We were able to fit more than 70 people at our home for the New City Christmas Party! We had a great time of fellowship--eating together, singing carols under candlelight and just hanging out together.
We kept to our Korean tradition of taking off our shoes. This is one of the piles of shoes we had.
Jesus always ate and partied so we are trying to be like Jesus!
Singing carols under candlelights
Some people just hung out outside around the firepit. It was too crowded in the inside.
For more pictures from the party, click here for the picasa web album.
Please join us for our special Christmas Sunday service at New City this coming Sunday, December 21, 2008, at 10 am at the Los Angeles Theatre Center (the New LATC). For more info, go to New City's website.
Also, the church is invited to our home for the New City Christmas Party. We will have dinner, dim the lights, turn the candles on, and sing Christmas carols together. Please let RSVP with Grace.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — New City Church is on the move again. The "come as you are" Downtown church is soon to be in its fourth home, moving just a few blocks up Spring street. Pastor Kevin Haah made the announcement yesterday on his blog. Haah, responding to the ever-growing and changing needs of his congregation, has inked a deal that will have the New City Church holding services in the spacious New LATC -- which Haah calls his "dream venue" -- starting December 7.
For the past few months the New City Church has made its home in the Globe Theatre's Club 740. Pastor Haah has said that the venue was meant to be a temporary location until more suitable space came available. Haah said that while the unconventional Club 740 location worked for the adults, it didn't quite meet the ministering needs of the congregation's families.
The congregation has grown considerably since it had made the move from the Arts District in August. The community-minded church had an intense marketing campaign that reached out to several thousand people around Downtown. With a mission statement of outreach across race and religious affiliations, New City intends to bring the gospel to the community, as well to the city as a whole through activism and volunteering.
On his blog, Haah says that he had tried to secure the New LATC previously, before the church made its last move. Arrangements couldn't be made then, but a recent followup conversation with the New LATC's General Manager, Paul Graham, resulted in a deal.
Graham has spear-headed many of the cutting-edge changes that are happening with the New LATC such as hosting the "Face of the World" festival (which runs through mid-December) that presents a wide variety of multi-media plays and dramatic readings that allow their audience to explore the multi-cultural identities of LA.
The expanded location will not only for the Sunday services, but also a more open space for the NewCityKidz (the childrens ministry program for kids up to sixth grade). Services will begin in the new location at 514 S. Spring on Sunday, December 7th.
When we moved into Club 740 in August, we said that it would be a temporary location until we found something more suitable for us. Club 740 works well for adults but it is somewhat challenging for children. So, we have been praying for a new venue for several months.
God is good! From December 7, 2008, New City Church of LA will be meeting at Los Angeles Theatre Center (which is called The New LATC) for our Sunday worship gathering. It's only about 2 blocks away from Club 740 and it is a fantastic facility. It's been my dream venue. It is the only multi-plex playhouse in downtown. There are four performance theaters in there. They have a great room for kids ministry there as well. And, it is clean! The facility is operated by Latino Theater Company and owned by City of Los Angeles.
The first time I approached this facility a year ago, they didn't know how to respond to me. I remember praying for the space then. They didn't have a clear price sheet for non-profits and it was unclear who I was even supposed to talk to. We checked with them again around August of this year before we moved to Club 740 just in case they were open to us coming. They told us they could not accommodate us.
A couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd check again; they can only say no, I thought. For some reason, this time, they were open to the possibility of us meeting there, and at a reasonable price. I think Paul Graham, the relatively new General Manager, decided to bring us in because he saw that our church's vision of bringing diverse people of downtown together is similar to the vision of Latino Theater Company. Today, I inked the deal for New City to meet there starting from December 7. Praise God!
Downtown LA Life Magazine is a very progressive magazine with a significant readership. They wrote a very positive article about us. Here it is:
NEW CITY CHURCH A New Downtown Church for All the People
By: Don Noyes-More
Pastor Kevin Haah has been given a clear path to follow in his life; it was a hard decision to be made, “Manna or God?” For Kevin “manna” was to be a lucrative legal practice and “God” was to be his decision and personal “calling” -to turn from “manna” and follow his God through the streets of Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles.
Pastor Kevin, Masters graduate of Pasadena based Fuller Theological School, understood through his experiences with the diverse community in downtown, that the old concept of church “pay and pray” was not meeting the spiritual and real life daily dramas that faced the homeless and working poor. He also saw a need to reach those that were affluent and well off, but in need of something more than a good loft and money in the pocket; they needed a spiritual life. And he struggled with this knowledge and mission for some time.
