L.A. Heritage Day
The Founders of La Plaza UMC
On Sunday, April 14, 2013, L.A. Heritage Alliance hosted its Annual L.A. Heritage
Day, a celebration of Los Angeles and Southern California’s history through tours, five
museums, children’s activities, presentations, giveaways, food, and other activities. The
entire event and all activities took place on the Plaza and Olvera Street. The Heritage
Alliance presented twenty speakers at the Pico House, who introduced the audience to
some of the unknown and unsung heroes in the history of Los Angeles.
Museum of Social Justice historian, Keith Rice introduced the audience to the founders
of La Plaza UMC. Keith divulged the basic philosophies of Methodism founder John
Wesley, such as avoiding fighting, smuggling and the buying or selling of slaves.
Wesley’s followers were to do good as well, by giving food to the hungry, by clothing
the naked, by visiting the sick and prisoners. Keith also provided examples of how the
founders of La Plaza UMC adopted those philosophies to create schools, a community
center, and health care clinics to serve the poor immigrant community, in and around the
The presentation highlighted and retraced how in 1911, the ambitious aspirations of a few men and women made a difference in the lives of the less fortunate. They transformed a rundown little building that held church services on Bloom Street, into the magnificent
church that now stands at the corner of the Plaza and world-famous Olvera Street. After
the presentation many of the audience members expressed their appreciation for Dr.
Vernon McCombs, Pastors Enrique Narro and E. M. Sein, and Katherine Higgins, the
founders who built an institution that still serves the Los Angeles community spiritually
Please see images below: