A Good Day

by | Jun 13, 2022

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to God’s purpose. Romans 8:28

Maligayang Araw ng Kasarinlan!
Happy Philippine Independence Day!

Yesterday I preached at Filipino Community United Presbyterian Church in Azusa. They started worship by sending their holiday greeting to their livestream audience in the Philippines. (They are also planning a new “Operation Sunshine” mission trip to Cavite and Batangas n February 2023.) June 12 is Independence Day, and it also signals the end of the school term and the start of summer.

For San Gabriel Presbytery, our June Day of Service signals the start of summer. Since our Day of Service was Saturday, it does feel like summer. The warm weather helps confirm it.

Our Presbytery meeting and Day of Service reflected this “hybrid” time we are experiencing in our churches. Because the Day of Service activities were in person, at the Presbytery Center in Temple City, we were focusing on this as an in-person meeting. But, like our churches, we do not want to exclude people who cannot physically attend the meeting, so we offered a Zoom option. I don’t have the official numbers, but I’d guess the Zoom attendees represented at least a third of the voting members of Presbytery.

In the sanctuary, we reflected COVID times. Folks wore masks, we borrowed air purifiers from Calvary South Pasadena, and had communion with bread pieces and cups spread out so people could pick them up easily. The offering for the day contributed to the LAC+USC Medical Center/Angel Interfaith hygiene kits and gift cards as patients are released from the hospital, some to lives without shelter. If you would like to give, you can still do so by going to https://sangabpres.org/donate/.

Under the dollar amount you want to give, please click “Give to Presbytery Offering” in the first drop-down menu.

There was one major item of business for the Presbytery meeting, as we received Rev. Chris Jinyoung Choi, who is transferring from the Korean Presbyterian Church Abroad (KPCA), and approving him as temporary pastor for the Korean Language Ministry (KLM) of Pasadena Presbyterian Church (PPC). Chris is not unknown to us, as he served for a few years at New Hope Church, and his wife is Kayla Kim, the conductor of the KLM Trinity Choir at PPC. They are both world-class musicians: Chris on cello and Kayla on voice. They have offered transcendent music to PPC’s worship life, together, solo, or with others, and in all-church services, Kayla conducts the combined choir. Blessings to Chris as he serves PPC with his faithfulness and pastor’s heart.

We also commissioned our folks for General Assembly: Ruling Elder Commission Joshua Marmol (Knox), Teaching Elder Ally Lee (Interwoven/San Gabriel Presbytery), and Young Adult Advisory Delegate Joselyne Gonzalez (Puente de Esperanza). In her Stated Clerk’s report, Ally gave an overview of this hybrid General Assembly, which begins this Saturday, June 18, with opening worship at 8 am Pacific Time, but most of the decision-making will be done July 5-9. You can view General Assembly, and locate many other resources such as information on moderatorial candidates (including our own Ruth Santana-Grace) at https://ga-pcusa.org/. The schedule for the whole GA is at https://ga-pcusa.org/docket/.

There have already been several “Riverside Conversations,” one-hour preview discussions of specific topics that will be considered in this GA, such as the new Rules of Discipline, the report from the Committee on Racism Truth and Reconciliation, the proposal to explore an advisory committee on LGBTQIA+ Concerns, and the recommendations of the Special Committee on Per Capita and Financial Sustainability. You can see recordings of these discussions and more at https://ga- pcusa.org/riverside-conversations/.

For the Day of Service, we had five teams:

  • Organizing office files and preparing some for shipment to the Presbyterian Historical Society
  • Cleaning out the Rainbow Room classroom
  • Piloting an approach to sharing our stories, which will be rolled out presbytery-wide
  • Cleaning out a garden area and planting succulents, which were bought from Plants Colectivo, the recipient of our recent Self-Development of People grant who spoke at our April Presbytery meeting
  • Assembling hygiene kits for LAC+USC Medical Center/Angel Interfaith Network, and hearing a presentation from chaplain Rev. Elizabeth Gibbs-Zehnder on Spiritual Pain and the “Total Pain Model” approach to addressing multiple aspects of trauma.

The spirit of the day was good, and much was accomplished. The initial goal of the Day of Service was helping Presbytery members get to know each other better, and some good connections were made.

This year’s Day of Service was planned by members of the Justice Peacemaking and Mission and Education Equipping and Empowerment committees, with support from Presbytery staff. Thanks to everyone who participated, contributed, and helped to prepare. In this time of violence, illness, and political division, this was a very good day. It gave me cause to hope. Thanks be to God, and to you.

Living in hope,