Church: The Church in Ocean Park is home to many groups and organizations. Matt Hall

The Church in Ocean Park is in desperate need of donations to repair their ceiling after a section collapsed recently, rendering the building unusable until repairs are made.

Reverend Janet Gollery McKeithen said the building is off-limits to the many community groups that use the site until the work can be finished and the estimated cost is about $100,000. She said the damage is age-related and isn’t covered under the Church’s insurance policy.

“So we thought at first we’d just patch this little place that fell down, well it was kind of a large place, and it was during COVID so luckily, it didn’t hit anybody in the head because it was right where people sit and stuff like that. So we have had to patch a place before and the insurance company, when we thought they were going to pay for this, required an assessment so we did a thorough assessment and it shows three different reasons why the ceiling is liable to fall in different places and basically, the whole ceiling is liable to fall.”

She said the assessment didn’t point to a specific cause but rather an overall degradation of the ceiling.

“If it had been caused by a certain thing, we could have gotten insurance but it’s just decay and aging so they won’t cover it.”

Until repairs are made, the building can’t host services or programs.

The church hosts many community groups for regular meetings or specialized activities including Girl Central, Girls who Code, the Committee for Racial Justice, Climate Action Santa Monica, Queer Prom, AA, Grief counseling and the Santa Monica Special Needs Parents Network.

Julie Ginsberg, co-founder of the parents network, said her organization has benefited greatly from the church’s generosity.

“Janet has been incredible,” she said. “She’s allowed us to host there and we had four dances before Covid started. [The network] is all volunteer-run, it’s just a group of parents who support it and pay for it and Janet gave us the space for free.”

The network used the church to hold regular informational meetings for parents who needed support and for special events such as movie nights.

“It was amazing because here you have this huge indoor open space where kids are safe and nobody cares, there’s no judgment, it’s a beautiful community that she’s allowed us to help build and give us a home,” she said.

Ginsberg said her organization has been meeting outside during Covid per health rules but the structural damage is a blow to her group as many of the kids loved the events.

“It would be amazing if we could get back into the church, the children know the space, they know Janet, it’s a safe space where they can be themselves,” she said.

The church is an interfaith community with Muslim, Jewish, Wiccan, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Atheist activities. They celebrate a variety of Holy Days as well as Transgender Remembrance Day, Mental Health Awareness Month, Bodhi Day and more.

Rabbi Diane Rose, the spiritual leader of Cool Shul said the Church is a second faith home for her.

“I love that community so much and the way that we practice Judaism is a very Universalist way and the way that they approach spirituality as the interface church fits so beautifully with us,” she said.

Rose said the two organizations have held events together and worked together in the past.

“I really admire the community and love the work they do out in the world and pastor Janet is such a force of good in this town and we need them so desperately,” she said.

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