Bishop T. Larry Kirkland, Presiding Elder Roosevelt Lindsey, Pastor Mark Whitlock, the Rev. Dr. Hermia Shegog-Whitlock and the members of Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church (COR) held a Building Dedication Service on November 30 and over one thousand people came to witness God’s miracle at 45 Tesla in Irvine.
Christ Our Redeemer (COR) purchased a $6.8 million dollar building equipped with two sanctuaries, 20 bathrooms, eight classrooms, conference room, kitchen, and six administrative offices. The building is 26,000 square feet with ample parking for the growing congregation of 3,150 people.
Also at the service were retired Bishop C. Garnett Henning, Supervisor Mary Kirkland, Supervisor Ernestine Henning, Pastor J. Edgar Boyd of First A.M.E. Church of Los Angeles, President Dorothy Vails-Weber of the Southern California Lay Organization, several A.M.E. pastors, and over 50 pastors from other denominations.
“We had an incredible worship experience as we celebrated the birth of a new AME sanctuary,” said Pastor Whitlock. “Leveda Woolery served as the project chair for this outstanding building dedication that included feeding over seven hundred people before the service began. Every detail was managed to make this day a joyful experience for the members of COR.”
Things have not always ben joyful for COR. The church was founded on the University of California – Irvine in February 1991. COR had five different pastors who moved the fledging parish from the University to various locations.
In August 1998, Bishop Vinton Anderson was prepared to close the church. Instead, God called him to appoint then-Itinerate Deacon Mark E. Whitlock, Jr., to lead the fractured flock. The church had no building, no pews, no piano, plenty of bills and five priceless members.
COR moved to Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church in Irvine and held weekly services from August 1998 to January 2000. Pastor Whitlock’s sons, Mark and Devin, operated the audio equipment; his wife, Hermia, provided the music; his mother, Evelyn, was the finance committee; Charleen Adams handled church administration, and Keith Murray served as Steward Pro Tem.
Then, Pastor Whitlock initiated strategic planning through church retreats, governing board meetings, and Biblical preaching and teaching, and the congregation began to grow.
In January 2000, COR returned to UCI and in 2006, purchased its first 300-seat sanctuary at 46 Maxwell in Irvine and paid off its $3.4 million loan in five years. In 2008, COR West, a young adult satellite church, was launched at UCI. In 2010, COR North opened on California State University, Fullerton. Christ Our Redeemer AME Church moved into its new home on September 15.
In the area of community outreach, the church formed the COR Community Development Corporation in 2001 to raise funds for scholarships to students attending Orange County colleges and universities. Over the years, COR CDC has funded nearly $400,000 in college scholarships to 300 students.
Also, COR CDC serves as the general partner for six multi-family housing buildings valued at more than $1.5 million. In addition, COR CDC hosts the National Faith Leader’s Conference. This year, the White House, United States SBA, twelve major banks, and over eight hundred pastors attended.
COR Church, located at 45 Tesla, is the oldest and largest Black congregation in Irvine. For information, call (949) 955-0014.