MOSAIC CHURCH | Operating at the Middle School: Agreement is Drafted

Many questions surround SPUSD's proposed license agreement with MOSAIC Church to operate at South Pasadena Middle School News | Mosaic Church currently at the Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena

At its meeting tonight [Tuesday, September 10th], the South Pasadena Unified School District is set to consider a contract for up to five years allowing the Mosaic Church to use the South Pasadena Middle School auditorium, cafeteria and parking lot for “religious services and related events.”  [UPDATE: SEPT. 10th, board meeting: No decision was made at the meeting, and the ‘draft agreement’ is on the table for future discussion]

Mosaic will have priority use of the facilities, second only to the District. It will have use of the facilities every Sunday between 6 am and 2 pm. The parties will meet twice a year to set a written schedule.

According to the current draft the arrangement does call for Mosaic to pay an annual fee, the section of the draft contract posted by the District specifying the amount was left blank, as was Mosaic’s address and contact person.

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But the deal does require a $10,000 deposit. It also gives Mosaic an option to make improvements to the facilities as long as it gets the District’s approval and pays for them. Any improvements would become the property of the District.

Mosaic South Pasadena has been meeting at the Rialto Theatre since 2017. That is one of the organization’s six locations, the others being Seattle, Venice, Hollywood, Mexico City and Orange County.

According to its website, Mosaic was founded by “iconoclast and futurist” Erwin McManus. “Mosaic is a community of faith born out of the heart of Los Angeles. [It] has been named one of America’s ‘most influential churches.’”

Mosaic says its community “includes many families and young professionals [and is] a creative and vibrant community that creates a home for people from every stage of life, and lives out the message to ‘Believe in Love’ on the east side of Los Angeles.” It says it is a non-denominational church that offers a culture “where anyone can belong before they believe, and… strives to create a home in the city for anyone who does not have one.”

Nothing in the District’s online package addresses Mosaic’s current or future status at the Rialto or how the parties came together.

Another term in the contract specifies that Mosaic “shall not imply, indicate or otherwise suggest” that its use of the facilities or any of its activities are “are connected or affiliated with, or are endorsed, favored or supported by, or are opposed by” the District. “No signage, flyers or other material may reference the [District], any school name, logo or mascot, except that [Mosaic] may indicate the location of [the church].”


Ben Tansey is a journalist and author. He grew up in the South Bay and is a graduate of Evergreen State College. He worked in Washington State as a reporter in a rural timber community and for many years as an editor for a Western electric energy policy publication based in Seattle.