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Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Flash Mob: Journey of Faith Church at South Bay Galleria

With over six million views and counting, Journey of Faith Church's 2010 Flashmob at the South Bay Galleria is an outstanding reminder of what - or, better, who - Christmas is all about. As my family and I join Christians from around the world celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, I thought today would be a good time to repost this video.

I love the fresh take on some very familiar Christmas Carol - and taking the Christmas message beyond the walls of the church in such a creative, winsome way. And every Christmas, I'm  also reminded of the words of renowned British science fiction author H.G. Wells: If there is no God, nothing matter. If there is a God, nothing else matters.

A friend of mine will be starting at a new job in Los Angeles, a couple of miles from Journey of Faith Church. I showed him the video and suggested he try visiting the church once he gets settled in to his new job in L.A. 

That's his plan. If you're anywhere in the South Bay and are looking for a church community, I'd suggest stopping by (Journey of Faith is located in Manhattan Beach - six miles directly south from Los Angeles International airport). Here's a link to their website.

Wishing everyone a blessed and meaningful Christmas.

© 2015


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Re-Experiencing Los Angeles: Historic Downtown Core (Part IV)

Two years ago, I was back in Los Angeles and had a bit of time to explore the Historic Downtown Core. Here's a link to Part I, Part II, and Part III of this multi part series. 

This week continues along Broadway Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. 

Downtown Los Angeles is undergoing an incredible transformation. Much of the impetus for historic is the 1999 Adaptive Reuse Ordinance. This single act of registration has allowed for a radical change of downtown Los Angeles, allowing for tens of thousands of new housing units in previously under utilized historic buildings. 

If Main Street Street and Spring Street, both adjacent to Broadway, are any indicator, it's not a question of if - but when - Broadway will undergo similar gentrification. Figaro Bistro is one of the first attempts on Broadway. 

Figaro Bisto was "opening soon" back in November 2013. I checked on-line; apparently they didn't make it. 

But a few doors down is a historic business that came back strong. 

Back in November 2013, Clifton's Cafeteria was closed and in the process of going through an incredible renovation and makeover. 

After a multi-million dollar rehab, It opened in 2015 to absolutely rave reviews. I had a chance to make a brief visit once it opened, I'll post those photos on a future post. 

This is the intersection of Broadway and 7th Street, looking northwest up 7th Street towards the office buildings along Flower and Figueroa Streets. Today, construction of the massive 73 story, 1099 foot Wilshire Grand Tower - located six blocks away at 7th and Figueroa - would dominate the landscape. The Wilshire Grand Tower is scheduled to open in 2017. 

This is continuing to look at the west side of Broadway. A Spanish language congregation - Catedral de la Fe - currently is meeting in The State Theater, located at 703 Broadway. 

The State theater is part of the 13 story 1921 United Building, another of the dozen of historic theaters located on (or near) Broadway. 

Aside from the obvious language differences, it's probably not my style in terms of style or theology. Still, I very much appreciate seeing churches a part of the urban mix of Los Angeles. 

Apparently, Catedral de la Fe is part of a pentacostal denomination called The Universal Church. I also found this review from Wendy Gilmartin from L.A. Weekly:

Loads of L.A.'s Latino brethren (and sistren) are flocking to emerging forms of neo-Pentecostal religion because, for many, it eclipses the staid rigorousness of traditional worship in a Catholic church. And how. Catholic mass never got this many feet a'stomping and tambourines a'janglin'. The most musical of the week's events (and, yes, noise complaints do occur) usually happens on Friday evenings. 

Catedral de la Fe (formerly the State Theater) downtown is bigger (and louder) than most storefront Pentecostal churches around town, and the folks here definitely make the funkiest ruckus. By day, the rundown exterior of the formerly grandiose theater sits quietly, like a defunct storefront shell — even though some of the original 1921 filigree still shows through — but then the sun sets and the marquee glows, chandeliers flicker on, the house grows crowded, and spare seats are hard to come by. 

Arms raised, keyboards twinkling, drums crashing and Hallelujahs filling the air: The building practically rocks back and forth on its foundation in the spirit of Jesucristo. Whether you're passing by outside or stomping inside the church, on Broadway and 7th, it's hard to ignore the power of the Lord. 

If you're in Los Angeles, and looking an English speaking congregation, I'd recommend either Pacific Crossroads Church or Reality Los Angeles. Both great churches.

This is looking back at the north corner of 7th and Broadway. 

And another view looking back up Broadway at the east corner of 7th and Broadway. 

I crossed Broadway and headed east (technically, southeast) on 7th towards Spring Street. Silo Vodka Bar was under construction. 

Certainly a contrast from Carl's Jr and KFC on the same block. Of course, it's normal to find both in an urban center. 

7th Sole - a boutique shoe store. This seems to be the look and feel of the newer, gentrifying downtown Los Angeles: small, upscale retail located right at street level. 

The 14 story 1927 Financial Center Building, located on the corner of 7th & Spring Street. 

My understanding is that this building is made up of offices - rather than having converted to residential. 

I turned the corner and headed north (technically, northeast) back up Spring Street. I'll save that for next time in Part V

© 2015