After more than two years of Sunday services at a local Holiday Inn, the congregation of Hope Chapel in Torrance is checking out.
The 200-member congregation is packing up its makeshift pews permanently and moving to a more stable--if no less unusual--home in a former industrial building in the Torrance Business Center on Lomita Boulevard at Madison Street, said Pastor Don Shoji. Since 1985, the church has been holding services in a rented Holiday Inn banquet room while searching for affordable space to rent on a long-term basis.
"We're ready to move," Shoji said. "We're finally getting a place of our own and it's starting to look like home." Shoji and other church members are working long hours to help repairmen finish painting and other minor work in order to meet a move-in goal of the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
In choosing unusual locations for its services, the Hope Chapel in Torrance is following the lead of its mother church, the 2,500-member Hope Chapel in Hermosa Beach, which once held services in a bowling alley. As soon as final renovations have been made and the Torrance site passes a city building inspection, church members are hoping to host a Thanksgiving dinner for needy Torrance residents, Shoji said.