On February 10, 2013, the Kem Anderson Community Center officially opened. To celebrate, the church held a picnic after Sunday service. With hot dogs grilling on the new stainless steel gas grills and tables loaded with salads and fixins, everyone had a wonderful time. On hand were Pastor Rob Curington, fellow church Elder Randy Franz, their families and many church regulars and members. They expressed excitement about the potential of the center as a gathering place for the residents of the surrounding Serrano Woods development, as well as resource for the church and other community development groups. The center is open to the public.
Its beautiful design and amenities highlight the Kem Anderson center. It features an open, furnished central meeting room with a large plasma screen. It also contains a state of the art computer learning center with 10 terminals and high-speed internet access. A smaller office/meeting room sits off to one side. Adjacent and open to the large central room is a fully furnished modern kitchen with stainless steel fixtures, ample storage with stylish cupboards and drawers, and a huge countertop serving area. The center also has separate men’s and women’s washroom. From the entrance foyer to the warm appointments and color schemes, one can’t help but feel the center was built with love and attention.
“I am thrilled that after so much time, we have finally seen this vision come into being.” said Pastor Rob Curington, “To have such a beautiful facility available to help us share God’s Word and to offer educational and community support programs, is truly an answered prayer from God. We are excited about the opportunities presented by this facility. We also like to express our appreciation to C & C Development who designed, built, and made the KAC available for our use.” Those sentiments were repeated by many who had the opportunity to explore the center and the grounds.
Kem Anderson was one of the driving forces behind the founding of Orange Villa Bible Church back in 1958. Kem, along with a small but devoted group of individuals, had a vision for a Bible-based Christian church that would serve the local Orange community in a manner that was missing at the time. The church first met in a room at then-Chapman College before moving to an open space in a local furniture store. Then an abandoned orange grove near the corner of Meats and Tustin avenues became available to the church. Kem took the initiative to bulldoze dozens of dead trees on the lot to make room to build a small sanctuary. He even designed the signature stained-glass window still present at the front of the building today. Kem was particularly proud of the single panel depicting the Bible.
One of the first official uses of the sanctuary was for the wedding of his daughter, Bethel, to Charles Freidline. As a founding member of the congregation, Kem remained a central figure in the church’s growth and ministry until his passing in 2010.
Kem was born Kemual H. Anderson on July 28,1915. He taught biology and other science courses at Tustin and Anaheim high schools and Dahlmer’s Boys’ Ranch, Escondido. He was choir director at Calvary Church of Santa Ana as well as other churches in the 1950s before he helped found OVBC in 1958. Kem also served as a board member for Independence Christian School. He loved birds, gardening, rocks and music. Kem was married for 60 years to his lovely wife, Evelyn (Koffel). Although they had only one child, Bethel, Kem and Evelyn were surrounded by family, including grandson Jon Freidline and Jon’s wife, Anne Hoff, sister Leonore Lowry; nieces and husbands Ruth and Steve Conklin, Judith and Dave Jore, Mary Keller, Lois and Byron Meline, nephew and wife David and Ellie Lowry, their children, and his extended church family at OVBC. Kem passed from this life and into the arms of his Savior on Feb. 24, 2010.
“Mr. Anderson loved to consider Jesus Christ and proclaim with utmost sincerety, ‘I just don’t know how anyone can live without the Lord,’” said Elder Randy Franz. “This facility honors a godly man whose greatness was evident by his humility, work ethic, grace and love for others. I know Mr. Anderson would be proud to have his name attached to a place where people from all walks of life will be served.”