by Revs. Don Dewey and Susan Gonzales Dewey, Co-Regional Ministers

Think on these things…

In the midst of these hot, dog days of summer, we hope you are all finding time to relax, rest, and perhaps get away or enjoy time with family and friends.

Therefore, we want to invite you to take a break from all the bad news that seems to at times be overwhelming and let us offer up a little bit of good news in what’s happening around your Region.

For the PSWR, as with most Regions, summer means camp! We are nearing the end of our summer camp season and they have each been a great success. We did have to cancel our Mini camp because of the fire up near Big Bear. Camps are good news because they provide, year after year, opportunities for faith formation that often lasts a lifetime for our children and young people. They are good news because dedicated Directors and Counselors take a week out of their busy lives to guide, teach, encourage and love our young people in their Christian faith.

In addition, our Loch Leven camp hosts young people from two of our ministry Units, All Peoples Community Center and Project IMPACT. Both of these amazing ministries connect with families and children who need assistance, support, and opportunities to build better lives. We are grateful to be partners in ministry with them.

Our youth and young adults have also had another busy summer with a Spring retreat in May, still others traveled to Israel-Palestine, while others traveled on an educational tour to the East Coast while another team traveled to Hawaii for a service project of leading a Vacation Bible school! Each of these opportunities is building leaders for our church today and tomorrow! 

We also celebrate the good news that through our Regions New Church Development Committee, we have launched four (4) brand new ministries in our Region!

•       Beloved Christian Church, San Diego – Rev. Dale Suggs

•       Life Ministries Christian Church, Los Angeles – Pastor Ronnie Taylor

•       Missiongathering Christian Church, Pasadena – Rev. Rich McCullen

•       Casa de Fe, Baldwin Park – Angeles Coronado, Jr.

Through the work of our new ACTS 2 Program and generous support of our Regional Board, we have been able to support 8 growing ministries in our Region:

Young Jae Kim, South Bay Korean Christian Church

Ernesto Ramirez, Iglesia de Valle Christian Church

Heather Robertson, Wahiawa Christian Church

Courtney Stanton, E. 105thStreet Christian Church

Eddie Anderson, McCarty Memorial Christian Church

Gabriel Lopez, E. Whittier Christian Church

Sung Wan Cha, Wilshire Korean Christian Church

Nasario Orozco, Iglesia Encuentro con Dios Christian Church

More good news! The Region is committed to also working with congregations who’s Regionally owned facilities needed some renovation work so that new and growing ministries could flourish:

•       Temple City Christian Church, El Monte

•       Casa de Refugio, Covina

•       Casa de Fe, Baldwin Park

•       Iglesia Cristiana Emanuel, Rialto

•       FCC & Iglesia Seguidores de Cristo, Lynwood

•       Rivera Christian Church, Pico Rivera

•       Community Worship Center, Gardena

•       LA Korean Christian Church, La Crescenta

This summer we celebrated two more classes in DSF’s CMS (Certificate of Ministry) program. We have now had over 100 pastors and laity who have participated in this educational program graduate!

We have been blessed to have a number of our pastors and laity involved and actively engaged in the Poor Peoples Campaign led by Disciple leader The Rev. Dr. William Barber! Even now, our Region is hosting an Immigration Immersion Project involving youth and young adults from across our Denomination as well as those right here in the PSWR with the purpose of understanding, educating, and seeking responses to the issues of immigration and the impact on our brothers and sisters of color.

The PSWR was well represented at both our National Hispanic Assembly in Phoenix, Arizona and our National Convocation in Birmingham, Alabama. The PSWR was involved in both leadership positions and program participants! Our National NAPAD Convocation is coming up in August and again we will be well represented by staff, pastors and laity from the PSWR!

There is lots more good news around our Region including several Installations, Ordinations, and FCC San Bernardino celebrating their 150th Anniversary.

This is just a glimpse of some of the good news happening here in your Region and the way in which together we are answering the call of our General Church’s 20/20 vision for being a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. 

We continue to seek ways to live into the four priorities of our General Church:

• Formation of 1,000 new congregations by 2020

• Transformation of 1,000 current congregations by 2020

• Leadership development necessary to realize these new and renewed congregations

• Becoming a Pro-reconciling/Anti-racist Church

As well as our Regions goals:

·     To be One Church

·     To be a Missional Church 

·     To develop vital, healthy, growing congregations

·     To be a well organized and administered Region

So we invite you hold onto these words from the Apostle Paul:

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”~ Philippians 4:8-9

Together on the journey,
Don and Susan
Your Regional Ministers

AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt

The 14 Youth and Adult Chaperones have had an amazing few weeks touring Washington DC and Richmond, Virginia! They have been to amazing historic locations such Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown and the Jamestown settlement. They have also seen statues dedicated to iconic people such as Martin Luther King, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. They have also toured incredible Museums like the new Smithsonian African American Museum of History, the Holocaust Museum, and the Museum Of The Bible.  The Youth and Adult Chaperones are so excited to bring back the knowledge and experiences they have had back to our Region and to their individual local churches. Please keep our Youth and Adults in your prayers for continued learning!

AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt

by Sloan Hamilton, Camp Manager at Loch Leven

While we wait on the official ValleyFire update, I wanted to share some thoughts on the rescue of the Thai soccer team (AMEN) and one of the ways that story hits “home.”

A fair topic of conversation around the rescue has been about how “reckless” it was that the boys went in the cave and that coach allowed it.

At Loch Leven, we have a small group of trained staff, but most of our groups (PSWR and others) rely on volunteers. One of the points we stress with campers and volunteers is that what may be safe for some, may not be safe for all. Also, an activity one volunteer may be comfortable monitoring and keeping safe, another may choose to stop altogether because they aren’t (a good pillow fight is my example here). I can easily imagine a couple of those soccer players being very comfortable going in and out of the caves, and maybe others weren’t sure. Maybe coach said, “here is ok, but not there” and then 8 of 11 boys went that way anyway. Have you ever tried to stop that kind of momentum?! I can easily imagine coach shrugging and following the boys deeper in the cave saying, “ok, but only for a minute.”

We need to celebrate his commitment to keeping those kids inspired and alive “once the damage was done.” You’re a hero, Coach, even with your mistakes.

Recently at Loch Leven, campers told me they went on a hike a found a rope swing. They were very excited. (We have a rope swing on camp – a regulated activity – but this was not that). As a kid, I would have been ALL OVER THAT! As Camp Manager, I made a face that clearly indicated I was about to rain on this parade. “Don’t worry” one of them said, “we checked it out; it was safe!” As much as I love that they knew safety was my concern for them, I couldn’t help myself. “Phew! So what criteria did you use? What the rope static or dynamic? What is it rated? How many hours has it been hanging there? How many participants have used it? How many hard falls has it experienced? Was the area in contact with the tree protected with a cambium saver? Who tied the knot? What type of knot did they use? What was the radius of clearance?” (And I’m not even trained to run our own ropes programs). The campers shook their heads, laughed at me, and left to tell their story to someone who could celebrate with them. I understand. I can take it.

At camp, we are responsible for ALL the children, some of whom I have never met. Parents are trusting us to care at the level they do and yet we don’t know all the parents either. Groups of campers are easily susceptible to “monkey see, monkey do”, peer pressure, etc. How many of those Thai kids’ parents would have been right there exploring the caves and how many parents would never have let their child within 20 feet? At camp, keeping kids safe sometimes comes at the expense of spontaneous play. We have many entities and organizations who help us figure out how to do this, how to balance it all. Our staff goes through continuing education and trainings throughout the year. We check and double check and try to make the right decision every time. Obviously, we have great groups of smart, dedicated, volunteers helping with programs – we couldn’t do it without them.

  Sloan Hamilton, Camp Manager at Loch Leven

Sloan Hamilton, Camp Manager at Loch Leven

Today, though, with the rescue of the last Thai soccer player and the #ValleyFire a few miles away, I am feeling very fortunate for the dedicated, trained, safety-minded professional staff we have caring in a way we cannot expect of kids themselves or of volunteers, yet a way every camper and person who loves them needs us to.

AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt

The search process for the new Regional Minister of the Pacific Southwest Region (PSWR) is in full swing. Our next Regional Minister will take the helm in the fall of 2019. This article will explain the process and the timeline that we, as the Regional Minister Search Committee, are following and will let you know how and when you can help us discern the person God is calling to this place for a time such as this.

