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Stories by Joseph O'Brien

The Chapel at Grossmont in La Mesa

Pastor Hilton wasn’t meant for work in a lab the size of a closet.

To be absent from the body is to be present to the Lord.

Nine-Ten’s Martinez

Knowing a lot about a lot and enough about the rest, Nine-Ten’s sommelier and food and beverage manager Summer Haines is a wearer of many hats. To help the bar’s hotel — the Grande Colonial ...

Oak Hills Covenant Church

Hell is a choice.

Contact: 1920 Shadowridge Drive, Vista. 760-598-3852; oakhillschurch.tumblr.com Denomination: Evangelical Covenant Church Membership: 100 Pastor: Marilyn Williams Age: 48 Born: Chula Vista Formation: Vanguard University of Southern California, Costa Mesa; Bethel West Seminary, San Diego Years ...

Rumbling Tins Construction’s Old Rye Sage

The fellows from Rumbling Tins Construction brought their pleasant clamor to the Westgate Hotel to offer patrons a trifecta of cocktails as part of a recent tasting soirée. A five-member collaboration of jiggering journeymen, Rumbling ...

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — San Diego Ward

We continue to progress once we die.

Elder: Gary Sabin Seventy Membership: 50,000 Age: 59 Born: Provo, Utah Formation: Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; Stanford University, Stanford; “and a lot of on-the-job training.” Years Ordained: one year San Diego Reader: What is ...

Christ the King Lutheran Church

Computer science, meteorology, or God?

Membership: 1200 Pastor: Mark Johnson Age: 46 Born: Minneapolis, MI Formation: Lutheran Bible Institute, Anaheim; Concordia University, Irvine; Lutheran Seminary, St. Paul Years Ordained: 17 San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which ...

Johnny's Fire & Berry Old Fashioned

According to bartender Faith Taylor, the Tractor Room offers high-quality cocktails with a low-altitude attitude. “It’s kind of like Manhattan meets Montana,” she says. But if the restaurant tries not to take itself too seriously, ...

Prince of Peace Lutheran

True Christians don’t necessarily belong to a church.

Membership: 60 Pastor: Paul Willweber Age: 45 Born: Mission Hills Formation: Concordia College, Seward, NE; Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO Years Ordained: 18 San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach? ...

Shiloh Spiritual Center

Roxie Hart grabs the truth wherever she can weave it in.

Contact: 3288 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego 619-640-2020; shilohspiritualcenter.com Membership: 50 Pastor: Reverend Roxie Hart Age: “Young enough to enjoy life and old enough to know I really want to.” Born: Oakland Formation: Holmes Institute, ...

The Commons Bar's Skinny Scorpion

The owner of The Commons Bar, Jake Pescatello, does more than deliver the rent and sign the paychecks of his employees. Starting in his father’s modest East Coast restaurant empire as a dishwasher and busboy, ...

Miguelito’s Rye Manhattan

Uptown Tavern’s bar back Miguel Duran is in the advanced placement class of bartenders-in-training. Observing Uptown’s bartenders at work, he’s come up with his own signature cocktail. When he began creating what’s now known as ...

Holy Angels Byzantine Catholic Church

Practical guideposts for embracing the cross daily

Contact: 858-277-2511; holyangelssandiego.com Membership: 60 households Pastor: Father Robert Pipta Age: 46 Born: Anaheim Formation: St. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA Years Ordained: 20 San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject ...

Ramona’s First Congregationalist wraps up Operation Christmas Child

Contact: 404 8th St., Ramona, 760-789-3348 fccramona.org Membership: 240 Pastor: David Auten Age: 35 Born: Erie, PA Formation: Yale University, New Haven, CT; University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT; Years Ordained: 6 San Diego Reader: ...

Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Love beyond belief in Vista

Contact: 1600 Buena Vista Drive, Vista, 760-941-4319; vistauu.org Membership: 180 Pastor: Beth Johnson Born: Chicago, Ill. Formation: Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA Years Ordained: 10 San Diego Reader: What’s your favorite subject on which ...

Congregation Beth El

God’s in the ghettos and slums

Membership: 550 families Pastor: Rabbi Phillip Graubart Age: 52 Denomination: Conservative Born: Long Branch, New Jersey Formation: Jewish Theological Seminary, New York Years Ordained: 23 San Diego Reader: What is your main concern as a ...

Kelvin’s Cool Waters

Kelvin’s bartender Jeremy LaFave is helping to liberate palates burnt out on high-juice, high-fructose content of the typical tropical drink. According to LaFave, Kelvin’s Cool Waters is the inspired concoction of mixologist Charlotte Boffey, which ...

Harmony Grove Spiritualist Association

Love is the bridge to God

Interview with pastor April Leona Cunningham of Escondido’s Harmony Grove Spiritualist Association. She says she predicted the death of Robert and John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Prepkitchen Little Italy's Dutch Hammer

While Southern California’s live oaks and palms show little of the colors that ignite the landscape of such northern neighbors as Washington and Oregon, San Diego bartender Adam Lockridge honors the harvest season by changing ...

