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Praise God and please pass the butter

March 15, 2008 | 11:01 am

New_city_churchjpg The recent return to downtown living isn't just lofts and lattes, there's a generous serving of God in the mix. Residents are flocking to new houses of worship and -- in the case of New City Church -- a restaurant, to fulfill their spiritual needs. Times writer K. Connie Kang reports:

The parishioners, who gathered for a recent service improvised in an Italian restaurant near Walt Disney Concert Hall, included some local loft dwellers.

About two dozen adults -- some with squirming toddlers in tow -- spent half an hour visiting with one another over yogurt and fresh fruit before the Sunday morning worship. They were white and black, Asian and Latino, well-to-do and down and out.

"If I am not living with God being first in my life, I am going to end up pushing a cart," said Jason Johnson, a Union Rescue Mission resident who is enrolled in a program to get back on his feet. He is fortunate, he said, to have a welcoming church within walking distance.

Longtime downtown residents are grateful, and newcomers are surprised to find the growing and vibrant spiritual scene. Kang has the full story here.

-- Veronique de Turenne

Photo: Carlos Chaves / Los Angeles Times