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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.


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.