By Rev. Don Dewey and Rev. Susan Gonzales Dewey, Co-Regional Ministers
Goodbye 2018. Hello 2019. Another year has past and a new one is before us. Like every year that goes by, 2018 was filled with lots of events that impacted our world. We were deeply saddened by another senseless shooting at Parkland school. Uncertainty and turmoil continued in our political world with White House departures, firings, and resignations, Robert Muller’s Russia investigation and the Brett Kavanaugh nomination. We also lost many significant persons in 2018: President George H. W. Bush, Barbara Bush, Aretha Franklin, John McCain, Stephen Hawkins and other notables.
This last year brought other events that raised our consciousness about important issues facing our communities. In March 2018 we saw the March for Our Lives, a student-led demonstration in support of stronger gun violence prevention measures. Scientists and others affirm the need for stronger climate controls. The detention of families and children at the border as well as the “Caravan” controversy reminded us the need for immigration reform.
These and other events were a part of 2018 that affected our nation and our world.
The Region also experienced changes that have impacted our ministry together. This past year we lost several faithful Disciple pastors who have gone on to glory: Ray Akin, Bill Cuzner, Ruth Ann Moran, Hallam Shorrock, Steve Willis and Byron Johnson. We also had congregations decide to close their visible ministries: Pasadena Christian Church and Wilshire Christian Church.
This past year, 2018, we also celebrate lots of new things for our Region’s ministry. We launched three new congregations: Beloved in San Diego, Life Ministries in Los Angeles and Missiongathering in Pasadena. We launched our new Acts 2 program to support, resource and empower new and transforming congregations and courageous leaders as they guide the Church into life-giving expressions of new ministry for this era of God's mission.
In 2018 the Region purchased a Retreat Center in Fallbrook to support the growing retreat ministry of several of our Hispanic congregations and as a resource for District 8 congregations and the rest of the Region. We also were able to move into our new Regional Disciple Ministry Center in Fullerton and host one of our best Regional Assemblies!
This past year, the PSWR hosted several important events including the REVIVE Conference, Stewardship Training with Rev. Dr. Bruce Barkhauer and co-host the THRIVE Conference with Rev. Dr. Ruth Fletcher. We also hosted another delegation from the PROK (Presbyterians of the Republic of Korea), with whom we have a partnership.
In addition, our youth and young adult ministry had a very active and productive year. Starting with their 2018 Unite conference, summer camps, a new Immigration Immersion program, Youth and Young Adult retreat, Global Service Projects in Hawaii, Mexico and Washington DC, as well as a trip to Israel-Palestine.
Yes, it was a full year of changes and exciting opportunities for our Regional ministry together. We anticipate that 2019 will be just as impactful with new changes and opportunities ahead of us.
As we settle into our Regions new Disciple Ministry Center, we are already experiencing exciting opportunities with our partners FCC Fullerton and Casa de Oracion Fullerton, as well as others who are finding our new space a great place to be. In the mean time, our Region’s Search Committee for a new Regional Minister has been hard at work as we prepare to step down after our 12-year term, which ends in October.
We are honored and blessed to serve as Regional Pastors these past few years and look forward to one more year ministering together with each of you. We know God has great things in store for this Region, not only for 2019 but for many, many years ahead. Thank you for the privilege to partner in ministry with you and may God grant you many blessings in this coming year!
Together on the journey,
Don and Susan
Your Co-Regional Ministers