For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us . . .

Romans 12:4-6a

Last Saturday we held our first “hybrid” Presbytery meeting. Rev. Elizabeth Gibbs Zehnder, our chaplain at LAC+USC Medical Center, was extremely encouraging as she gave us props for the design of the meeting. Of course, she gave us a compelling glimpse into her ministry, which has been so painful and totally critical during these COVID-ravaged times. Since she kindly shortened her presentation (since we did go long), you might want to contact her if you are interested in helping with the chaplaincy, or ask her to preach or do adult education at your church. Click here for a written update, and opportunities to get involved for the fall and winter seasons.

As I mentioned, our meeting ran long before Elizabeth spoke, but we had the opportunity to hear from each other, and to reflect on a report on our intercultural awareness.

There were several milestones in ministry we celebrated:

  • Lisa Hansen will be installed as pastor of Pasadena Presbyterian Church this coming Sunday, September 26, at 3 pm. Everyone is encouraged to come to this service of the Presbytery.
  • Sam Kim is retiring at the end of October as pastor of Divine Light Presbyterian Church in El Monte. We lift up prayers of thanksgiving for Sam’s faithful service, and for Divine Light as they enter a period of transition after two decades of loving ministry with Rev. Kim.
  • Terry McGonigal transferred his membership into San Gabriel Presbytery, having retired from Whitworth University and having moved to Monte Vista Grove. Rev. McGonigal is a highly respected leader in the larger church, and continues to work as a consultant with Whitworth’s Office of Church Engagement. He is currently working with select churches as he looks ahead to the church’s future in this very changed world. We look forward to getting to know and learn from Terry.
  • We followed up on the Presbytery’s decision in June to make GKI-LA a fellowship of San Gabriel. COM has appointed a team to work with GKI-LA as they seek to be chartered as a member We heard from GKI’s pastor, Rev. Pipi Dhali, and elder Melvin Rebiono about their church, and their background and the gifts they bring from the church in Indonesia. Rev. Karen Kiser was impressed enough with Pipi’s presentation that she asked for a written copy of his notes. Pipi’s notes, which can be accessed here, is more complete than we had time for at the meeting and includes a bonus question about the large number of woman pastors in the Indonesian church.
  • We gave our blessings to Jennifer Ackerman and Becca Bateman as they move to their new homes in the Presbytery of Cascades and Jennifer has purchased a house and settled in Portland as she continues to work for Fuller Seminary, and Becca has been called as associate pastor at Doylestown Presbyterian Church. We also approved Ally Lee’s departure from Knox Presbyterian, as she begins her work with Interwoven New Worshiping Community.

We were inspired and challenged by elder Joshua Marmol’s sharing about Shower of Hope, which is a ministry with people experiencing homelessness at Knox Presbyterian Church. Joshua reminded us that people who are currently homeless are just as deserving of love and respect as anyone else. We received the Presbytery offering for Shower of Hope; you can give by going to and clicking the dropdown menu to “Presbytery Offering,” or by sending a check to Presbytery of San Gabriel, 9723 Garibaldi Avenue, Temple City, CA 91780 and write “Shower of Hope” in the memo line.

Several important events in 2022 were announced:

  • WinterFest 2022 will happen, probably in late January 2022. The plan will be to hold multiple sessions on Zoom for three weeknights, then we will have a plenary session and lunch to close the event on Saturday. We will livestream the plenary session for those who cannot come to the event. This WinterFest will help us prepare and live into a much-changed future, as we seek to continue to offer our churches as places of compassion, for each person and for the congregation as a
  • General Assembly will be held in a hybrid format between June 18 and July 9, 2022. Click here for the nominations form if you are interested in being Ruling Elder or Teaching Elder Commissioner, or Young Adult Advisory Delegate. Please return the completed form to Ally Lee at by October 12, 2021.
  • Presbyterian Youth Triennium will be held July 24-27, 2022 in Indianapolis. Brian Gaeta- Symonds ( will be San Gabriel’s Registrar and will be sending information to all the churches as it becomes available.

