Melodyland Christian Center

Melodyland Christian Center

Melodyland Christian Center was a Church in Anaheim, California that was located a short distance east of the Disneyland Resort.The Melodyland Theater and surrounding campus started as a theater in the round and later became an evangelical Christian church. Pastor Ralph Wilkerson took a musical theater and turned it into one of the largest (at the time) and most influential churches in the Evangelical or Charismatic/Pentecostal community.

The Melodyland theater and all the buildings on the church campus were demolished in 2003. Part of the Anaheim GardenWalk was later built on the site.Ironically,the spot where the main Theater(or Sanctuary for the church)was located,is the spot where the Movie theaters are located for Garden Walk.Contents[hide]

* 1 Christian Center Church,Anaheim * 2 Theater in the round becomes a church * 3 Charismatic Clinics * 4 Melodyland High School * 5 School of Theology * 6 Anaheim Christian College * 7 Church outgrowth * 8 References * 9 External links

[edit] Christian Center Church,Anaheim

Christian Center Church,Anaheim started in 1960 and for a few years met at the "Anaheim Womens Assistance League" which was on La Palma Ave in Anaheim. Christian Center Church eventually built and occupied the Candlewood Building which was located on Candlewood in Anaheim, cross streets are East and Kenwood right off the 91 Freeway.The building is still there and is now a Nazarene church.The building can be seen from the 91 fwy.It's south of the fwy between East/Raymond and State College Blvd. The church was started as an Assembly of God denomination. Christian Center Church,Anaheim moved from the Candlewood building to Melodyland and later sold the Candlewood property.

[edit] Theater in the round becomes a church

According to the Yesterland website:

"The 3,200-seat Melodyland Theater, located across Harbor Boulevard from Disneyland, opened in 1963. Audiences could enjoy Broadway musicals, concerts by popular performers, such as Johnny Carson or the Grateful Dead, and even ice shows. In 1969, Rev. Ralph Wilkerson bought Melodyland for use as a church. Melodyland must have seemed to be a good name for a church too, so they kept the name and even the original Melodyland sign. Melodyland was demolished in 2003. The parcel of land on which Melodyland sat is now part of Anaheim GardenWalk, a lifestyle shopping center. Freedman Way is now called Disney Way."[1]

Melodyland Theatre was built in the 1960s by a Mr. Freedman, and was host to many entertainers. Some of them who appeared there included Don Adams, Pearl Bailey, Lynn Bari, Joan Bennett, Jack Benny, Pamela Britton, Johnny Carson, Ray Charles, Bobby Darin, The Dave Clark Five, Don DeFore, Andy Devine, The Grateful Dead, Don Ho, Tab Hunter, Betty Hutton, Liza Minnelli, Martin Milner, Robert Paige, Jack Palance, Sonny & Cher, Connie Stevens, Kaye Stevens, and many others.

In 1969 the property encompassing Melodyland was put up for auction.Christian Center Church,Anaheim, headed by Ralph Wilkerson, bought the property and kept the name Melodyland as the new name for the church and called the church Melodyland Christian Center.Later Melodyland would have a drug rehabilitation program, a High School and a School of Divinity called Melodyland School of Theology.

[edit] Charismatic Clinics

In the 1970s, during the summer months, the church would host what were called "Charismatic Clinics". These week-long events featured noted speakers from the Charismatic and Pentecostal movement, and drew people from all over the world.[edit] Melodyland High School

Melodyland High School started in 1976 and used existing church grounds for the school campus. The school's unofficial nickname was Melo (pronounced "mellow," rhyming with yellow).

The team name for the school and its sports teams was "The Flames" as in the Flame of the Holy Spirit.

1976-1984 Started in the Fall of 1976,the class of '77 was the first graduating class.The last class to graduate from the Melodyland Church Campus was the class of '84.

1984-1985 In the fall of 1984 Melodyland High School left the church campus and became a separate entity.The class of '85 was the last class to graduate with the name of Melodyland High School.Eventually the school became Southern California Christian High School, SCCHS for short.

The high school eventually closed its doors and now its traditions live on at Eastside Christian schools in Fullerton California.[edit] School of Theology

Melodyland School of Theology (MST) was a theological seminary college level school and had on its staff Walter Martin, who was also known as the Bible Answer Man and head of CRI (the Christian Research Institute), John Warwick Montgomery noted Christian apologist and lawyer, Dr. John Rea (noted Old Testament scholar and an editor of the New International Version of the Bible). The first president of the school was Dr. J. Rodman Williams (Charismatic Theologian, author of a Systematic Theology). He was succeeded by Dr. John Hurston in 1981. There was also a branch of the school dedicated to Socal Work. The school granted MDiv. and MSW degrees. Although the school struggled to acquire accredidation through major regional accrediting associations, they were never quite able to reach this goal. However as the forerunner of Charismatic scholarship, the school influenced other institutions, especially Regent University in Virginia Beach. At its height, MST drew students from all over the globe. MST was re-named Anaheim Christian School of Theology (A.C.T.S.) in 1981. MST closed in the mid-80's, but still has an active alumni base.[edit] Anaheim Christian College

Alongside the School Of Theology, there was a junior college called Anaheim Christian College. This school was dedicated to training Christian ministers and workers and awarded Bachelors degrees in Bible, Theology, Ministry, Apologetics, Christian Education, & Church Music. The junior college was successful at getting accredidation, but dwindling enrollment caused it to merge with other schools in the mid to late 1980s.[edit] Church outgrowth

Several churches grew out of Melodyland Christian Center and went on to continue as organizations in the area.

The building was demolished in 2003.[2][edit] References


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