The OCeeker: The Pentecostals of Orange County and Tongues! Tongues! Tongues!

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Holy Hell, what a church service! 

Led by Pastor Mark Pryor, the Pentecostals of Orange County got jiggy for Jesus on a recent Wednesday night, speaking in tongues, quaking in the Holy Ghost, and yes, sprinting around the sanctuary in the little converted industrial space shared with Calvary Chapel of Orange (who despise such Christ-inspired calisthenics) at the corner of Katella Avenue and Batavia Street in Orange.

With the congregation ready for some revival, Pryor didn't disappoint. 

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March Madness at Church
​A look-alike for legendary college hoops coach Rick Majerus, Pryor's voice was tuned to the key of dead preacher E.V. Hill, and accented with the pulled pork flavor of Boss Hogg as he punctuated his orgasmic proclamations with down-home "uhs". 

"I wanna preach somebody up out of a ditch-uh! I wanna preach somebody up out of a valley-uh! I wanna preach somebody up out-uh of a drudgery-uh! I wanna preach somebody up out of a difficulty-uh! I wanna preach somebody up out-uh of a dry season in your life-uh! I wanna preach somebody up out-uh of the wilderness you been goin' through-uh! I wanna preach somebody up out-uh of the storm-uh that has been blowin' around you-uh. I have come tonight-uh to declare-uh in the Holy Ghost-uh that there is a restoration-uh of joy-uh that God wants to send-uh in this building tonight-uh!" 

March 21, 7:30 p.m. 

The OCeeker arrived just as the Pentecostals of Orange County were lubing themselves up with some clapping that could be heard from the parking lot. An elderly Latina greeted him at the door and asked that he fill out a contact card. No problem, mi sanctified senorita

The interior of the building was painted two shades of tan, with purple seats filling the main room. White columns pressed against a wall that backed a stage adorned with a white pulpit that looked like a mini-replica of Roman architecture. 

An eight-member band lit into some praise and worship. Four Mexican women (at least in appearance) sang, including Pastor Mark's wife, Debbie, who tickled the keyboard and appeared to be close to tears during the pounding, drawn-out songs. 

Not two minutes into the first ditty, the mostly Mexi-congregation of around 30 worshippers were a'hootin', hollerin' and howlin' in the Holy Ghost. It was hard to believe we were across the street from Lamps Plus and 10 minutes away from an Anaheim Ducks game, instead of across a creek from Moonshine Plus and five minutes away from Shickered City.

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Holy Spirit Shine
​But Pryor promised we wouldn't be shickered on shine. Nay, ye mockers. Pastor Mark promised we would get hooched-up on the Holy Ghost. 

"We're not drunk as ye suppose, we're just filled with the Holy Ghost!" 

A Fat Man Spits Tongues O' Fire 

Pryor stormed the stage right after the worship team wrapped a solid set of praise. 

"I'm glad to know that no matter what I'm going through-uh, no matter where I find myself in life-uh, I have a God-uh. And He's worthy to be praised-uh. He's worthy to be worshipped-uh. Hallelujah!" 

Dressed in black slacks and a long-sleeve, dark blue shirt that soon pitted with sweat, Pryor's bald head beaded with perspiration from the get-go as he pronounced the place a little juke-joint of joy, while the saints stood, danced, clapped and spoke in tongues. 

"I want to preach for a few minutes tonight and I'm goin' to do my best not to be lengthy, but I want to deliver the word of the Lord in this building-uh! God wants there to be a restoration in this house-uh! God wants there to be a restoration of joy in this house-uh!" 

Oh shit. When a preacher says he won't be long, it's time to break out the sleeping bag. 

Pryor read a few Scriptures, including Hebrews 12:2, which says we are to look unto Jesus, "the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." 

Now, Pryor and the Pentecostals of Orange County are a United Pentecostal Church, meaning they take their cue from the second chapter of the Book of Acts, where the first Christians spoke in tongues, and tongues of fire rested upon their heads, as a sign of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the church. 

In other words, they're into miracles and mayhem during their services. They shake, rattle and holy roll, with the hips never going all sexy-like, but instead, shuffling forward in a little two-step worthy of Al Jolson

There were three old ladies in particular who got down to the Holy Ghost moreso than the other Pentecostals. Gray-haired and likely girdled-up, they barked their tongues and swayed like Frank Sinatra was sexing them up after a night at the local American Legion post. Ooh lordy, them women was praisin' Jesus! 

As for Pryor, he was all piss and spirit, punching the air, daubing his lathered face with a black handkerchief, busting out one-legged jigs and hopping up and down the steps of the stage like an angel on fire, peppering his prophecies with tongues and praises: SherodeaHondatoLaBamba! 

