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

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