Every Sunday morning starting at 9:30 a.m., people begin to gather on the large patio outside the main building at Saint Luke’s of the Mountains Episcopal Church on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Rosemont Avenue in La Crescenta. There is a table set out with coffee, tea, fruit and sweets. There are other tables with chairs where people can sit for a few minutes, catch up with each other and welcome newcomers and visitors.
At 10 a.m. worship begins. Everyone gathered on the patio makes their way into the church. Inside the historic stone building they are greeted with music by a group of contemporary musicians as projected images of Christian art through the centuries dance across the white walls and arches.
For an hour there is prayer and scriptures, as well as questions and dialogue about faith, during a celebration in which all present are invited to receive Holy Communion. After worship, it’s back to the patio for more coffee, food and conversation.
During the week there are potluck “Lord’s Suppers” and adult study groups. On a recent Saturday a group made 150 sandwiches for the homeless
and then delivered them to a local mission. A program on spiritual practices is under development. Next Tuesday, Oct. 26, the Fire House – a new drop-in center for high school youth – opens in its own building on
the church grounds. The Fire House is sponsored by Saint Luke’s in collaboration with a number of community partners including the Crescenta Valley Coalition on the Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, the Lions and Kiwanis clubs, and St. George’s Episcopal Church in La Cañada.
“We’ve come a long way in a year,” said Bryan Jones, Vicar (pastor) at St. Luke’s of the Mountains. “We are very grateful for all the blessings God has sent us since last October.”
In October 2009, the Supreme Court of California returned the property and assets of Saint Luke’s to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles after the members of the congregation at the time voted to leave the Episcopal Church because it had opened all levels of its ordained ministry to openly gay and lesbian people. Bishop J. Jon Bruno then charged the Reverend Bryan Jones with the task of leading the development of a new congregation there.
“Nine people showed up for our first Sunday service. This Sunday, 53 people attended, which has been about our average since Labor Day,” explained Jones. The congregation celebrates diversity and includes whites, Latinos and Asians; gay people, straight people and several families with young children.
Jones went on to add, “We have committed ourselves to being a congregation where the love of Jesus Christ is shared by welcoming everyone. Regardless of your race, gender, sexual orientation or even your religion – you are a child of God and you are welcome here. Questions and doubts are as welcome here as convictions and commitments. Everyone is welcome here, including the former members of this congregation.”
To learn more about St. Luke’s of the Mountains, visit http://stlukes-line.ladiocese.org/.
Contributed by St. Luke’s of the Mountains