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

“I am about to do a new thing;
 now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”
Isaiah 43:19a

Driving almost anywhere here in Southern California one can’t help but notice that Spring has arrived! Thanks to all of the early rains we had the mountains and hills are alive with color and as green as they can be! It is absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. Even as I walk around my yard, flowers are blooming, roses are budding, bees are buzzing, and hummingbirds are flittering here, there and everywhere!

All of these are the annual signs of nature’s rebirth. It is no wonder that the early Christian communities placed the Resurrection stories of new life in the Spring cycle. Though here in Southern California it is somewhat hard to fully appreciate the warm sunshine of Spring as much as others across the country who endured a harsher winter, we none-the-less welcome the fresh signs of new life emerging around us. 

As we travel around our Region, Susan and I are privileged to not only see the beauty of nature coming alive, but we also experience where new life is emerging amongst God’s people. We celebrate the new life happening at South Pasadena Christian Church where a new bilingual Bible Study in Spanish and English is being developed. This congregation is now tri-lingual with English, Korean and Spanish!

 We celebrate the new hope growing in our youth and young adult ministries as they take seriously the call to serve and lead in their churches. Recently, many of them participated in an Anti-Racism training designed specifically for them in order that they may be more effective and inclusive in they work to transform our churches and communities.

We give witness to new life happening in congregations that have recently called new pastors who together will create the next chapter in their faithful service: FCC Honolulu who has called Rev. Rae Karim and FCC Burbank who has called Rev. Brandan Johnson. 

We also give thanks to pastors recently ordained: Rev. Beth McQuitty and those who celebrate significant years of faithful service: Rev. Bob Bock, 50 years and Pastor Victor Ortega, 30 years!

We are grateful for the work of our Hatchery ministry who just held an amazing two-day retreat with over 30 pastors and leaders attending, becoming Spiritual Entrepreneurs. Learning skills for listening and discerning where God is calling us next in order to continue God’s mission and ministry in the world, and developing new ways of guiding the church in creative and innovative ministries to reach future generations.

Easter is just around the corner and most of our churches will be full or increased as others come seeking to experience and discover new life again. This is a wonderful time in the life of the church to once again celebrate the promise that God has the last word, and that word is LIFE! This is our hope and our joy.

In my office I have a small figurine of Saint Frances of Assisi. It always reminds me of his peace prayer that is familiar to many and so I want to share it here:

Lord, make me an instrument

of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred,
let me sow charity;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light; 

and Where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood as to understand; 

To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; 

And it is in dying to ourselves that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

As we continue on our Lenten journey to Easter I hope this will be our prayer. Part of this journey is letting go of those things that keep us from fully experiencing the new life God has for us. May we know this peace and experience the beauty of Spring within anew!

Together on the journey,
Don and Susan

Posted
AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt
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“Running the Race and Finishing Strong: How to Avoid Burnout in Ministry” was a two-day seminar presented by Rev. Angela Whitenhill, Mental Health Initiatives Manager of the National Benevolent Association on Friday, March 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, March 16, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Co-sponsored by the Pacific Southwest Region African-American Convocation and the NBA, and held at Abundant Life Christian Church in Los Angeles, this Wellness Seminar was designed for clergy and lay leaders to consider ways to navigate clergy work/life stress and to achieve balance and wellness for the long haul of their vocation. 

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It provided an opportunity for self-reflection in order to examine the unique challenges of those in ministry. Additionally, it addressed the importance of being intentional about self-care and mental health and the negative consequences we suffer when we neglect these aspects of our lives. Due to an overwhelming demand for Rev. Angela’s return, we are hoping to present this seminar again in the very near future. 

Dr. Joi Robinson, 

Seminar Coordinator





Posted
AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt

Greetings everyone!

We have been so busy around here!  In the business of innovation you have to keep moving and keeping walking into the future, always anticipating shifts, movements, growth and opportunities!  With that being said, we just launched our first round of our Phase 2: Coaching and Training program for three churches in the PSWR.   This is a five-month, customized program we have developed where we walk pastors and their teams through a process in which, what we call, a Minimum Viable Benefit is developed, tested and launched.  At Hatchery we define a MVB as the following:

The Minimum Viable Benefit offers a unique value proposition by fulfilling a discovered need and creating transformation around that need.

Working within the ecosystem of your context, a hypothesis is developed and tested around a perceived primary need that is informed by:

  • Cultural and economic realities

  • Mechanisms of connectivity

  • Models of sustainability authentic to your audience 

Developing a Minimum Viable Benefit out of a Spiritual Entrepreneurship framework empowers embodiment of agency not propped up by former models.  Rather it is released from constraints that hinder iteration and innovation.

We have just launched this curriculum for the first time after much research, development and processes of Human Centered Design to ensure that we offer our pastors with the best innovative practices for producing spiritual transformation around a felt and discovered need while also addressing issues of theological, organizational and financial sustainability.  

We have a beautiful online learning platform that allows each team to interact with each other and us no matter where they are.  We lead with a small teaching video at the beginning of the week, then there is a task to complete and the week ends with a live coaching call from one or more of our team members.

We are thrilled to be doing this ministry of innovation in the PSWR!  We believe in the future of the church, we believe in the future of the PSWR and this is our contribution to the building and rebuilding, the forming and transforming, the figuring and refiguring of things God and faith to come.  We look forward to the journey with you!

Maria French and the Hatchery LA Team   


Posted
AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt

We have dreamed of achieving a level of sustainability in camp ministry that would allow all campers to attend camp at a very low cost. The PSWR and so many individuals have been tremendously generous in helping move us closer to achieving this dream. However, as expected, the operational costs of camp continue to rise each year. Likewise, the need for scholarship monies also increases as more folks attend camp. 

To move us closer to our goal to provide support for all campers who need help, Loch Leven has absorbed the cost of much of our summer camp operations, spreading the financial assistance to all who attend summer camp. This year, instead of inviting folks to fill out a scholarship application, Loch Leven is inviting each registrant to pay the amount that best meets your financial situation. This means no additional paperwork is needed to receive a scholarship. Simply register online for camp through CampDoc and select the payment option that best suits your family. 

We hope that simplifying the scholarship process will help us all engage mindful stewardship, working together to honor those who truly cannot afford camp. We ask that as you select your payment options during registration that you will give prayerful consideration to the impact you can make in the lives of other young campers. 

Without a doubt, Summer Camp is one of the most valuable ministries we all provide young people in our region. We are proud to be able to partner with you in securing the future of camp ministry through your contributions, whatever the amount may be. 

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” – 1 Peter 4:10

To donate to our camp scholarships fund, click here and indicate “Camp Scholarships” in the comment section.

For a full list of camp dates or to register, visit our camp page.

Posted
AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt