Connect
Our relationship with others is an important part of who we are at The United Methodist Church of Vista. Please explore the opportunities on this and also linked pages.
Word Made Flesh Church Website Banner
 
Pastor Leigh Ann’s Monthly Blog

Return from Annual Conference – July 2019

Return from Annual Conference 
Pastor’s Ponderings – July 2019
 
 
The California Pacific Annual Conference met last week. Attendance was high as we dove into the challenges we face! It was a lot of work! The weather was better than it usually is this time of year but still hot. The days of conference start early and finish late. Barbara Mitchell, Gary Lamb and Pastor Frank were committed and absolutely represented you with panache. I want to give you a little highlight reel of what unfolded in Redlands.
As you may know, our General Conference (a gathering of delegates from across the world) gathered last year and approved something called the Traditional Plan which enhanced requirements and punishments for denying the full participation of LGBTQIA persons in the life of our United Methodist Church. Our regional leadership is generally in agreement that the Traditional Plan is unfaithful to God’s commandment to love God and love neighbor as yourself. Although we have different understandings of gender and sexuality, we believe all people are welcome and beloved in God’s kingdom and any participation should not be evaluated based on who you love or how you identify your gender. NO DECISION was made but the members of the conference made it clear that we will not evaluate leadership, including candidates for ministry, based on sexuality or gender.
Beyond the conversation about sexuality, we also did a lot of regular work including voting on delegates to the next General Conference to be held in 2020 in Minneapolis, MN. Three Laity and three Clergy delegates from our Conference were elected. There will be a Jurisdictional Conference where new Bishops to our Western region will be elected, so eight additional Laity and eight additional Clergy delegates were elected. Jurisdictional Conference could elect as many as three new bishops with three of our current bishops planning to retire. This work of electing delegates took much of our time on Friday. We passed a new Conference budget that represented a reduction of $1.3 million dollars. The Bishop has been steadfast in urging a reduction in budget across our region for the last three years. We approved recommendations to discontinue eight churches in our annual conference including Big Bear Lake UMC. While these recommendations were approved, there was grief for the action. And we voted to affirm all but two resolutions on our consent calendar including a resolution in support of reproductive health care, rights and justice (Res 19-08). We also read the names of and affirmed 210 candidates who are called to be local pastors, and other ordained or set apart leaders for ministry.
We worshiped, sang and ate together. Opening worship was led by the LGBTQIA task force with three clergy sharing poignant of the morning. We held a special worship to honor those retiring from ministry, and a special worship for those who’ve passed away this last year. Rev. Don Diegleman was honored at the memorial service. Barbara and I were invited to plant seeds in remembrance of Don’s life. There was a service to remember your baptismal covenant and a service to ordain and commission new clergy. We shared communion everyday (with gluten free bread).
All of this and more can be looked up on calpacumc.org/secretary. Although it was exhausting and at times frustrating, I’m grateful for the ministry of our church. The relationships of our region create a network for the ministry we do in Vista. The work of our Cable Outreach Grant and our conversations about expanding our facility and everything else we do is because of our connectional church. We support one another in prayer and wisdom and vision, even when we don’t always agree about the Bible or faith. We remain committed to living our lives with Jesus as our model, brother and guide.
Thanks be to God for those who offer leadership, financial support and prayer to our church! Together we are the Kingdom of God reaching out into a broken world. Amen!
Rev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw

Read more...

Busy Faithful Christians – June 2019

Busy Faithful Christians
Pastor’s Ponderings – June 2019
 
There is a lot going on! Our local church is looking to the future, making plans for expansion of our facility and celebrating our loving, empowering God. We are very busy faithful Christians who care for one another and our neighbors! At the same time that we are doing God’s work in Vista, our denomination is going through some seismic changes. Perhaps you’ve heard some news and wondered what it means.
Let me try and break it down… Our congregation is a part of the Western Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church. A jurisdiction is a collection of conferences, which is a collection of local church congregations. The big work of a jurisdiction is to elect Bishops who serve in leadership to the conferences. With the on-going conversations about justice and the application of Biblical teachings, our Western Jurisdiction is taking a larger role in visioning our future. Our current Bishops have spoken out about the decisions of the special-called General Conference in Spring 2019. For more on our jurisdiction there is a helpful website with information at westernjurisdictionumc.org for you to research and learn more.
March 2019, leadership in the Western Jurisdiction gathered and wrote down agreed upon values and shared an emerging vision statement focused on discipleship. The vision for our church looking toward 2020 states that we are called to be:
“A home for all God’s people, gathered around a table of reconciliation and transformation: The Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church is multicultural and inclusive, engaged in the life of its communities, with confident, effective lay and clergy leadership who, in diverse ministry settings, form disciples who live out the Good News of Jesus as global citizens.”
As we look into the future, it is likely our denomination will be going through a major reorganization, but the work that God calls us to continues to be crystal clear. God’s call for Christians has always been to love God and to love our neighbor as ourself. We have always been challenged to care for the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed. We have always been expected to be the hands and feet and voice of Jesus and proclaim the Kingdom of God with all that we do. Despite the changes and challenges nationally and globally, our work in Vista will continue to be at the forefront of our church life together.
To clarify, there is a place at the Vista UMC for all people. Although we are not all in agreement about theology, or the application of the Bible, we all do share a love for God and conviction that we serve God’s grace in this community. Justice, Faith and Hospitality are the cornerstone values this congregation has named as our goals in ministry. We will continue to look for dynamic partnerships to be Christ’s hands and heart to the world. We will continue to offer worship and praise to God who created and gives us life. Let us remember that the work of God happens person to person, and in small groups.
The connections of this congregation continue to be extensive: Beth Hallock and I met with the Executive Director, Dana Bristol-Smith, of Leap to Success. We talked about the work that they are doing to lift up and empower women. I’ve still got a newsletter and thank you note from North County LifeLine in my box that I want to read and respond to. Their work helping victims of sex and labor trafficking become survivors is powerful and humbling. Two of our missionaries, Paul Jeffery and Katherine Parker, have been and will be in our area to share with us about their work around the world. (Special thanks to Sue Humphrey and Jacque Howard for all they do for missions and missionaries!) On Easter Sunday our attendance in worship was 419, with almost a 50-person increase in first service from 2018! On Mother’s Day our attendance was 221, with our amazing children singing in worship! The church choir is making final preparations and practice for their Ireland trip coming up for the summer. Our Boy Scout Troop and Crew continue to raise strong young people and regularly share their great appreciation for the support of this congregation! So many connections, so much faithful ministry and all because of YOU responding to God!
Trust that God will make a way and we will grow together into God’s future for us! Our faith will carry us! God bless you today and everyday!
Rev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw

