LA Holy City Convention, October 2005

Approximately 8,000 koreans gathered in Crenshaw Christian Center Faith Dome (scroll left) in an event called LA Holy City Convention 2005 (성시화 대회) during October 7-9 under the catchphrases “Whole Church, Whole Gospel, Whole LA!”, “Love Jesus Love LA!” etc. The dome’s capacity is 15,000, which I heard was the original aim of the convention.

It’s basically an evangelization drive, from how people are portraying it. It was three days of regular worship in korean language, and from what I see in their schedule, the special gatherings for pastors and college students, respectively, have seminar/workshop components on past work and what actions to actually take. I only went to their Friday worship, which was the first night.

Participants had to sign up beforehand, and apparently there was an admissions fee – which apparently was paid for by our church for the five of us who went there. Staff youth were checking each individual for passes at the entrance of the dome and giving out the schedule, a glossy paper 27-page introduction to the purpose of the drive and schedule for the 3 days. The friday worship overlapped with the young adults (청년) worship, so that’s the group that went.

In a video presentation, sponsoring parties introduced basic concepts and past work under a similar concept. Strangely, 이명박’s giving Seoul to God was not mentioned as part of the overarching movement of 성시화 (did his work also get a bad reception in the christian community?), but 춘천 (1974? was that right?) and 포항 in 2004 were presented as cases of successful 성시화 evangelization drives. The historic model was Calvin’s mayoral ruling in Genova.

In discussing the work of 성시화 in 포항, presenters used the word “공장 노동자”. Usually 박정희 supporters prefer the term 근로자, “hard worker”, so that was strange. They also showed some 달동네 scenes from the city, I don’t know what the purpose of that may have been.

The rationale for the need of such a drive was the spread of “crime”, “tatoos” and “drugs” in the community. Presenters emphasized that such strongholds of christianity as LA, which produced the great envangelizers Billy Graham and Bill Wright (CCC), could not cross arms and sit back when there was a need for God.

Someone else also said that the US was the new Rome of the world, and that Rome was the center of classic meditarranean multiculturalism, peoples from many races and lands coming together, which was won over by christians and the fact of Rome as an imperial power became an advantage for christianity. Since there is an english hegemony in the world, where people are pushed to learn it as a matter of remains of colonialism, economic survival, or social arribismo, koreans in LA were in a comfortable position to make use of that position and start evangelizing. There was also mention of doing media work with newspapers.

There was a mention of praying for that korean congressman who was involved in the 폭탄주 사건. Little Arnold and Antonio Villaraigoza were present in the worship, and even some black folks, and they were given headphones by the event staff. Generally it was not very accessible for english speakers, though.

One way of introducing the relevance of this to the context of LA was that LA was “Los Angels” and that it meant to be the city of angels -_- which historically incorrect. The main noun in the original city name was “pueblo” (village) – “Village of Our Lady the Queen of Angels at the Porciúncula River”.

All income generated during the convention was to be spent in future evangelizing work, as well as establishment of church-sponsored scholarships for latino and black students.

During the worship, this was how people were arranged. Generally, there was a lack of attendants in churches located in white suburbia.