Reflection: Ally Lee

Reflection: Ally Lee

If there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.

Philippians 2: 1-4

These past few months have been a series of transitions for many of us. Our daily routines have changed. Many routines require more thought and energy than ever before. Who knew that preaching a sermon could take three to four takes with additional work to edit the video? Not to mention learning how to edit the video in the first place. Or that connecting with people we normally see every day would require learning new technologies to be able to see their faces. We are exhausted from learning new ways of being in the world. Even for those of us who are digital natives, the speed of the transition has taken its toll.

As many of you know I work part-time with the Presbytery of San Gabriel as the Presbyter for Administration and the Associate Stated Clerk. My other part-time job is as the Associate Pastor at Knox Presbyterian Church. One of the areas that I oversee at Knox is our children’s program. Over the past few weeks, we have been going through Compassion Camp by Illustrated Ministry. This curriculum written as a virtual VBS teaches basic skills for building compassion and this week’s theme is loving yourself. What this curriculum highlights is that in order to love others well, we must learn to love ourselves. If the two greatest commandments are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves, then we have our work cut out for us to learn how to love well.

When I was younger, this passage from Philippians 2 was taught in such a way that I thought caring for myself was an act of conceit. Being humble required putting aside your own needs. The exhortation was to serve as Christ served and that required humiliation. However, what I think those teachers missed in their exegesis was that there is a distinction between conceit and self-care. An even great distinction between tending to your needs and selfish ambition. I wonder how often we have tangled up those ideas and at who’s expense? If we are only able to love others as well as we love ourselves, then how well are we caring for our neighbors?

My question for us this week is how are you learning to love yourself? In this season of transition and new learnings, how do you show yourself kindness? I encourage you to take some time this week to reflect on these questions. Then, take some more time to find a practice or an activity that will nourish your soul or give you respite.

Grace and peace,




Reflection: Beginnings and Introductions

Reflection: Beginnings and Introductions


The new year is a time for resets as we all begin afresh after the hussle and bussle of the Christmas season. At the beginning of this new year and this new decade, I am beginning a new position. I have been involved with the Presbytery of San Gabriel since I began working as the Office Administrator at Knox Presbyterian Church back in 2010. My first introduction to the Presbytery was through Twila French, who ably guided me through the dozens of questions I had about Knox’s statistical reporting and shared mission giving. I was grateful again for Twila when she guided me through the initial paperwork for becoming an Inquirer and kept me on track for meetings throughout that process until my ordination in 2017. It is with great joy, I celebrate becoming a co-worker with her and joining the Presbytery staff ten years later as the Presbyter for Administration and Associate Stated Clerk.

Over these last ten years, I have served in various roles at Knox Presbyterian Church working as the Office Manager and now as the Temporary Associate Pastor. My experiences have taught me that administration is like setting the table for a meal. It is an opportunity to make everyone feel welcome and valued. I look forward to enjoying many conversations with the members of our presbytery both over meals and meetings. As we gather together, I hope to encourage the gifts and talents of our members to flourish as we come together to further the Kingdom of God in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond.

A little about me, as I mentioned I am serving as the Temporary Associate Pastor half-time in addition to my work with the Presbytery. At Knox, I work with our children’s and adult education and spiritual formation ministries. I am married to Brian Lee, and we will celebrate our 10th anniversary in March. Brian is writing his dissertation for a Ph.D in Religion, Ethics, and Politics from Princeton University. In June 2019, our daughter Johanna Sequoia was born. We live in Altadena near Farnsworth Park and enjoy walking around our neighborhood with our two dogs. I am originally from the Southeastern United States, so I enjoy potlucks and BBQ.

You can reach me by email at or by cell at (626) 353-0828. I will be at the Presbytery Center on Tuesday and Wednesdays from 9 am to 4 pm and Thursday mornings from 9 am to noon each week. Other days of the week, I am regularly checking email and answering the phone and am available to meet.

Grace and Peace in your new beginnings,

Rev. Ally Lee 

Don’t forget:

Our first Presbytery meeting of 2020 is tomorrow, Tuesday, January 14, 7 pm, at Monte Vista Grove Homes in Pasadena. There will be two pre-Presbytery meetings, starting promptly at 6 pm, for people who have questions about the proposed dismissal of Alhambra True Light Presbyterian Church to ECO, or the recommended amendments to how San Gabriel Presbytery defines minimum pastoral compensation for the pastors of our churches. We will also have the opportunity to examine and bless Candidate Peter Hawisher, who has been called to Radford Presbyterian Church in Virginia.

And remember to register for WinterFest, February 8, 9-2:30, at Arcadia Community Church. You can register at