Cyclical LA Starters: Cory Marquez

Please share about yourself.
Moved to California in 2003 so I think it's safe to call myself an Angelino. Married for 9 years to Karissa and we have two little boys Cayden (2) and Bryce (5 months). We enjoy lots of time playing in the park together, making dinner together, story time, and we have lots of dance parties. And apparently my sons are Packers fans due to the propaganda of my wife. Pick your battles. 

Over the last 8 years I've been a pastor of some sort and now find myself as a church planter as well. Starting things gets me excited. Personally I love to see people and communities empowered to become their best and healthiest self. I enjoy seeing networks, communities, tribes, and individuals connect together in fresh ways. And maybe my greatest passion is taking complexity and finding ways to make it simple. 

Please share about your church and your context.
New Abbey began in January of 2013 with 10 people sitting around the living room of my apartment. Our hope was to learn to ask better questions, talk about the Jesus story that's meant so much to us in fresh ways, and find opportunities to practice our hopes in the communities we find ourselves in. We all desired more integrated lives that could handle grappling with the socio-economic discrepancies we saw in Pasadena and the giant chasm of how our faith tradition has engaged the culture of a city like Los Angeles. Currently we meet in a great local coffee shop that reflects well our desire to be in the heart of Pasadena, engaged in dialogue, plugged into our culture, while finding space to remember Christ. 

Please share a story of transformation.
It was about six months into the genesis of New Abbey and we had been talking about seeing God in everything and not just in the church, the bible, and spiritual practices. One of the original people in our community had joined a classical literature book club where they were reading Russian Literature. Clearly I had your attention at Russian Literature. It was in the context of our church community opening the boundaries of where we engage with God and in the middle of this book club that this person genuinely encountered God for the first time. He found God in the heart of "The Brothers Karamasov" and it was there that an even larger realization occurred, God had always been present and in the whole of his life, the entire time. 

Please share what is next for you.
New Abbey and myself are in the first stages of exploring a Parish model community. We hope for a highly unified family of local neighborhood churches, called parishes, who are connected through leadership, resources, and relationships. For us this means we are following the relationships we already have and we are starting another church in Azusa. This is hopefully the beginning of lots of communities connected together for larger purposes of reconciliation in LA.