As promised, we reviewed the initial group report for San Gabriel Presbytery from the Intercultural Development Inventory. I say “initial” report because we are making it available for more people who may have missed taking the inventory during the summer. We can also create reports for churches if we get enough people (at least 10 or more) from a single church to take the inventory, which the Presbytery Executive Commission has committed to funding. You can review the slides from the presentation here, and contact Sam Bang (, Sophia Eurich-Rascoe (, or Wendy Tajima ( if you have questions about the IDI or if you already took the inventory and want to go over your individual report.

We began and ended the meeting with prayer. Early in the meeting we remembered Rev. Bill Van Loan, who was a very active and diligent Presbytery leader, most recently as Corporate Secretary. Bill died on July 25, 2021.  We pray for Bill’s family, especially his wife Judy Post.

We tried out some recommendations from the “Reforming Presbytery Practices” group, with the approval of the Executive Commission. One key item was an expanded consent agenda, which freed up time in the Presbytery meeting by combining all non-controversial motions while still giving any commissioner the ability to pull any item that they want to discuss. A second was holding facilitated breakout groups, with the same people in each group, so that we could get to know each other more.  In breakout groups we were able to share our memories, thoughts on IDI, and prayers. One prayer is for Rev. Doug Edwards, who is recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor. The family is struggling to pay for the large caregiving expenses; if you would like to read an update and a way to help, you can read this letter from his family.

We continue to grow—and grow together—as a Presbytery. We are committed to building relationships of love and shared ministry that help us to appreciate and honor the divinely-created variety of gifts and perspectives that we all bring from our varied backgrounds and cultural identities. It is a great blessing to walk with San Gabriel Presbytery on this leg of our journey.

Together with you in Christ,



Doing the Impossible

Doing the Impossible

“If the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”

2 Kings 5:13

These are indeed strange and trying times. I could quote the most famous of opening lines, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .,” except I can’t tell right now how these are the best of times.

Methodist pastor Jenny Smith has a blog, and a recent post which she titled “The Second Marathon: A Word for Pastors on Walking the New Normal,” rings true for many of us. I confess that I’ve been hit with exhaustion myself, coupled with headaches and body aches, and I can only imagine the burden that our pastors—and all who feel responsible for the care of others—have been feeling for 18 months now. In a Zoom meeting with one of our churches, an elder mentioned that he was recovering from COVID. He said he had “the usual symptoms for the Delta variant”—including headaches and exhaustion. So my fear of COVID started to simmer, but thank God I was able to get a test appointment on short notice (let’s hear it for LA County and the San Gabriel Valley Airport), and in just a day they told me the test was negative. So I was happy to know that my issue isn’t directly COVID, it’s just the burnout and exhaustion related to dealing with COVID.

The mind-numbing persistence of COVID has been hard enough to deal with, but then last weekend happened. Haiti was hit with another devastating earthquake, just a month after their president was assassinated. The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan led to an almost instantaneous collapse of the country, and a mad scramble of thousands of evacuees, as the West’s noble attempt at nation-building, partnered with corrupt officials, was exposed for the mirage it was. Our hearts were flooded with the desperation of people whose dreams of liberation were shattered in an instant.

I think the depth of Haiti’s pain was expressed with almost mundane acceptance. After so many calamities, the tragedy of the earthquake was not viewed on its own, but with the hope that it wouldn’t reach the level of destruction of the 2010 earthquake that claimed over 200,000 lives, and the sad praise that Haitians are among the most resilient of peoples. But aid is coming in, and you may help with prayer and donations through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance—go to for more information, and to give.

In the midst of all of this, life goes on. In June, we invited Presbytery folks to meet on different topics as we seek to be more active in combating racism. The “Dialogue on Racism” group begins this week. The groups on “Reforming Presbytery Practices” and “Reparations for African-Americans” have been meeting, and we have had some great discussions. One challenge that comes up regarding reparations is the enormity of the problem. Not only are we talking about millions of people and 400 years of slavery and its aftereffects, there is a dizzying variety of perspectives and situations. For some of us, slavery was woven into the very fabric of the nation of the USA, so full reparation would require a dismantling of what we understand as America. For others, the impact of slavery is seemingly over, and over 60% of the nation do not support the idea of reparations at all.