How does one bring diverse communities together as a congregation? How do you bring together such populations as the working poor, Gays, homeless, rich, young and old, African-American, Asian, and white? A difficult task indeed.
No matter who you voted for, I think it was hard not to tear up last night when the networks called the election at 8pm and during the Obama victory speech. So many people, particularly African-Americans and other minorities (like me), couldn't help but feel extremely proud to be an American. It was a historic moment, a deep moment in the depth of my soul.
I think the most important thing in picking a president is not his policy (although it IS important), but his judgment and character. Ultimately, the president does not have ultimate policy authority. He has to work with the Congress to change policy. But, the president alone for all practical purposes makes the decision in times of crisis--to go to war or otherwise deal with foreign threat or use our military. I think the most important thing should be: whose judgment do you trust? Who demonstrastes better judgment? Who better demonstrates intellegence, humility, honesty, wisdom, leadership, courage, love, faith, hope, and character? All of these things lead to better judgment in times of crisis.
Just ask youself if policy or judgment mattered more in the Bush presidency.
Christianity Today did an interesting article last June called How to Pick a President and argued that virtues should be the basis for picking our president, not policy. They focus more on virtues than judgment, but I think their point is similar to mine.
Here is an excellent video clip from a short film called "Most," which was nominated for Academy Award. It is an extremely moving story of a loving father who had to make a choice between sacrificing his son or sacrificing a train load of people.
This is one of the best illustations I've seen to explain God's love for us. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16.
I was listening to Warren Buffett talk about the credit crisis on Charlie Rose and I was very impressed. He had a way of putting complicated things into easy to understand terms. Here are some of the things he said that was memorable.
When asked about the bailout package, he said, "It's better to be approximately right than exactly wrong."
He thought the government can make some money on the deal with the financial institutions if they play the cards well. Essentially, the government is becoming the ultimate vulture capitalist. If he had the money and the staying power that the US Treasury has, he said he would play the cards.
On what caused the mortgage crisis: he mentioned the three "i"s: innovators, imitators, and idiots.
Since the Grand Opening on September 14, we have been in a series called THE REAL JESUS, a series on the Book of Mark.
Many of us create a picture of what Jesus is like from our past experiences or desires/imaginations. But a Jesus we create is nothing but a projection of ourselves, and this Jesus can't change us. In this series, we will look at the REAL JESUS as presented by Mark--the raw, unadulterated, unfiltered, straight-up Jesus.
This Sunday, we will dig into Mark 1:21-45 in a sermon entitled "The Authority of Jesus."
I find myself very interested in the current credit crisis. This is a side of me many of you don't know. I am a student of the system. That's why I went to law school and that's why I am fascinated by what's going on in the financial market right now.
I am having a hard time figuring out what's going on out there. Ultimately, it seems like the government has to do something to create liquidity in the credit market. Banks are afraid to lend to each other and to their customers (which is crucial to the health of the economy). Banks are stuck with a huge amount of mortgage-backed securities with high percentage of the loans in the portfolio in default or foreclosure. This means that they are losing a lot of money and losing value of their assets. When they try to dump the assets in the securities market in order to raise money to cover their losses, they find that the market does not exist to unload their bad assets. No one wants to buy them! My understanding is that the government wants to step in and buy up bad assets (mortgage backed securities) in order to create liquidity for banks (so that they will lend again). The real issue I think is how much the government will pay for the bad assets. According to experts, it is very difficult to price the value of these securities because the market has dried up--the market does not exist anymore. So, the question is: how much is the government going to pay? The the answer to this question will determine how much it will cost the taxpayers, ultimately.
I think if the government is going to buy bad assets without really knowing the full value of the bad assets, the government should demand warrants (right to buy the stock of the company) on the amount the government lost on the deal. It doesn't seem to make sense to buy bad assets from banks to save the shareholders of the bank. I can see why it is important to buy bad assets in order to create liquidity in the financial market, but not to help bank shareholders!
If you know why the government is not requiring warrants, let me know. Is this on the table? If you understand what's going on, let me know if I am getting this right.
One other thought: I think the downturn in the housing market (although it is creating a huge mess in the financial market) might ultimately be good for young people and the poor who do not own a home. Ultimately, if the housing price comes down, the rental market also has to come down in the future because ultimately, the rental market is related to the housing value.
