Pastor’s Corner

 

     Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.      Philippians 4:8-9

 

Dear friends, 

    As I have told you many times in many ways, I am delighted to have been appointed to serve as your pastor.  You have received me with grace and have welcomed me into your community, your lives and your homes.  I believe that this beautiful Monterey Bay region has a need for a vital United Methodist Church in this place.

   I am very hopeful that the multiethnic nature of our congregation can be enhanced as we affirm the importance of each person, each family and each place and culture of our origins and our roots.  We can celebrate some progress today in a more comprehensive representation of our diversity in the persons who have accepted the responsibilities and joys of leadership among us for the coming year(s).  Let us always be prepared to recognize the giftedness with which God is blessing us, affirming new people in new ways of ministry.

   We have been making some progress in the past three months toward financial sustainability of this ministry.  Let us always be aware that the purpose of the church is never “survival”, but always mission.  That is, our joy and fulfillment will always be found in reaching out into this community and embracing our neighbors and helping them become our brothers and sisters in Christ.  This work is accomplished by all of us being as welcoming and as sociable as we know how to be in every relationship that God gives us.  In addition to the face-to-face connections that we already have with our friends, family and co-workers, others we encounter through our lives, business and recreation need to know through us how much this church desires to make a difference here and to model lives that are being transformed by Jesus Christ. 

   Our immediate budgetary woes are being addressed by our new ministry partnership with the “Rey de Justicia” Church.  These brothers and sisters in Christ love being with us and have a vital connection with the Spanish-speaking community around us.  The monthly rent they give toward our budget helps a great deal.  In addition, having their cars in our parking lot and letting our neighbors see our lights on many evenings per week serves as a silent message that something is happening on this corner.

   It is up to us now to deepen our own discipleship and stewardship toward spreading and being Good News here.  My ministry has been impaired by not having had an office manager from my second week on the job until October 11, four days ago.  Jennifer will be able to help me/us move toward a renewed website presence, which is absolutely essential for reaching out to seeking young adults.  Once that is being accomplished, I am looking forward to establishing the church and myself as a resource for affordable small Christian weddings in our sanctuary.  My connections with ecumenical clergy and direct patient care through my service as a volunteer chaplain at CHOMP will also increase our visibility as a church.  

   In the coming months, I am hopeful that my background in direct ministries with homeless and marginalized neighbors and friends can be useful in assisting this community to move toward a more profound, systemic methodology of caring and guiding our most vulnerable community members toward healthier, more fulfilling and more sustainable life circumstances.  For this to happen, spiritual, financial and land use changes must be made.  This is a “big deal’ that will not be accomplished quickly, but I humbly accept that I have a contribution to make in it. 

   As we move into the Fall season, I admit that we have not so far made any effort in adult Christian education since my arrival.  I still do not know how much teaching I can do, given my half time status. Having Alice Ann Glenn back with us will be immensely helpful in our determining together how we can strengthen one another in group and class settings.  I do believe that during this year she and I will be offering a Confirmation class for our youth.  

  One other matter that has significance for our effectiveness is the establishment of a regular pattern of contributing toward our Conference Tithe.  The tithe is a reasonable and achievable goal and standard for Christian discipleship.  Beyond survival to mission is our trajectory.  Stretching ourselves with a tithe will predictably result in a deeper, more joyful and fulfilling life together.  During the coming year, let us determine to replace anxiety with gratitude for all of God’s grace. 

   Please forgive this rather long report, but it is my one opportunity in the year to give you an overview of my vision and my own understanding of mission in this place.  Please respond with your own creative and faithful ideas. 

In Christ, 

 

The Rev. Dr. Dale G. Tremper,

Your pastor