Rev. Dr. Mark Lomax, a PC(USA) pastor and professor at Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, spoke with the GA Special Committee on Racism, Truth & Reconciliation on the issue of reparations in a Zoom meeting, which was recorded and can be seen here. In the meeting, Dr. Lomax addresses the enormity of the problem—as well as the despair he has felt when trying to get the PC(USA) to move from studies and presentations to a change of heart. Even as he names the anger he and others feel about the stubborn pervasiveness of anti-Black racism, and when it seems there is really nothing that can be done to turn this brokenness around, he reaches into his Christian learning and points to the only solution he believes will heal us:  relationships, and forgiveness.

With relationships, we learn to care about each other, and hear our stories, which lead to not just an intellectual exercise, but a change of heart—essentially, the gateway to the Gospel, confession and repentance. How can we connect on a level so that our personal experiences repel the lies that we are told about people of different races? How can we come to love each other enough so that when they are hurt, we hurt, and we step forward to defend them? I have been struck with the passion of US military veterans who have expressed love for the people of Afghanistan, and who have been their most outspoken defenders, especially of their Afghan colleagues who are now in danger.

But even if we love others, we dare not confess if we fear vengeance. We can confess to God, because we know that God forgives. In the order of worship in John Calvin’s Geneva, the confession came after the sermon, because the sermon should give the assurance that broken as we are, God has grace enough to forgive. Dr. Lomax pointed to the call to forgive, even as oppressed peoples—and the African-American community, especially the Black Church, have demonstrated time and again that ability to forgive.

Can it be that easy, when faced with what seems like impossible problems, to open our hearts to each other, and to trust in God’s grace, and the grace of our siblings in Christ? Of course what sounds simple is very, very hard, if we want to hold on to our illusion of control. But that control really is an illusion—the pandemic, the spikes of violence against self and others, the very weather and movement of the earth show us that we are not in charge. Maybe letting go, and letting God work through us, is the answer. What a true test of our faith, to open our hands and our hearts to care for others, to forgive, and to accept forgiveness.

I have been thinking myself about ways I have put myself and my efforts ahead of God’s will. I ask that you pray for me as I take a break for a couple of weeks, and generally step back, so that I may listen better for God and lean more on God’s grace.

See you after Labor Day. As always, be gentle with yourselves, and with each other.




Love and Knowledge

Love and Knowledge

And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that on the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

Philippians 1:9-11

I hope that you have already heard that LA County has now mandated the use of masking indoors for all again, effective yesterday, July 18. You can read the revised health order here.

Last week, LA County recommended this, but this weekend they moved the recommendation to a new mandate. This is a response to the rapid increase of COVID cases, especially with the Delta variant, which is many times more easily spread. While the case rate has tripled over the last two weeks, and the death rate has doubled, the vaccination rate has stayed essentially the same: 60.1% of residents are partially vaccinated, and 52.6% have been fully vaccinated. The positivity rate has moved to 3.17%, almost 2.5 times the positivity rate from two weeks ago—and 7 times the positivity rate a month ago.

Personally, I think this is more easily administered than the prior order, which allowed vaccinated people to go unmasked. It was highly confusing to have some businesses still requiring full masking, and even when they didn’t, there was no easy way to enforce masking of the unvaccinated. You may know that we had suggested asking all worship attendees to continue wearing masks anyway, so you don’t cause divisions between the masked and the unmasked (and you wouldn’t have to question people about their vaccination status).

While the percentage increases are huge and the growth rapid, the actual numbers are still somewhat low. The confusing thing for me is the fact that the vaccinations seem to protect people extremely well, yet the demand for vaccinations continue to be stalled. It would be sad if the lower vaccination rate enables new variants to appear.

One other new requirement from the County: if you have an unvaccinated employee, you are required to provide a free N95 respirator if asked. There is an organization providing free or low-cost masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE); see the attached flyer.

I’m sure this is confusing and frustrating. But my hope is that we Christians can approach the challenges of life with both love and knowledge, as Paul wrote to the Philippian church, from his prison cell. There are frustrations and setbacks, even injustices and harm done to us. We must not shy away from the knowledge of these challenges, yet we can respond with love and insight and the hope for a “harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.” Paul himself modeled it in this letter, as he acknowledges his imprisonment, yet finds reason to give thanks to God, and is encouraged by the knowledge of the faithful prayers of the churches.

