Dear Downtown Los Angeles,
We are on the precipice of possibility.
Downtown is changing before our eyes. It is becoming a vibrant place of life, commerce, culture, and celebration. But, there is one thing we’re all craving: community. We are weaving our stories together as people, those new to the area and those who have been here for decades.
But, this is a challenging time in our history. It seems as though the fabric of our shared stories is being pulled apart by hate. What we do in response shows the world how we would choose for it to be.
I write to you as a pastor, who believes that faith is lived outside the walls of the church. My concern is not with who the church needs, but how we can serve the world. We believe that those who love God must be concerned with their community and the world. As a church, we have committed ourselves to the ongoing struggle for justice in all forms, true Christian unity and inclusion, and the fulfillment of all people in God’s love. This is what DTLA Proud is all about: shining light into even the darkest of places. We stand with this mission, and invite you to join us in our efforts.
Church is not a place. Church is not even the people. Church is the Body of Christ, at work in the world. It is worship, it is the community in which we share our joys and concerns, and the center of our spiritual formation. Church is sharing in the sacraments–baptism and communion–as the ways in which we use common elements to recognize God’s loving grace, given to us. If you’ve been looking for a church that embraces radical love of God, and the radical acceptance of all people, then we pray God leads you to us. We have a lot of work to do together.
At Los Angeles First United Methodist Church, we believe that God is with us, for us, and refuses to be God without us.
Church is not a place. Church is the Body of Christ, and here, all are welcome. All are loved.
Rev. Mandy Sloan McDow
Los Angeles First United Methodist Church
*Originally published in L.A. Downtown News