In the middle of America’s movie capital, a place defined by flamboyance, film stars and opulence, St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church minister to the homeless, the elderly, people who are HIV-positive, immigrants and the working poor.
The Episcopal Church in the United States is marking 100 years of parish ministry in Hollywood, Calif.
“I think the presence of the church is its best gift to any community, including Hollywood,” said Rev. Ian Elliott Davies, rector of St. Thomas. “We are not here to be preachy, to hit them over the head with the Bible. We are here to be just who we are – black and white, rich and poor, gay and straight.”
The Episcopal mission in Hollywood began in 1897. St. Stephen’s opened its doors in 1904, and St. Thomas was founded 16 years later. With 250 active members, St. Thomas provides breakfast each Saturday for more than 200 homeless residents.
“This church has a pretty remarkable ministry to gays,” said Gabriel Paul, parish administrator of St. Thomas. “But it is our homeless outreach that really flies in the face of the glamour and glitz that Hollywood stands for.”