The Los Angeles Holiness Church (LAHC) was founded in April 1921 by a group of young Christians from Japan. Prior to 1920, the group met to study the Bible together and pray. These young people prayed for the salvation of the Japanese people, and their vision resulted in starting the LAHC, which ultimately became the mother church of the OMS Holiness Conference of North America.
The church originally started in a little house near the corner of 36th and Denker streets in Los Angeles. In October 1951, LAHC purchased a Greek Orthodox church on 36th and Gramercy, where the church continues to meet.
In the beginning, there was only a Japanese-speaking congregation. In 1945, Rev. George Yahiro, who was bilingual in Japanese and English, became the first English-speaking minister. Since then, LAHC has had two congregations, the English and Japanese departments. We have also partnered with a Spanish-speaking congregation that meets at our church building on Sunday afternoons.
As stated above, LAHC was established upon prayers by a group of young men and women who were earnestly and fervently seeking to know God. God blessed these young people then, and LAHC continues to see God’s faithfulness over the years. This legacy of prayer, faith, and fervent pursuit of God has become the foundation of who we are at LAHC today. We value fellowship and consider each church members as family. We believe God gifts every believer with spiritual gifts which can and should be nurtured by the church. Thus, the ministries, activities, and worship at LAHC reflect these attributes and values.
Prayer is at the center of many of our ministries. We have a core group of people committed to pray weekly on Wednesdays. This Wednesday Night Prayer time is also open to anyone who is interested in praying for the church and its members. Further, in all the LifeGroups, sharing prayer requests and praying for each other is a vital component of each meeting. During the Sunday worship service, we often pray together as a congregation, and are in the practice of laying hands upon individuals who are in need.
From our beginning, our founders studied God’s word together. Over the years, the church continues to nurture bible study through various adult Sunday School classes, small group bible studies, and book clubs. Traditionally, we've had five LifeGroups meeting on different weekdays and locations in which members can study the Word and fellowship in an intimate setting, often focusing on the scripture passage for the upcoming weekly message. However, during the pandemic, we've pivoted to gathering together every Friday via Zoom for a large group session before diving in to the discussions in smaller breakout groups.
LAHC has responded to God’s faithfulness by fellowship with other members of our congregations. Examples include our joint luncheons with the Japanese congregation after services on Sundays, and joint potluck feasts on special Sundays such as Thanksgiving and Founders’ Day. We have an annual church picnic where we have a joint worship service with the Spanish Speaking congregation at a park where fun games and food are always memorable. We also have an annual Family Camp during which the members go on a weekend retreat for worship and great fellowship.
We have various ministries in which we serve, support, and encourage each other and those outside the church. The following are some examples:
- Acts of Love: ministry dedicated to support the older congregation members through visitations, running errands, and helping with chores such as housework/yardwork
- Birthday Card Ministry: a team makes homemade birthday cards to send to church members on their birthdays
- Valentine’s Day Luncheon: a special luncheon for widows, widowers and caregivers (Temporarily Suspended)
- Easter Breakfast: an incredible breakfast buffet including waffles, omelets, corned beef hash, fried rice, and more, served on Easter Sunday before the worship service (Temporarily Suspended)
- Harvest Festival: event held on Halloween night, when we open the church for the local community. We set up game booths and pass out prizes and candy to the neighborhood kids as a safe alternative to trick-or-treating. (Temporarily Suspended)
LAHC believes in nurturing and developing each person’s spiritual gifts and providing ministry opportunities to utilize these gifts to grow God’s kingdom. We have had several church members attend seminary. Many have become missionaries and/or have gone on short-term missions to countries such as Mexico, Japan, Brazil, India, Peru, China, and Cameroon. Still others have participated in various ministry opportunities such as Samaritan Purse’s Operation Christmas Child, preparing and distributing care packages to the homeless, and sponsoring a child through organizations like Compassion International. For all the missionaries (both long and short term) and the individuals who came up with the ministry ideas, LAHC members have wholeheartedly supported them through prayer, generous giving of money, time, and even physical labor.
We believe our children are capable of knowing God and sharing His love with others. We provide the youth with many opportunities to serve, and we encourage them to nurture their spiritual gifts as well. Our Music Ministry team members have taught and encouraged kids who are interested in learning to play various instruments. These kids have joined the Music Ministry team and help lead worship. On the 5th Sundays of the month, we have Youth Sunday, in which the worship service is entirely youth lead. They take on the positions such as chairperson and ushers, and are responsible for leading the worship songs. On other Sundays, the youth also help teach the nursery, pre-school/kindergarten, and elementary level Sunday school classes.
One of the longest standing ministry opportunities for children and youth is the Youth Choir, which started in 1977. The choir has a wide range of ages, at one point, the youngest member was five-years old, and the oldest members were in college. The Youth Choir shares the gospel through songs, dances, skits and personal testimonies. The choir has gone on various missions tours to Hawaii, the west coast (California, Oregon, and Washington), Japan, and Brazil. The choir now includes children/youth from other churches of the Holiness Conference.
Since its founding LAHC has gone through various changes, and has had many different ministries and activities over the years. However, the heart of the church: its commitment to fervent pursuit of God through prayer, faith and fellowship, has remained constant. As we look forward to the future, we strive to remain focused on God’s will and are excited to what He has in store for us.