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Pastor Leigh Ann’s Monthly Blog

Easter is Coming…On to Lent

Easter is Coming…On to Lent
Pastor’s Ponderings – March 2019 
Easter is coming in April. Before Easter arrives, we walk through the hardest days of the Christian life. Lent is a season of reflection and adaptation, making space in our heart and life for the Spirit. This Lent I will share with you a sermon series on Spiritual Practices that will help you find balance and joy. Jesus taught that he came so that we can have life, and life abundantly. Jesus didn’t come for us to be sad or somber all the time, but came for us to have life overflowing.
The first three weeks of Lent will focus on “DeCluttering”, “Turning Down the Noise” and “Feeling Hunger”. These spiritual practices reduce distraction and clutter in our life, challenging us to remember what the most important thing is to us. The second three weeks of Lent focus on “Giving”, “Creating” and “Traveling”. All of these fill us up in body and spirit by reaching out, taking in and being outside. These spiritual practices are inspirational, challenging us to touch the divine is life and experience God’s beauty. Easter is the ultimate revelation of God’s gorgeous creation and blessing of redemption.
Spiritual Practices are not activities to add to your busy schedule or an already crowed “to do” list. They are not specific to a season or a time. Spiritual practice is a way of life and a way of focusing that helps you be and become the person you are most called to be. Furthermore, Christianity does not have a cornerstone on Spiritual Practices. Every global religion has things to do that focus you on God or Spirit. There are more traditional practices like fasting and prayer and less traditional practices like travel and art. For many people exercise, surfing, writing and even singing are ways to center and grow closer to God. As we move through Lent toward Easter, the Spiritual Practices I share with you will be connected to our relationship with God through Jesus. We use a Christian lens when reflecting on Spirituality.
My prayer this Lent is that we have time to move through the hard things we are each going through, and find space to heal and renew in this resilient community. I continue to be tired and concerned, but also hopeful and engaged. My dear Church family, my prayers surround you… to each in your own journey… God is with you, calls you by name and affirms your sacred worth.
On to Lent…
Pastor Leigh Ann


Letter to UMCV regarding GC traditional plan passage

Letter to UMCV regarding GC traditional plan passage

February 26, 2019

Friends and family of the UMC Vista,

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Gracious God!  May God uphold us all in this time of change and clarification.  

Today, our Special Called General Conference passed the Traditional Plan.  It is still unclear what this will ultimately mean, because many parts and passages of the Traditional Plan have been declared unconstitutional by Judicial Council, and it has all been referred to Judicial Council again for review.  Even so, this act by the delegates of General Conference makes clear the brokenness of our global church body and lack of capacity to be a united people moving together toward God’s kingdom.

To LGBTQ+ church members and allies, I am saddened by the vote.  The global United Methodist Church failed to love you as God loves you, and to recognize your gifts in the church.  You are not the first people who’ve experienced such harm in the church, although that doesn’t reduce the pain of today.  Time always brings God’s redeeming grace, but for this moment I acknowledge our deep pain and share your hurt.

This church, the United Methodist Church of Vista is not of one mind about the issues surrounding our LGBTQ+ siblings, but I have heard over and over that you value hospitality and welcome.  I am certain that we will continue to open our doors to all people without regard to race, financial status, marital status, education or who anyone loves. You have spent the last year and many before it working toward justice and the care for all people.  You are a church committed to homeless ministry and learning about human trafficking so you can make a difference and reaching out to care for children in Haiti and Zimbabwe and to places in the world where disasters are unfolding. Today was a day that set in motion dramatic changes in our denomination, but I pray we will not be deterred from our efforts to be Christ’s hands and voice in Vista and the world!  

Let us be united in hope that God is bringing new life to the world and our Christian family.  Let us be united in faith that God has a vision which is so much larger than ours. Let us be united in love for one another, just as we have always been!  Let us not be torn apart but instead let us build one another up and be a model for living Christ’s love even when we represent a diversity of understanding.  

I continue to be inspired to be your pastor and I give thanks for you!  I hope to see you this Sunday so that we may join together around the peace pole between services in support for the hurting and in praise to the Spirit who makes us one!  

