You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.
This last weekend marked Juneteenth (now a national holiday), World Refugee Day, Father’s Day— and our Presbytery Day of Empowerment and Engagement. The “business” portion of the meeting gave many opportunities for thanksgiving and celebration, thoughtfulness and prayer, inspiration and action. Here’s an overview.
Finances: Thanks to the churches for remembering the Presbytery’s shared mission as you have been able to contribute. And the Presbytery’s PPP loan of $58,600 looks to be forgiven, awaiting final approval by the SBA.
Kristi Van Nostran was enrolled as an Inquirer under care of our CPM. Blessings on Kristi, who just graduated with her MDiv from Fuller Seminary.
GKI-LA will be enrolled as an official fellowship of the Presbytery, and a subcommittee of COM will work with them on chartering. (By the way, “GKI” means “Gereja Kristen Indonesia,” or “Indonesia Christian Church,” a Presbyterian denomination in Indonesia.)
The Westminster Temple City Administrative Commission was dissolved, with prayers and celebration that the church is stabilized and reinvigorated.
Ally Lee will be Organizing Teaching Pastor of Interwoven New Worshiping Community, which was approved at our March meeting. She will transition out of Knox in August and officially join Interwoven in September. (Congratulations to Harlan Redmond for earning his MDiv from Princeton. And the Synod approved the $50,000 matching grant of the Presbytery.)
The Presbytery approved the continuing ministry of Erik Dailey with Occidental and Bong Bringas with San Marino, and different ways Roger Shervington, Ralph Su, and Andrew Ritiau are serving churches in the presbyteries of San Gabriel and Nevada.
Melinda Forbes and the Baldwin Park Administrative Commission gave an update on the exciting proposed partnership with Habitat for Humanity. The MOU has not yet been finalized, so prayers are requested for our shared commitment to offer affordable housing for local families, while also keeping a presence of the Presbytery in the community of Baldwin Park.
Life after June 15: For my report, I gave an overview of recommendations for life without many blanket restrictions due to COVID (though there are still restrictions to protect the unvaccinated). The report is attached for your reference.
Iglesia de la Comunidad gave a rousing video of “Grande y Fuerte” (“Great and Strong is our God”), which was commended later in the Church Leaders Panel.
The May Virtual Border Trip was reviewed by N’Yisrela Watts-Afriyie. Folks are invited to join the September Virtual Border Trip. See the Immigration Toolkit for more information, or go to https://www.presbywelcome.com/border-pilgrimage. This meeting’s Presbytery offering is going for scholarships for the September Border Trip and you can still give at https://sangabpres.org/donate/.
We heard from an asylum seeker who is being supported by the Eriksson family and Knox Presbyterian Church. Irma gave an update on her life, including her new employment, her dream of reuniting with her children, and great wisdom about mental health that we all can learn from. Please pray that her children can join her in Southern California.
Kristi Van Nostran gave an update on the Immigrant Accompaniment Ministry. Now that Adelanto Detention Center has only around 100 detainees (its capacity is over 2,000), Kristi is working with the intake center at Pomona Fairplex for unaccompanied minors, and hopes we will be able to offer support there. Also, there are new migrant families who will need welcome, and an urgent call for people to accompany asylum seekers in Tijuana to the border, as the presence of North Americans improves the response of border officials.
Immigration Toolkit: Kristi provided an updated list of resources for people wanting to support asylum seekers in our midst and in Tijuana in the Immigration Toolkit.
Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI): Sam Bang and Sophie Eurich-Rascoe gave an overview of the IDI, and I outlined our plan for using it in San Gabriel Presbytery. It is a survey that individuals take which gauges our levels of intercultural competence. We will receive a group report which will help Presbytery leadership plan future activities, and individuals can receive confidential reports that offer insights to help us become more effective working with people of different cultures of all kinds (not just ethnicity or race). Several presbytery leaders (PEC, COM, CPM, Inquirers and Candidates, and Staff) will take the inventory, but all are welcome to participate. Please contact Ally Lee or me soon if you are interested. You can use the online registration form or email us. The Presbytery Executive Commission is covering the costs, so you can participate for free (it would normally cost over $100 per participant).
Group signup: Based on this spring’s survey, we are offering groups starting this summer on a variety of topics:
- Dialogues on Race
- Reparations with the African-American Community
- Reforming Presbytery Practices
- Processing the Pandemic (church members and friends): Initial meeting June 30, 7 pm
- Processing the Pandemic (clergy and pastors): Initial meeting July 1, 10:30
Sign up today to join a group or two; group descriptions are on the registration form. The “Processing the Pandemic” groups are drop-in, with initial meetings scheduled, so just show up!
Church Leaders Panel: We had a wonderful time hearing from some of our San Gabriel siblings who came to us from Egypt, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, and Taiwan. They enlightened us about their background, and gave great insights as they talked about the experience of coming to the United States, and the PC(USA). Unfortunately the meeting went long so some of you could not stay, but we are hoping to make a video of this important panel available for future viewing.
This Day of Empowerment and Engagement was truly inspiring and fulfilling. As I mentioned to some friends, it made me fall in love with San Gabriel Presbytery all over again!
Thank you for being partners in ministry!