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Pastor Leigh Ann’s Monthly Blog

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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Pastor’s Ponderings – March 2018

Pastor’s Ponderings – March 2018

“Silently now I wait for Thee, Ready, my God, Thy will to see; Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit Divine!”

By Clara H. Scott, 1895

A few weeks ago, I attended an all-day Saturday training on reaching and connecting with Millennials through social media. Christians are called to have eyes of grace and kindness. We are called to BE like Jesus in our life and LISTEN to him. That’s a tall order as one of my Texas family might say. Being more like Jesus means welcoming and getting to know folks who aren’t like us. To some, the Millennial generation seem like people from a different planet, but really they are our friends, children, and grandchildren. How do we connect with them?

In the modern Christian church a generation usually referred to as The Millennial generation is largely missing. This generation were born between 1980 and 2000, which means they are 38 – 18 years old. According to 2015 census data, there are 75.4 million people in this cohort, which makes them a larger generation than the Baby Boomer generation. (As of 2015 there were 74.9 million Baby Boomers, 66 million Gen-X and 28 million of the Silent Generation.)

The Millennials are the rst generation born into a digital world. They don’t know a world without cell phones, lap top computers, and social media. Ask a Millennial and they will tell you their parents have a landline, but they don’t. They are carrying 1 trillion dollars in student loan debt and over 63% of Gen-Y (the other name for Millennials) have a bachelor’s degree. 48% work in a job that doesn’t require a degree.

63% say they’d rather make $40,000 a year in a job they love rather than $100,000 in a job they think is boring. 74% want a ex work schedule and 50% say they don’t believe there will be any social security when they retire. 70% have ‘friended’ their manager or co-worker on Facebook. 56% won’t work at a company that bans social media at work. And Millennials are a profoundly racially diverse generation, and also known for their tolerance toward different races, and sexual orientations.

But here is the challenge we have….Millennials are generally not coming to church. It is not that they don’t like Jesus, it is that they aren’t impressed with ‘so-called’ Christians. Millennials say church people don’t listen to them, they are sick of mission statements and they think we spend more time talking ABOUT the poor rather than doing anything to Help the poor. They believe Christians are hypocritical, judgmental and are anti-gay. They think churches spend too much time blaming culture and too little time doing anything about the troubles of the world. They want to be Mentored, NOT Preached at or Lectured.

Millennials have gotten a bad rap as they’ve grown up and many stereotype them as lazy, entitled, spoiled and always expecting a trophy. Yes, this generation, born into a world of privilege that is very different than any other generation, I believe are a force for change and inspiration! The Millennials are passionate about climate change and eco-stewardship, terrorism, and nancial responsibility. 80% of them are active in their community doing volunteer work! That’s right…from conservation to politics to children’s activities, this group is on the move!

The interests and world concerns of Millennials line up with the values and concerns in the United Methodist church and yet, we have failed to see, welcome and engage with this generation. Is it too late to begin a fresh relationship of collaboration and mutual learning? I HOPE not! I think we are called to be with this generation and offer them leadership skills, and encouragement. I believe we can learn new ways of doing ministry and engaging the community. This is more than a call to change a song or style of music, this is a call to develop new eyes to see younger people as gifted and blessed by God, with strengths all their own.

There are tons of resources on generations and the differences between them. One book recommended to me is called Sticking Points, by Haydn Shaw (no relation), copyright 2013. Or google ‘Millennials’ and just start reading. Or better yet, nd a Millennial and ask them to tell you what they think about anything. Chances are they will have an opinion and information to back it up.

Grace and peace,
Rev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw


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You Make the Difference – Outreach Celebration Luncheon

You Make the Difference – Outreach Celebration Luncheon
 
Saturday, February 24, 2018
 
We welcome you to the United Methodist Church of Vista Outreach Celebration Luncheon. It is our hope that each of you, whether congregation member or community partner, will be able to get to know each other personally and find a common passion as you do good work in the world. The United Methodist Church of Vista believes faith calls us to be the light in a challenging world. Our commitment to justice, compassion, love and community called us to develop the Outreach Community Partner and Grant Program. It is still a work in process as we continue to explore better ways to share our love of Christ in the world.
 
