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.