Central Congregational Church
This week, without meaning to, I attended services at a church that broke away from the United Church of Christ in 1909 (and is therefore celebrating its 100th anniversary): Central Congregational Church in La Mesa.
“The main reason was autonomy,” explained current pastor Ted Selgo. “We don’t have to answer to any hierarchy. When I came here, if they had wanted a liberal, far-out Ph.D. MENSA type, they would have chosen one. If they had wanted a fundamentalist, shouting Baptist-type preacher, they would have chosen him. There’s a Congregational church in North Park where the pastor is a social activist. This church decided, ‘We don’t want someone in L.A. dictating how we can worship, what belief system we have to have, how we allocate our money.’ I was in the Methodist Church for 16 years, and after those years of ecclesiastical control, I love that freedom. I was never a rebel, but John Wesley [founder of Methodism] would have turned over in his grave if he knew what my bishop was attempting to do.” Apparently, Selgo’s “rebellion” mostly involved defending tradition. [+more]