On Sunday, February 3, 1991, Rev. Linda Parker, Gwen Oden, and 25 other believers founded COR on the University of California, Irvine (UCI) campus under the auspices of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Fifth Episcopal District. Led by a series of pastors (Rev. Douglas Patterson, Rev. Parcel Hector, Rev. Crystalline Weaver, and Rev. Edgar Jones), from 1992 through 1998, COR moved to various Orange County locations.
Breaking the string of pastors in August 1998, Rev. Mark E. Whitlock, Jr. was appointed to lead COR and its 10-member congregation where they moved to Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church in Irvine and worshipped at 3P on Sundays. Pastor Mark's wife was the choir. The Whitlocks' sons, set up audio equipment every week, and Pastor's mother instituted financial controls. A long-time family friend provided church retreats, governing board meetings, and Biblical preaching.
In January 2000, COR’s leadership: Dr. Joyce Boykin; Keith and Mara Murray; Bill and Alisa Covington; Eric and Daisy Barnum; Charleen Adams; Patrice Adams; and Evelyn, Mark III, and Devin Whitlock – returned to UCI with the assistance of Dr. Thomas Parham, then UCI Assistant Vice Chancellor. During this period, the COR Community Development Corporation (CDC) was formed to raise funds to benefit the community, including scholarships to students attending Orange County colleges and universities through an annual Dr. Martin Luther King Scholarship event. Over the years, led by Ron and Karla Guyer, Alisa Covington, Craig and Lisa Rodgers, Wade and Janet Keith, Keith and Mara Murray, and Rev. Mark and Mia Whitlock, COR CDC has raised and awarded over 100 thousand dollars. To house its Bible studies, choir rehearsals, youth programs, board meetings, and administrative offices, COR opened a Community Center inspired by the late Ronald Alexander, designed by Karla Guyer, and dedicated by Presiding Elder, the late Rev. Dr. Howard Gloyd in 2003.
In what its members acknowledge as a miracle, COR purchased and moved into its own facility, a 1300 square foot sanctuary and community center at 46 Maxwell, Irvine CA in 2006. After beautifully renovating and decorating its new home, thanks to the expertise of Karla Guyer and Linda Crowder, COR Church witnessed another manifestation of the living God. In just 5 short years, a grateful congregation paid off its 25-year loan and burned the mortgage to COR Church.
As the congregation continued to grow, it was apparent that we would soon outgrow our space. COR’s Children’s Church was flourishing in number, our flock was increasing, and meeting and fellowship space grew scarce. Our many prayers for COR’s needs were answered when we closed on a new church facility on September 5, 2014. The reciprocal sale of 46 Maxwell and purchase of 45 Tesla, Irvine, CA (which is literally around the corner from 46 Maxwell), allowed COR to have its first worship service at our new church home on September 14, 2014, another miracle. The facility is double the size with a 900-seat sanctuary. It has ample classrooms, a second floor worship center, multi-purpose rooms, a kitchen, great office space, a conference room, and for those who understand the need, plenty of restrooms.
Over the years, COR continues to win souls for Christ and develop ministries to serve the local, Orange County, and global community. Today, COR Church is the largest AME church in Orange County. It presently includes over 2,800 multi-racial members.