It’s interesting how often government officials are asking faith leaders to encourage and facilitate vaccinations. They are counting on the cooperation of church leaders based on your compassion, combined with an education level that leads you to see the logical advantages of vaccinations, and the faith in seeing God’s gift in providing the vaccinations.

In the coming weeks, I join Paul in praying for love and knowledge and insight, always seeking to reflect and share the glory of God trough the grace—and patience—of Jesus Christ. I also ask that you live out your prayers with actions to protect your communities with wise safety protocols.

And, on another note, let us expand and build our knowledge and insight with our summer activities, including taking the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), and joining our “Processing the Pandemic” and anti-racism groups. Let me or Ally Lee know if you have questions or are interested.

In closing, let me again reference Paul, who continued in Philippians 3:12-14:

Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

May you find strength to press on, knowing that Christ Jesus has made you his own.



The Opposite of Reparations

The Opposite of Reparations

“Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Mark 12:43b-44

We are entering into summer, and at least for me, I enter with a complex of emotions. I am getting just a glimmer of hope that we might be free to experience life more fully and openly this summer, but I have not yet been able to “flip the switch” from cautious isolation to confident exploration. My sense is that our churches have also been experiencing this change in different ways, and unlike the last 15 months of restrictions, when everyone had to comply to set rules, our growing freedom means that every church session needs to decide what works best for their congregation. So, for instance, some churches are worshiping indoors now, some are worshiping outdoors, some are thinking about mid- to late July for a transition, and many are doing hybrid worship, so that our church members can worship together, whether or not they are able to come to the church campus. Your session has the freedom and the responsibility to determine the most faithful way to be church in these changing circumstances.

We have a Presbytery meeting coming on June 19. Because this meeting was set to be online, we are opting to turn our annual Day of Service into a Day of Empowerment and Engagement. I think of it as a miniature teach-in. The meeting will be a morning of business, an update on County guidelines on COVID-19, worship and fellowship, and some exciting looks forward in our immigrant accompaniment ministry and opportunities to deepen our intercultural relationships and anti-racism initiatives. It should be a great morning. You can register now—and you don’t have to be a voting commissioner to attend. The meeting starts at 9:00 am.

Of many different ways we can be a more anti-racist presbytery, one topic that has been compelling to several Presbytery leaders is the question of reparations. This is an extremely complex topic, and we have thought about focusing on specific situations to explore the different elements involved.

One situation that might be studied is the Tulsa massacre from 100 years ago. The Tulsa massacre is one of 25 massacres of African Americans that have been perpetrated since the end of the Civil War —a part of American history that is rarely taught in school.

The Tulsa massacre offers a glimpse into the complicated history of race in the United States. I do not have room in this column to explore all of it, but part of the history includes the trials experienced by the Native Americans who first encountered European immigrants (undocumented, to be sure) to what is now the United States. Because they attempted to assimilate to the practices of the settlers, they were called the “Five Civilized Tribes”: the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek (Muscogee), and Seminole nations. They adopted European ways, including entering into legal contracts and sometimes running their own plantations with African slave labor. But as the expansion of European- owned plantations grew, these contracts were reversed, leading to the forced removal of these nations to the Indian Territories, which is now Oklahoma. From 1831 to 1847, it is estimated that about 58,000 Indigenous persons were removed, and 10,000 died en route. There were approximately 4,000 enslaved Africans who were also brought to Oklahoma. By the way, there were Presbyterian missionaries who worked with these peoples, who also came to Oklahoma.

The Five Tribes generally sided with the Confederacy in the Civil War, so after the war there were negotiations that led to emancipation of the slaves. The freed slaves (freedmen) became members of the tribes with equal rights, which resulted in the freedmen becoming landowners, contributing to the economic strength of the African-Americans in Tulsa, before the 1921 massacre.

As I was exploring this history, I randomly chose to look into the history of the Choctaw nation, who happened to be the first to leave. I stumbled onto a report that in 1867, just 16 years after they were dislocated and suffered massive death and starvation along the way, the Choctaw took up a collection and sent $170 (over $5,000 in today’s dollars) to Ireland, to help the people starving from the potato famine. The money donated by the Choctaws was distributed in Ireland by members of the Quaker community. Thus began a relationship between the Choctaw and Irish peoples that continues today.

