October

When you enter the Search and Call process, you begin to dream about the congregation to which you might one day be called. My process began about a year ago when I was doing some soul-searching at the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville, CA. While there, I decided that I wanted to serve a congregation that was ready to meet the changing world head-on. UCC has already greatly exceeded my hopes and dreams; I know that we are going to do wonderful work for God together!

 

I believe that the new world in which we find ourselves needs a new kind of church. Many people are desperately longing to experience the divine presence in their lives, but when they think about “church,” they think of exclusion, closed-mindedness, and hypocrisy; this image turns them away. However, I believe people are looking for a congregation just like UCC, they just don’t know that such a church exists. Particularly, there are five key pieces that I was searching for in the church to which I was called and that many people who have turned away from the church are looking for, all of which we can authentically say are true about UCC.

 

1) A progressive congregation that takes the Bible seriously, but not always literally. People must be able to express doubt and struggle with issues of faith and still be accepted.
2) A multiracial/multicultural congregation that openly welcomes people of all races and ethnicities to help weave the diverse tapestry of a community of faith. We must always strive to be a pro-reconciling/anti-racist congregation.
3) An Open and Affirming Congregation that welcomes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities into the full life and leadership of the church. At UCC, we are a proud member of the GLAD Alliance.
4) An environmentally conscious congregation that cares for God’s creation and strives to be good stewards of it. We are currently working toward becoming a member of the Disciples Green Chalice Program.
5) A Peace and Justice congregation. UCC’s work in San Diego and beyond shows that we believe that God cares for those who are oppressed and marginalized.

 

I am interested in UCC claiming its voice, embracing these values, and showing the wonderful things that God is doing in this vibrant congregation. I have several goals that are aligned with these values that I’d like to accomplish over the next few months in collaboration with the appropriate persons and committees. At the top of my list are 1) developing a new website with relevant and changing content, likely with a minister’s blog on current issues 2) ensuring that excerpts of worship services are posted online so that people searching for a faith community can connect with UCC and homebound members can still worship with us 3) expanding our social media presence and engaging people online – I’ve found that congregations can have a real impact on people’s lives, even people who never step foot in the church building 4) making online giving available to those who are interested.

 

Thank you so much for your confidence, warm welcome, and hospitality. I hope that you are as excited about our future together as I am!

 

Peace and Love,

Caleb