Monday Morning Update

This past Saturday, November 10th was the last presbytery meeting of the 2018 year. We were welcomed into the Sanctuary of First Thai Presbyterian Church, Covina, to the sight of a beautifully fall decorated sanctuary that was a delight to the eyes. There were fall wreaths spaced intermittently along the side and back walls and a massive expression of fall foliage in the front of the sanctuary. I was suddenly drawn into a place of Thanksgiving in my heart and mind, and I am quite sure that was intended by the environment. Many of the members of First Thai were present to welcome us as the two portions of the worship service included the participation of the Praise Dancers of the church – a group of young people who led us joyfully in the second portion of the worship service. And, thank you to Rev. Jennifer Ackerman for planning another inspiring worship service. Pastor Peter Tan-Gatue led us in the Lord’s Supper this day. We received an offering for Inland Valley Hope Partners during the worship service, as well. If anyone would like to participate in this offering and was not present, you are welcome to send your check in to the presbytery office. And there was a feast of Thai food for lunch after the meeting. What a blessing was our day in Covina. Thank you to Pastor Tan-Gatue and his volunteers that took care of the meeting and meal so beautifully.

The business of the day was fairly limited:

  • We received an update from Administration and Finance on the sale and rentals of some of the presbytery’s property. Things seem to moving right along now.
  • A highlight of the meeting was a presentation by Sara Armstrong and Rusty Edmondson on their ministry for the last many years in Peru and how Living Waters for the World created a wonderful bridge for their ministry there. Thirty two systems have been installed while they have worked with them. Our team to Peru has worked hand in hand with them all these years and could not have made the installations the presbytery has been involved in without Sara and Rusty. They are retiring back to the United States and have been replaced by a young couple ready to step into their shoes. We can only benefit from having them present in our area. What a blessing they will be to us.
  • Carl von Bibra of the Personnel Committee informed the body of the partial retirement of Twila French, the presbytery’s Administrator/ Associate Stated Clerk/Bookkeeper. A deep sigh was heard throughout the gathering as Twila is such an important part of the efficiency of the presbytery. This partial retirement will take place in the middle of 2019 as she will continue to work part-time as the presbytery’s bookkeeper. Now, it will actually take one and a half people to do the work that Twila has been doing as the presbytery will be hiring a full-time person to take over the other responsibilities she has cared for over the years. One can tell she has definitely been over-working.
  • The Presbytery Executive Commission’s report included the presentation of the 2019 Budget highlights. The budget was approved, as well as the per-member apportionment of $69 for the 2019 year.  An Administrative Commission, requested by the congregation of Grace Presbyterian Church, was formalized at this meeting, as well.
  • We received a very interesting presentation by Navy Chaplain Lt. Daniel Menza. He has left information with us to distribute if anyone is interested in considering a call to Navy Chaplaincy. Please contact the presbytery office if this interests you.
  • We approved the new slate of Committee/Commission members for the 2019 year. I cannot call them universally the Class of 2021 as there were additional classes included. And we elected our new Vice Moderator, Rev. Karen Sapio, pastor of Claremont Presbyterian Church. She will be installed at the January presbytery meeting. This will mean that Fried Wilson will have completed his three year commitment. Rev. Becca Bateman will become the Moderator of the PEC and Rev. Roberto Ramirez will become the Moderator of the Presbytery. We all look forward to the New Year’s leadership. And we thank all those that have completed their terms of service. We have appreciated the sharing of their gifts with the presbytery.
  • We received into membership, TE Eun-hyey Lok, transferring from the Presbytery of the Twin Cities. She is the Director of Outreach and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at the Asian American Christian Counseling Service in Alhambra. She led the body in a meaningful Lectio-Divina during part of the worship service. I can tell we are blessed to have her become a member of this presbytery.
  • We also approved the temporary half-time pastoral leader for Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in Claremont. He will be going through a plan of preparation for authorized ministry in the PC(USA) as he comes to us from the Church of the Nazarene.
  • The presbytery concurred with two congregations in the dismissal of their pastors:
    • Pasadena Presbyterian Church – Rev. Walter Contreras
    • Arcadia Presbyterian Church – Rev. James Connor
    • In addition, the Minimum Salary and benefits package for 2019 was approved:
      • Salary and Housing           $55,840
      • Professional Expenses       $ 2,645
      • Study Leave                          $ 985

This does represent a 3.9% increase in the CPI-U in our geographic area.

