“You can take the boy out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the boy”
Hi Centenary Church! My family and I are excited to be part of a new faith community and we look forward to getting to know you. I want to introduce my family: Caroline (wife), Eli (son), Drew (daughter). As time and space allows, I pray we will all get to know one another and find ways to “Enrich, Empower, and Impact” each other in ways that will bring a smile to God. We look forward to doing life together here @CentenaryDTLA.
For me personally, it is surreal to be here as Pastor. Although my favorite football team is the Steelers, I did most of my growing up in Los Angeles and I am a huge Lakers fan. I have frequented the DTLA area throughout my middle school years. On the weekends, if I didn’t take the RTD (Rapid Transit District) bus to Venice Beach to see the break dancers on the boardwalk, I took the bus to downtown to take advantage of the 3 for 1 movie theater deals. I used to walk through DTLA, navigating my way through people trying to sell fake jewelry or deciding which clothing store has the best deals on Levi’s jeans. There is so much culture here and so much more to learn about L.A. that I am thrilled to be back in L.A..
My Journey to Centenary
In the beginning of this year, there was a word the Lord impressed upon my heart. That word was “soar!” Spreading my spiritual wings is what God calls me to do each year, but this year seemed different. Little did I know that at that time, God was going to create a different set of wings for me. This past March, I was approved for Elder in Full Connection. Then a month later, I received a new appointment to Centenary United Methodist Church. I had thoughts and ideas of what I was going to do at Faith UMC, but didn’t know that God had Centenary as part of the plan. Why is it that whenever I think I have it figured out, God decides to reshape?
(Picture above: Rev. Ki's ordination in Pasadena at the Annual Conference at First UMC of Pasadena)
In April, when District Superintendent Rev. Mark Nakagawa shared with me that Bishop Grant Hagiya and the Cabinet have discerned that Centenary UMC would be my next appointment, I was nervous. I spent the last 13 years in the suburbs of Torrance. I asked, “How will I function at a church planted in the middle of downtown L.A.?” I know I like to drive to DTLA to eat great food, but to serve a church here in the heart of DTLA as a Pastor? Not my idea. I trust this was God’s idea.
After a few weeks, God’s idea is once again, much better than any idea I could have come up with. Like all of you, I don’t like to be wrong, but when questioning God's plan, I find myself being wrong a lot!
Once July 1st rolled around, I walked into the church building not knowing what to expect. I do know that I wanted to be present physically on my first day. I walked in and felt welcomed by staff members. What a blessing. I quickly realized how blessed I was with a great staff. Praise God!
(Picture on the left: Rev. Ki at the Centenary UMC on his first day as a senior minister)
Although we are still in the pandemic, it hasn’t slowed down the joy I feel being here. I write this article with just a few weeks in and I continue to be reminded to stay faithful to the Good Lord. My heart is grateful.
Rev. Ki Choi
West District Conf.