PASTOR’S ANNUAL REPORT
These are challenging times for our nation and the world, and for progressive Christians too. In too many ways it seems like we are going backwards on protecting the environment, providing health care to the neediest among us, promoting peace and justice initiatives.
Then I am reminded of our church’s founders, Jesus and the early disciples. They faced a violent world dominated by the Roman Empire; one where the elite had most of the power and riches and everyone else was caught in a patronage system to them. Not unlike having the mafia in charge.
Thankfully, we do have the freedom, right, and responsibility to speak out, work for, and insist upon, a more peaceful and just society for all God’s people and creatures. Every generation of progressive Christians have had to face challenging times as well. Yet, as an old Chinese proverb goes: “Every crisis is an opportunity.”
Summer is a good time to slow down a bit, take breaks from school and work (if possible), do more reading, and reflect on our calling and mission as fol-lowers of the way of Jesus. In my absence (I am gone five weeks in July and August) we have lined up some excellent speakers. Take advantage of these opportunities to meet other clergy leaders in our area, hear new voices, be inspired, and consider new ideas and viewpoints. Diversity is enriching to the soul, so enjoy.
One issue that is literally knocking at our door is immigration. With a Santa Ana address, our church is located near one of the largest concentrations of immigrants and refugees in the country. LA and Orange County together have over a million and half. Several of us have already been to meetings to gather information on how we can be a supporting partner to sanctuary churches in our area.
As we begin a new church year at ChOTF, let us pledge our support to each leader of a ministry. Together, let us discern where the Spirit is leading us to not only be a more inclusive, loving, progressive, peace and justice serving congregation, but also to help our nation and the world be as well.
Yes, these are challenging times, but they are also times of great opportunity to live out our faith. And the best part is that we get to do it together.
May your summer experiences be rich and enlightening.