Combined, these nine saints total over 200 years of being members of the Free Methodist Church in Southern California, specifically at Riverside. May we carry on with the same passion and example of these folks, and may our legacy reflect their Kingdom values.
Henry “Lee” Kirk – Elder
Lee was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Eagle Rock, CA. It was during his first 4 years of college that he began to feel a call to ministry and pursued his interests in Greek, Hebrew and Biblical Studies at Pasadena Nazarene College (now Point Loma University). After college he worked in Admissions and Student Affairs for L.A. Pacific College, which merged with Azusa Pacific University. During his student recruitment at southern California churches, he met his future wife, Marlene. In 1965 Lee was hired as pastor of the Chino Free Methodist Church,which began a career-long connection with the Free Methodist Church. The superintendent of the then, small Chino School District, was a neighbor and asked Lee if he would consider substitute teaching. Lee did, and loved it. He finished a teaching credential and later on, his masters and Ph.D in educational administration. He took an early retirement from the school district in order to accept a position as Senior Pastor at the Upland Mountain View Free Methodist Community Church. His 13 years there as pastor of the church and school were a highlight of enjoyment for him, and connected us with people we will never forget. After retirement from Upland, antiquing turned into a thriving, and very enjoyable business for Lee & Marlene at Carriage House Antiques in Hesperia. Lee was a great man who love God, loved his family, and loved people. He was generous and kind, adventurous but humble. The world has lost a good man. But…on the morning of September 11, 2015, —Lee saw the Lord.
But Biu Li – Elder
But-Biu Li came to the FMCSC in 1982 and began serving in the Los Angeles Chinese FMC. In 1984 he officially transferred his ordination from the Evangelical Free Church of America. He served as the senior pastor of our Chinese FMC for many years as they changed locations from Los Angeles to Alhambra and eventually to Glendale. Pastor Li retired in the year 2000. In 2015, another servant went to be see their Master.
David Cole – Lay Member, Santa Barbara
Our dear friend, warm greeter at the 11am worship service,wise former Board and Bible study leader, and gracious brother in Christ, David Cole, passed into heaven on Sunday, March 13 at 11:00am. Instead of greeting us into our worship service, he was being greeted into heaven by his beloved wife Thelma who was there to meet him! Please pray for his family and all of us who grieve his loss to our church family.
Ron Neilson – Lay Member, Cucamonga Christian Fellowship
Ron entered fully into the presence of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on April 14, 2016 after a courageous 12 month battle with cancer. He will be remembered by his kind, creative, humorous, hard-working and generous spirit.
Philip Garcia – Lay Member
On May 11, 2015, Phillip Garcia, entered eternity. We was a deep man of prayer and so supportive of men’s ministry at our church. He was a great family man and present at the church every time the doors were open. With his gentle spirit, kind personality and soft voice he made a special Kingdom impact on many around him.
Alvin Bradley – Lay Member
On October 12, 2015, Alvin Bradley, went home to be with Jesus. He was an architect for many years, influencing many school builds in the Inland Empire and other buildings in Riverside. Al had a great singing voice, he was a part of many board and committees and he dreamed “big dreams” for our new location on California Avenue.
Minnie Crawford – Lay Member
On October 26, 2015, Minnie Crawford, moved locations to her new eternal home. She was a long-standing member of our church, and served on the Local and Conference level in MANY ways. She was active until just months before her passing. Over the years, she entertained and blessed so many folks (including countless pastors and missionaries) and was always finding ways to let people know they were loved by Jesus.
Julius (Chris) and Dorothy Christinson – Lay Members
On October 28, 2015, Julius (Chris) Christinson, entered eternity. On April 2, 2016, Dorothy joined him. This special couple were married to each other for over 67 years. Their lives were built on service – in the real world and for the Kingdom locally and at the former Conference campground in Yucaipa, CA. As they were brought to the church by other folks within our church years ago, so their light shined bright and they often, out of deep gratitude for their own story, returned the favor by bringing others to our fellowship.