The South Shores Story
Expanding over the years to its present state, South Shores Church grew out of a Bible Study Group in the home of Rolland & Genevive Cole. In October of 1958, 13 Christians met to consider forming a church. Dr. J. Ed Orr, renowned evangelist and lecturer, was provided by the Southern California Baptist Convention. As attendance grew, and the Cole’s home became inadequate to use as a meeting place, and Mr. Cole negotiated a lease with the Art Gallery of Laguna Beach.
Dr. Hubert Davidson was called as the first pastor, serving from 1959 to 1963. South Shores was accepted as an extension church by the American Baptist Convention and in April of 1959 the church incorporated with 35 charter members. By December 1961, approximately $24,500 had accumulated in a building fund. Growth prompted an extensive search for a church site.
The present six-acre site was purchased in February, 1962 from Mr. & Mrs. E. C. Shumaker for $190,000. Buildings on the property consisted of a large furnished residence, carport, and guesthouse. Auctioning the furniture helped raise more funds for the purchase of the property.
Rev. Charles F. Waters was called as pastor from 1963-1973. He could be described as a hands-on, do-it-yourself type of guy, often seen out and about with a shovel, or whatever other tool might be necessary for the property’s upkeep. It was not unusual for him to be at the hospital at 2 o’clock in the morning when someone had a need. In fact, the church had him back years later to thank him for his gracious and significant ministry. The chapel, constructed to seat 200 people, was dedicated on September 15, 1968. The preschool began in 1965 and has blessed thousand’s of little people and their families through the years.
Dr. Don Cole was pastor from 1973-1990. He had been a psychologist and seminary president and helped the church focus on being loving and healthy. Dr. Ted Cole began as Pastor in 1991and energized the congregation with a new vision for the future. Debt was retired and staff hired. Construction of a new 500 seat sanctuary was completed in 1995. Dr. Ted retired in October 1996.
Dr. Tyler S. Guy began as Pastor in July 1998. Under his leadership, a sanctuary debt of one million has been retired. Worship is led in two distinct styles – traditional and contemporary. The church has worked actively to develop a master plan with the City of Dana Point. A Church Foundation was formed to bless the ministries of South Shores as long as the Lord tarries and a Heritage Club established as a vehicle for members to remember the church in their estate. On Thanksgiving Sunday 2004, a “first fruits” offering of $740,000 was collected and faith commitments of 2.4 million made for future construction and expansion.
In the Fall of 2013, South Shores Church was blessed with the opportunity to merge with Hope Harbor Church of San Juan Capistrano and become one church on multiple campuses. The addition of this worshipping congregation, their location and ministries is an exciting prospect for continuing to minister the Good News of Jesus Christ to an expanding region of people.
In March of 2015, the Planning Commission of Dana Point voted unanimously 5-0 to approve the expansion plan for South Shores to construct 4 new buildings, and add a parking deck (by going down a level.) This was challenged… and then upheld in June of 2015 by the City Council of Dana Point with another unanimous 5-0 vote! South Shores is on an inspired journey to reach the world for Jesus Christ beginning in Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, and to the world beyond! The facilities will be given much needed improvements in the near future, so come and watch it grow! Come and help it grow!
There is a spirit of optimism and compassion at South Shores. It is described as a genuinely “kind” church. Our mission is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and our vision is to be a multi-generational family connecting people to God and to each other.