The Last 2 months here @ Anchor Gaslamp have been eventful to say the least. Exciting. Challenging. Rewarding.
At the Beginning of March we were busy with our weekly Bible Studies ("Word Alive"), which were being held at Westin Horton Plaza. We were at the end of our expository series on the Life of Christ through Luke. We were able to articulate a lot of our core values, mission, and doctrinal stances during this exciting series.
We did a number of group activities that brought us together even more as a group during this time, like attending King of Kings, a local church passion play, hanging out together, and even joining with our friends from Epikos Church for a Good Friday Event @ Gamer's Universe. (Gamer's is a local hotspot owned by our friends Scott and Rowie, who have been attending off and on for a couple of months). On St Patrick's Day (Monday 3/17), We Joined in the Gaslamp Festivities…One of the largest block parties of the year, and passed out a few thousand flyers about who we are, what we are trying to do, and info on our 1st service. We had several good responses.
As we geared up for our 1st "preview" service that would launch on Easter (3/23), we received a surprise-call from the senior Editor of Religion and Ethics for San Diego's Largest Newspaper, The Union Tribune. Sandi Dolbee was her name, and she had read a free classified we had posted about our launch service…which was being held in a Nightclub. For some reason this peaked her interest and she asked for an interview with our co-pastor's, Karlton Edison and Vince Larson. The article was a great way for San Diego to see what we were doing, not to mention an incredible source of free advertising. It came out in Saturday's edition, the day before our launch. If you would like to read the article and people's responses go to: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/features/20080322-9999-1c22church.html
Our First Service went unbelievably well. The Nightclub Staff @ Minus-1 was a joy to work with and the atmosphere/ ambience was nothing short of perfect. Nancy Larson set up a nursery in the back. With the absence of a stage/ focal point we arranged the music to the side and the "platform" just across from the bar. Our good friend and multi-talented musician Tony from a neighboring church volunteered to do the music. Everything was set… Then 3 minutes before we started service, Tony somehow sliced his 3 middle fingers on his left hand so deep he should have gotten stitches. With blood gushing, he was down for the count! Vince jumped up on the guitar in a moment's notice (with no power-point since he couldn't play Tony's songs) and led us in worship. Then he rushed from the Music area, with the music stand in hand, and over to the "platform area." There Vince Preached a sermon on Free Grace entitled "Open Bar: It's on the House!"
After Service we went out to the Pacific Ocean and baptized Kashema, our 1st convert, in the Name of Jesus!
We had a number of visitors who have returned to our second service and many other events. At first we planned on having one service a month, but we are planning on adding a second monthly service because of the overwhelming response.
On our Off Sundays We have been doing community BBQ's, which we advertise well in advance, bring lots of food and games to (Like Volleyball, Horseshoes, and Bocci). The BBQ's have been an incredible success, but our last BBQ was shut down by the police. Apparently we attracted too may of our Homeless friends with the free food. Unbeknownst to us there is a city ordinance against feeding the homeless in public. Some people who lived across the street were unhappy with the large amount of homeless in their park and called the cops. The Police were very nice and told us we could stay, just not to serve food. We obeyed and thanked them for their understanding. A woman in the Park saw all of this and was moved by what we were trying to do, so she came and talked to us for over an hour. After she left she returned with a check for $250 to fund further ventures of the kind…then she picked up a homeless couple we had been talking to and took them to her house to clean out her garage and give them a little work. We wept because of the love and compassion in that woman.
We had our first brainstorming session with our core group in early April. This week, for our Bible Studies, we are beginning our new 10-week series on the Book of Acts called "You Too can be an Action Hero." We are moving from our present location in the Hotel, which costs us $200 a week, and are adding 2 more nights and locations for Bible Studies. We'll meet Tuesday's in Little Italy in Princess Pub & Grille, Wednesday's in Gaslamp @ Starbucks on 5th & F, and Thursdays down in Eastlake. We hop to add a 4th in the next couple of months in North County.
Also this week begins our Bi-weekly Sunday Services in the Gaslamp @ the same Nightclub. Please continue to support us in prayer and finances, as starting a church never falls short in the problems department. There is always a rent or print job to be paid, or a truly lost soul to be loved into Christ.
We Are Learning, Loving, And pressing Forward. We are so excited for what the future holds. God Bless you and thank you for your friendship.
Vince Larson & Karlton Edison