by | Sep 20, 2021

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,