Friday, June 10, 2005

Hollywood Presbyterian Church Is Struggling

I found this paragraph from the CT article pretty interesting.

"The controversy has surfaced talk of Hollywood Presbyterian leaving the declining 2.5-million-member PC(USA). Hollywood Presbyterian began offering a rock worship service called CUE (Contemporary Urban Experience), conducted in an area nightclub. The contemporary service, which draws nearly 400 worshipers, sparked much of the church's growth in the last year. The ministry's young leaders announced May 15 that they are splitting from Hollywood Presbyterian and have formed a new nondenominational church. Traintime, a CUE leader, told CT, 'The church believes the presbytery is too liberal.'"


Ann said...
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Ann said...

I also have been following what's going on at Hollywood Pres. (they're just a short drive away from my stomping grounds in the South Bay.) It's a sad day for a church that was such a beacon and gave us the late Henrietta Mears.
Although I applaude them for waking up to liberalism in the SoCal Presbytery, their treament of CUE and their Senior Pastor is shameful. According to previous posts on CT, they had him removed/suspended because the investment in building CUE was diverting $ and people away from their traditional worship program. Oh, and horrors, CUE met in a nightclub and attracted non-Christians to its contemporary worship service. How a church living in an urban setting with a changing demographic could insist on maintaining an early 20th century church worship style exclusively is beyond me. Most every church in the LA area of HP's size offers multiple worship styles and languages. HP does the ethnic/language thing but their traditionalist bunch doesn't see the need to address the larger culture. They definitely need to adjust their missiological view of church.
Reminds me of an older relative of mine, now deceased, who was a presbyter of her WASPy Presby church located in one of Los Angeles urban-turned suburbs. When she joined her church 60 some years ago, the community was exclusively white; it is now primarily(90%+) African-American and Hispanic. This lady complained to me that her church had dwindled to a handful because nobody wanted to make the drive into the area from the white suburbs anymore. I asked her why her church didn't reach out to the people in the community -the blacks, the Hispanics- she says that they had but that they kept "their ethnic" congregations separate from the "main" church. She wanted to know to get more white people like her to come.
A few years later, this congregation "allowed" the "dark folks", as she called them, to be part of church government but only as deacons, the elders had to be white. This conversation did not take place in the 50's, but in the late 1990's.
Sometimes bad churches have to die (or have their lampstand removed) so that new ones can take their place.