El Cajon Foursquare Church

Foursquare’s belief system doesn’t depend on tradition

El Cajon Foursquare Church pastor Dennis Estill “didn’t want to be a minister. I wanted to be a cop.”

St. Didacus Catholic Parish

The thought of celibacy was painful and confusing

Father Michael Sinor of St. Didacus Catholic Parish says he “ran away from the idea of being a priest. I didn’t think I could be celibate.”

San Diego Center for Spiritual Living

As an altar boy, John Poleski’s pastor at the time said, “Watch that Poleski boy — he’s going to be a priest someday!”

Alchemy's Patron's Saint

Already known for a menu informed by a free association of tastes, Alchemy continues to maintain the element of surprise by offering shrubs. No, not the kind arranged, designed, and sold by Monty Python’s medieval ...

The Resolved Church

Die, get a new body, go to heaven...or hell.

As pastor Duane Smets of the Resolved Church in Morena is working on his Sunday sermon, he thinks of it as a date as he gets to know it.

Chaplos' Gaslamp Quarter

If there was any doubt that bartending and cocktail culture is becoming a community effort in San Diego, Chaplos bartender Bek Allen’s new namesake drinks she mixes behind her bar will put them to rest ...

O.B. One Church

OB One Church finds the lost and lights them up like a rocket.

Gang's Singapore Sling

Gin has had a hard row of it in San Diego — that’s according to Jason O’Bryan, one of the top barristers at the Asian fusion Gang Kitchen. “You would think that the starting ingredient ...

Pacific Beach United Methodist

Methodist pastor April Herron found God on a hilltop in Brazil.

We might already be in the kingdom here and now.

Congregation Beth Jacob

What it means to be a good human being

Membership: 150 Rabbi: Avram Bogopulsky Age: 49 Born: Brooklyn, NY Formation: St. Thomas Aquinas College, Sparkill, NY; Yeshiva Shaarei Torah, Suffern, NY Years Ordained: 25 San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your ...

Polite Provisions' Ocean Side

While Noble Experiment is the worst kept secret among San Diego saloons, its sister ship, Polite Provisions, has a number of secrets yet to be discovered. “Here at Polite Provisions,” says bartender Aaron Zieske, “we’re ...

Calvary Chapel Fallbrook

The toll of large-scale biblically illiterate Christianity.

Agape Community Baptist Church

Amazing little church in Poway

Just last Sunday, Agape Community Baptist Church in Poway had Anglos, African-American, Filipino, Ethiopian, Chinese, Cambodian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Persian congregants in attendance.

La Sala's The Cove

La Valencia’s Whaling Bar as the place to go to sit and sip and sop up La Jolla sunsets has been replaced by the La Sala Lounge. La Sala bar manager Scotty Moises says the ...

Rushing Wind Ministries

Pastor Fred Zariczny concentrates on the the least, the lost, and the last.

Hell will not be a big party where we all run around naked.

Lords of the Drink

The art of the sip.

Alchemy's Ricardo Heredia, Noble Experiment's Anthony Schmidt, and the U.S. Grant's Jeff Josenhans share their glass art.

94th Aero Squadron's Coyote Margarita

Adorned with the parti-colored relics and memorabilia of winged battle’s golden age, the 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant has the look and feel of a rural French chalet that’s been commandeered by World War I flyboys. ...

Clairemont Emmanuel Baptist

Jesus was pretty clear

Pastor Kenny Dodd of Clairemont Emmanuel Baptist church says his missionaries are talking to a cannibalistic tribe, translating the Bible.

Sycamore Den's Harvey Wallbanger

If you didn’t have the good fortune of having a dad who grew up in the 1970s, then you probably know little about the glories of wood paneling, Gordon Lightfoot, and plaid-on-plaid polyester suits. But, ...

Canyon Community Church

Chula Vista’s Canyon Community Church reaches into the muck.

The Stout's Brasser

If Ireland truly is the Island of Saints and Scholars, then Brothers McCullough, Dan and Nate — the Stout Public House’s own scholars of the dram and ounce — have canonized St. Germain liqueur into ...

Chabad at La Costa

God in Tijuana on Christmas Day

Chabad La Costa’s rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort trains to desire Godliness.

The Saltbox's French 75

When the old folks talk about the ritual evening cocktail as “shooting the sunset gun,” they probably had the French 75 in mind. Stroll into the Saltbox any evening at the right time and manager ...

Direct-pay doctors revive a dying art

Have stethoscope, will travel

A new (old) breed of doctor is surfacing — one who makes house calls, believes pills are overprescribed, and cares to talk to their patients.

Katsuya's Pucker Up

When it comes to holidays, few lead to such controversy as Valentine’s Day. He thinks the day is only for her — she thinks it’s for both of them. Discussion ensues, shifts into a debate, ...

Skyline Church

God is the God of nations as well

Interview with pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in La Mesa.