Our relationship with others is an important part of who we are at The United Methodist Church of Vista. Please explore the opportunities on this and also linked pages.
Pastor Leigh Ann’s Monthly Blog

Pastor’s Ponderings – April 2018

Pastor’s Pondering – April 2018
The In-Home meetings have been great! More than 65 people have attended and shared their vision for the future of our church. Each gathering was asked, ‘if you had all the money and resources necessary, the best pastor and the perfect facility, what ministry are we called to do?’ Among the comments and wisdom is a desire to invite and welcome more by having a kitchen, and a large variety of programs and opportunities for younger people. You’ve shared that you want to be a church that speaks to people’s soul, offers friends and fun, and shares our faith life together!
As we look into the future, making space for others who speak different generational experiences may be important. Recently I talked about the Millennial generation and their strengths, but I thought you might enjoy hearing the generational experiences of some of our staff. I’ve asked them to share just a little to give you a snapshot of who we are and invite you to share your perspectives with us and one another. Growing into the future will require us to make room for all kinds of people.
“I, Pastor Leigh Ann, was born in 1970 and am a part of the so-called ‘Generation X.’ My generation is known for growing up as ‘latch key’ children and that is my experience. Both of my parents either worked or went to school all of my growing up years. Since my Mom was not at home, I made dinner regularly and we seldom ate at the dining room table. Sesame Street first aired on PBS two months before I was born. The best musician of my generation is Sting. He plays rock, and jazz and speaks to issues of love, social justice and world concerns.”
“I, Pastor Frank, was born in 1949, and am an early part of the “baby boomer” generation. My generation is known for living through significant social unrest and change, I was aware of and participated in various movements for social equality, racial equality, rights of women, and immigration for instance. Both of my parents were teachers, as was my adult brother who lived with us, I stayed in after-school programs and came home at the same time my parents did until junior high school, then was a bit of a latch key kid. My favorite music was classical and Broadway musicals, partly because of my brothers musical tastes. My family ate most meals at the dining room table, brother Don usually cooked, a variety of menus, from stuffed peppers to beef stroganoff. Sunday dinner was important, a hold-over from both parents being farm-raised kids. My generation has seen significant change especially in technology, I was born the year the first jetliner flew, saw the moon landing live, did math by pencil, was 16 before I had a portable calculator, now sitting at a desk with a computer with two terabytes of memory, I’ve lived through all of it.”
“I, Paula Amaro, was born in 1958, and am a part of the baby boomer generation. My generation is known as the first TV generation. My experience as a young girl was watching Walter Cronkite and The Wild Wild West (TV series). My favorite music growing up was country music. Our family didn’t eat together all the time but I cooked a lot of Hamburger Helper. One of the changes I’ve seen is that when I was under age 10, I would be gone all day playing everywhere and walking to school by myself; now parents drop their kids off at school and they are watched carefully when playing outside, not roaming all over the neighborhood.”
“I, Susan Kronoff, was born in born in 1949, and am a part of the baby boomer generation. The Vietnam War was a significant event for my generation and I thought we had an honorable reason for being there, but our politicians wouldn’t let the military fight to win. My brother was on his way there when our National involvement ended. The Beatles and always classical music are my favorites. I remember having “breakfast” for dinner: scrambled eggs, pancakes…. and Spam! When I was young, the family was the center of life; then it morphed into community; then the individual was most important. It’s all cyclical.”
Next Month… Watch for some more staff by the generations! Thank you for sharing your life at the church, as we offer God’s grace to our community and world! Blessings to you as you celebrate the Risen Lord!
Happy Easter! Pastor Leigh Ann


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



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