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Full circle

Bethlehem Baptist Church in L.A. by R.M. Schindler.

Bethlehem Baptist Church in 2013 in L.A.

Amerrymishap Pinks Necklace.

Amerrymishap Pinks Necklace.








On the seventh day in South L.A., the faithful now flock to a resurrected architectural relic. Modernist maverick Rudolph Schindler designed the Bethlehem Baptist Church – his only church – for a black congregation in 1944, “the lone example of Modernist architecture to cross Los Angeles economic and racial boundaries in the era of Jim Crow housing covenants,” wrote the Heritage Commission. In spite of its transcendent origin, the church became abandoned after its sale in 1975. Thirty some years later, the derelict jewel was declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. Saved but not yet redeemed, it remained in limbo until Pastor Melvin Ashley of Faith Build International walked by while searching for a home for his multi-cultural, multi-faith community organization. Undaunted by architects’ condemned assessment, Pastor Ashley persevered: the church reopened earlier this month and non-denominational services happen every Sunday at 11 a.m. Amen to full circles (epitomized by an askew necklace).

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