Robert Maurice Bock was born in South Bend, Indiana, the only child of Maurice and Gaynelle Bock. His father owned a Mobil service station/garage and Bob spent many hours working with his father, dreaming of someday owning a family business with his dad. These years explain his love for sports cars and motorcycles.
Bob and his mother spent his childhood summers with his grandparents in the farming community of Arcadia, where his parents were born and raised. Throughout his adult life Arcadia, that small Indiana town, has symbolized a kinder and gentler way of life.
Bob was educated in South Bend and attended DePauw University where he earned his BA degree, a teaching credential and taught 7th grade English in the local middle school. He continued his education with four years at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis where he earned the Master of Divinity degree. Upon graduation in 1961, Bob was ordained, married seminary classmate Betty Klopolsky and moved to Hollywood, CA, where he assumed the position of Associate Minister at the Hollywood-Beverly Christian Church.
His main responsibilities were Christian Education, Youth Work and Community Service which included directing a large community youth program. He worked in close relationship with LAPD Hollywood Juvenile Division helping run-a-ways living on the streets of Hollywood.
On August 14, 1964, Bob and Betty were blessed by the birth of Jonathan Maurice Bock. He immediately became the “favorite child” of the Hollywood Beverly Christian Church!
Because of his work with troubled youth, Los Angeles County Supervisor Ernest Debs appointed him to the Los Angeles County Board of Education, one of the largest school boards in the world. He held that position for sixteen years in addition to maintaining his full time ministry. During his tenure on the Board he served as an officer seven times including four terms as President. He also became a featured motivational speaker for the California School Boards Association and served as a consultant to local school districts. At the time he was the youngest county commissioner ever appointed by the Board of Supervisors.
While serving on the Board of Education Bob travelled to the Nation’s Capital many times to speak to legislators regarding educational needs. During this time he was invited to serve as the Guest Chaplain for both the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives.
On March 1, 1969 Bob began his ministry as Senior Pastor of the First Christian Church of North Hollywood. Jon was a third year student in Christian Nursery School at that time. The birth of Bradley Klopolsky Bock, two months later on May 13, completed the Bock household. Both sons were welcomed by a loving congregation who were eager to be a part of their lives.
Taking the reins of FCCNH in extremely troubled times, Bob weathered the theological and cultural turmoil of Vietnam, the “God is Dead” movement, the emergence of the drug culture, the Hippie influence on the youth culture, riots in the streets of several major cities and the national mandate for civil rights. His emphasis on being open, accepting, non-judgmental and loving transformed the church’s identity from the concept of a “congregation “to a “church family.”
In 1981 Betty died in a freeway accident. Following her death Bob retired from the Board of Education, resigned from all community service organizations and devoted himself entirely to his sons and the church.
Bob’s encouragement of creative ideas and his empowerment of the dreams of his people has been a key to the church’s growing and dynamic ministry. In 1981 the Advent Theatre was founded with a six-month run of Godspell, featuring the original Broadway cast. In 1982 the Christmas Tree Lot was founded. In the past thirty-six years it has donated over half a million dollars to church and non-profit agencies who serve the needs of children and youth. In 1984 the Interfaith Food Pantry, founded by five congregations (two Jewish and three Christian) began an ambitious ministry to feed the hungry. Today thirteen congregations work together to feed hundreds of homeless, poor and under-employed people every week. In 1985 Operation Santa Claus was started to meet the needs of the clients of the Food pantry with gift giving at Christmas time. The most recent outreach ministry, founded in the early 2000’s, is the Park Ministry. Every second Sunday home-made food is cooked and served to the homeless in North Hollywood Park. They also distribute clothing, blankets, shoes and socks to the homeless during the Sunday Noon meal.
In the summer of 1985 Bob and Ken Scovill, his longtime friend and colleague, studied together in England. The day after school concluded Ken married Bob to Peggy, “the light of his life.” They honeymooned in England and returned to make their life and ministry together. Peggy has faithfully served as “First Lady of the Church” for nearly thirty-four years and has been a friend and counselor to many who have sought her wisdom. She has taught church school for 39 years and has served as a member of the Diaconate, the Elders and the C.W.F. She continues to serve on the Christian Education Council and the Christian Nursery School Council.
Peggy earned her BA from UCLA, and was awarded her Master’s degree in Education, with an emphasis in Educational Psychology, Counseling and Guidance from California State University, Northridge. For 35 years Peggy sold aircraft components to aerospace manufacturers and airlines worldwide. In 2009 she moved from her position as Senior Vice-President of an international distribution company to one of independent consulting. Today she consults with airline colleagues and does property management.
Bob’s passion for outreach ministries continues to spur FCCNH as a denominational leader in outreach giving. His great love for children and youth has spearheaded the establishment of education as a major priority in church life. His dream is for the church to provide children and youth with a spiritually based faith that will keep them strong through the many changes they will face during their lifetime. Part of that faith is the appreciation of art, music, literature and theater, bringing a part of Christianity alive that is often ignored. As a result of that passion Bob organized and found talented directors and faculty to staff seven summer day camps. These camps are usually filled to capacity before the first one begins.
Bob also has a passion for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of which he is a fourth generation member. He serves on the Board of Christian Church Foundation, the National City Christian Church, as well as the Board of Disciples Seminary Foundation. He also serves on the Committee on Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Pacific Southwest Region.
Bob has done post graduate studies at USC and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He has studied during summer sessions at the Chateau de Bossey in Geneva, Switzerland and at Mansfield College, Oxford University, England. He completed his Doctor of Ministry degree in December, 2018 at Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA.
Bob’s life has been ministry, but his concept of ministry has always been community based. Years ago he coined the slogan, “A church in the heart of the community with the community in its heart.” He has touched the lives of thousands of people through his “extended ministry” within the entertainment industry and the San Fernando Valley. He has performed thousands of weddings and funerals over the years, and through these has brought many people into his church family.
An unusual aspect of Bob’s life is his over forty years as an active member of SAG/AFTRA. He has had recurring cameo roles in three major daytime dramas and served for over twenty-five years as the resident pastor for “Young and Restless,” a role they named after him. He also performed as a minister in the 2007 movie “There Will Be Blood” which was nominated for eight Academy Awards.
Bob and Peggy are very proud of their family. Their sons and daughter-in-law’s maintain a close relationship with them, even though they all live in different states. One grandchild is a PhD student, one is a freshman in college and their third grandchild graduates from high school this June. They enjoy their Godchildren and nieces and nephews and spend as much time as possible with all the family.
Bob and Peggy are looking forward to the Centennial of FCCNH on March 1, 2024 celebrating 100 years of ministry to the church family and community.