(Living Church) Apolitical Inclusion at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Hollywood

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Using a two-sides-of-the-coin approach — traditional liturgy and social outreach — St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Hollywood, has found success in a transitory neighborhood and an often anti-religious culture. In the process, it has become a model for catechetical training, new-member retention and fundraising.

“If you want snobby ‘privileged at prayer’ go to Beverly Hills,” said longtime parishioner Michael Ensign. “We’re a funny little outpost at Hollywood and Gardner; a real ship of fools. But we’re clear about who we are. We’re messy and very human, but in messiness is God.”

Ensign has been at the church for 22 years. He is a career actor and veteran of too many movies and television series to list (including Big Love, CSI, and Boston Legal).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthPastoral Care

3 Comments
Posted August 31, 2010 at 4:33 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. David Keller wrote:

I must say I started reading this with some skepticism, but it is a great feature piece.  It sounds like an interesting place.

September 1, 8:56 am | [comment link]
2. Henry Greville wrote:

I once attended a wedding at this parish on Hollywood Boulevard back when it was just known as St. Thomas Episcopal Church. My recollection is that at the time (the early 1980s) the place was a very open-minded Broad Church, without incense and bells, and it thrived enough to have its rector living with his wife in their own house a few miles away, while the parish rectory had turned the old rectory into a very popular pre-school, which helped welcome many heterosexual parents and their children to the parish as worshippers. Most working age parishioners then seemed to be either in the film, television, and music industries, or on the faculties of UCLA and USC. And there were impressive outreach ministries going that provided meeting space for several substance abuse and incest survivors 12-step groups, supported a shelter for homeless families, and served free meals to the street people of Hollywood. From reading the Living Church article, I have to assume that things changed a lot once AIDS became a preoccupation in Hollywood. So now I wonder what happened to the traditional families from that old St. Thomas pre-school and those outreach ministries to people, regardless of their sexual orientations, who were desparately needy for reasons other than AIDS?

September 1, 4:06 pm | [comment link]
3. loyal opposition wrote:

I worship at St. Thomas.  The outreach programs are still in place with the exception of the preschool.  I would guess that a majority of those served by the various outreach efforts are “straight”, though I am not aware of any census taken to determine the sexuality of parishioners or those who visit only for social services.
What interests me much more than the sexuality of parishioners is that the liturgies are faithful and the Gospel is proclaimed.  This is a church that has Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Mass every single day of the year—- how many Episcopal or Anglican parishes in the US can claim that?

Anyway, check out the other Anglo-Catholic parish about 3 miles to the east: http://www.stmaryoftheangels.org/

We are fortunate to have both of these churches in town.

—Waiting on the Ordinariate

September 1, 4:59 pm | [comment link]
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