I’m going on my eighth week today as the new pastor of the Silverlake Community Church in Los Angeles. I’ve done a lot of meeting and greeting of folks, of course these sacred moments are over coffee or food. I’ve come to appreciate a good mocha and I’ve fallen in love again with single brew coffee. I know which coffee place serves the best baked goods and in walking distance I know who makes a pretty decent burrito. I’ve even tried vegan ice cream and vegan tea cakes. One of my favorite tea cakes is the Chocolate and Orange Zest tea cake at Proof Coffee. It very much pairs well with Proof’s ice coffee. I’ve also gained like 7 pounds since I’ve started. Now that I’ve totally bored you with my foodie nerd face excitement, here’s a little update.
The church is filled with some pretty cool people. They come from all walks of life and they very much care about their community around the church. Some have been going to the church for a long time and some have been attending just for a couple of years. The oldest church member is 94 years old and my office (the old church library) was dedicated to her uncle several years ago. She recently let the advent candle in our worship service and is a walking history book about things Silver Lake and Glendale. I’ve gotten to spend sometime at the food pantry that the church hosts every Wednesday night at 5:00pm. Our church receives food from the Los Angeles regional food bank and is a distribution site. I’ve seen anywhere from 50-70 persons almost every week that I’ve attended. The guests to the food pantry are from the community and I nave no doubt some travel pretty far to come to the church to receive a box of food. Our guests to the food pantry are awesome people. We have some faithful church folks that volunteer and what I’m really impressed with is that that there are community groups and people who don’t even attend the church that come and help serve almost regularly.
The team of leaders, staff, and volunteers I serve alongside with in ministry deeply care about the community as well as the church. The previous pastor left the church at a good place and for this I give thanks. It’s a church that loves God and doing God’s mission in their community. The church has some talented musicians too. It’s the first time in a long that I don’t really have to help with music in the worship service. The church has a talented music director and a group of musicians that rotate almost every week. The church is pretty casual and on more than one occasion I’ve experienced the blessing of being in a community of folks that love the Lord and are hungry to make a difference in the world.
The church is one of the oldest churches in the community. It’s been part of the community since 1926. It’s a community church, that is ready and expectant that God is at work in the world and that the people of God need to rise up in a way that brings about the good news of God’s love to those who are looking for the smallest bit of good news. Advent is indeed a time where we wait, with anticipation for the gift of Jesus at Christmas, it’s also a time in which we wait for Christ’s second coming. In a city like Los Angeles, the local church needs to be a sacred space that offers opportunities for others, to share in the mission that God has given all of us, in being new commandment people. I’m honored and filled with joy that I get to be part of a new beginning and to be part of a church that hasn’t given up at being a life giving and transformational community, guided by God, and that I get to help cast a vision to continue remaining faithful at sharing God’s promised gift of comfort and joy. Basically? I have the coolest job in the world. I get to be their pastor and for this I give thanks to God. It feels very much like home to me and they’ve been super welcoming of us as a family too. I can’t wait to see where God is going to lead us as a faith community, as we listen and discern what it is that God is calling us to do together in the world, in our community around Los Angeles, and in Silver Lake.
If you’re looking for community and a place to come as you are, join us on Sunday mornings at 10:30am for worship. We’re also having a Christmas Eve Candle Light service this year at 7:00pm. All are invited. Kids too!