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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter at the Hollywood Bowl

Easter Sunday my wife and kids and I joined friends at the huge city-wide Easter Service sponsored by Bel Air Presbyterian Church.

Parking was free, but we decided to park on Cahuenga (pronouced Co-wang-a) a few blocks away to avoid the "stacked parking" in the lots around the Bowl.

Walking towards the Bowl, a large white cross nearby was visible. This cross was erected as part of the original "sunrise service" held at the Hollywood Bowl every year since 1921. I've thought it would be neat to bring my kids out for the sunrise service, but there was no way getting them up and there by 5:30am was going to happen.

Last year Bel Air Presbyterian Church began holding their Easter service at 11am - honestly, a lot more do-able for families with younger kids.

Walking up Highland: this annual event apparently attracts 10,000 people.

The entrance to the Hollywood Bowl with the Easter Cross on the hill above it.

If you've never been to the Hollywood Bowl - this is a great (and free) way to see and experience it. While still a large crowd, it's much more manageable than a concert in the summer.

If you've never been to a church service, or haven't been in years, this is an outstanding place to connect, or re-connect, with what Christianity is all about.

Everyone was given a program with the words to the songs and the order of the service.

Bel Air Presbyterian Church's mission statement is "Making Los Angeles the greatest city for Christ." Wow, really visionary.

The cover to the program.

The Easter Service was very moving, very emotional. The music was outstanding - focusing on the historical reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The church choir, the live orchestra, and the contemporary band ... all volunteers, yet really helping focus our attention on Jesus Christ and the hope of the resurrection.

Pastor Mark Brewer delivered an outstanding message. Relevant, thoughtful, challenging. I'm looking forward to downloading it off their church's website to listen again.

The service was a real cross section of Los Angeles: singles and suburban families, kids and seniors, those in coat and tie next to those wearing shorts and sandals, aspiring actors from Hollywood next to executives from Century City. Sitting next to us was group of staff and those "in the program" who had come over from the downtown Union Rescue Mission. Very cool.

My wife (Molly) in pink with our kids and friends afterwards, next to an amazing old apartment building on Cahuenga in Hollywood, where we parked.

We're very committed to our church community here on the westside, so I don't know if we'll be making this an annual event. On the other hand, it was an outstanding experience - especially for anyone who is just checking out Christianity. (FYI, if you plan on going, bring some bottled water and a hat or sunblock: it was surprisingly warm in the sun.)

Many thanks to Bel Air Presbyterian Church for hosting "Easter at the Hollywood Bowl" and their work in making Los Angeles the greatest city for Christ.



Cafe Observer said...

Nice pictures.

The Gospel has been so watered down over the centuries. Is it even recognized anymore?

Ken Paris said...

I can remember watching the Hollywood Bowl Easter service on television growing up. I was not a believe at the time, but it had nice music.