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Pastor Leigh Ann’s Monthly Blog

Cable Outreach Foundation Luncheon

Cable Outreach  Foundation Luncheon
As most of you know, the United Methodist Church of Vista celebrated a partnership with 22 charities at a “You Make the Difference” luncheon held on the church lawn on February 24th. Beth announced each of the 22 charities with a brief description of their mission. If you couldn’t attend the event, you missed the opportunity to visually and spiritually see and feel what the UMC of Vista is accomplishing beyond “just writing a check”. However, a “Partnership” is only created when a minimum of two people work together to accomplish a goal and that doesn’t end with the luncheon or a check. We, the congregation, have to get involved with the charities that interest us, help them accomplish their mission, not just with money but time, effort and prayer.
 
Fortunately for me, I was approached by several of the Charities to come and see what they really do. On March 6th, Vic Johnston and I met with Debra Sallaz, Development Officer for Solutions for Change. She didn’t inform us about what Solutions for Change does but had one of their clients going through their program explain what Solutions for Change has allowed her to become. If you don’t know the mission of Solutions for Change, they take men with children or women with children, homeless, probably with an addiction and turn them around by building their self-reliance. Approximately 39% of their clients suffer from substance abuse, 36% fled domestic violence, 25% experience mental illness, and 17% have a disability. It is a 1000-day partnership with their resident families, which blends affordable housing, educational opportunities, employment training, and health-related solutions. The program follows a highly individualized plan that includes daily classes to address substance abuse patterns, mental health issues, histories of violence and trauma, and any other barriers to self-reliance. Upon graduation, they become responsible individuals in society. They solve family homelessness, one family and one community at a time.
I am extremely proud of the Cable Foundation’s fiduciary responsibilities that have provided the funds for the UMC of Vista’s Mission Outreach Program and, hence to the approved charities. However, funding is like “writing the check”. It is a part but not the complete circle. Forming a “Partnership” with a charity and seeing what they are accomplishing completes that circle. I know, for myself, personally witnessing the miracle that Solutions for Change has made on this one person’s life has completed that circle for me. And, they have accomplished this for 850 families and 2,200 children since 1999. Get the complete circle; make a difference; become a Partner.
-Warren Elsasser, President, Cable Foundation

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Pastor’s Ponderings – April 2018

Pastor’s Pondering – April 2018
 
The In-Home meetings have been great! More than 65 people have attended and shared their vision for the future of our church. Each gathering was asked, ‘if you had all the money and resources necessary, the best pastor and the perfect facility, what ministry are we called to do?’ Among the comments and wisdom is a desire to invite and welcome more by having a kitchen, and a large variety of programs and opportunities for younger people. You’ve shared that you want to be a church that speaks to people’s soul, offers friends and fun, and shares our faith life together!
 
As we look into the future, making space for others who speak different generational experiences may be important. Recently I talked about the Millennial generation and their strengths, but I thought you might enjoy hearing the generational experiences of some of our staff. I’ve asked them to share just a little to give you a snapshot of who we are and invite you to share your perspectives with us and one another. Growing into the future will require us to make room for all kinds of people.
 
“I, Pastor Leigh Ann, was born in 1970 and am a part of the so-called ‘Generation X.’ My generation is known for growing up as ‘latch key’ children and that is my experience. Both of my parents either worked or went to school all of my growing up years. Since my Mom was not at home, I made dinner regularly and we seldom ate at the dining room table. Sesame Street first aired on PBS two months before I was born. The best musician of my generation is Sting. He plays rock, and jazz and speaks to issues of love, social justice and world concerns.”
 
“I, Pastor Frank, was born in 1949, and am an early part of the “baby boomer” generation. My generation is known for living through significant social unrest and change, I was aware of and participated in various movements for social equality, racial equality, rights of women, and immigration for instance. Both of my parents were teachers, as was my adult brother who lived with us, I stayed in after-school programs and came home at the same time my parents did until junior high school, then was a bit of a latch key kid. My favorite music was classical and Broadway musicals, partly because of my brothers musical tastes. My family ate most meals at the dining room table, brother Don usually cooked, a variety of menus, from stuffed peppers to beef stroganoff. Sunday dinner was important, a hold-over from both parents being farm-raised kids. My generation has seen significant change especially in technology, I was born the year the first jetliner flew, saw the moon landing live, did math by pencil, was 16 before I had a portable calculator, now sitting at a desk with a computer with two terabytes of memory, I’ve lived through all of it.”
 
“I, Paula Amaro, was born in 1958, and am a part of the baby boomer generation. My generation is known as the first TV generation. My experience as a young girl was watching Walter Cronkite and The Wild Wild West (TV series). My favorite music growing up was country music. Our family didn’t eat together all the time but I cooked a lot of Hamburger Helper. One of the changes I’ve seen is that when I was under age 10, I would be gone all day playing everywhere and walking to school by myself; now parents drop their kids off at school and they are watched carefully when playing outside, not roaming all over the neighborhood.”
 
