San Pedro 2004

USA2

(In English: look further down)

 Høsten 2004 hadde jeg gleden av å fungere som prest i Den norske Sjømannskirken i San Pedro, Los Angeles.

Det hele startet da jeg skulle gå inn som vikar i fem sommeruker. Men da sjømannsprest Morten SanPedro1Gravdal hadde en alvorlig ulykke etterfulgt av en lang sykmelding, endte jeg opp med å bo der i fem måneder …

I begynnelsen lå Den norske Sjømannskirken midt i San Pedro Town. Det lille annekset ved siden av kirken var prestegården. Beliggenheten var langt unna havnen og sjøfolkene. Så den første kirken ble solgt, og eies nå av en baptistmenighet.

Denne nyorienteringen skjedde omkring 1950.

På den tiden vandret sjømannspresten opp og ned gatene i San Pedro på jakt etter egnet sted for en ny sjømannskirke i Los Angeles havn.SanPedro2

I Beacon Street fant han et flott sted. Det bød på vid oversikt over skipstrafikken like til Long Beach.SanPedro4

Til slutt dristet presten seg til å ringe på døra til eieren. Var tomta muligens til salgs?

Svaret var et blankt avslag. Damen som eide den fantastiske eiendommen kunne fortelle at Gud hadde vist henne at på dette stedet skulle det bygges en kirke. Så tomta var definitivt ikke til salgs.

Stor var gleden for både kjøper og selger da det gikk opp for begge at de delte et felles svar på bønn.

Og i 1951 sto den nye kirken i San Pedro ferdig.

Den ble en oase for nordmenn i den urbane ørkenen. Nå er det et kontaktpunkt og en ressurs for alle nordmenn og alle med norsk bakgrunn i hele Los Angeles County.

Først og fremst for norske sjøfolk, selv om de blir færre med årene. Men like mye for alle fastboende av norsk herkomst, – samt for studenter og unge au pairer, for turister og forretningsfolk på korte eller for lange opphold i verdensbyen.LA Panorama 2004

Los Angeles er en enorm by, eller rettere sagt: en enorm samling byer.

Den består av ikke mindre enn ca 160 store og små byer vevd inn i hverandre over et område på 100 x 100 km. Motorveier med opptil åtte kjørefelt i hver retning binder området sammen, og alle avstander er målt i minutter å kjøre, ikke i miles.SanPedro5

Kjernen i det hele er Los Angeles City, ofte kalt Downtown, der skyskrapere markerer at her er sentrum.

Havnen i San Pedro / Long Beach er den travleste havnen på den amerikanske vestkysten. Her er skip fra hele verden. Spesielt tung er trafikken fra de store nye industrilandene i Asia: Kina, Japan, Sør-Korea. Containere i høye stabler står kilometer etter kilometer langs kaiene.

 

San Pedro, CAUSA2

 

 

 

In the fall of 2004 I had the pleasure of serving as a minister in The Norwegian seamen’s church San Pedro, Los Angeles. The Norwegian seamen’s church there is indeed a lovely place.

It all started when I was supposed to step in as a substitute for five weeks during summer. But as the sailor’s pastor Morten Gravdal had a severe accident followed by a long sick leave, I ended up staying for five months …

At first, the Norwegian Seamen’s church was situated in the middle of San Pedro Town. The small annex next to the church was the parsonage.

The location was far from the port and the sailors. So the first church was sold and is now owned by a Baptist church. This reorientation took place around 1950.

At that time, the seamens’ pastor was strolling up and down the streets of San Pedro looking for a suitable place for a new Seamens’ Church in the Los Angeles harbour.

In Beacon Street he found a great spot. It provided a broad view of the harbor all the way to Long Beach. Eventually the priest ventured to the door of the owner. Was the site possibly for sale?

The answer was a blank refusal. The lady who owned the magnificent property informed the impertinent person in front of her that selling was out of the question, for God had shown her that in this place was to be built a church. So the site was definitely not for sale.

Great was the joy for both buyer and seller when it dawned on them both that they shared a common response to prayer .

And in 1951 the new Church in San Pedro was completed.

It became an oasis for Norwegians in the urban desert. Now it is a point of contact and a resource for all Norwegians and all of Norwegian heritage throughout Los Angeles County. Of course, it’s still primarily for Norwegian sailors, though they grow fewer by the year. But equally, it’s sort of a second home to all residents of Norwegian ancestry, – as well as for students and young au pairs, for tourists and business people staying for shorter or longer periods in the megapolis.

Los Angeles indeed is a megapolis. In fact, it consists of no less than about 160 large and small cities woven into each other over an area of 100 x 100 km. Highways with up to eight lanes in each direction connect the various parts, and all distances are measured in minutes to drive, not in miles.

The hub of it all is the Los Angeles City, called Downtown, where skyscrapers  highlight the city center.

The port of San Pedro / Long Beach is the busiest harbor on the U.S. west coast. Here ships from all over the world come and go. Especially heavy is the traffic from the major industrial countries in Asia: China, Japan, South Korea. Containers in tall stacks are seen mile after mile along the quays.