To mark the 150th anniversary, eight Irish people retraced the Trail of Tears, and the Kindred Spirits memorial by sculptor Alex Pentek was unveiled in Midleton, County of Cork. In 2018, Ireland announced a new scholarship program to allow Choctaw students to travel to and study in Ireland. And since the spring of 2020, Irish people have raised over $1.8 million in response to a GoFundMe appeal from the Navajo and Hopi nations who were hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.  (If you follow the link to the

GoFundMe page, you’ll see they are still accepting donations—and you can read the heartfelt comments from Irish donors who continue to give.) Gary Batton, chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, wrote that the tribe was “gratified — and perhaps not at all surprised — to learn of the assistance our special friends, the Irish, are giving to the Navajo and Hopi Nations… We have become kindred spirits with the Irish in the years since the Irish potato famine. We hope the Irish, Navajo and Hopi peoples develop lasting friendships, as we have.”

There is much hidden in history for which much has to be confessed, and which call for reparations. But there is also much that can be raised up and honored. We weep as the Indigenous peoples of this land have been almost erased, yet we see how powerful it is when those who have suffered can show empathy for others—and how resilient is their act of generosity. May we account for and reconcile for past sins, and learn from the grace and generosity and gratitude of those who have much to teach us.

May there be a time for all of us to recount long relationships between peoples that have nothing in common except for our common humanity.

In Christ’s peace,





Jesus said, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

Luke 8:21

This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day. For those who are mothers, I hope you feel loved and appreciated. For those whose mothers are with you, I hope you are able to see them or contact them in some way to share your love and gratitude. For those whose mothers have passed on, I hope you have many fond memories to remind you of her love that lives in and through you.

The greatest experiences I have had of God’s grace came as I dedicated my life to God’s service, especially while I was in seminary. Of course, God’s grace abounds whether or not we are aware of it. For instance, my family tells how I suffered nerve damage while being born, and I was initially paralyzed along one side of my body. My mother’s ob/gyn was a woman who told my mother about an experimental technique of moving the paralyzed limbs several times a day in hopes that the nerves would kick in and I would develop control of my body. According to my mother, the doctor said, “You might as well try it. She’s already paralyzed, so what will it hurt?” My mother did try with her usual focused attention, and for whatever reason I recovered, so I personally knew nothing of this crisis in the first days of my life. Since I heard this—seminary had a way of giving me permission to ask about my history—I began to see my right thumb, which is longer than my left, as evidence of God’s grace, manifested through my mother.

There is nothing more basic to life itself than the relationship of mother and child. Yesterday I heard a sermon based on the lectionary passage John 15:1-8 (“I am the vine, you are the branches”), and I thought about the sap that runs through plants, bringing nutrients as the plant grows, as similar to the life force that runs from mother to child, first in the womb, then through mother’s milk, and through all the ways a mother gives nurture, growth, learning, faith, and so much more.

Of course, while the Bible often uses metaphors from the physical world, God’s love is much greater than God’s creation. So while all forms of family relations, the skeletal system of the body, and a monarch’s rule are examples of the basics of life on earth, Jesus calls us to transcend their mortal limits. The body is now all of us, bound by common love of Jesus Christ. The rule of an earthly king is temporal and faulty compared to the eternal realm of our Lord. And we can be family together— we are mandated to be family together—by our common kinship as God’s children.

For those of us who were not blessed to have children or to have siblings or a sense of belonging, this is good news. We do not need to have biological connections to be family. We do not need to have gone through pregnancy and labor to be as mothers to others. In fact, while the Bible attests to Jesus’ love for his mother throughout his life, even arranging for her care while on the cross, he extends this love to anyone who hears the word of God—and does it. So we all have the opportunity to show that kind of life-giving, nurturing care that was traditionally considered the work of mothers.

