United University Church is a union congregation resulting from a 1982 merger of the University United Methodist Church and the Old First Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles. Both congregations “have long histories of witnessing to the relevance of Christ’s gospel for the struggles of people seeking dignity, hope, security and salvation in an uncertain world.” The Methodist history goes back to 1881 when Rev. Bovard, the first president of USC, became also the first pastor of the University Methodist Episcopal Church. The University Church held the first worship service at the current site on October 17, 1931. The First Presbyterian Church of Los Angeles was founded in 1874, and in 1965 accepted the invitation from the University United Methodist Church to share the building. Even though they had partnered in many projects, they had remained as separate congregations until they officially merged in 1982 to create United University Church. These two congregations shared their commitment to ministries of justice and had long histories of lifting up the humanity of the marginalized and protecting the dignity of the oppressed. They were not afraid to be the first in stepping up to protect the vulnerable, break color and gender barriers, and openly and enthusiastically welcome LGBTQI+ community. It has stood for 88 years as “an imposing edifice at the entrance to the University” speaking truth, love and justice of God. In 2014, facing insurmountable maintenance expenses and significant financial difficulties, the painful decision to sell the building to USC was made. In two purchases in 2017 and 2018, UUC acquired all the commercially zoned properties on the east side of Union Ave. between 22nd St. and 23rd St.
Since moving in May 15, 2019
United University Church has moved locations and we are embracing a new beginning. Though we are in the early stages of remodeling, we have continued worshiping in the new site. We also continue to try new ways of being a community. We will continually “strive for peace and justice in our society…[and] build God’s kindom of love and compassion…” What we believe in, what we stand for, and what we will work on will not change. We will be agents of hope in the community; we will be the voice of justice in our world.
Rev. Dr. Sunny Kang became the Pastor of United University Church in January 2018. Sunny brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to UUC. Previously he served Presbyterian churches in Florida, Illinois, Minnesota and California. He came to US at age eleven when his family immigrated from Korea. He grew up in Wisconsin and graduated from University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management with a BSB with focus on Strategic Management. After running a non-profit organization that focused on assisting the chronically unemployed and underemployed formerly incarcerated persons run painting businesses, he become an ordained minister. He has served Presbyterian congregations in Minnesota, Florida, Illinois and California and two United Methodist churches and a Baptist church in Minnesota. Outside of the congregational settings he has worked as a Grant Program Manager for McKnight Foundation, and as a national staff of the Presbyterian Committee on Self-Development of People of the PCUSA General Assembly empowering the vulnerable communities take control of their lives.
REV. DR. SUNNY KANG
The warm hearted David serves as the Facilities Manger and leads the Food Bank Ministry. He has been with UUC for over five years. His many talents include making delicious chili and BBQ, truck driving guru, salesman, handiman, consultant and community liaison - just to name a few !
Michael leads the Progressive Christians ministry held at the USC Campus in Room 201C of the ORL Building. He has affectionately earned the nickname "Chipmunk" for he is an enthusiastic foodie. This bright young scholar is majoring in Non-Governmental Organizations and Social Change.
Shirley serves as the Office Manager and Christian Education Director. In her spare time she enjoys reading, karaoke, watching endless hours of Netflix and quality time with her precious dog, Matty.
Originally from Pine River, Minnesota, Tom is an accomplished composer, arranger, conductor, keyboardist and harmonica player. Tom has a degree in piano performance from Lewis and Clark College and a degree in Composition for Film and Television from the University of Southern California. He has served on the faculty of St. John’s University, St. Benedict’s College, Lewis and Clark College, Woodbury University and was the co-Director of the Film Scoring Program at USC for 5 years. Tom has conducted and accompanied such artists as Carol Channing, Nathan Lane, Cher, David Hyde-Pierce and Olivia Newton-John. In addition he’s worked on shows including Mamma Mia (Shubert Theatre), Ten Commandments (Kodak Theatre) and Camelot (Hollywood Bowl). For more information about Tom’s many projects visit his website http://auditiontrax.com/
Since 1988 Christophe has been faithfully attending UUC and has seen the church evolve during the years. He serves as the hardworking Treasurer with the important task of keeping the church financially afloat. He has married his wife Sarah at the church in 1998 and enjoys vegetarian food as well as singing in the church choir. He has the patience of a saint and is always willing to lend a helping hand.
Jane serves as the Project Manager starting at the end of October 2019 after visiting family members in Chicago. She graduated USC with a Masters in Industrial and Systems Engineering. She enjoys expanding her collection of beautiful dresses, Bollywood dancing and watching Grand Prix Races in her spare time.