both the Sherman Oaks and Encino Presbyterian Churches. In 1945, SOPC began worshiping in the La Reina Theater on Ventura Blvd. which at the time was the largest motion picture theater in the Valley with its beautiful art deco decor and seating for 900.

churchpic1Land for a permanent church home was purchased at Noble and Dickens Avenues in February of 1947 with construction of the North Building begun in October of the same year. Ground breaking for the current Sanctuary began in 1951 and the building was dedicated in June of 1953. The two story Christian Education building was added to the campus in 1960 and currently is utilized by many diverse groups including the middle school and children’s ministries, local businesses, and the Sherman Oaks Presbyterian Nursery School, an integral and successful part of the community.