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Pastor Leigh Ann’s Monthly Blog

Mid-Year Check-in

Mid-Year Check-in Pastor’s Ponderings – June 2018
 
We are mid-way through the year and what have we accomplished? We’ve given grant funding to 22
community organizations, we’ve worked on our ministry action plan (MAP), we’ve fed people, taught children, shepherded three confirmands, offered seven different discipleship classes or support groups, shared in 43 worship services, offered three musical concert events… All since January 1, 2018. That’s a lot… and there is much more! The list could go on and on describing how this church family is offering Christ’s love to one another, our neighbors and our world every day!!
 
Pastor Frank and I will be attending Annual Conference this June at the University of the Redlands. This
may be the last year we go to Redlands for this event. There is a plan to move the California Pacific Annual Conference to San Diego in 2019! (I’m really excited and think this is a great idea!) Our Bishop, Rev. Grant Hagiya, is working with a conference leadership group to reduce our conference budget and expand the conference support of local churches. He has also been a part of the conversation our denomination is having about how to move forward as people who have regionally divided beliefs about human sexuality.
 
The conversation will continue during a Special General Conference in 2019 as we seek to be people who
are faithful to Jesus Christ and transform the world in love. In addition, there were some recent changes to our denomination’s constitution and at least one amendment change will likely bounce-back to all the Annual Conferences for discussion and maybe a new vote.
 
As I look into the rest of the year, I’m so excited to continue working on ministry with you! We will hold
a special All Church Charge Conference on June 27th at 7 p.m. to review and vote on the Ministry Action Plan as an entire congregation. Everyone is welcome to come! The District Superintendent, Rev. John Farley, will join us for this special time of honoring our past by looking into our future, as we name and affirm the work that God has called us to! I don’t know yet how you want to reorganize and use the building and land that we occupy. I don’t yet know how the budget will shape up or how the numbers will work out. But I do know you are passionate and driven to care for one another and this community and the world! I KNOW God is calling you forward and despite the suspicion some have for Christianity and Church, we are reaching new people every week.
 
I continue to be honored to be the senior pastor in charge at UMC Vista and have great joy about the ministry we are doing! Thank you for your faithful work and kindness as we grow together!
 
 
Pastor Leigh Ann

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What’s a M.A.P.?

What’s a M.A.P.?
 
Pastor’s Ponderings – May 1, 2018

The GAP team have been hard at work! We have a draft of our Ministry Act Plan (MAP) for the next few years and are putting ‘action items’ to the goals. It is a living document and a work in progress, even after it’s affirmed by our congregation.

For the last few months we’ve been meeting in homes and with various groups of the church to gather input and ideas about where YOU believe God is calling us. It is clear that you are passionate about Family and Friends, that you believe our relationships with one another and welcoming more people to our church family is very, very, very, (very ….) important! Everything about what we do and how we do it connects with your value of people!

A draft mission and vision statement for our church to ponder is: ‘United Methodist Church of Vista is called to Build Relationships of Justice, Faith and Hospitality to Bring God’s LOVE to all people.’ Our relationships of JUSTICE are outreach ministries of all kinds both locally, and globally. Our relationships of FAITH are worship and discipleship and small groups and faith formation both inside and outside the walls of our church. Relationships of HOSPITALITY are welcoming at the front door of the church on Sundays and throughout the week and going out into the community to nurture and care for intergenerational families, particularly families with growing children.

I have heard many of you want a larger space to gather, share meals, hold celebrations and potlucks and have fun together. Many of you feel the downstairs space is not well suited for gathering together due to accessibility and safety issues. Many of you are passionate about our feeding ministry on Thursday and want to see it expanded to provide other caring resources like showers, supplies for the week, clothing and other resources for getting into a home. There is interest in whether a preschool or after school program for children in our area would work on our campus and whether we have the capacity to move forward on this. A few of you have big bold visions of being a local hub for ministry and outreach. And many of you want more opportunities for classes and worship during the week.

As I mentioned, we have a draft of goals related to relationships of Justice, Faith and Hospitality and have started putting ideas for action steps down for the next five years. After we finish this step of our Ministry Action Plan, then we will look at the facility and other resources needed to accomplish our goals. In other words, how are we going to welcome new folks, join them in faith exploration and do good works in the world?
If you haven’t offered your insights and vision, don’t hesitate to email me or our church consultant, Mary Scifres. And please join us in prayer as we look into the future of the United Methodist Church of Vista!

Pastor Leigh Ann

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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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