Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mt. Hollywood Congregational Church

Attention unemployed people: Have you ever considered becoming a pastor?

It is almost alarming how many churches I've visited over the last several months that are in need of a permanent minister. While I concede the pay is likely to be crap and you will most definitely have to work weekends, a job is a job. Perks of the job include: your own white robe, all the bread and fortified grape juice you can consume, and the opportunity to rant and rave to a bunch of people on a weekly basis. The hardest part of the job is -- when officiating over a wedding -- trying not to sound like this guy:

As you might already have suspected, I happened upon another flock in need of a shepherd this morning. The Mt. Hollywood Congregational Church in the Los Feliz district has a sense of incompleteness about it. Nobody seemed to know where the light switch was located -- not a metaphor, people genuinely didn't know how to turn on the lights inside the church. If the cornerstone is accurate, the building is over 90-years-old. I think a few members of the congregation witnessed its installation.
It isn't fair to judge a church by guest speakers and a transitional condition, but here we go anyway. There were about 40 or so people worshiping together including a choir that sounds surprisingly good. The pianist is talented, though his smug facial expression leads me to believe he knows this so I won't stroke his ego by citing him by name. For all I know he is a nice guy, but there was a look of pomposity on his face that never seemed to fade.

Two speakers delivered portions of the sermon, but nobody read from the Gospels. They did read one of the psalms, though. The first speaker was a member of the church who cited a former pastor's phrase, "grumpy saints." These are people who do good works and complain about it. Sometimes I think I fall under that category. However, to paraphrase her message: It is better to be a grumpy saint than a happy sonofabitch.

The second speaker worked for a local nonprofit organization that helped transgendered children. She had previously been a missionary in Liberia (sensing a pattern), and believe it or not she was able to equate the two experiences.

Overall the church didn't seem like a bad one, but it is clearly in need of focus and direction. I hope and pray that someone emerges to fill their vacancy and preserve the legacy of a nearly century old (albeit quirky) house of worship.

Feel free to send in a resume.


Sunday Scorecard

This will be a regular part of my weekly reviews, a series of short-answer questions about the day's experience.

What is the contact info for the church?

Mt. Hollywood Congregational Church
4607 Prospect Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

What was the denomination?

United Church of Christ

What Bible verses were referenced?

Psalm 123

What are the demographics of the congregation?

Low numbers... older congregation, though there were a few families

Was the atmosphere formal or casual?

Formal choir, informal everything else

What was the music like?

Piano and choir

How was the use of PowerPoint?

No PowerPoint

Being Hollywood, were there celebrities in the congregation?

None that I recognized


  1. Haven't you been doing this for months and months now? Are you gonna ever pick one?

  2. If/when I find the right one, yes. You aren't exactly in a position to be critical.

  3. Hey, I know the pianist he is the most un-smug person you could ever meet.