“I, Susan Kronoff, was born in born in 1949, and am a part of the baby boomer generation. The Vietnam War was a significant event for my generation and I thought we had an honorable reason for being there, but our politicians wouldn’t let the military fight to win. My brother was on his way there when our National involvement ended. The Beatles and always classical music are my favorites. I remember having “breakfast” for dinner: scrambled eggs, pancakes…. and Spam! When I was young, the family was the center of life; then it morphed into community; then the individual was most important. It’s all cyclical.”
 
Next Month… Watch for some more staff by the generations! Thank you for sharing your life at the church, as we offer God’s grace to our community and world! Blessings to you as you celebrate the Risen Lord!
 
Happy Easter! Pastor Leigh Ann

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What Shape is Your Faith?

What Shape is Your Faith?                              March 12, 2018
 

Shape.  Do you know how to assess the right shape for the right hole?  There was a toy children used to play with that required them to put blocks into a hole that correctly corresponded with their shape.  Do you remember?  How many children tried to put that round block in the square hole before learning that doesn’t work? 

The movie, The Shape of Water just won the big award at the big award show.  If you aren’t into sci-fi, or art shows or parables, I don’t recommend the movie.  But the point to the movie is about loving the unexpected or finding love that fills in all the gaps in your life.  The shape of water is ‘fluid’ and moves where it wants to go.  There is no block to put into the right place, only trust that love finds its way. 

Ok…  where am I going with this?  It is still Lent and Easter is coming.  I wonder what the shape of faith is?  Is your faith more like blocks you have to fit into the right hole or water that flows, free-form into and around all things?  It seems like the right answer is one or the other, but what if the answer is both?  Sometimes faith is specific and sometimes faith is fluid. 

The shape of faith is the shape of the CROSS.  Two boards of wood, nailed together, overlapping at one point, became an instrument for death.  Jesus and many others, were hung on the cross to kill them in a public display of violent hate disguised as justice.  But God interrupted the story of murder and changed it.  God is the plot twist that redeems this event of history.  God mocked the ones who believed they could silence God’s incarnate emissary of love to humanity.  The shape of Faith is the shape of the Cross transformed into an instrument of God’s power for giving life. 

The shape of faith is also the shape of HOPE.  Hope is fluid and personal.  Hope is fluid but always looks into the future.  Hope moves where it will, when it will.  The shape of faith is hope because faith always anticipates God’s intervention, and presence.  Hope always waits for something to happen that will bring a good change, a new experience or a blessing.  Hope waits for a new job, a new baby, a new perspective or a new place.  The shape of Faith is the shape of Hope leaning forward into God’s tomorrowland. 

Faith is not a prescription but a decision you make and a state of your heart.  It is the CROSS and HOPE working together to create a more beautiful and holy world. 

‘Now, faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.’  Hebrews 11:1

Rev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw

 


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What is a mystic? Bruce Epperly defines mystics as people who see holiness in everyday life. We can be mystics without leaving our families, disengaging from daily responsibilities, becoming a priest, or joining a monastic order. Epperl

y shows how we can experience the living God in the midst of daily life and never again take everyday events for granted.

Bruce Epperly introduces readers to 12 individuals or groups of mystics through the ages.  Each chapter describes each mystic’s life, spiritual experiences and worldview, and provides spiritual exercises to help us experience the mystic firsthand. Through his conversational, down-to-earth approach, Epperly inspires us to realize that we can encounter God wherever we are, whatever we are doing. Sign up for a class in the Narthex or in the Church Office.

 
 
Whether big or small, the choices we make shape our lives’ paths.
And the simple, intentional choice to love God, embrace truth, and enjoy every moment of life is the path to holy habits. In Holy in the Moment, this study gives a refreshing perspective on holiness, showing us that holiness isn’t a rigid standard to keep, but is instead a gift to receive through a vital relationship with God. Through gentle encouragement, biblical insights, and applicable ideas you’ll learn to discern feelings, overcome distractions, and cast off the weight of shame so that you can choose to grow in holiness without the pressure of perfectionism.
Sign Up in the Office or Narthex
See Pastor Frank Hallock for more information

Our church is offering a 6-week Seminar on Grief and Healing on Saturday mornings at 10:00 a.m. beginning May 5 and concluding on June 9. This seminar is to help those experiencing the loss through death of a loved one in their lives. It could be a family member, other relative, or friend. It does not matter how long it has been since the loss occurred, as grief has many manifestations; it may endure for a long time and/or grief of the loss of a loved one can come and go. This seminar will offer an opportunity for growth and healing with a spiritual emphasis. If you have any questions, please contact Kathy Johnson or Susan Delaney.

 

United Methodist Church of Vista Foundation

Camping Scholarships available
The UMC Vista Foundation is pleased to offer financial assistance to the children of UMCV who want to attend Camp in 2018.  
 
Academic Scholarships Available
You may be eligible for one of our academic scholarships for the 2018/2019 school year.