We are entering a time when gender roles and even identities are questioned in interesting ways. Recently I was speaking with one of our pastors, who has three children, and though he is male, he carries out the more “maternal” responsibilities as the primary caregiver. And while the expansion of gender roles is discussed more frequently in these modern days, the role of mother can be claimed by anyone, as far back as Jesus’ teaching.

Back in the 14th century, German theologian and mystic Meister Eckhart wrote “We are all meant to be mothers of God.” Now this sounds pretty darn challenging and downright heretical (and granted, some of Eckhart’s writings were deemed heretical), but be careful of misleading editing. Here is a little more of what he wrote:

We are all meant to be mothers of God. What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself? And what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace if I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I also do not give birth to him in my time and my culture? This, then, is the fullness of time.  When the Son of God is begotten in us.

Jesus pointed to his disciples as his mother and brothers and sisters. We have been given the call, the mandate, to bear the gospel, the mission, of Jesus Christ to our world. And many if not all of us can point to individuals who have been like mothers to us, as they have cared for us, nurtured the spark of life in us, and helped connect us to God and to our world. May we all find ways to be like mothers— mothers to people who need that extra care, mothers who nurture the potential in friends and church members, mothers to God’s dream of tomorrow.

Blessings to all of us, as we hear and do God’s word to be mothers for all who need the love and care that mothers bring. For those whose motherly role is more present and pressing, may you be supported by your family of faith as well as all your larger family connections. Your role as mother to the next generation will change the world.

Thanks be to God!



Fear of Joy

Fear of Joy

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost.

Luke 24:36-37


Alleluia!  Christ is risen!!

It is generally understood that the death and resurrection of Jesus occurred around 30 AD, which means that we are coming up on a full 2,000 years of looking back on this world-changing event and saying, “Alleluia!  Christ is risen!!”

With that time and repetition, churches often labor to find ways to make the Easter story “fresh.”  It is difficult for us to understand the number of times throughout the Bible that we humans responded to the saving actions of God with fear.  The friends of Jesus responded to his resurrection not with joy and potted lilies, but with fear—in this passage, they were startled and terrified at the very sight of the risen Christ.  Their fear evolved into joy and disbelief at the sight of his wounds, and they didn’t settle into belief until they saw him eat a nice piece of broiled fish.

This mix of fear and wonderment seems to pervade our world today.  We feel the hope that vaccinations bring, as we are hearing of the drastic drop in COVID cases and deaths among our senior population, especially in residential communities that experienced real terror in the face of this pandemic.  Seniors are able to see and hug loved ones after a year of isolation, and as vaccines are becoming available to all adults, hope is springing up that we will once again go out to eat, travel, see a baseball game, and actually go—not just log in—to church.

But with these signs of hope come signs of concern.  After a truly horrible winter, California is now seeing the best statistics in the country—but we must always be wary, because states like Michigan and Europe show us how quickly another surge can rise up.  At the same time, every day we are hearing of mass shootings (where four or more individuals have been shot, not necessarily fatally), too often persons are being treated with excessive force by police, and there is massive confusion about safe practices for newly-opening businesses, schools, and churches.

For some months I have anticipated post-pandemic stress rising up as the crisis subsides.  What I have noticed even in myself is that this stress will not show up in nicely rational and scheduled bouts of sadness, but in unpredictable moments of irritability or fatigue.  I have heard of teachers having to rearrange their schedules to go back into school even though their own children are still learning from home, and pastors and church leaders trying to figure out how to go “hybrid” in their worship.  As protocols and research continue to evolve, I have found it irritating that one LA County public health doctor has taken to answering questions about re-opening protocols with “use your common sense”—which I’ve decided is a veiled way of saying “I don’t know anymore than you do what to do.”

So what do we do?  Last week I shared some baseline thoughts, and I am hoping that the Executive Commission will have guidelines next week, that we can discuss via Zoom on April 22nd, 7-8:30 pm.  

I am reminded of the confusion a year ago, because there is still much uncertainty.  I also want to remember the clear evidence of God’s care and creativity showing up in our lives.  And I want to reiterate some basic reminders:  Consider the essentials.  Care for the vulnerable.  Be gentle with yourself, and with others.  Trust God.  As Paul writes in Romans 12, rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  And if it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  We have lived through this season of death, and we will live into this new life—together.

Peace, Wendy