New guy on the scene: Scott Savage is the new pastor at the Church of the Nazarene. He joins a long line of pastors that have worked at the congregation for more than 100 years. (Matthew Hall matt@www.smdp.com)
New guy on the scene: Scott Savage is the new pastor at the Church of the Nazarene. He joins a long line of pastors that have worked at the congregation for more than 100 years. (Matthew Hall matt@www.smdp.com)

18th STREET — There’s a new face at one of Santa Monica’s oldest churches.

Pastor Scott Savage has formally taken the reins at the Church of the Nazarene, located at 18th and Washington, following the retirement of former pastor Clarence Crites.

Crites served the community for 35 years and Savage said he also hoped for a long tenure.

“I expect to be here for a while,” he said. “My approach as a pastor is to put down some roots.”

The church is one of the oldest religious institutions in Santa Monica and a 1908 history text, “Ingersoll’s Century History Santa Monica Bay Cities,” lists the church as opening in 1906. The congregation has a history of working with the community including Crites’ significant work for the Santa Monica Police Department’s chaplaincy program.

Savage said part of his job would be guiding the congregation through a refocusing process that will help church members decide how they will practice their faith and develop wider connections to the neighborhood.

“You can’t help your friends if you don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “I want to nurture the local area and I want us to be connected.”

He said his hope is that the church will find its community service work radiating out but that he expects the initial focus to be in the immediate area.

“I want us to be pretty mobile but you have to begin somewhere and I want us to begin at 18th and Washington,” he said.

He said he hopes to bring in a diverse audience to the church that will spark interesting and meaningful discussion around important questions.

“One thing that excites me about the church is I’m interested in people who want to have a different conversation about who God is,” he said.

Savage and his wife are Southern California natives but the family, including two young children aged 4 and 2, were living in Kansas prior to moving to Santa Monica. Savage said he had hoped to return to California, as he wanted his children to be closer to their family but the opportunity to work so close to his childhood home came as a surprise as he had initially thought he might be assigned to a different congregation.

He said he is excited to learn about the community and help the church continue to grow. The church hosts Sunday school at 9:15 a.m., English language service at 10:30 a.m. and a Spanish service at 12 p.m.

 

matt@www.smdp.com

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