HOPE L.A. (formerly Hope Memorial) is a replant of an historically black church in the heart of Los Angeles. It faces Jefferson Blvd., which was at one time designated an Arts District in the city because of the many craftspeople who worked in studios in the area. The creative spirit of the community has been hidden for many years but today, as the demographics shift and the young creative sector seeks more affordable housing inland, West Adams is beginning to rediscover its artistic roots. HOPE L.A., a tiny, diverse gathering now in its fourth year as a replant, is perfectly situated to welcome them in the name of Jesus.
What we lack in numbers, we make up for in our willingness to listen prayerfully for the Spirit to say Go! This led the HOPE LA family to commission local muralist Ruben Rojas to help bring our church-adjacent wall to life. In August, he and his small crew arrived with buckets of technicolor paint, working round the clock to make it a reality. Ruben has a significant Instagram following (20K+plus) and he regularly posts short videos about the creation of this and other murals, always pointing people in our direction. He graciously recommended our story to a husband and wife documentary team, MM Studios. The first time they visited our church they put down their cameras in the middle of worship and began to weep. They are currently working on another short film to tell the story of our replant (stay tuned). The Spirit continues to work through those growing relationships as we connect to the artists and seekers in our West Adams neighborhood.
In February of 2019, we began talking about having an outreach concert/food truck event on the Saturday before Easter with the LOVE RISES mural as our backdrop. But something didn't feel quite right. Our young guitarist, Matt Purpura, put his finger on it. "Why are we spending time thinking about reaching new young people, when there are so many older people in our neighborhood who are struggling?" He said, "Let's start feeding them. Every Sunday. Rice, Beans, Greens--fresh, made with love. A hot meal for all our neighbors. We'll call in HOPE Kitchen. And the new, young people will come alongside us to help--just watch." We started the following Sunday with a team of six making and serving homemade meals and distributing many of them in alleys near the church. Each weekend some new friend appears to help. Each week we discover that more and more people in the neighborhood refer to us as "the little church where LOVE RISES." And we are blessed to see God's hand in every remarkable brush stroke.