I am sure that I have not remembered everything that occurred Saturday. As those that were present read this, I hope that they will forgive me if I have not focused on something they felt was important on the day.

As we enter the Holiday Season, may I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and a Blessed Advent and Christmas Season!

Diane M. Frasher
Stated Clerk

Statistical Reporting

Statistical Reporting

The Statistical Reporting Season for the winter of 2017/2018 has come to an end. I am sure all the Clerks of Session are sighing with relief! This period of time requires a lot of work on the part of the Clerk of Session. I am very thankful that we have such wonderful clerks in this presbytery. They do this tedious work year after year without a grumble. This year we had a 72% congregational participation rate versus last year’s 77% participation rate. We dropped a little in participation, but not too much. Hopefully, next year we will exceed last year’s 77% participation rate. Thank you to all the dedicated Clerks of Session for their work this year. The congregations that made sure they got statistical information into GA were:

Alhambra True Light Presbyterian, Alhambra
First Presbyterian, Altadena
Village Presbyterian, Arcadia
Emmanuel Hispanic Presbyterian, Claremont
Claremont Presbyterian, Claremont
First Thai Presbyterian, Covina
Northminster Presbyterian, Diamond Bar
Divine Light Presbyterian, El Monte
Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian, Hacienda Heights
Iglesia De La Communidad, Highland Park
Puente de Esperanza Presbyterian Church, La Puente
St. Andrews Presbyterian, La Puente
La Verne Heights Presbyterian, La Verne
Glendale Korean Presbyterian, Los Angeles
Grace Presbyterian, Los Angeles
Occidental Presbyterian, Los Angeles
Good Shepherd Taiwanese Presbyterian, Monterey Park
First Taiwanese Presbyterian, Pasadena
New Hope Presbyterian, Pasadena
Westminster Presbyterian, Pasadena
Knox Presbyterian, Pasadena
Trinity Presbyterian, Pasadena
First Presbyterian, Pomona
San Marino Community, San Marino
Calvary Presbyterian, South Pasadena
Grace Taiwanese Presbyterian, Temple City
Westminster Presbyterian, Temple City
Community Presbyterian, West Covina


Looking statistically at the presbytery, as a whole, our membership dropped from 7026 to 6558. We had 128 total gains and 596 total losses during the year, which equates to a loss of 468 members. We believe this number is not quite accurate, as some of the congregations who did not participate have been healthy and growing. This is one reason we would love to get to a higher rate of congregational participation. We would love to have our figures be more accurate, so we really can see what is happening in the presbytery. Several of these non-participatory congregations have not reported for years, making their statistics way under-reported. We are also aware that we have had some closures of congregations this past year which accounts for some of the loss.

San Gabriel Presbytery is very diverse ethnically. The summary of the GA statistical report gives us the breakdown according to those congregations who have participated. The breakdown of Ruling Elders according to GA categories within the presbytery looks like this: ELDERS – 54 Asian, 3 Black, 2 African American, 1 African, 22 Hispanic, 111 White. We know that we have Middle Eastern elders, but no entries were made in that category. DEACONS – 118 Asian, 1 Black,2 African American, 1 African, 19 Hispanic, 72 White, and 1 Other. Here again, we know that we have Middle Eastern Deacons, but no entries were made in that category. We may actually be more diverse than is recorded in GA Statistical Reporting. But, the diversity in leadership within this presbytery, as recorded, is exciting to see!


The Spring Review of Minute Books will be held at Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church, Hacienda Heights on May 5, 2018 at 10:00 AM. The Review Form has been updated to contain the newly added item: Safety Policy for Youth in addition to one we previously had for Children. This is a new item, but we need to be working on this safety policy as it is a new GA requirement. And we most certainly want to keep our children and youth safe while they are on our campuses or on a field trip of some sort. The two policies should look a little different as it takes different approaches to care for the two different age brackets. Please think independently on each. Click HERE to download the Review Form.

I look forward to seeing many of the clerks and pastors at the Spring Review of Minute Books and Registers. Remember, if you haven’t had your books reviewed for a couple of years, we would expect to see those years too. Now, a caveat to that statement: If you are behind in your Minute Books and Registers for some years, but have this year’s up-to-date, please come and bring what you have. It is better to get started reviewing than to continuing remaining behind. We want to help you start catching up.

The Fall Review of Minute Books is still planned for October 2018 at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Pasadena. We will publish the date as soon as we have it.