Apparently holding services in a punk rock nightclub every weekend wasn’t quite cool enough for City Church. So, to mark its first birthday, the budding Anaheim congregation Sunday proposed following its regular rock ‘n’ roll revival with a “radical commitment” – tattoos of various versions of the church logo…
The ambience combines sacred (a large wood cross) and profane (club fliers for irreverently titled bands such as Jabba the Slut). KFC buckets double as offering baskets, and signs prohibit mosh pits.
About 100 people typically attend, and Bonenberger challenged his flock to attract 200 for Sunday’s festivities, promising he would be first to go under the needle if they succeeded. Halfway through the service, they still weren’t there, but Bonenberger kept faith, revving up the crowd with allusions. God “has tattooed your name on his heart,” Bonenberger told guests.
Eventually, a 200th person did arrive, right when a band started jamming and just before a climactic burst of confetti and a shout of “Happy Birthday!”
Afterward, as attendees enjoyed a picnic of pulled pork and coleslaw, Bonenberger extended his arm, alternating between smiles and grimaces as an artist stained his skin with red ink.
Several onlookers, including Irvine resident Scot Parker, were prepared to follow suit. “I’m strongly behind the vision of the church,” Parker said, explaining that he was “getting my tattoo to display my commitment to that.”
Fullerton resident Pourio Lee said two previous tattoos required years of reflection, but that the City Church ink was a no-brainer. “I said, you know what, you’re my pastor, got to show my support,” Lee said.
Somehow – [you know what’s coming] – “no-brainer” is one of the most accurate things you could say about these churchgoers.