Faith Chapel is a multi-site congregation seeking to join Mosaic Conference in 2021, in a transfer of membership from Pacific Southwest Conference. The congregation is made up predominantly of immigrants from Nigeria but also includes immigrants from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and other West African nations, as well as African Americans.
The congregation was founded in 1996 by Pastor Chuwang Pam with the active ministry support of his wife Grace. Together they have led the congregation through several locations, most recently meeting in the Westmont neighborhood of Los Angeles. Over the years, the congregation has established satellite gatherings in several Los Angeles neighborhoods, as well as a satellite congregation in Las Vegas. Other sites are under active consideration. Locally, this parent congregation is most often referred to as “Los Angeles Faith Chapel,” with satellite congregations being referred to by their city or neighborhood: “Las Vegas Faith Chapel” and “Riverside Faith Chapel”.
Pastors Chuwang and Grace Pam are not new to MC USA. Chuwang Pam served on the staff of the Center for Anabaptist Leadership and was one of the preachers at the denomination’s 2007 convention in San Jose. Grace Pam has served on both the West Coast MCC and Pacific Southwest Conference Boards. They are a talented team of leaders with strategic vision and significant grit and resilience.
One of Faith Chapel’s strengths is their commitment to raise up and equip leaders. Using a strategy of “Recruit, Equip, Deploy, and Support,” Faith Chapel is frequently sending off leaders to launch new ministries in both Africa and the US. In 2022 and beyond, one point of engagement between Mosaic Conference and Faith Chapel will be to adequately equip and credential an extensive leadership pool of men and women who serve in a variety of ministries.
A second feature of the congregation is its Pentecostal, revivalistic expression of worship. Worship services, especially pre-COVID, were held several times a week, and were a vigorous, joyful, and lengthy gathering, full of high energy singing, powerful prayers for deliverance, and proclamation of a grace-filled gospel of forgiveness and resilience. These services were frequently followed by a fellowship meal, which is prepared and served by the women of the church.
A third dynamic of the church is a commitment to ending homelessness. Intuitively grasping the power of a “Housing First” strategy, Faith Chapel operates a network of transitional homes while also providing other services – addiction counseling, mental health services, and workforce development – led by volunteers and by those who have recently found their way into new life. It is a grassroots effort.
A fourth component of the church’s witness is its commitment to direct missional engagement in Africa. Pastor Chuwang Pam spends more than 6 months a year in Nigeria, especially in and around Plateau State, where Christian-Muslim relations have frequently turned violent. Pastor Pam utilizes his family connections to the Nigerian military for peacemaking work that maintains nonviolent zones, develops grassroots workplace development programs, and empowers women through education. This work has led to a noticed reduction in violence in Plateau State.
Faith Chapel continues to have challenges. One major and constant challenge is the continuous turnover – of leaders moving on to new ministries and of youth who are enculturating into the American experience and looking for fresh expression of the church that are more Americanized. Mosaic Conference does have some skills in cultural adaptation that could serve Faith Chapel well in the years to come.
Mosaic Conference and Faith Chapel will find mutual blessing in this realignment. Faith Chapel will bring to Mosaic Conference a passionate commitment to a global gospel of deliverance and hope. Mosaic Conference will bring missional strategies that are solid and time-tested. It should be a joyful collaboration.