ALTADENA — The annual Fall Festival of First Presbyterian Church, Altadena, will celebrate the church’s 100-year anniversary on Saturday, Sept. 14, with a photo review of its history and the hosting of a performance of a short play, “One Way or Another: Overcoming the Odds One Base at a Time.” The performance is free and open to the public and will be held in the sanctuary at 5 p.m.
The play was written by the church’s senior pastor, Mark Buchanan, and features church members Paul Kikuchi, Roy McManus and David Williams in key roles. The play centers on the friendship of Shig Takayama (a deceased church member) and Jackie Robinson as they together pushed up against the “whites only” barrier on the athletic field in 1937. The two young men, both of whom played baseball for Pasadena City College, discovered the harsh realities of racial prejudice as they attempted to further their careers as intercollegiate baseball players.
In their struggle, they found that overcoming the obstacles placed in their way required not only physical strength and mental discipline but also an inner fortitude. Tested together, the two found that they shared the same source of strength stemming from their faith borne out of their involvement in two local churches: Takayama at Japanese Union Church, Pasadena, now First Presbyterian Church, Altadena, and Robinson at Scott United Methodist Church, still located in Central Pasadena.
Seventy-six years later, the story of their tenacity provides the present Altadena/Pasadena community with a legacy of interracial cooperation and a model for how it can move ahead together.
The festival begins at 3 p.m. and will include children’s games on the church lawn and an exhibition of historical photos in the church library. There will also be booths serving hamburgers, hot dogs and drinks on the church lawn and teriyaki chicken and beef dinners served in the Social Hall. The Festival will conclude with a hula dancing finale at 7 p.m.
The church is located at 2775 Lincoln Ave. at Harriet Street. For more information, call (626) 791-4271.