羅省華人教會歷史回顧: 一個55年的愛情故事

            猶太人有一個傳統,就是每當慶祝逾越節時他們會與小孩子們分享逾越節的意義。有一個問題會被提起: “為什麼這一晚和其它夜晚不同?” 當我們慶祝農曆新年的時候,或許我們也會習慣性的發問,“我們洛杉磯華人教會和其它教會有什麼不同?” 每一位都會有自己的見解和經歷。你與這個教會的故事是從哪裡開始的呢?上帝的愛是如何引導你的?

            1959年,在優勝美地公園瓦沃纳營地的華人帳篷大會上,有一個想法開始萌芽,就是要在洛杉磯建立一所華人基督復臨安息日會教會。這一股熱忱就是要將上帝的愛與三天使的訊息傳揚到南加州的華人社區中。 1960年春天,陳湖生牧師在洛杉磯開了第一屆佈道大會,帶領了十一位新教友受洗加入教會。1961年11月4日,基督復臨安息日會洛杉磯華人教會正式成立 。當時成立教會的教友有二十四位。所栽種的種子要結出更多的子粒,遠超過它原來的數量,我們教會的成長也是如此。許多年後,教會開展了許多新的事工,教友人數也在增長,也開展了新的教會。在這50年裏,梁惠舟牧師與梁李如玉師母伴隨著我們教會成長。從1960年代到1970年代末的牧養事奉,並且一直到今日,梁牧師與師母以身作則帶領教會,成為了我們教會故事中重要的角色。

            每一位堂主任牧師都為教會做出了重大的貢獻:陳湖生牧師建立了教會,梁惠舟牧師購買以及搬入了阿罕布拉(Alhambra)教堂,劉大同牧師擴建了現今的大堂和聯誼廳,呂俊明牧師還清了新教堂的債務以及強調靈修生活,符運明牧師牧養新的會眾,符黃有群師母強調禱告事工,高明牧師發展小組事工。

            多年來我們教會的服務包括了傳道事工,以及更多其他活動項目,都根據不同年代的需要不斷的增長。雖然我們不能詳細全部列出來,但這些都代表了成百人用上千個小時在這個社區裏傳揚上帝大愛的功效。其中一部分包括:從1960到1980年代的免費華人社區牙科和眼科醫療。教會也多次開展了托兒中心。在1970年代開展了協助難民事工。教會也開辦了英文語言學校,中文學校,前鋒會,幼年團,假期聖經學校,校園事工,健康博覽會,移動健康車,烹飪班,園藝課,運動課,婚姻與家庭講座,耆康會,耆康苑,音樂事工,禱告小組,探訪小組,安息日學節目,特別是55年來每個安息日的聯誼午餐。

         讓我們繼續在上帝的慈愛與恩惠裏一同成長,傳揚耶穌基督復臨的好消息
 
Our Church History: A 55 Year Old Love Story 

            During the Passover meal, Jewish families have a tradition of sharing with their young children the meaning of Passover.  The question is asked, “Why is this night different from other nights?” During Chinese New Year, it might be a good tradition for us to ask,“Why is the Los Angeles Chinese Seventh-day Adventist Church different from other churches?” Each one would have their own special insight and experience.  Where does your story with this church start?  Where does your experience with God’s love lead?

            During the 1959 Chinese Camp Meeting at Camp Wawona in Yosemite, the idea of a Chinese Seventh-day Adventist Church in Los Angeles began to take shape.  There was a desire to share the love of God found in the Three Angels’ Messages to the Southern California Chinese Community.  May 1960 marked the first Seventh-day Adventist Evangelistic Series for the Chinese in Los Angeles.  Organized and conducted by Elder Wallace Chan, it led to the baptism of eleven new members.  Efforts continued and lead the Southern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists to organize the Los Angeles Chinese Seventh-day Adventist Church on November 4, 1961.  There were twenty-four charter members. A planted seed is expected to produce more that itself.  So has it been for this church.  Over the years there have been more ministries, more members, and more churches.  For 50 years, Pastor Wai Chow and Mrs. Sarah Leong have shared in the growth and ministry of this church.  From Pastor Leong’s pastorate of the church from the mid-1960’s through the late 1970’s through all the years to the present, the two of them have guided by leadership and example. They have been leading and supporting characters in this church’s story.

            Each Senior Pastor of the church has contributed greatly and is remembered for key items:  Elder Wallace Chan for establishing the Church, Elder Wai Chow Leong for moving to and purchasing the Alhambra property, Elder Richard Liu for building the current Sanctuary and Social Hall, Elder John Lu for paying off the building and emphasizing a devotional life, Elder Jonathan Foo for facilitating growth of new congregations, Interim Pastor Mrs. Doris Foo for her emphasis on prayer, Elder Ming Gao for growing Small Group Ministries. 

            Dozens of other ministries, developments, and programs have been part of this church over the years.  Some were for specific needs and times, some are on-going.  All cannot be listed, but they all represent hundreds of peoples’ efforts and thousands of hours directed towards sharing the love of God to people in this community.  A partial list includes:  The Chinese Community Free Clinic provided Dental and Eye care from the 1960’s into the 1980’s.  The church operated several Day Care Centers over the years.  There was the ministry to the Refugee influx during the 1970’s.  There have been English Language Classes and a Chinese Language School, Pathfinders, Adventurers, Vacation Bible Schools, Collage Campus Ministries, Health Fairs, Traveling Health Van, Cooking Classes, Gardening Classes, Exercise Classes, Marriage and Family Seminars, Senior Citizen Club, Senior Citizen Housing, Building projects and taking care of the property, Musical Ministry, Prayer Groups, Visitation Groups, Sabbath School Programs and Classes, and especially 55 years of Fellowship Lunch.

            May we continue to grow in the grace and love of God as we proclaim Jesus Christ and His soon return.