Read more...

Why do we worship? May 2019

Why Do We Worship?
Pastor’s Ponderings – May 2019
Worship is not something we instinctively know how to do, but something we must learn every generation. While all generations have differences of experience and perspective, there is continuity in what we crave. We all crave love, acceptance and belonging. Worship provides a space to learn that we are loved, accepted and that we belong to the maker of the universe.
Richard Foster wrote, “Worship is our response to the overtures of love from the heart of the Father. It is kindled within us only when the Spirit of God touches our human spirit.” Many people believe that God is love. Worship is the place where we interact with our loving God, along with other people who are doing the same. Together we ask questions and wonder what it all means.
Worship is not a show we subscribe to on YouTube or turn on through Netflix. Although there is faith- based programing that we can learn about faith from, there is no substitute for participatory faith. In fact, Jesus became human, to come to our world, to show us in person what it means to live a life faithfully. He traveled around his region offering lessons, and health care and prescribing community collaboration. Jesus didn’t phone in a relationship with us or video tape a message for us, but came to us and offered us a chance to interact with him.
Worship is a gathering of people, looking in the same direction, to give thanks to God and grow in understanding. When you come on Sunday morning, in order to get the most out of your worship time, it is valuable to get your heart in the right place. The Jewish people believe Sabbath begins at sundown the evening before. Consider a special prayer Saturday evening asking God to open your heart, and set aside your troubles from the week before. Come on Sunday morning with a fresh spirit, free from distraction (as often as you can).
Arrive at church in time to get the seat you are comfortable in, and say hello to the people you call “friend.” Look for new people or visitors, people who look confused or alone and offer a greeting or to show them where the bathrooms or other places on campus are. Intentionally quiet your spirit and remember the sanctuary is more than a big room, it is a sacred space where we look to see God. The sanctuary is meant to be a holy place. It is a place consecrated for the purpose of meeting and celebrating faith and God. Consider the volume of your voice, the conversations you carry on, how you engage or distract others from centering themselves on God and worship.
Worship is NOT something someone else can do for us, but something we must choose for ourselves. But we don’t worship alone and so we have to trust one another to help us worship in a holy and reverent way. And being holy and reverent doesn’t mean we can’t have fun, but it does mean we have a common goal. Our goal is to meet God and be filled up for the week ahead, giving thanks for all that we have that comes from grace.
Thanks be to God!
Rev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw

Read more...

 

Christmas Eve Services – Tuesday, Dec. 24

4:00 p.m. – Family Service (with childcare)

7:00 p.m. –  Traditional Worship with Choir

and Candlelighting (with childcare)

10:00 p.m. – Meditational Worship and Communion

 

1st Sunday after Christmas – Sunday, Dec. 29

One worship service at 10:00 a.m. (with childcare)

No Student Ministry Sunday School.

Please join your family for worship.

 

 

Join us on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 2:00 p.m. for Christmas caroling. Please plan to participate in this wonderful holiday tradition.  It is heartwarming, and fun-filled with Christmas spirit for the homebound we visit and for us, the carolers. We also need cookies to take to these members.  If you have questions, please call Kathy Johnson at 760.726.0442.
 

UMW Bake Sale, Dec. 15 – Home baked Christmas goodies for you!  No time for all that baking at your house, no ingredients for Christmas baking or the skill to make them look delectable?  UMW will fill your need  with Christmassy goodies available, ready to be gifted or immediately enjoyed, in the Narthex on Dec. 15.  All proceeds go toward UMW missions.  Contact Jacque Howard for more information.

 
 
 
 
 

The Education/Discipleship program is collaborating with Breeze Hill Elementary to start a reading buddy program.  Program to launch in January.  If you feel the call to do this, you can contact Margene Haase at m.haase46@icloud.com

Annual “See’s Candy” Drive for Veterans – You may purchase individual small treat boxes to be distributed at Veteran’s Village in San Diego and/or to fill up your own Christmas gift list! Candy orders will be taken Dec. 15 in the Narthex (delivery to follow).  For  details, contact Pastor Frank, pastorfrank@umcvista.org or 760.726.0442. Make the season sweet!15