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The Flock That Wouldn't Stray

November 07, 1994

At a time when the all-too-publicized challenges of life here are prompting many to look to other pastures, it is a pleasure to report the decision of one pastor to keep his flock in Los Angeles.

The Rt. Rev. Frederick H. Borsch, Episcopal bishop of Los Angeles, inherited a large question when he was appointed in 1988. Diocesan House, the Episcopal administrative center on West 4th Street near the Harbor Freeway, had been sold to a developer. A new home would have to be found. Where should it be?

Borsch's diocese includes not only Los Angeles County but Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. St. Paul's, the Downtown cathedral, had stood severely damaged since the Sylmar earthquake of 1971; the cost of repair was prohibitive.

Now, if ever, was the moment to retreat from Central Los Angeles to a cleaner and safer--and inevitably wealthier--neighborhood. Instead, Borsch opted to build a new cathedral on the site of the St. Athanasius and St. Paul Episcopal Church in Echo Park.

On Oct. 22 the Cathedral Center--complete with a credit union and a high school for 35 at-risk students--was formally opened. Among its operations will be a neighborhood food program.

The spacious, graceful complex, overlooking Echo Park Lake across a broad sweep of lawn, is a reminder of the enormous potential that this section of Los Angeles, five minutes from City Hall and the skyscrapers of Downtown, retains. Borsch has given his far-flung diocese a new spiritual center and cast a bold vote of confidence in the future of the city.

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