Bel Air Presbyterian Church
|Bel Air Presbyterian Church|
|Senior pastor(s)||Dr. Drew Sams|
Bel Air Presbyterian Church is a conservative Christian megachurch located in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. The church, affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), currently averages more than 3,000 in attendance each weekend.
Since its founding in 1956, Bel Air Presbyterian has become one of the largest churches in Los Angeles. The church's motto is Making Los Angeles the greatest city for Christ. The church is located at 16221 Mulholland Drive, on a hill overlooking the San Fernando Valley.
The original sanctuary organ was a four-manual, sixty-eight rank mechanical action pipe organ by Casavant. It was seriously damaged, mostly by water leakage, in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. It was later rebuilt as a pipe combination instrument with a digital console from Rodgers Instruments Corporation, in protest of which Casavant declared it to be "destroyed" and stricken from their register of surviving instruments. At the time of its re-dedication, it was one of the world’s largest digital/pipe combination organs in the world.
In 2007, the church completed a $12 million campus expansion program, The Campaign for Bel Air: Phase I, which included the two story Education Building, Discipleship Center, and Administration Building, including staff offices with views overlooking the The Valley.
Former Senior Pastors include Rev. Dr. Louis H. Evans Jr., Rev. Dr. Mark Brewer, Rev. Dr. Michael H. Wenning, Rev. Paul Pierson, Rev. Dr. David G. McKechnie, and Dr. Donn D. Moomaw. Dr. Moomaw gave the invocation at President Ronald Reagan's first inauguration in 1981.
Bel Air Presbyterian Church is an active member of the Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA) denomination, and has participated in vigorous debates among the mainline denomination, on issues of theology. The church is also a member of the Evangelical Willow Creek Association and the Fellowship of Presbyterians.
Dr. Drew Sams was called and officially elected as the church's Senior Pastor and Head of Staff on April 13, 2014. In June 2014, award-winning singer-songwriter recording artist Kendall Payne joined the staff as Director of Contemporary Worship. Dr. Mindy Coates-Smith serves as the Co-Director of Youth Discipleship. She also serves on the faculty of Fuller Theological Seminary.
The church professes a conservative theology with regard to homosexuality. Previous pastor, the Rev. Dr. Mark Brewer, has publicly described his views on homosexuality, stating in a sermon that "the homosexual will not inherit the Kingdom of God." He has also attempted to stop a same-sex wedding from taking place. In response to the ratification of same-sex marriage at the 2014 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PCUSA), the Rev. Dr. Drew Sams (the current pastor who succeeded Brewer) has also stated that same-sex marriage is contrary to the position of Bel-Air Presbyterian Church.
Many members of Bel Air Presbyterian Church are involved in the entertainment industry, and many are prominent within the Westside L.A. community. In addition, many young adults attend the church's midweek young adults service, The Foundry. Bel Air also has many young families from The Valley in its congregation. President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan regularly attended the church after leaving office, and Mrs. Reagan still occasionally attends.
Every Easter Sunday, the church holds the largest worship service in Southern California at the famous Hollywood Bowl, with attendance exceeding 10,000. In 2014, Bel Air Presbyterian Church partnered with Christian Assembly and Fellowship Monrovia for the event.
- Brewer, Mark (14 February 2004). "“Sexuality: The Challenge of Being Human, Sexual and Spiritually Holy.”". Sermon Audio & Video. Bel Air Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
- La Ganga, Maria (5 June 2012). "West Hollywood parish leaves Presbyterian Church over gay rights". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
- Sams, Drew (22 June 2014). "Jonah's Mission". Sermons. Bel Air Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
- "Faith Abundant in - of All Places - Hollywood - Netscape Celebrity". Webcenters.netscape.compuserve.com. Retrieved 2009-02-10.