Santa Monica pastor Steve Snook had been eyeing the scenic park nestled in a canyon off Sunset Boulevard not too far from where it ends at the Southern California coast for quite some time.
This year, a vision that came to him a few years ago, comes to reality in time for Easter – a community outreach led by the Holy Spirit.
Hoping to rekindle some revival fever of the early days of Pacific Palisades in the area now known as Temescal Gateway Park, Metro Calvary Chapel Church in Santa Monica is holding a community Easter celebration, including a potluck brunch, music, and the message of the Resurrection.
Upon doing some research about the deep canyon under the sycamore trees, Pastor Steve discovered that Pacific Palisades was founded in the 1920’s by the Camp Meeting and Chautauqua movement led by Methodist minister, Rev. Charles Scott. The reverend envisioned an elaborate commune that included both the religious and intellectual. Chautauqua Blvd., that connects Sunset Blvd. to Pacific Coast Highway, is named for Scott’s educational Chautauqua-tent seminars.
Originated in 1874 on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in Southwestern New York State, Chautauqua assemblies were aimed at challenging the minds and spirits of its participants by offering families seasonal programs of lectures, music, elocution, and open discussion of public issues, literature, and science, according to historians. Some of the canyon's earliest structures are still in use.
“For me this is very much about wanting to gather in this place for Easter where since the 1920s’ people gathered,” Pastor Steve said. “The idea of a community Easter with some early fellowship and then music and the simple message of the Resurrection I think is appealing. It’s going to be a very casual gathering in this meadow amongst the sycamore trees. Bring your blanket and beach chairs.”
An invitation for the event from the church reads, “Whether you are simply curious about faith, or you are a longtime follower of Christ, we would love to have you join us! Invite a friend, co-worker, or neighbor.”
After the service, an Easter egg hunt is planned for children. Also, the invitation reads, "Parking is free. Please bring your own chair or blanket and a dish to share for the potluck."
The Easter service in the park is on Sunday, March 31 at 11 am. The Temescal Gateway Park (Sunset and Temescal Canyon Rd) address is 1501 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades, CA 90272