This fall, the iconic Hollywood church celebrated its milestone centennial. Elder Branden Stoltz, current senior pastor of the Hollywood church, said of the theme of unity: “We are not the same—we are one as a community in Christ.” The morning’s focus was laser-sharp on the theme of unity and the church’s mission of love and grace as it has played out through the years.
Elder Greg Hoenes, SCC West Region director, shared the morning’s message. Hoenes, who pastored the Hollywood church from 1997 to 2004, highlighted important historical landmarks in his message.
He recalled the contextual ministry of the church by highlighting its unique and opportune location in the city of Hollywood. “If context can’t determine who we are, what is the point of being here?” he reflected. “God in His mercy and God in His greatness provided history and continuity,” Hoenes said, illustrating the complex leading of God. In 1 Corinthians 3:9-11, Paul outlines the co-working of God’s people in His church through the passage of time. Verse 11 points out Jesus as the foundation of this growing work, of which Hoenes said: “That is our shared DNA—the basis of our mission and fellowship.”
The celebration ended with communion, which allowed attendees to gather together in unity and partake of the Lord’s Supper together. This familiar ceremony was performed differently than perhaps is common: attendees were invited up near the stage to partake of the bread and the juice, and they were further welcomed to remain standing as everyone amassed into a large group. This, as Stoltz explained, is a more personal, communal way to experience this meaningful ceremony. The communion was followed, quite fittingly, by the congregation singing “God of This City.” The song states that God is the king of these people, the community of Hollywood in this instance. The lyrics proclaim, “For greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done in this city.”
Hoenes recalled the church’s mission preceding his time on staff: “That we hear the sound of grace from every wall of this church.” Indeed, this mission still resonates.
Stoltz emphasized the focus on grace. “We want to be a place where we love fully, completely,” he said. “A people of God, clinging to the law of love.”
The church’s mission today? It can be summed up simply. Hollywood church: Where God's Spirit is given space to change lives.