Pixel Tracker

Thursday, February 21 , 2019, 12:50 am | Fair 47º

 
 
 
 
Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank

Church in a Movie Theater? Welcome to Light & Life Goleta

{mosimage}

A brand-new Free Methodist Church offers worshipers a decidedly nontraditional — but informally friendly — venue at the Fairview Twin Theatre.

{mosimage}

If you’re interested in eating popcorn while you worship, you might want to check out Light & Life Goleta, the brand-new Free Methodist Church that congregates Sunday mornings at the Fairview Twin Theatre, 225 N. Fairview Ave.

The aim of the church, which held its first official service last Sunday, is to attract young families who might feel uncomfortable in a typical church setting, said the pastor, David Goss.

“Church in a movie theater can be very comforting for people who may have suspicions about church — everybody feels comfortable going to a movie,” he said, adding that he one day hopes to have the congregation inhabit a building of its own.

The casual atmosphere at Light & Life is certainly disarming. In addition to allowing the consumption of popcorn, coffee and other snacks during the service, the church’s paiper-mache backdrop resembles something out of a high school play. After Sunday services, Goss and other members must quickly disassemble the stage to make way for the Sunday movie matinees.

Light & Life Goleta is an offshoot of Free Methodist Church on the Mesa.

{mosimage}

The Free Methodist denomination began in the 1860s. The architects were abolitionists who broke off from the Methodist Church in part because many of its members were not opposed to slavery.

At Light & Life Goleta, the first half of every two-hour service begins with a “kids hour” in which student actors take to the stage for a skit. During the 9 a.m. kids hour, which Goss said is adult-friendly, the skits will focus on a different virtue every week — such as orderliness (Sunday’s theme), honesty, compassion or courage — and decidedly de-emphasize scripture, Goss said. The second half more resembles a traditional Christian church scene, with sermons, hymns, Bibles and communion.

{mosimage}

“We are very comfortable with families coming to just the first hour for as long as they want,” said Goss, who runs the church with his wife, Tracey.

On Sunday, it was clear that Light & Life Goleta is a newborn: Scarcely more than a couple dozen theater seats contained worshipers, most of them congregants from the home church on the Mesa.

But Sunday’s service included some true newcomers.

Max Alfera, a new resident of Goleta and the owner of the paint-your-pottery shop, Color Me Mine, said she has been in search of a church where her 8-year-old wouldn’t feel bored. After the first day, she seemed to believe that the church lives up to its slogan: “The place where kids drag their parents to church.”

“I love the energy,” she said. “The kids — they were energized, they were engaged. Then I looked around at the adults — they were laughing and engaged.”

{mosimage}

Goss, a 38-year-old Santa Barbara native, was a volleyball star at San Marcos High and went on to receive a scholarship to play at Stanford. After graduating, he logged some time as a pro, playing a season in Brazil and another for the U.S. National beach volleyball team.

Later he landed a job at a middle school in the Los Angeles area, where he taught and coached for six years. During that time he met Tracey. After trying without success to start a bath-and-beauty products business, the pair — who had always been active in their church — decided to make church a career.

In 2004, they sold their home in Los Angeles, and moved to Kentucky, where Goss earned his seminary degree at Asbury College in Wilmore.

“Now we’re back here, planting a new church,” said Goss, who with his wife has three sons between the ages of 2 and 6. “We could not be happier; I am so stoked.”

Light & Life Goleta pastor Dave Goss can be contacted at [email protected].

Talk to Us!

Please take Noozhawk's audience survey to help us understand what you expect — and want — from us. It'll take you just a few minutes. Thank you!

Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >