The Last Time That I Was In L.A. Part Two

24 Dec

The Last Time That I Was In L.A. Part Two

 

By: Bob Gersztyn

All Photography copyright Bob Gersztyn

1 Los Angeles 1981 154

I took this photo from an overpass on Mission Road North of downtown in 1982, the last year that I lived in Los Angeles before I finally left for the last time. I loved Los Angeles, and always felt right at home there from the day we first got there in 1971. The reason why we left the first time in May 1980, was because I was supposed to become the pastor of a Foursquare pioneer church in Philomath, Oregon.

2 Yaquina Head Lighthouse

 

We moved a thousand miles north, to Toledo, Oregon, seven miles inland of the Central Oregon Coast city of Newport, where the divisional superintendent that was my superior had a church. It was part of the Jesus movement in Oregon and was impressive, with a worship band and some of the best worship that I had ever experienced, up to that time.

3 a Worship Two (1)

We arrived the beginning of May and left just before Thanksgiving, because of cultural and climate shock, we moved to Texas six months later. After a misadventure in El Paso, Texas, we were back in Los Angeles, in January 1981. However, let me back track to 1976, when I first came on paid staff at HPNC. My primary job, for the first six months was putting together concerts for Friday night every week.

4 Worship Two (12)

Most of the time the music artists that performed were, the equivalent of a church worship band, doing everything from hymns, choruses, Jesus music covers and even some original numbers. By January 1977 the attendance of the Friday night concerts went the same route as the Agape Inn, so by February we discontinued them. We still had an occasional concert, but for the most part Jesus rock had outgrown small churches like ours and played at thousand seat auditoriums that could provide $500.00 to $1,000.00 for top quality performers with good equipment.

 

5 Worship Two (38)

 

Randy Stonehill was appearing at Occidental College, Larry Norman was in concert at the Performing Arts Center in Pasadena and Gentle Faith performed at Christian Assembly. At the same time people were complaining that Jesus music was becoming too commercial and artists were only in it for the money and not for ministry. Then CCM became Contemporary Christian Music and moved the Christian recording industry center to Nashville, Tennessee, from its birthplace in Southern California.

6 HPNC 1976

From 1977, until May 1980, I served as the associate pastor of HPNC and put together all the Christian Education programs, retreats, concerts and on New Years Eve of each year beginning in 1976, I put together a 1/2 hour multi-media presentation of the years past events. The church was on the North East corner of York Blvd and Avenue 56, a few blocks from Franklin High school.

7 Los Angeles Night Skyline 1973

We lived up Avenue 57, on a short dead end street called Highgate. It was surrounded by hilsl and at the end of the block there was an undeveloped section that rose above everything around and on a clear Winter night you could see the entire L.A. basin spread out from downtown to Hollywood.

8 Avenues grafitti 1976

At the same time Highland Park was a gang zone and the biggest gang was the Avenues, who named themselves for the numbered Avenues of North East Los Angeles. By the 21st century when the Mexican drug cartels hit the big time, the Avenues became the biggest cartel in North America.

9 Jackson Brown170

 

Jackson Browne lived down the street and one of the kids in my youth group went to him for music lessons. He wrote a song about the Avenues from first hand experience, that appeared on his Lives In The Balance album released in 1986.

Lawless Avenues: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vh-gagVqvuA

10 Worship Two (18)

Some of us were marching for Jesus and were Christian soldiers that understood that we were at war with the powers of darkness and were light warriors and the salt of the earth, whose mission was to permeate the very fabric of American culture and politics and ultimately impact the entire world. We met in public and invited everyone to our celebrations. It was a joyous time that consumed us and led us to dance, even though it was condemned by the denomination, as being worldly.

11 Worship Two (34)

 

Lord of the Dance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtM8BRF7Bd0

 

HPNC was the place that we all were birthed from, spiritually. It was our womb. That’s what Pastor Mark told us, and it was. However, at the same time we were trying to translate our theological beliefs into practical everyday ways to approach life. The two came in conflict with each other sometimes, so we opened our Bibles, read and prayed about it.

 

12 Worship Two (20)

 

Marriage is one of the most beautiful and fulfilling aspects of possibility within the human relationship experience, but at the same time it is the most challenging and demanding. Currently, some calculate that 50% of all marriages fail. The reason why they fail is because the two didn’t become one.

13 Worship Two (40)

In order for a marriage to work, the two partners have to join together and become an entirely new identity. This requires a death to the self for both individuals and a resurrection unto new life for the newly joined together partners. The consummation of marriage through the sexual union of the two partners is the ultimate manifestation of ecstatic transcendence, which results in the creation of new Life

14 July 10, 1978 Rachel Gersztyn

To Be Continued.

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