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Pastor Leigh Ann’s Monthly Blog

Didja know? Hansen Family Serving in TJ

Did you know… The Hansen Family Serving in TJ
• The Hansen family spent April 13 in Tijuana working on a home with International Relief Team?






@ 10:00 a.m. in Fellowship Hall


To be transparent and open to ideas and share our current status. Today’s meeting is to update the Congregation and get feedback from the questions during our “table talk”. No decisions will be made today.

On January 6, 2019 the Building Committee met for the first time. During this meeting we agreed to set a timeline, to be a unified voice and transparent. We had to do a presentation to the District office, providing the plans and estimates for construction. We also had to confirm that the original plans for Phase 2 are still valid with the City of Vista. We need to meet with the individual groups (Missions, Evangelism, + 2 Fishes, etc) to get feedback for their needs prior to meeting with the architect. We agreed that we would have our documentation and plans for our funding completed by 7/31/2019. We would then request a Charge Conference for mid-August as well as a final date with the district.


On February 26 the Building Committee met to review the “order” of moving forward. We had to meet with the design team, to move to permanent construction documents with details for plumbing, electrical and design which will need to be decided and then submitted to the City for permitting. Funding options will also need to be considered as well as a site manager.


On March 3 the committee met and we determined that we all understood the plans that have been sketched out. We reviewed the calendar to set up dates to meet with the design team as well as the stakeholders and the congregation in the following areas, music suite, classrooms/nursery, meeting rooms and offices, fellowship hall/outreach groups as well as kitchen and hospitality areas. We decided to bring Mary Scifres on board to assist us with the information sharing and integrating design ideas from our Congregation. It is very important to avoid changes to plans and the equipment used to avoid delays in construction and cost overruns.


We have a meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Sunday April 14 @ 1:30 p.m. with the Kitchen Consultant. We have already met, in the month of March with the architect, Michael Robinson from MER Architects, Leonard and Maria Knapp from Knapp & Assoc, the structural engineer for the project and Kevin Dominick from DSE Engineering. Mike acts as the hub for the construction process. He coordinates with the subs and ensures that our plans are under current codes. Len designs, with the architect’s concept plans to provide the most economical structural plan. The plans go the cities building and safety dept. to ensure code compliance. Kevin works on the energy components of the building as well as electrical. We have been informed that when Phase 1 was built there were accommodations made to incorporate into phase 2. We are hoping that we will be can present the feedback from the Congregation to the design team for their final plan/presentation by the end of May 2019.
Meeting questions attached here.


I Googled “Explain Lent”

I Googled, “Explain Lent” 
Pastor’s Ponderings – April 2019
I googled “explain lent.” Google answered, “past and past participle of lend.” I asked Siri to “explain lent” and Siri said, “A verb, past and past participle of lend.” Siri then asked me, “Would you like to hear the next definition?” “Yes,” I said. Siri told me, “Lent, a noun, is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday.” If you are confused by what “Lent” means, so are google and Siri.
Lent is always in our springtime of the year. It is reasonable to think of “Lent” and “Spring Cleaning” in the same category of “new beginnings”, or “a fresh start.” For people of the Christian faith, Lent is a season to clean-out our heart and life to get ready to celebrate Easter. Easter is a celebration of Life! It is the celebration of Jesus’ life that triumph’s over death. Despite the hate and injustice that Jesus faced, he taught love for all people and the importance of all people.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday starts a 40-day countdown to Easter (minus Sundays). The 40 days remind us of Jesus in the wilderness being tempted by the devil for 40 days. A modern Christian tradition is receiving the sign of the cross on your forehead in ashes during worship. It is meant to be a sign of our own commitment and recognition of participating in Lent. The ashes represent our connection with the earth and the finitude of our life. Although there is beauty in this Lenten ritual, there is a waning interest in this worship experience and many churches are not offering it at all. It is something our staff will be considering next year when we plan Lent.
During the Ash Wednesday worship service, I preached on Ezekiel 37, the Valley of Dry Bones. In the front of the church, on the chancel table and shelf are drift wood and rocks to remind us of the emptiness of our life without God’s spirit. I encourage you to read Ezekiel 37 for the vision of broken and empty humanity. The prophet, Ezekiel, is reminded that he can cry out to God and be brought back to life. The dry bones of the valley are mended and returned to life, just as we can be restored by the grace and love of God. This is not a literal story but a story about the nature of God’s spirit always seeking us and waiting for us to call upon God.
Last month I shared about the sermon series during Lent on spiritual practices that connect us with God. The tradition during Lent is to fast from something. Beckie Henselmeier is fasting from a different thing each week of Lent. One week she is fasting from all news and social media. One week she is fasting from any beverage that isn’t water. One week she is fasting from food for a whole day. Be sure to ask Beckie about the other things she is fasting from during the season and what it means to her.
The most important thing about spiritual practices is to plan ahead, and hold God in your heart or mind during the practice or ritual. If you fast but do not pray, or reflect on God, it is simply starving yourself and going hungry. If you practice the spiritual discipline of keeping silence, but do not claim the silence as time for God, it is simply the absence of sound and talking. If you give generously to the church, but do not pray for the work to be done using those funds and the people who will be touched by your financial gift, it is just a tax benefit. All of these are good, but not all things deepen your faith.
Spiritual practices are literally ways to practice your faith. Musicians know they have to practice to be good at music. Anyone who plays a sport knows they have to practice their sport and keep physically fit. In the same way, Christians have to practice their faith to grow in our relationship with God. God never leaves us, but our ability to recognize God in our life is greatly enhanced by the effort we make.
May God continue to bless you richly this season,
Rev. Dr. Leigh Ann Shaw


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, January 6. 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. 
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, 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!  

Coffee Chat after Worship, Sundays at 10:30 a.m.


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


Congregational Care Meeting,
January 7, 1:30 p.m.


Trustees, January 19, 6:30 pm


Finance, January 27, 7:00 p.m.


Church Council, Jan. 30, 9:00 a.m.
To view Christmas Eve Worship, please click on:

To view “Prepare Him Room” music concert celebrating Advent and the Christmas season, please click on:

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.