Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.
I feel that this quote speaks to numerous positive efforts made in our world and I find it be-fitting when referring to the 2017 OC Pride parade and festival. The theme for the event was “As One” and it surely took many hands and minds coming together to create such a great event.
This was my first experience walking in a parade and I was filled with both joy and pride as I joined our group of approximately 20 walkers from CHOTF. Our group, along with several others walkers, floats and decorated cars marched down 3rd St carrying banners, waving flags and ringing bells all in celebration and unity.
The parade kicked off a full day festival which encompassed several blocks in downtown Santa Ana. I thought it wonderful that CHOTF was one of several churches hosting a booth and sharing the message of love, understanding and acceptance. Our booth had visitors throughout the day and we gave away 500 CHOTF bags filled with Soaptopia samples and information about the church. Additionally, thanks to the hand knitted items donated by Katy Black we received $187 in donations which covered almost two thirds of the events costs.
Thank you to Cuca for the soap, to Katy for the headbands, scarves, heart pins and prayer bears, to the O&A committee their preparing the gift bags and to the volunteers who helped with the booth.
This was a great event and I hope that we will continue to grow with it.
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.