"It's not a time to sit around lookin' like a sad-sack bump on a dill pickle-uh! But it's a time to get up and give God some praise-uh!" 

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Free Space!
​As Pryor controlled the mic like Fat Joe, one of the aforementioned elderly women decided it was time to do laps around the sanctuary. Yup, she took off like a geriatric bat out of Hell, her granny boobs a'bouncin', her Bingo wings a floppin'. She did three laps in all in her polka-dotted black skirt, once passing the OCeeker with a flaming "Hallelujah!", her elderly scent dragging in her wake. 

"I got more, but I'm done," Pryor growled, after about 45 minutes of preaching. 

Which was good, because Pryor looked like he was going to have a heart attack. Gasping and sweating, he invited the congregation forward for more tongues and prayer. And so it went -- controlled chaos in the house of God. Mexican women screamed in tongues. White guys trembled. Even the group of a dozen young people sitting in one corner erupted in tongues and tears, all while Pryor boogied and laid hands on the sick and the sick of heart.

The OCeeker was on the verge of Crip-walking in the Spirit, when he spotted Pryor coming his way. But he was prepared. Step to me with that pork chop hand boss, and I'll whip out some NBA glossolalia on you: Whoawhoawhoa! RajonRondoandoneonDarkoMilicic! 

Had to bounce though.

There's only so much tonguing a man can take in one night. The OCeeker could hear 'em carrying on as he walked to his American-made car. 

No Bumper Stickers in Parking Lot 

Two people greeted the OCeeker, which is one more than he gets a typical church.

The OCeeker gave Pryor's sermon a solid D, for "Damn, that wasn't a sermon, but it sure was entertaining!" 

Don't visit the Pentecostals of Orange County if you're looking for a blessed boo. You won't get tongued, but you might end up speaking in tongues!

The Pentecostals of Orange County meet every 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., and every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at 826 W. Katella Ave., Orange, pentecostalsofoc@mac.com; pentecostalsofoc.org



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9 comments
Hmadison89
Hmadison89

It really sad because i just happen to attend to this church and i was so shocked to read this, if somone had said this about another major religion, all hell would brake loose. And the thing is, were not freaks, we live normal lives have normal jobs, and to see someone call u that is a little disapointing. Thank you everyone who stuck up for us, and didnt even know us. But. By reading this it hasnt emberissed me, it instead made me more proud to be diffrent. instead of turing around and critizise that OC guy, im just gonna let him think whatever he wants :) and i am a toung teenager who read this, and this is what i felt in my heart to say, you can make fun of us but thats not going to stop a 16 year old for praising my God :)

Charles
Charles

I cannot believe that this kind of harassment and disrespect and ridicule toward a certain religion is allowed in your paper. But we know that this is bible profecy. In Matthew 10:22 Jesus said and yet shall be hated of all men for my name sake but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. You can laugh and you can make fun but vengeance is mine saith the lord!!!

Sledgehammer
Sledgehammer

I used to be UPC, and the OCeekers description is not unusual for a UPC church, especially in California. I don't subscribe to many things the UPC embraces theologically and culturally, hence my departure. However the sophomoric attitude of the OCeeker throughout his article makes a reasonable person scratch his head and wonder what is the point, other than to arrogantly put down a group of people who are exercising their faith in the way they see fit. I agree with an earlier comment that I doubt the OCeeker would attend a mosque, a Buddhist gathering, a synagogue or Hindu worship site and return writing a similar type of article. Christians are fair game however, regardless of the style of worship or the issues they feel passionately about. It's pure elitist and hypocritical. I'd take any day the sincere faith of the Pentecostals of OC over the pure cynicism and pride of the OCeeker.

Butterercup
Butterercup

 While I don't subscribe to the United Pentecostal form of religion... I do know that making fun of or dismissing any religions expression of worshiping their God should be off limits...would you ridicule Muslims? Somehow...I think not.

Sean
Sean

I'm not much into bashing any one religion or sect of people but it is very obvious this OC whatever he calls himself, has taken "freedom of press" to a new level.  His obvious prejudice against latinos and religious freedom has taken him into an area that borders on "hate" and "maliciousness".  Wow, I didnt realize these type of people still existed. In OC's own words the people were above average in how they greeted and welcomed him, then goes on to bash what they believe in.  He further goes on to "mock" the worship and preaching of a God called pastor.  I may not know everything there is to know about religion, but this cant be good.  How does a faithless man go into a house of faith and walk out after 1.5 hrs and form the judgement that this article so clearly shows.  Stick to restaurants OC man, it may bode well for you on judgement day!!!

Winkle
Winkle

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