We are at an important point in our process, and that is gathering information from the members of the PSWR that will be used to develop a Regional Profile and Regional Minister position description. These documents will be sent to all people interested in applying for the position. We are currently meeting with various committees and ministry groups of the Region. AND NOW WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

There are two ways you can provide input. First we are holding listening sessions in select congregations throughout the region which are open to all. See the list below for locations and dates of these listening sessions. Second, we have posted an online survey for individuals to complete

We sincerely hope you will attend one of listening sessions and/or complete the online survey.  This is your opportunity to express your views about the current and future direction of the PSWR, what you would like to see in our next Regional Minister, and how your own church is doing at this time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Church of the Valley
6565 Vesper Ave, Van Nuys, California 91411
(English and Spanish)

Wednesday, July 18, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
First Christian Church, Riverside / Iglesia Nueva Vida
4055 Jurupa Ave, Riverside, CA 92506
(English and Spanish)

Thursday, July 19, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
First Christian Church, Santa Barbara
1915 Chapala Street, Santa Barbara, California 93101

Sunday: July 22, 2018, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
First Christian Church, Fullerton / Casa de Oración
109 E Wilshire Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832
(English and Spanish)

Saturday: July 28, 2018, 10 AM – Noon
Abundant Life Christian Church
3500 Normandie Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

 Sunday: July 29, 2018, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Wilshire Korean Christian Church
3435 Wilshire Blvd., Suite #101, Los Angeles, CA 90010
(English and Korean)

Sunday: August 5, 2018, 1:00 - 2:30 pm
University Christian Church
3900 Cleveland AveSan Diego, CA 92103
(English and Spanish)

For those of you who like to see all the details, our search process is following the “Manual for Regional Search Committees Seeking a Regional Minister In the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)” that was written by the College of Regional Ministers and approved by the National Church in 2017. Here is a brief timeline of our process:


To close, in recognition of the central role God plays in our process, our Committee has committed to be in prayer with each other every Thursday at 7:00pm. Regardless of where we are physically located, this prayer time spiritually bonds us. We invite you to join us in this prayer life.  

In gratitude and prayerful thanksgiving to our Living God…
The PSWR Regional Minister Search Committee

 2018-2019 Regional Minister Search Committee (Top photo L-R): Tom Perring, Larry Morris, Carol Warsaw, Lydia Yang, Joi Robinson, Louise Sloan-Goben, Cathy Perring, Ben Bohren, Rogelio Martinez, Ed Ramolete. (Bottom row, L-R): Janette Jara, Judy Hong, Rip Rippetoe, Shobie Lopez 

2018-2019 Regional Minister Search Committee (Top photo L-R): Tom Perring, Larry Morris, Carol Warsaw, Lydia Yang, Joi Robinson, Louise Sloan-Goben, Cathy Perring, Ben Bohren, Rogelio Martinez, Ed Ramolete. (Bottom row, L-R): Janette Jara, Judy Hong, Rip Rippetoe, Shobie Lopez 

AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt

By Revs. Don Dewey and Susan Gonzales-Dewey, Co-Regional Ministers

In 1964, Grammy Hall of Fame songwriter Bob Dylan released the hit song: “The Times They Are A Changin'" in response to the unrest sweeping the country at that timeIn this present turbulent time, where there seems to be an ever increasing polarization and a growing absence of basic civility, Dylan’s song appears to be relevant again for a new era of challenge and change.

As we prepare for our upcoming Regional Assembly, there is always so much excitement leading up to our time together as a Regional family. Every year we have the opportunity to come together for a time of worship, learning, fellowship and inspiration to strengthen our individual as well collective ministry as Disciples of Christ.

This year is no different. However, because of this growing divisiveness in our nation that seems to be undermining our basic values and creating fear and discord in every sector of our communities, our call as Disciples to be a community of wholeness in a fragmented world is needed more than ever. 

Therefore, our Regional Assembly planning team has chosen as our theme: COURAGE, based on two important scriptures: Micah 6:8 and Mathew 5:13-16. We believe as followers of Jesus Christ that we are called to be courageous in giving witness through our lives and our words of what it means to live as a beloved human family. We need to be courageous in lifting up the values of love, compassion, justice and peace so that we can be active participants in God’s redemptive mission in the world.

To guide us in this important conversation the team has broken down our theme into four key areas which will be the focus of our worship and keynotes: Courage to Listen, Courage to Change, Courage to Speak and Courage to Act.

We are thrilled to announce that two of our keynote speakers this year will the Rev. Dr. William Barbour, Disciples of Christ leader for the new Poor Peoples Campaign and the Rev. Terri Hord Owens, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)! These two powerful voices will be addressing our Assembly on what it means to be courageous as we seek to follow in the way of Jesus. Read more about our keynote speakers.

This Regional Assembly will be our last assembly as your Regional Ministers and so we look forward to this opportunity to gather with you one more time and celebrate both the challenges and the changes in the ministry we have done together. We pray that this will be a time in which we can all be inspired to face the future with courage and hope as we answer our call to be salt and light in the world, living humbly, seeking righteousness, and doing justice.

Yes, the times, they are a changin’!

Together on the journey,
Don and Susan
Your Regional Ministers

AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt