God’s Work in Progress

by | Jun 5, 2023

The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good

Genesis 1:12

There are many ways that we can glimpse God’s reign in the life of the Presbytery.

The week before last, Kerry Rice and Tricia Dykers-Koenig visited several of our churches. At Claremont, Brian Gaeta-Symonds showed them around the gardens surrounding the church campus, including the urban garden that yields produce throughout the year in partnership with the community service group Uncommon Good, and the meditation fountain and labyrinth that is a space for respite and gathering for families of Mountain View Elementary School across the street. Inside the sanctuary, folks were getting ready for Pentecost by installing this beautiful artwork of paper doves that sweep above the worshipers. In other parts of the campus, there is artwork for different seasons and themes, such as a Matthew 25- inspired photo collection. I was glad to see this, as I have been wondering lately if our churches are practicing and expressing their faith through the arts.

Our churches are also expressing their faith by coming back in touch with God’s good earth. In addition to Claremont’s urban gardening, First Presbyterian Altadena has decided to convert some of their land to a community garden. First Presbyterian Pomona has been managing a community garden for years, and through their advocacy with the City of Pomona, they were able to secure the land across the street from the church to be part of a larger community park.

If you come to the Presbytery meeting and Day of Service on June 17th, you will see the progress of Wild Yards Project as they continue to develop the native plants garden on the campus of Eagle Rock Presbyterian Church. If you want to register for the meeting, please click here. Wild Yards Project is seeking to promote the return of native plants and animals to our area, and Eagle Rock Presbyterian has allowed them to use the land facing Eagle Rock Boulevard as a demonstration garden and teaching site. David Newsom, founder of Wild Yards, will give information on native plants and invite us to work in the garden.

There are many ways we live out our faith—through our worship, our care for our members and our neighbors, the life of our faith communities, and our care for God’s creation. This last weekend, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Pasadena celebrated their 75th anniversary. This coming weekend, on Saturday at 11 am at St. Mark Presbyterian in Newport Beach, we will celebrate the life of our long-time attorney and friend Kay Gustafson.

The weekend after that, on June 17th, we will gather for worship and discernment as the Presbytery, in a short meeting when we expect to welcome the candidate for First Presbyterian Altadena, and to consider the ending of the ministry of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian in La Puente. And then we will work together to tend the garden, clean up the church, build hygiene kits for homeless patients of Los Angeles General Medical Center (aka LAC+USC), and learn more about transforming underutilized church property for community purposes, including affordable housing.

Our life together in Christ can be rich and varied, and filled with purpose. One purpose was voiced at the beginning of time, when God tasked us with responsibility to tend the earth and all the creatures living with us. We haven’t spent much time discussing as a Presbytery how we and others can work towards a safer, cleaner, and more peaceful creation. I’m grateful to see that several of our churches have been responding to this call. May we all consider ways to care for God’s good earth.