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Pastor Leigh Ann’s Monthly Blog

More Than Calendaring

More Than Calendaring… Pastor’s Ponderings – November 2018
We shared time as a staff on October 23! A special thank you to Heidi Kendall and her family for the space to gather at a beach house in Carlsbad! And thank you to the Staff-Parish Relations Committee for providing snacks and lunch! We are deeply grateful for your support.
During our retreat time we worked with Kathy Cueve and Bob Bowen on modalities of health and wellness. We practiced taking care of ourselves, so that we can love and support our church family. After lunch, we reviewed the 2018-2019 calendar and went through every month. We brainstormed meetings, classes, concerts and events. We have more things we want to do than will fit on the calendar. We are excited but can’t do anything without you.
During 2018 our church affirmed a Ministry Action Plan (M.A.P.) which defines the passions of our church and looks for ways and events to do the work God has called us to. Justice, Faith and Hospitality are the trio of foci that our congregation has named in different ways. Of course these three issues are very broad in scope and some folks are concerned with one and not the others. The truth is that you don’t need to be concerned with all of them. I do hope there is something in the mix where you see yourself though. I hope you feel inspired by God to work in one or two areas of ministry and service.
Did you noticed that we changed the name of the Education committee to the Discipleship and Education team? That’s because education is general study, but discipleship is what Christians do to learn about Jesus. Everyone studies and gets educated, but Christians learning to follow Jesus is what disciples do. We are also trying to bring our leadership roster and budget into alignment with our Ministry Action Plan. This will take a little while to work out, and take many eyes and conversations to get it done. As we look to develop our budget for 2019, our finance committee believes our goals for ministry should drive the work.
There is a lot going on and our staff is so excited to look into the future. I hope you are excited too!
Don’t forget to get your flu shot and get plenty of rest! We are an excited community of faith on the move.
Pastor Leigh Ann

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When REST is counter-cultural

“When REST is Counter-Cultural”
Pastor’s Ponderings – Oct. 1, 2018
 
Where do you find the strength and energy to keep going when your to-do list is so long and everyone needs something from you? What is the Spark that keeps you lit up? When do you say, “Stop! I need to rest now.”? Is your body calling you to sit down, or stand up and do something else?
 
One of my favorite poets and philosophers, David Whyte, says the “antidote to exhaustion is not rest, but wholeheartedness.” What is wholeheartedness? How does a person in today’s world live wholeheartedly? The answer is courage. The root word of “courage” comes from the old French “corage,” which means “heart” or “innermost feeling.” Courage is wholehearted! Facing the exhaustion of living takes wholeheartedness, which is courageous!
 
Sabbath time, or rest, or meditation, or prayer with God, IS an act of resistance and rebellion against the status quo. Taking a “time out” to care for your spirit goes against the machinery of the world. It takes courage to leave a blank space on your calendar and not get defensive about it. When we run out of money or run short of money, it is obvious. There clearly isn’t enough to buy the new phone or the extra item or even pay off the necessary items. But running short of time gets treated like a personal failure, or a lack of personal planning. Many friends and colleagues of mine sacrifice Sabbath rest for the sake of time management, being on time, or getting the project finished, and finished adequately. But, Sabbath IS God’s priority for us to have a good life.
 
Rest, which includes vacation, napping and Sabbath, is judged as laziness, when in truth, rest is a direction from our God and of our faith. Sabbath is for re-orienting our spirit, our life and our bodies toward God, good health, and sound thinking. Taking Sabbath rest, to breathe, should not make you feel guilty or cause you to feel shame. Having time to eat dinner without shoving it down your throat is a reasonable choice and good for your health. It is even faithful. Taking time for you and your family takes courage, and is living a whole-hearted life!
 
Maybe finding restoration requires you to nap, but maybe it also calls you to change something to which you are committed. Maybe Sabbath time calls you to evaluate if you are living by the heart or by the calendar. The World challenges us to stick with the calendar and others expectations, but God calls us to living by heart, because living by heart, means living with the courage of faith and Sabbath. It is an entirely different focus of life. So, now is a good time to confess my fatigue. Life feels pretty hazy with moving and family commitments and church ministry. Sometimes it is going to be this way. But it shouldn’t be this way as a lifestyle. It shouldn’t be this way out of obligation to any person. It shouldn’t be this way out of a need to please others. Our fatigue shouldn’t be treated as a trophy or a martyr-ish brag. Our fatigue is a sign that things are out of balance and that is a call to reconnect with the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, bring your healing breath to all who read this and are exhausted.
 
Please take care of yourself. Take time for wholehearted living and a nap. Find the restoration you need away from your calendar. Don’t give in to the shame or guilt that can come from saying “no.” Be fierce in faith and vigilant in hope! There is much on the horizon filled with joy!
 
God bless you today and everyday!
Pastor Leigh Ann

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Food and Faith

“Food and Faith”
Pastor’s Ponderings – Sept. 1, 2018
 
“They said to him, ‘Sit, give us this bread always.” –John 6:34
 
The story of our family is told in food. The food that is put out on the dining room table in dishes and
bowls. The food that is brought home from the store or at a roadside stand. The food that perfumes the air in the morning and the evening inspires memories of the past and for the future.
 
The disciples said to Jesus, ‘give us this bread always.’ They were talking about nourishment that offers
eternal life. It could have been stale or fresh bread. We don’t know. Truthfully, the flavor and texture of the bread is only a curiosity. The most important thing is sitting with Jesus and sitting with each other and taking time as community and family to be with one another and remember. Remember who made our life and sustains us now.
 
Food literally gives us life, in addition to telling the story of our family. I was back in Texas for my Aunt’s
funeral and when in Texas, there is a lot of meat and not a lot of veggies. My Aunt was famous in our family for saying she didn’t want any salad on her hamburger. She made it to 94 and never ate what some consider healthy food. When my cousins cleaned out my Aunt’s room at the skilled nursing facility, there were 4 soda pops left in the mini-fridge. At the end of the day of celebrating and remembering her life, we shared a ‘coke’ toast in honor of Aunt Barbara. Food and family sitting around a table are signs of love and life and remembrance.
 
As August concludes and September begins, I wonder if you are ready to finish out the rest of the year. Do you have the energy to make it from now through Christmas? Do you have the patience to love your neighbor as you love yourself? It has been a very busy first half of the year and I confess I’m still pretty tired and my calendar for the rest of the year looks full already. I’m sure yours is also!
 
I read today that Starbucks is going to bring out their Pumpkin Spiced Lattes a week early this year. It
makes my heart happy that Fall is almost here. That means time for sitting with family for special meals is also almost here. But, why wait for the end of the year to reconnect for a special gathering. Why wait until there is a special moment to tell the story of how much your family belongs to each other. With everything crowded on the calendar, let’s not forget making time for a meal or just a cup of your favorite beverage with the people you call family. Make memorials and tell stories with each other. Let’s not lose what is most precious to us in this world.
 
Grace,
Pastor Leigh Ann

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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.