The Westside Church of Christ located at 2531 West Jefferson Blvd. in Los
Angeles and Pepperdine University announced that the historic church
building has been donated to the University. Proceeds from the sale of the
land and building will help provide scholarship funds for graduate students
in religion from the Churches of Christ whose declared intention is to
“preach, teach, and/or evangelize for the Churches of Christ.” The
Scholarship will be named the Hirosuke Ishiguro/Westside Japanese Church of
Professor Rick Marrs, chair of the Religion Division at Pepperdine, was
elated with the substantial amount the gift represents, estimated at a
potential of $430,000. “The impact for us will be very significant,” he
said. “It will be a great benefit to the students and to Pepperdine.” Dr.
Marrs credited Michael Gose, a Pepperdine professor of humanities and
teacher education who has preached at the Westside Church on many occasions,
with connecting the Westside Church and Pepperdine.
The Westside Church of Christ’s history dates back to the 1920s. Under the
leadership of Hirosuke Ishiguro, a graduate of Abilene Christian College,
the Westside Church of Christ began on January 27, 1923. As one of the only
Japanese-speaking congregations within the Churches of Christ, the Westside
Church flourished in its Los Angeles setting until World War II and the
implementation of the internment camps.
With such a rich history to preserve, Pepperdine University and the Westside
Church of Christ agreed that it would be best to record and collect the
memories of the church members, photos and other historical archives of the
church. Pepperdine will serve as a repository for the history of the
Westside Church of Christ, primarily by creating and maintaining a Web site
that will contain important pictures and documents of the church that served
generations of Japanese-Americans in Los Angeles. The Web site is already
well under construction through the efforts of the members of the Westside
Church of Christ and Pepperdine University’s Bob Escudero and Michael Gose.
Over the years, the Westside Church of Christ has had an informal
relationship with Pepperdine with much of its preaching done by people
associated with the university. The Jefferson Boulevard Property has been
the place of worship and fellowship for the Westside Church for many
decades. As the congregation began decreasing over the years, church
members decided that the best way they could support the ministries of the
Churches of Christ was to “reinvest” the assets of their church building.
Pepperdine has agreed to match funds received from the sale of the church
for the support of graduate work in religion at Seaver College through the
newly created Hirosuke Ishiguro/Westside Japanese Church of Christ
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