Our building is a historic church built in 1926 and renovated extensively into the Mayan Revival style in 1932. It has been declared the City of Ventura’s 17th cultural and historic landmark and was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 2009 and the California Register of Historical Resources.
According to the NRHP nomination, it was deemed significant “as a fine and essentially unaltered example of a scarce property designed in the Mayan Revival style” by its most prominent and widely-recognized proponent, architect Robert B. Stacy-Judd of Los Angeles. It was the first ecclesiastic building embodying the ancient Mayan architectural form and art motifs to be erected in the United States.
In designing this church, Stacy-Judd’s goal was to create a dignified and inspiring building which presented strength and solidity, as well as beauty, through Mayan symbolism. Archeological studies conclude that the Mayans were a most highly civilized people – successful farmers, scientific engineers, architects and builders.
The Mayans believed in One God and the immortality of the soul. These values are represented in the symbolism of the architecture.
Human beings have forever looked upward for inspiration as suggested by the long, simple lines of the tower, rising vertically to symbolize humanity’s age-old struggle to attain spiritual enlightenment. The five-step formation on the tower represents the four elements – earth, fire, air and water. The fifth indicates spirit rising above matter.
The tower’s two flights of five steps represent duality seeking reconciliation. The topmost step between the two flights symbolizes the reconciliation of opposites finding wholeness in the One.
Six upright planes appear on the North part of the building. This motif also symbolizes the desire to reach the single seventh plane, representing Oneness. Two cornices on the northwest corner of the building feature a bas-relief carving that typifies the Mayan love for highly complicated decorative forms.
The outstanding feature in the Sanctuary is the stepped-up ceiling – seven rising steps to symbolize the immortal number of Mosaic Law and the Seven Days of Creation. Each side of the platform has a doorway and a decorative organ grill of the seven successive steps. This design symbolizes seven stages of Life unfolding. The patterned motif is from the Mayan structural lacing pattern, representing strength. A group of three pilasters symbolizes the Trinity; and the bas-relief carving on the lectern bears the universal Tao symbol of Life, surrounded by serpent motifs symbolizing protection.
We believe that our building is a beloved member of the congregation. Her symbolism enhances our work together towards a realization of Wholeness and Oneness.