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  • Hope on Union


This summer is marked by changes and we are going through some big ones.

Our campus ministry is growing. When we moved out into the community, our ministry transitioned from site-dependent ministry to student-led ministry. Michael Hsu, Kristina Pendelberry, Melody Wang, and Sara Zuluaga have been instrumental in the past few years. We are again going through another change as a new group of student leaders are stepping up and the scope of our ministry is growing as well.

The Progressive Christians @ USC will now be led by a team of at least five student leaders and we will have a Bible study, PC@USC worship service, a fall retreat, special events, as well as a regular newsletter being sent out to keep everyone updated. We have Kenzie, Gloria, Abi, Chelsea, and Evi who have all volunteered to lead us and they are incredibly capable spiritual leaders.

The Jubilee Café is also growing. Last school year, we served more than 200 lunches each week and almost 1000 students participated in the Café. The last lunch we served had almost 400 students and we are anticipating similar numbers this fall. One big change is that we are going to emphasize sustainability and will focus on reducing waste. We also serve dinner every other Sunday night at 6 pm.

In partnership with Vegans of LA, we had a very successful vegan pantry where more than 150 students attended, and we are planning to do it at least once a month. If we find enough volunteers, it will be every week. We also met with the USC Basic Needs office this summer and our food bank ministry will be helping stock the USC pantry.

Our Jubilee anti-racism video project will be posting videos on Tik Tok teaching students how to get to know someone without bias and preconceived notions.

The new venture on campus is that through an official partnership with the USC Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, we are creating a Gospel worship service we are calling Trojan Church. It will be open to students, alumni, faculty, and the community and we will be inviting local African American pastors to preach. This will be the only spiritual experience on the USC campus that is Afrocentric and LGBT-friendly. Previous to the pandemic there was a Gospel Choir, but that never returned after the lockdown.

The other major development is that we are building a new partnership with FEAST, a community organization that focuses on healthy food for the community. While we are waiting to hear the final words about our joint grant, I am optimistic. We will be developing recipes from the food that is available at our food bank to teach community members how to cook healthy meals.

All these things are telling us that by being open to the Spirit and listening carefully to how God may be leading us, an urban church can make a difference in the community. We started all these ministries, not because we thought they were great ideas, or because we have always done it that way, but because we listened when people asked for something like this. By listening to the spiritual needs of the people, we are able to be the church that brings Jesus to the spiritual, but not religious.

Pastor Sunny

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