In conclusion of TogetherLA’s 4-part series on LA pastors who participated in a panel, we ask again: Is there hope for the City of Angels even though it often appears so broken, so filled with spiritual poverty among its people that a diagnosis may very well be — beyond repair?
The answer as expressed by the four pastors that met at the beginning of this summer for a TogetherLA pop-up held at Metropolis Santa Monica during its Philosopher’s Cafe Night was a resounding: “Yes, there is hope!”
The LA pastors on the panel were Steve Snook of Santa Monica, Michael Mata of Koreatown, Cedric Nelms of Long Beach, and Brannin Pitre of Pasadena, all sharing their heart for the city they not only minister to but reside in.
LA PASTORS FINAL – BRANNIN PITRE ON PASADENA
“We have a context in which we are divided racially. We’re divided economically. We are divided by educational bounds. We’re divided by political bounds,” said Brannin Pitre, who is the senior pastor at Grace Pasadena. “There’s just a great sense that at any given block in the city of Pasadena you’ll find somebody that’s completely different and aligned differently from you, which can cause a great sense of brokenness.
“My joy in that is that it also provides an endless sense of opportunity.”
Pastor Steve Snook of Metro Church in Santa Monica, who moderated the panel — Broken City – Is there hope for Los Angeles? — said that there is a lot wrong with the Los Angeles area, but rather than having a negative focus he wanted to share “the hope that is within us.”
Pitre agreed with Snook’s statement and said in an interview videotaped before the panel that what he appreciates most as someone who transplanted himself and his family to Pasadena is that “we have multiple voices from different avenues coming together to express a similar theme — we want to help the city that we live in.”
When it comes to people trying to address the city’s problems, asking questions such as how can they help, how can they come together, or is there common ground to do so, Christians have an answer, Pitre said.
“For Christians, we say that the common baseline is the cross,” he explained. “When we see injustice we look back to the cross and say that Jesus is the solution. When we see economic poverty issues [in] our city we look back at the cross and say that Jesus has an answer to that.”
Whether someone is of a certain denomination or no denomination is not the issue when it comes to providing a solution, he said.
“The common bond that we share as brothers and sisters in Christ is that we can look at the cross together and say Jesus did it all for me,” Pitre said. “When that humbles us, when that makes us soft, then we can look at our brother or sister who’s walking next to us, they might not look like us, act like us, dress like us, think like us and say I’ll walk with you.”
He added, “That is the joy that I find in our city. That is the joy that I find in the folks who come into the city, the folks who have lived here for so long, the folks who have said, ‘This is my town, walk with me.’ It’s a very open, very encouraging place to be if you just embrace it and say, ‘This is mine, too.”
Editor’s note: This article is the final in a four-part series about the LA pastors’ panel discussion hosted by Philosopher’s Cafe and TogetherLA.net on June 15, 2017. The full panel discussion can be viewed on Facebook by clicking on Part 1 and Part 2.
Video and photos by One Ten Pictures.
Read Pitre’s discussion about how the Together LA conference, held more than two years ago, happened in a two part series at the Christian Post here: Interview Church Planter Brannin Pitre: Los Angeles Is on the ‘Cusp’ of a New Mov’t; How Tim Keller’s Church Supported Vision LA (Pt. 1) and here: ‘Together LA’ Organizers: There’s More to Loving a City Than Planting Churches (Pt. 2)
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