Throughout Bel Air's rich history the common thread has been the congregation's faithful following of Jesus Christ and because of His example, serving and loving the people of Los Angeles.
In 1946, the Church Extension Board of the Los Angeles Presbytery approved a tentative location for a new church to be built in the community of Bel Air. The plans to develop this ministry and site lay dormant until September, 1955, when the Presbytery responded to the growth of Bel Air and asked the Rev. Louis H. Evans, Jr. to serve as organizing pastor of Bel Air Presbyterian Church. The first meeting of 51 people was held in the manse (pastor's house) on April 8, 1956.
The congregation began meeting at the Bellagio Road School and in October 1956, work began on our current Mulholland site through rock blasting and grading work (which took seven and a half months).
In October 1959, construction began on an award-winning chapel and on a Christian education building.
On December 4, 1960, a happy group of people crowded into the doors for two services. Soon, three services each Sunday morning were required, and these continued until the church moved into its present Sanctuary in September, 1991.
In 1974, membership grew to 1757. In order to accommodate the number of worshippers, a south wing, balcony, and educational lounge were added to the chapel. In 1977 the Christian Service Center was completed, and the church staff offices were moved out of the Christian Education Building to an administration building.
In 1983, the decision was made to proceed with plans for a 1600-seat sanctuary to be constructed on the middle parking lot. Groundbreaking was held in 1988, and on September 6, 1991, the new sanctuary was dedicated.
On January 17, 1994, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake shook the Los Angeles area at 4:31 a.m. Damage to the church facilities was extensive. A pipe connected to the sprinkler system in the new sanctuary burst and caused major damage to the Casavant organ, and cracks and broken windows were widespread. The sanctuary was classified to be unsafe, and worship services resumed in Evans Chapel. Repair work commenced immediately and extended over a two-year period.
Bel Air has launched two church plants, one in partnership with Union Presbyterian Church in downtown Los Angeles, called The Bridge, and the other in the South Bay, called Water's Edge.
In 2015, Bel Air launched a year, called, "LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY." This was in preparation for our 60th anniversary as a congregation. The people of Bel Air encircled the campus and in unison said the Lord's Prayer.
Fall 2015 Session voted to start using the shortened name of Bel Air Church as people have called this church family since its beginning. We hope this new name makes us easier to find and tells newcomers that they are welcome to discover Bel Air for themselves. April 2016 marks the 60th anniversary of this dedicated and faithful congregation. We are excited to see how God will continue the amazing work He has been doing in and through this church. Read more about our mission.