Rev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw
Beth Brainerd Hallock
 
 

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Building Update

The Building Committee has been working with the Planning Department of the City of Vista in order to fulfill our commitment to our Congregation with the proposed completion of our facility.

The City had requested that we reach out to our neighbors. We had planned face to face meetings in early March and then Covid-19 changed those plans. We had to determine another way to reach out and explain our reasons, provide the plans and the concepts. Once that was completed, the information was mailed to over 470 homes/businesses allowing them the opportunity to call or email the Church office with questions or arrange for a masked face-to-masked face meeting for an exterior visualization. If you would like to read this letter, please CLICK HERE.
 
Online Worship
Worship with us ONLINE.  You can find our worship time at our YouTube channel at United Methodist Church of Vista.  Or, if you receive a weekly newsletter, you will receive a link every week for our service.

We are developing a plan for safe in-person worship and gathering.  Any in-person events, including worship will be offered only when we can assure the safety of our congregation and community.  Until there is a vaccine or other treatment for COVID-19, any in-person gatherings will require face masks, physically distancing of at least six feet, limited singing, spoken litanies, prayers and sermons, no potlucks or offered coffee/cookie fellowship, and no handshakes, hugging or other greeting line with the pastor or church staff.  Our plan is being developed with guidelines from our Bishop, Annual Conference, city and state guidelines and best practices based on up-to-date health information.
 
 
 
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 Wednesday, December 16. 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 Brendakwalker@cox.net 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. 
 
Helping Hands and “and Two Fishes”
If you have any, please consider saving blankets and blankets for Helping Hands Outreach and food containers for “and Two Fishes.” You can drop items off on Thursdays between 1:00 – 4:00 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, brendakwalker@cox.net or the church office 760.726.0442, with any any questions. “and Two Fishes” is still providing a sack lunch and a “to-go meal” on Thursday evenings between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m.
 
 

 

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!  

Weekly Coffee Chat with Pastor Leigh Ann, Wednesdays at 10 a.m.

Frank’s Music Chat, Mondays at 11:00 a.m.

Congregational Care Meeting,
November 12, 1:30 p.m.

 
Trustees, November 17, 6:30 pm

Finance, November 25, 7:00 p.m.

Charge Conference, December 1, 7:00 p.m.
 
Alternative, Alternative Christmas 2020
Although we are living through a pandemic that has changed the way we do everything, we are still committed to outreach and caring for our city and community all year, and especially at Christmas time! This year, rather than having tables set up in the narthex on one Sunday, for you to “shop”, we will share “spotlight community partner” videos beginning in mid-November, with opportunities for you to drop items at the church on special days or give gift cards or money or even buy some special boutique items to support a wonderful animal rescue organization. Each worship segment will tell you how you can support that week’s “spotlight partner.” Some of the featured organizations may include: and Two Fishes, Caring and Sharing, Casa de Amparo, Operation Hope North County, Christ Ministry Center and Frosted Faces Foundation. Watch for more information to come and in the weekly Spark!
 
 
Update from the Education Committee
As with most things, COVID-19 related health and safety protocols have limited the programs and events supported by the UMC Vista Education Committee, but we want you to know we are still here with the same purpose; to bring faith enrichment and education to our church youth, families and to the community. Needless to say, finding ways to serve this purpose has been a new challenge but through the initiative and dedication of the teachers and members of our congregation, we’ve connected in various ways over the last several months. Deliveries of flowers, blessing bags, Youth Group welcome kits and Sunday School at-home packets are some ways we’ve remained engaged.
As we gear up with the new season and continue to be mindful of doing our part to support health and safety guidelines, we are at work developing plans for Sunday school connections and other safe activities. Unfortunately, our cherished Annual Trunk or Treat event is not an activity we can responsibly host as currently advised by the San Diego County Health Advisory Board but we’ll continue to work to find alternatives until we can be back together again.
If you feel called to join Education Committee or have suggestions, questions or comments, we are always happy to hear from you! You can contact the church.
 

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. 

 
 

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

Family Game Night is postponed until further notice.