On the Move

by | Jul 10, 2017

Are you keeping cool?!

Yesterday I was quite worried about the weekend heat, because we do not yet have air conditioning in the sanctuary at the Presbytery Center on 9723 Garibaldi in Temple City. Worshiping with 200+ folks at 1:30 in the afternoon without air conditioning was going to present quite a challenge for Mideast Evangelical/MEC! (A challenge almost matched at Trinity in Pasadena, as they tried a Saturday afternoon worship in THEIR no-AC sanctuary.)

I decided to stop by to see just how hot it was, and found the folks moving their worship to the fellowship hall. It was so hot that Grace Taiwanese had finished their lunch quickly and went home, which cleared the air-conditioned fellowship hall for MEC to worship there, thank God!

Korean Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church

The MEC folk had good spirits about the move and I heard this mobile worship went well. I left early so I could visit with Rev. Dr. Heidi Park, our minister member who moved last year to Cincinnati to be a professor at Xavier University. She had also visited Korea, and her husband continues to go back and forth between Korea and Pasadena for his research. She is doing fine, Xavier has been a welcoming community, and she is doing very interesting research on the physiological impact of historical trauma-she has learned that there are changes to the DNA of a people as they are haunted by past persecution. This research was observed initially with Holocaust survivors after World War II, and Heidi is looking into the struggles of the Korean people. (Interestingly, after speaking with Koreans who have immigrated to the United States, Heidi is hearing that immigration has been more traumatic than memories of past wars.)

There are other ways God’s people are on the move in our presbytery. Rev. John Moon just began his ministry at Korean Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, and we pray for him and for his people, that his faithfulness and pastoral gifts help to support and heal and lead the people of KGSPC into a future of hope and service. His installation service is Sunday, August 6, at 4 p.m. Please come and celebrate and pray for this critical new chapter in KGSPC’s ministry.

Pasadena Presbyterian Church

This coming Sunday, Pasadena Presbyterian Church will be hearing and voting on a new pastor for their Korean Language Ministry, and the next Sunday, July 23, the Presbytery will install Rev. Walter Contreras as pastor of their Spanish Language Ministry. Please show your support at this 2:30 p.m. service. Rev. Ann Oglesby-Edwards, PPC’s transitional head of staff, is working diligently with skill and sensitivity in addressing multiple interim tasks at the church. Blessings on PPC as they are experiencing an exciting time of transition!

Tonight, the Commission on Ministry will be considering several requests from churches asking the Presbytery to walk with them as they consider their future ministries. One and possibly two churches will be utilizing the New Beginnings process this fall, which will lead to new awareness of the church and their neighborhood, and with this awareness the church members can discern God’s will for them. If your church is interested in New Beginnings, most of the same personnel who led our churches through New Beginnings two years ago are still doing it, so there is still a Presbyterian-focused approach available to our churches. Let me know if you are interested; if your church has not used the stimulus funds (the Presbytery reserved $2,000/church for church development processes like New Beginnings), then the net cost to the church is $1,500, which is still a relative bargain for the data you receive. Of the ten churches that went through New Beginnings two years ago, significant decisions have been made in seven churches at least, which is a very good track record.

It’s exciting to see how many churches are on the move in our Presbytery. I’m not sure why God decided to move us in the dog days of summer, but it certainly does help to remind us of the challenges of the Exodus. And I have always loved that God was perfectly happy without a structure built by humans who tried to contain God who cannot be contained. And if we can comprehend God’s freedom to roam, may we learn to be equally free to move as God leads us.

So as we begin our mini-Exodus and the new promise (and challenge) of change, as our churches take bold steps into an unknown future, may we give thanks that God goes with us every day, even as we worry about discomforts along the way. And thank God that we can band together as God’s people, and be as Christ for each other and for all our neighbors in San Gabriel Valley. May we encourage and support each other on this journey, that we all may stay faithful and embrace the opportunities of change that God is presenting to us.

And let us pace ourselves. To that end, I will be taking the second half of July for vacation, and then will help lead a seminar for new immigrant clergywomen in Florida (including Mary Ren, our Mandarin pastor at Alhambra True Light!), so I will be out of the office July 17-August 6.

Trusting in our nomadic God,