will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places
long devastated. They will renew the ruined places that
have been devastated for generations (Isaiah 61:4).
Los Angeles Metropolitan Churches is a network of 45
African American Churches located throughout Los Angeles
County. In 1994, the network created an intermediary
organization to carry out the network’s day-to-day
administrative, organizing and policy activities. LA
Metro’s mission is to increase the capacity of
congregations and other faith-based organizations to
meet the revitalization needs of the L.A. community.
LA Metro accomplishes its mission in several ways:
social policies, programs and strategies that negatively
affect the well-being and health of distressed urban
community responses to failed social policies by
launching policy initiatives and developing the
capacities of small to medium sized churches to
provide the effective services that promote individual
success and community health.
community leaders by mentoring congregations and
providing frontline ministers, lay leaders and congregations
with the necessary skills and knowledge to empower
individuals and communities to restore themselves.
churches through developing long-term relationships
with congregations, identifying their talents, mobilizing
their assets and organizing their social power for
the benefit of local communities.
Metro (LAM) staff is composed of policy analysts, community
organizers, program developers, and front-line ministers
and laymen experienced in meeting the pressing social
needs of urban communities.
LAM recognizes that all congregations—both large
and small—possess the human, intellectual and
spiritual capacity to engage in faith-based organizing
and programming. We, especially, look for opportunities
to partner with small to mid-size churches, valuing
the talents and treasures of these institutions in the
same way that Christ valued the widow’s mite (Mark
12:42-43). LAM currently engages 43 member congregations.
with the RCNO Training Center, 45 small-to midsize
churches and a variety of community groups and public
agencies, LA Metro’s work addresses critical
social issues of race, crime, education, and the inequitable
distribution of resources that affect poor, urban
communities. Our current work has four major themes:
Helping Congregations Promote Youth Education
Although research suggests that family and community-based
organization participation is vital to improving student
performance, often, educators do not effectively draw
on the critical and substantial resources that small-to-mid-sized
churches can provide.
LA Metro’s One Church, One School (OCOS) initiative
offers a framework through which districts and schools
can enhance their relationship with parents and the
broader community and thereby increase the number
of essential community resources available to schools.
OCOS mobilizes the resources of congregations to provide
four critical resources necessary to successfully
enhance the education of African American youth:
support of caring adults and tutors who proceed
from the premise that all students can learn
instruction through the creation of small (max.
15 students) after-school learning communities
culture of accountability that promotes the parenting
skills necessary to support the education of children
is currently assisting 10 congregations to establish
working relationships with school administration and
staff to ensure that these critical features of effective
youth programming are aligned with school standards,
yet provide a broader social and ethical dimension to
the education of our youth.
In addition to establishing partnerships with public
schools to improve the quality of education for enrolled
students, LA Metro’s GED Initiative has been designed
to meet the health and safety issues of LA communities
by meeting the education (and social/economic) needs
of ex-offenders. In 1998, through the effective organizing
of Los Angeles’ churches, the California legislature
passed into law a bill that mandated that ex-offenders
get their GED as a condition of probation and/or parole.
LA Develop More Effective Environmental Policies
environment is devastating our children’s health,
and they deserve better places in which to learn and
play. More than one third of all the children in Los
Angeles County live in South Los Angeles. Yet, school
construction and recreation investment has not kept
pace with child population growth in South Los Angeles.
Inequitable public policies and practices are directly
responsible for park and recreation disparities among
city residents. Through its Environmental Health Initiative,
LAM has developed three model projects to demonstrate
ways that our community can work together with schools,
government agencies, foundations and corporations to
build clean, safe places where our children can learn
Antes Columbus Football Club Youth Center demonstrates
that illegal dumping grounds and contaminated, abandoned
factories can be converted to ball fields and parks
where kids can play. The project includes a 75,000 square
foot soccer field built on a structural deck over 250
parking spaces. The new soccer field at Ross Snyder
Recreation Center is the new heart of our efforts to
create a park rich Los Angeles. Additionally, the project
uses youth sports to help facilitate the development
of cross-racial relationships among kids and adults.
North Central American Youth Soccer League was organized
to promote the greening of the acres of asphalt and
chained-link fences that presently cover the landscape
of most Los Angeles inner city schools, and demoralize
students and parents. LAM’s organizing efforts
through the NCAYSL is building the capacity of community
members to demand the trees, plants flowers and green
parks that beautify schools and increase the self-esteem
and self-worth of the students who attend them.
Communities Through Training and Capacity Building
Training and Capacity Building initiatives focus on
building the capacity of congregations and community-based
organizations to serve their communities well. LAM
offers a full-range of trainings, and workshops, including
community organizing, policy development, leadership,
fundraising, program development and strategic planning.
LAM has made a conscious effort to focus on developing
the capacities of small to mid-sized African American
congregations. We have trained thousands of clergy
and lay leaders in the intricacies of policy analysis,
volunteer mobilization and social programming since
our inception in 1994.
Faith in Communities (FIC) project, in partnership
with Special Service for Groups, Inc., expands LAM’s
work in developing the capacities of small to mid-sized
congregations in Los Angeles communities to San Diego,
Riverside and San Bernardino. FIC aims to strengthen
the capacity of congregations and community-based
organizations to address systemic inequities of race
and poverty in these four counties.
James Irvine Foundation
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Angeles Metropolitan Churches
7607 South Western Avenue • Los Angeles, CA 90047
323-238-0445 FAX: 323-230-6271
© 2001 Los Angeles Metropolitan Churches All rights Reserved.