A Word From Our Pastor: July 2013 Happenings

Summer has already come upon us, and lots of new things to look forward in the months ahead. . .

Our Youth Minister, Youngmi Jung, will be leaving as of June 23.   While it is a loss to us, I am delighted to announce that she will be going to a ¾ -time appointment as a pastor in Marin County.  She will be assigned to a “cooperative parish” – in which pastors of 3 churches will work together on pastoral care and programs.  Although each of the congregations has a separate Sunday service, they are planning to “merge” other activities.  It is an exciting new way of doing ministry – each church will feel like they have 3 pastors on staff, and at the same time, are able to celebrate Sunday worship in their own way.  Youngmi has been assigned to Novato UMC in Novato.   We are grateful for the blessing she has been to us, and know that her passionate faith and commitment to ministry will be a wonderful gift to Novato and Marin!  I encourage you to keep Youngmi in your prayers as she moves into her new ministry.

Youngmi has assisted the YMC in developing a plan for BMUC youth during the summer.  In the meantime, the SPRC and I are working on a job description for a new staff person.  We are considering hiring someone to fill a position for “Family Ministry,” rather than just Youth Ministry.  It is an exciting possibility that could add a focus on young adults and outreach to new families.  We know we have to work quickly – and our goal would be to have someone on staff in September.

On June 30, we will have a presentation during worship time about the re-landscaping of the front garden at church.  Although it was lovingly and carefully planned in the 1950s, the garden has become overgrown, and is in need of a new design.  We hope that this landscaping will send two messages:  1) our Japanese-American heritage will be reflected in the design and plantings; and 2) it will be “welcoming.”  As such, it will feature a meandering path (wheelchair accessible) and a couple of benches that will invite people to sit and enjoy the surroundings.  It will also lead people to our front door!  We want the neighborhood to feel that we are hoping they will visit us, and that we hope they will feel welcome and comfortable.  I encourage you to come to the presentation and see the design on June 30.  We still have some fundraising to do for this to become a reality, and I hope that you will spread that message, as well.

We are continuing to enjoy the visit of Ata Manasra from Wadi Foquin, and Janet Lahr Lewis, our UM missionary/liaison in Israel/Palestine.

Janet will be here until the end of June, and Ata until July 17.  There are still opportunities to organize a house party or other gathering for Ata to talk about visiting Israel/Palestine – the Holy Land and the village.  If you would like to talk more about this, or visit with Ata, please let me know!

We are also involved in supporting the members of Shattuck Avenue UMC as the close their doors on June 30.   We are committed to getting as many of our members as possible to attend their closing celebration on Sunday, June 30 at 2:00 p.m.  It is very important that we show our thanks for their ministry, and stand with them as they have had to make the decision to close their doors.  They should have our companionship and our prayers on this journey.

Our ministry with and to Shattuck Avenue will continue beyond that date.  The Food Program will be TEMPORARILY relocated to Taylor UMC in West Oakland for the months of July and August.  As several of the current volunteers have asked to “retire,” after many years of helping with the food program, we are in need of people to help.  Once we have a clear idea of the tasks that need to be done, we will be contacting YOU(!) and other members of churches in the area, to see if you are able to pitch in.

Further, we will be working together with the current and new volunteers to determine the best permanent location for the Food Program, including the possibility of housing it at BMU.  It is a big challenge, and an important ministry.

In addition, we are reaching out to the members of Shattuck Avenue UMC, so that they feel that there are United Methodists in the area who are concerned about their future.  I have invited them to have a potluck at our church on the late afternoon of July 7.  The potluck is just a get-together for them, although there will be a few of us there to host.  Most of the members are probably not ready to start looking for a new church home, so we are simply offering a place for them to be together.  I hope if you meet someone from Shattuck Avenue UMC, you will thank them for the ministry of their congregation, and encourage them to find a new church home, in the place that “feels just right,” when the time is right.

There’s a lot going on this summer – and we need your input and participation.  Hope to see you at church!