I think the biggest reason for homelessness is the price of housing. If that comes down, it's going to help the poor. This kind of market correction might be bad for homeowners like me but we have to think not only about own pocketbooks but also about the poor.
I hope the the housing correction creates a systemic shift that ultimately benefits the poor.
Last Sunday's Grand Opening was amazing. God is doing something in downtown LA and Grace and I are so thankful that we get to be a part of it. God brought almost 200 people to the Grand Opening. About 170 adults and 21 kids. There are a lot of positive buzz going around.
I will post pictures of the Grand Opening as soon as they are ready.
Here's an excerpt from an email from Bruce White of Stadia to fellow church planters and staff re our Grand Opening:
Club 740 – one of the hottest and edgiest clubs in the heart of L.A. – took on a totally different look and feel on Sunday morning, September 14, as New City Church of Los Angeles invited the residents of downtown to come and check out “the real Jesus”. 191 people (170 adults and 21 children) responded to that invitation.
As people streamed into the club, it was apparent that the vision of Pastor Kevin Haah for creating a “multi-ethnic, multi-socioeconomic” church was becoming a reality. I have never been in such a diverse environment, and I suddenly realized that I was getting a tiny preview of what heaven will be like: Asians, Latinos, Blacks, Anglos. Young, middle-aged, old. Students and blue-collar workers and managers and business professionals. Skid Row residents. Loft dwellers. Singles and families. New City Church truly is a church that “looks like downtown”.
Club 740 is an integral part of that downtown scene, and it’s definitely a unique place for a church. Located on Broadway, in the heart of the historic “Core District” of LA, this site formerly was the Globe Theater, a classic drama venue for Shakespearean stage productions. The beautiful balconies and gilt railings remain, but during the evenings this is now a place for loud music, dancing, drinking, and raucous behavior. In other words: this is where lots of unsaved people hang out to party, so it’s a safe and familiar environment for them. Many of these people would never visit a traditional church on Sunday morning, but they just might stop by the club to check out New City. By choosing to “do church” in such an environment, New City Church is making a bold statement about taking the gospel into the heart of the city. About becoming a church where everyone is welcome. A church that is willing to engage the world. A church that is available and accessible to lost and hurting people.
In such a setting, with lots of unchurched people coming in, it might be tempting to soften the message…but Kevin tells the story straight. He shared his vision for the church – and his heart for the city – in a very personal and touching way, and he invited the crowd to join him in a spiritual journey to meet and know “the real Jesus”. He gave a humorous, insightful, and compelling message, straight from Mark’s Gospel.
In addition to Kevin’s sermon, we heard a powerful testimony of life-change from Eugene, a former drug addict. We enjoyed great food (New City lays out fruit and pastries every week), friendly interaction, vibrant worship (even alternating between English and Spanish verses during one song), and a reflective time of communion.
We finished the morning with some personal sharing, as Kevin had everyone get into groups of 4 to introduce themselves to each other and to reflect upon the morning. This is risky for a new church, but it’s a great way to get people to break down the barriers and make some immediate connections. And it sure seemed to work, as I listened to the conversations breaking out all around me. And I had the chance to meet 3 great guys.
The core team of New City Church did a wonderful job of making everyone feel welcomed and included. And throughout the morning, as Kevin watched over the “up front” ministry, I continually noticed his wife, Grace, handling a variety of “behind-the-scenes” details.
Back in April, New City did a “soft launch” and began holding services with a small core congregation. This group has been meeting weekly to build community and to lay a solid foundation for future growth. The Grand Opening now takes New City to the next level and extends their reach into the city. We are excited to see what God is doing in downtown L.A., and we covet your prayers for Kevin and his team as they continue to engage in life-changing ministry in the name of Jesus.
Sunday Marks a Grand Opening for New City Church By Eric Richardson Published: Saturday, September 13, 2008, at 08:35AM New City Church of LA
Sunday service in Club 740, courtesy of New City Church.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — Club 740, located in the historic Globe Theatre, isn’t the sort of place one thinks of when they think of church. The club’s website currently advertises a recent “Back 2 School” night featuring the scantily-clad “740 GoGo Dancers.”
And yet, for the last few Sundays the venue has served as home to New City Church, a growing congregation that started meeting just before Easter. In the time since, the church has grown from 15 to 70 attendees. This Sunday the church is having its “Grand Opening,” and Pastor Kevin Haah hopes the occasion sparks a new period of growth.
