By Jake O’Brien
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Churches are meant to serve as welcome places for people. A sanctuary open at all times to those who need guidance.
But as one drives through the Crenshaw District, it is surprising to see how many churches are either closed for the day or have been shut down altogether.
Even the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, which boasts a massive state-of-the-art cathedral, is not always open.
Ivan Cole, an elder of the West Angeles Church, says it difficult to fill such the cathedral, which seats 5,000 people, and that many in the congregation aren’t giving the kind of offerings they used to give.
The West Angeles Cathedral, which used to be open all week, is now only open on Sundays. Anyone who wants to pray on other days must visit their smaller church across the street.
But Executive Assistant Collete Johson, says the West Angeles Church is also serving the community through its West Angeles Community Development Corporation which assists people in need.
The program was founded in 1994 with the help of Bishop Charles Blake who saw the homelessness, lack of jobs and gang activity in the area as signs that improvement was needed.
Since its founding, the Community Development Corporation has increased its budget to over $3 million.