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Celebrating the Holidays in Sunny, Gay L.A.

by Tatum Regan
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Monday Dec 24, 2012
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Though Christmas has yet to arrive, you may already be feeling all holidayed-out after a few too many awkward office parties, expensive shopping runs and guilt-inducing calls from your mother. Even so, LGBT religious congregations in the Los Angeles area are offering an abundance of events and volunteer opportunities -- maybe just what’s needed to put the holidays back in perspective. EDGE Los Angeles has the scoop.

This Christmas Eve, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Studio City will be presenting its annual "All Ages, No Rehearsal, Nativity Pageant." Anyone is welcome to participate in a living, breathing reproduction of the Nativity scene as Reverend Darrel L. Richey narrates the story of Bethlehem and everyone joins in yuletide song.

Only a few roles require the reading of brief lines; as the event’s billing suggests, the production is unrehearsed and open to all, with participants asked only to arrive at 4:45 p.m. to sign up.

The Unitarian Universalist Church is described as "an inclusive and compassionate community welcoming all people of good will: young and old, gay, straight and bisexual, partnered and single." The congregation embraces diversity and seeks not to impose dogma, but to inspire constant striving towards goodness and love.

Later in the evening, at 9 p.m., a more traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight Service will take place. Join them to celebrate at 12355 Moorpark Street in Studio City. For more info, call 818-769-5911 or visit www.uustudiocity.org/


Game Night

The holidays are high time for department stores and radio jingles, but they are also about giving back to the community and brightening someone’s day. On Thursday, Dec. 27 from 7-9 p.m., Congregation Kol Ami, MCC, and The Gay Men’s Chorus will be doing just that, co-sponsoring a Game Night at Triangle Square: Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing Facility.

Bring cards, a board game and a light snack for ten to twenty people and enjoy a cross-generational, diverse holiday experience. Volunteers are asked to arrive by 6:45 p.m. (with pay-parking available in the area) to Triangle Square, 1602 Ivar Street in Hollywood. For more info, email Kol Ami member Howard Goldin at hjg1217@aol.com or Bill Gallimore at billgallimore@aol.com.

"Congregation Kol Ami joyously seeks the common ground between Judaism and the many rich and diverse identities [their] members hold," reads their mission statement. The congregation stresses respect for and acceptance of the diversity that comprises contemporary life.

If you are interested in volunteering but are away for the holidays, Game Night at Triangle Square takes place on the last Thursday of every month.


Kwanzaa Celebration

On Sunday, Dec. 30, the Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles (MCCLA) will be celebrating Kwanzaa with a service and potluck starting at 6 p.m.. The church initiated this annual celebration a few years ago, with African-American congregation members especially in mind.

Reverend Dr. Niel G. Thomas spoke of acknowledging some of the darker aspects of America’s history and the desire of an inclusive and progressive community to join with its African-American members to celebrate freedom and liberation.

"We remind ourselves that freedom is still not a reality for many and that oppression and discrimination remain among us," Thomas told EDGE. "It challenges us to use our lives for the freedoms of all peoples and to incorporate the Kwanzaa statements of liberation into our church, our community, our world and our own individual lives."

MCCLA is described as a deeply inclusive and progressive Christian community of faith with ties to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and intersex communities. Scripture-based messages, presented in a relevant and provocative way, are meant to empower individuals to live compassionately and authentically.

To participate in the Kwanzaa celebration, join MCCLA at 6 p.m. on Dec. 30 at 4607 Prospect Avenue in Los Angeles. For more info, call 323-669-3434 or visit www.mccla.org/


Additional Holiday Events

-Christmas Eve Candle Light Service, Monday, Dec. 24 at 8 p.m. at the West Hollywood United Church of Christ, 7350 W Sunset Blvd. in
Los Angeles. For more info, call 323-874-6646 or visit http://www.wehoucc.org/contact

-Christmas Eve, Onion Style, Monday, Dec. 24 at 7:30 p.m. with the Sepulveda Unitarian Universalist Society, 9550 Haskell Ave. in North Hills. For more info, call 818-894-9251 or visit http://www.sepulvedauu.org/

-Volunteer at the Christmas Dinner for the Hungry and Homeless hosted by Temple Israel at 11 a.m. on Dec. 25 at the Gym at Hollywood UMC, 6817 Franklin Ave. in Hollywood. For more info, call 323-876-8330 ext. 1006 or visit http://www.hollywoodumc.org/Event-Details-Hollywood-United-Methodist-Church.aspx?id=879


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