Club 740 is the third location for the church, which started out meeting in Promenade Ristorante, an Italian restaurant on Bunker Hill. For approximately three months the church met over in the Arts District, at e3rd Steakhouse. As the congregation continued to grow, they again needed to find a venue with greater capacity. Club 740 owner Ralph Verdugo was glad to host the church on Sunday mornings.
The church made its move in mid-August, and that first Sunday it learned that it can be a bit of challenge using a nightclub space just hours after it has closed. “When we first got there we were struggling a little bit because there was kind of that post-club, kind of alcohol smell that we couldn’t get rid of,” Haah recalls. “We didn’t know we had to ventilate the place. We learned that for the second week.” With the facility aired out, the space has worked out much better.
Haah likes the fact that the church integrates into the facilities of the community. “I really have no interest in owning real estate. We would rather be renters. We would rather invest our money elsewhere, to serve the city and to help the poor.” Haah also feels that the non-traditional facilities create a more approachable environment for those who might otherwise not attend a service. “We’re trying to reach out to people,” he said. “We’re trying to create a place where it’s comfortable for people to come to.”
Whether by neighborhood, or by setting, or by approach, New City has found itself a church that’s highly diverse. Haah notes that roughly a quarter of the congregation comes from Skid Row, a neighborhood where Haah ministered for several years before starting New City. The core group that started the church spanned multiple ethnicities, and that make-up has stayed diverse as attendance has grown.
Downtown Artwalk is a blast. There are thousands of people just walking around going from one gallery to another. New City tabled at the corner of 5th and Main and we talked to a lot of people. Some of the comments we got were: "Man, you guys are everywhere." "I've have several of your invitations." "I'll be there." We've had a lot of positive feedback from people. Several volunteers came out: thanks to Joe, David, Rocky, Clarence, Shelly, Chris, for tabling, and Greg and Brian who stopped by.
I also went to Phamaka Gallery where some of the artists I know from Skid Row were showing: Gary and Wanda. Their art work was amazing! Never knew what could do.
OG Man was also featured in a documentary about Skid Row artists called Humble Beauty. They showed it at Los Angeles Theater last night. It was a great documentary. I went to see it and it felt like a little reunion of the Alpha Course at Skid Row. It was great to bump into several of my old friends there.
I have known OG for several years. He is a community activist and artist in Skid Row. I have one of his drawings hanging in my office.
They are showing a film about Skid Row artists in which OG is featured this Thursday night at 7 pm at the Los Angeles Theatre Center! More info on the film and the artists featured in the film, go to http://www.humblebeauty.com/
Toy Story New Skid Row Program Gives Kids a Chance to Play by Ryan Vaillancourt Downtown LA News
The Huntington, at 752 S. Main St., is home to about 240 low-income residents, including approximately 20 families. When Manning, the hotel manager, first thought of bringing new activities to the children in the neighborhood, he turned to Skid Row activist Ron Crockett.
Crockett, whose penchant for teaching sports to area youth brought on the nickname Coach Ron, lives blocks away from the Huntington in another South Main Street hotel. He too had been eager to do something positive for the youth in the community, he said.
After consulting with Manning, Crockett went to County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who then linked the hotel with the toy loan program, Blachman-Benitez said.
At the Huntington, Crockett, who runs the program with the nonprofit Pasadena Altadena Community Youth Association, has tinkered slightly with the county's toy loan model by combining it with a fledgling reading program.
Children who participate earn points by reading and writing short essays about their book. Once they've amassed enough points, they become eligible to sign out a toy from the loan program, he said.
He hopes that in the coming months, the program will attract the attention of Downtown Los Angeles residents interested in volunteering to read aloud at the twice-weekly sessions, or propel some book donations. The hotel's library consists of two small boxes containing about 50 titles, most of which are tattered and worn. But that did not deter Judee Suazo, 10, whose mother keeps a room at the Huntington
The Grand Opening is coming up this Sunday, September 14. God is doing some amazing things. He has taken a small group and grown us to a group of about 50 people committed to the church as core team members and about 70 people attending on Sundays. Our worship services actually look reasonably creative and organized. Our Community Groups are growing in number and intimacy. We have laid down some of the basic framework and are ready for the Grand Opening of the church.
Here are a few recent pictures of the new venue at Club 740:
Please pray for us, and if you can, drop by the Grand Opening this Sunday, September 14 at 10am. I'd love to see you.
Today, I dropped off the third direct mail postcard invitations at the post office.