Grace and peace to you, Your Sister in Christ,

Rev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw


Building Committee Update Feb 2019

Building Committee Update Feb 2019

Building Committee Update:

On February 12, representatives of our Building Committee met with the South District Committee on Building and Location.  We shared our congregational work to date, our Ministry Action plan and need for additional space, our review of the community, our preliminary building plans with a preliminary budget estimate, our charge conference overwhelming approval of the plans to date and action empowering the creation of construction documents.  We received approval and supportive encouragement to move forward from the District Committee. That means, we have approval to create the construction documents, get bids from any contractors for the work and finalize a budget plan. Congratulations to us for getting this far!!!

In the next weeks and months we will be setting a calendar to get input from the congregation on various areas of building.  To clarify, there will be a gathering to receive input on the kitchen, the music area, the hospitality areas, the discipleship classrooms and the large gathering space for events.  Along the way, we will also want to hear your ideas about funding the building project. Ideas thus far include running a capital campaign for the congregation to pay for all or part of the project, utilizing funds from our foundation to pay all or part of the project, selling bonds and/or taking out a loan.  We have a lot of options and have heard many ideas and points of interest, and look forward to hearing more so that we can discern the desire of our congregation as we follow God’s call.

Our goal is to have the construction documents finished and a total budget with a recommendation based on congregational input to fund the building at the end of July or beginning of August.   Stand by for more information….

For any questions…  members of the Building Committee formed by Charge Conference action include: Rob Pierce, Tim Clarke, Suzanne McMurchie, Martha Phillips, Margo Rogers, Jacque Howard, Susan Kronoff, Mike Walker.  Ex-Officio members include: Rev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw, Billy Stempson and Rollin Grider.


Attention Graduates!
The UMC of Vista would like to recognize all of our hard working graduates this year. If you have a student graduating from elementary, middle, high School or college,  please contact the Church Office by Wednesday, June 4th. If you or your family have pictures of your school’s unique recognition please forward them as well. We will be asking congregants to participate in a “Card Party” to cheer your graduates on!
Food donations for North County Food Bank and Interfaith Community Services
We are collecting food donations to take to the North County Food Bank and Interfaith Community Services. How can you help? Either drop off food items or schedule a pick-up on Tuesdays, June 2 and 9. To Drop off: Leave at the church office, on the bench outside the front office door between 9 am and noon. For Pick-Up: Please email Brenda and Mike Walker at and plan to leave your items on your porch or curb by 9 am. For more information call Brenda and Mike Walker at 760. 726.0442.  NO expired or open food, glass jars or homemade items. Food Items Requested:
     Canned Chicken or Tuna
     Canned Fruit, Beans or Vegetables
     Peanut Butter and Jelly or Jam
     Pop-lid Canned Foods
     Hearty Soups, Stews, or Cup of Noodles
     Nuts, Raisins, Cheese ‘n Crackers, Granola Bars
     Dry Beans or Rice, Mac and Cheese, Dry Cereal
Helping Hands and “and Two Fishes” – During these unusual times, several of us are using the time to get organized. If you clean out your closet and have men’s/women’s clothes to donate, please consider saving them for our Helping Hands Outreach.  You can drop items off on Thursdays between 2-4 p.m. on the lower parking lot near the gate. Someone from “and Two Fishes” should be able to assist you. Please contact Brenda Walker, or the church office 760.726.0442, with any any questions.  “and 2 Fishes” is still providing a sack lunch and a “to go meal” on Thursday evenings between 4 and 5 p.m.


In response to the coronavirus pandemic and out of concern for the well-being of our community, we are postponing our church meetings and activities until further notice.  Don’t hesitate to contact us for prayer or to talk. 

Zoom Gatherings and Meetings
Zoom meetings are one way we are working on keeping
connected. All you need is a computer or smartphone with a built-in microphone and a camera and you can join in. Click on the link and follow the prompts to join the gathering. We are all learning as we go! See you there!
Coffee Chat after Worship, Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
Weekly Coffee Chat with Pastor Leigh Ann,
Wednesdays at 10 a.m.
Frank’s Music Chat, Mondays at 11:00 a.m.
Meeting ID: 910 7168 1567
Finance at UMC of Vista, June 24, 7:00 p.m.
Meeting ID: 963 4459 7468

The Education/Discipleship program is postponing meetings and activities until further  notice.

Family Game Night is postponed until further notice.