Although it may seem like it, not everything that is happening around us is negative. Positive events are popping up all around our community. To be more specific, Laguna Faith. This new, one-of-kind faith gathering has been popping up in some of Laguna Beach’s most prestigious addresses: The Inn at Laguna Beach, Art-A-Fair, and Seven Degrees.
“During this COVID season of business and school and church closings, many people have become isolated and lonely,” says Laguna Faith co-founder, Roger Berney. “We saw a need in our community, a need in Laguna Beach, and decided to launch.”
In May 2020, when the government announced restrictions for Houses of Worship, those with over 100 members and those that met indoors were ordered to close, churches in Laguna Beach were forced to close their doors. In response, a close-knit bible study group (that included a professional speaker and also a seminarian) decided to launch an outdoor church gathering where Christians of all denominations, as well as the “spiritual but not religious,” could gather safely together to hear positive messages, listen to live worship music, and share in-person friendships.
“We used to call it a ‘watch party’ or ‘faith gathering’ but over the past eight months, we have evolved into a real church community – but nothing like any I’ve seen before. I like to say that we are a one-of-a-kind, new kind of church experience,” Roger explains. “Definitely a new kind of church experience,” he emphasizes.
The pop-up aspect of setting up each Sunday with 50 white chairs (socially distanced), music and AV equipment, large screen TVs, Starbucks “travelers,” and home baked cookies, makes this church experience unique.
“It’s informal and everyone is welcome – you don’t have to be Christian,“ says Katya Novak, Laguna Faith Elder. “We are a place of spiritual refuge, offering faith, hope, and love to Laguna Beach residents and visitors.”
So what’s a typical Sunday like at Seven Degrees? Service begins at 11 a.m. with a short welcome message, followed by two songs with five to 15 vocalists and guitarists, and then a streamed message on large screens by one of the nation’s megachurch, best-selling-authors and pastors (Greg Laurie, Dr. David Jeremiah, Andy Stanley are favorites). After that broadcast, there are two more songs and then a closing prayer.
“Afterwards, everyone hangs out and talks and about 10 of us or more go to lunch at Kitchen in the Canyon,” explains Blake, Laguna Faith Elder.
During the month of January, you can find Laguna Faith at Seven Degrees outdoor terrace (next to the Sawdust entrance) every Sunday at 11 a.m. From February onward, Laguna Faith will alternate their pop-up locations between Seven Degrees and Art-A-Fair. For the latest pop-up location, visit www.LagunaFaith.com or call (949)436-9693.