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First Service

UUs of the South Bay celebrated the dedication of its new Chula Vista home last Sunday morning with a service titled, "Grace Across the Ages." More than 50 persons, including a Southwestern College student who lives in Tijuana, gathered at the site in a small strip mall only minutes east of Interstate 5. "Get some clapping going," urged Dana Decker, the Contemporary Music Associate and leader of the four-member band, as a packed room of members and visitors sang "Come Alive With the Spirit" from words projected on the wall.

UUs of the South Bay, a congregation of First Church in Hillcrest, relocated to 970 Broadway from an elementary school in a residential neighborhood much farther east.

During her sermon, Intern Minister Elka Cartmell Ladd talked about the many marvelous aspects of grace which move through all of us. Seated nearby was Mar Cardenas, the South Bay Ministry Team Coordinator who contributed so much to the discovery and preparation of this new home. Using head phones, she translated for a Spanish-speaking visitor.

"Grace is always dancing; grace is always singing," said Elka, noting at one point that one of her favorite television shows is called "So You Think You Can Dance." Afterward, during the singing of "Amazing Grace," the words on the wall went blank except for "no disk." But it didn't matter; the congregation continued to sing anyway. After all, as Elka had said: "We all fall ... Grace will catch us."

Later, everyone gathered to show their affection for Mar, who along with others worked until the last moment getting ready for the special moment. "This day means so much for so many of us," she said. "I love you," to which one member replied, "We love you, too." As Elka said during her sermon, "This space is what we make of it."

Next Week. A look at this growing congregation whose neighbors include a tattoo parlor, a Spanish-speaking church and the California Hair Design Academy that offered $4.00 haircuts but now has a sign on the window reading, "cerrado." For a list of items that the South Bay congregation needs immediately, check out the Cluster Bulletin Board or contact Mar Cardenas.