The Church in Ocean Park will celebrate its 40th birthday today at 4 pm, with the church’s board deeming today’s significance as Bastille Day would be the perfect opportunity as members of the church community have never stopped fighting for social justice.
Several people from the Church’s colorful past will be on hand: Jim Conn, founding pastor; Ernie Powell; Ross Altman; Liberty Hill Foundation Founder, Sarah Pillsbury; WIMS member, Susan Krebs. and many others.
“This is a church that is doing what I believe churches ought to be doing,” said Pastor Janet McKeithen. “The church of the future is often depicted as one where people of different faiths form a community of people who are creative and relevant and try to change the world for the better. The Church in Ocean Park was the church of the future a long time ago!”
Since founding pastor Jim Conn went to the United Methodist Bishop in 1973 and was given three years to get something going at the church at 2nd and Hill, a lot of impactful organizations have emerged from the church or have an historical connection to the church either because they were started by the church, they were nurtured by the church or they were housed in the church at one time or another.
Some of the Organizations with Church origins include Children’s Place, OPCC (drop-in, Sojourn, a network of shelters), Communitas, OPCO – Ocean Park Community Organization- neighborhood association which spawned Community Corporation of Santa Monica (and precursor to OPA) and model for Mid-City Neighbors & Pico Neighborhood Association, and Westside Health Center (formerly Westside Women’s Health Center).
Incubated by or provided space by church include Poverty Law Office (which became UCLA’s law school project), Westside Women’s Center [housed by church, not started by church], Liberty Hill Foundation (First office was at the CiOP), Public Works Improvisational Theater, Committee on Racial Justice, WIMS, RODEO Dance Company, Santa Monica Renters Rights Movement (which later became Santa Monicans for Renters Rights), and Womonspace (leasee).
All are welcome this today. Suggested donation of $20 – $2000 to be paid online or at the door, but no one will be turned away.
For the address and to RSVP, visit churchop.nationbuilder.com/40th_anniversary_celebration.