The evening dark had just settled in as a few cars trickled into the parking lot behind the St. Stephen’s Cathedral Church of God in Christ, one of southeastern San Diego’s oldest African-American churches. But the people arriving there were Latino, not black. They sat in their cars and waited.
Just before 7 o’clock, a long white van pulled in and parked next to a portable classroom. Jose Chavez and his 10 passengers filed out, while across the parking lot people emerged from their cars and walked toward him. They shook hands with him and with each other.
“Dios te bendiga,” they said. “God bless you.” Their pastor had arrived.