Even in the midst of a pandemic, there is still much to be grateful for. Glendale City church (GCC) recognized this as the congregation celebrated 115 years of ministry and service in the city this year.
“What we discovered about the congregation during the pandemic is that we’re strong,” Todd Leonard, senior pastor of GCC, said. “Our members really rallied together during this pandemic. The anniversary points to our longevity of a lot of good spiritual health that has been passed on from generation to generation in this church.”
Leonard has pastored at GCC for more than eight years. Contributing to a history of engaged membership and pastors with creative and unconventional approaches to ministry, Leonard has helped the church position itself as the hands and feet of Jesus in the community.
As such, GCC has partnered with and launched numerous organizations through the years, with the goal of making the city of Glendale better for all. Through these initiatives, GCC has advocated for the arts, families, kids, interfaith connections, social justice reforms, and more. The church created Caesura Youth Orchestra in 2013, which gives low-income students musical instruments and orchestra training, and Communitas in 2015, which serves families at risk of becoming homeless and helps families recover from homelessness. In 2020, Communitas joined nonprofit organization Family Promise of the Verdugos to expand poverty prevention and recovery services in Glendale and Burbank.
“Ever since Todd came to Glendale City church, things are definitely different among pastors in the area—they know each other,” Mike Kim, associate pastor of GCC for nearly four years, said. “He started programs to help the underprivileged in the community; this drew churches in the area to be involved.”
The most recent organization that the church is working with is the Coalition for an Anti-Racist Glendale, in partnership with YWCA Glendale and Black in Glendale. This group of community members, activists, educators, students, parents, and faith leaders formed in June 2020 “to address systemic racism and inequities in our community,” as stated on the YWCA Glendale website. In September 2020, the coalition successfully urged Glendale City Council to pass a historic resolution acknowledging the city’s history of racism as a former sundown town and committing to a more equitable Glendale.
“We own the fact that we are a congregation that needs our city as much as our city needs us,” Leonard said. “We want to be blessed by and be a blessing to our neighbors in the city.”
GCC’s mission stated on the church website is to “reveal the love of Christ in all its tenderness and grandeur to the community in which we live.” This mission embodies the command in Micah 6:8 to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.”
By Araya Moss