It looks finished from the outside, but...

It looks finished from the outside, but the $15-million sanctuary of the Lake Avenue Congregational Church overlooking the Foothill Freeway in Pasadena has interior construction still under way.

“We hope to open for services on Christmas morning, although our official dedication would be later,” said Michael Yoder, communications director for the church.

The senior pastor of the 4,200-member congregation is the Rev. Paul Cedar.

When finished, the main sanctuary will have permanent seating for about 3,500 people, Yoder said. The present sanctuary seats only 1,075, necessitating three Sunday morning services.


Plans call for the old sanctuary to be used by ethnic congregations that call the church complex their home.

The church is one of several in Pasadena that serve the occasional needs of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, the second-largest seminary in the United States. Yoder said that because of its capacity, the new sanctuary will be site of Fuller’s 1989 graduation ceremonies.


In observance of 1,000 years of Christianity in Russia, Bishop Tikhon of San Francisco will celebrate a Divine Liturgy at 10 a.m. Sunday at Holy Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles. The church will also have musical performances and an exhibition of clerical vestments and liturgical articles.


Auxiliary Bishop Carl Fisher, who heads the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese’s San Pedro region, is the featured speaker for two fund-raisers intended to help the black community. Fisher will speak at USC’s Town and Gown Foyer tonight at a $30-a-plate scholarship dinner to aid aspiring priests and nuns. Fisher also will address a black-tie, $50-a-plate dinner Nov. 26 at the Los Angeles Marriott Hotel for Bottom Line Retreats Inc., which tries to strengthen black families through weekend spiritual retreats.


In a low-key bid to lure bored Christians into Religious Science, two denominations of that metaphysical faith are sponsoring a three-day symposium starting Thursday afternoon at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel. “Many people continue, simply out of habit, with a church that may not be meeting their spiritual and philosophical needs,” said the Rev. Frank Richelieu of Redondo Beach in announcing the symposium. People living pressure-filled lives “don’t just want some theological proposition presented . . . 2,000 years ago that they have to figure out,” added the Rev. Peggy Bassett of Huntington Beach. “Today’s churchgoer wants to have an experience, to come out charged up. . . .”

The Theosophical Society, with international headquarters in Altadena, is sponsoring a two-day celebration of a century of continuous publishing of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky’s “The Secret Doctrine,” a landmark book for some devotees of mystical and eclectic philosophies. Talks, slide shows and historical displays are scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 29 and 30 at the Pasadena Center’s Little Theater.