Pastor Kelvin Sauls displays his Spirit of Healing Award. (photo by Cazzie Burns)

The Los Angeles Christian Health Centers held its 2018 Spirit of Healing Gala on April 28, at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel. The honorees included the Rev. Kelvin Sauls, pastor of Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles and widely recognized spiritual, community and social justice leader.

The Spirit of Healing, which attracted close to 300 people, was an evening of inspiration, music and fundraising. This legacy event honors people from throughout Southern California who have significant positive impact on the care and advocacy for people who are marginalized or homeless.

In addition to Sauls, Councilmember José Huizar, 14th District; Mike Alvidrez, CEO Skid Row Housing Trust; and Daniel K. Kimura, M.D., Sight Optometrics were recognized for ensuring that people who are often overlooked are given opportunities to thrive.

“This year’s Spirit of Healing honorees are selfless in their efforts to help people reach their full potential. As leaders in political, faith and medical and homeless services they are dedicated to enriching the lives of others, particularly the most vulnerable, and we are proud to confer this award upon them, ” said Lisa Abdishoo, M.D., and LACHC CEO.

Gospel male vocalist, Brian Courtney Wilson, was the special musical guest for the Spirit of Healing. The Holman Gospel Jazz Band also performed.

Pastor Sauls, left, with Holman UMC members at the Spirit of Healing Awards Gala on April 28. (photo by Cazzie Burns)

Sauls was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. He brings years of experience to Holman UMC and a passion for congregational vitalization through community transformation. In his 16 years of ordained ministry, he has served both local churches and general agencies in the UMC.

Prior to his appointment to Holman, he served as executive director for New Ministries in the Cal Pac Conference, assistant general secretary for Congregational Development and Racial Ethnic Ministries at the General Board of Global Ministries in New York, NY; and director for Congregational Transformation at the General Board of Discipleship in Nashville, TN.

He provided pastoral leadership at Downs UMC in Oakland, CA; Jones UMC in San Francisco, CA; and Charles Wesley UMC in Abingdon, VA. While completing graduate studies, Sauls served as associate director of the Wesley Community Center in Dayton, OH; and on the Campus Ministry Staff at the University of Dayton.

The Los Angeles Christian Health Centers, founded in 1995, is a non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center that provides low-cost and no-cost health care services throughout Skid Row, Boyle Heights and South Los Angeles. Funds raised from the Spirit of Healing Awards event will be used to show God’s love by providing comprehensive medical care, mental health care, dental services, social services, and optometry to thousands of people who are experiencing homelessness, living in public housing or shelters.

In the past three years, there has been a 16 percent increase in the number of people who are homeless in Los Angeles County. Of these, close to 10 percent live in the Skid Row area, which illustrate the urgent need for health care that addresses the complex needs of the chronically homeless, as well as those for whom health care has been historically unattainable.