I am excited and sad to announce my time at Loch Leven is ending. What a great adventure we have had together!  I am grateful for so many things:

The opportunity you gave me to be the steward of this incredible place.  I have learned so much about sustainability and best practices for all God’s creation who inhabit this property. The staff at Loch Leven has a genuine passion for our mission.  I am proud of what our team has accomplished. Together we have maintained “an intentionally accessible and hospitable meeting place where all guests can enjoy fellowship and spiritual renewal.”  With help, we continue to “actively promote conservation, preservation and appreciation of Loch Leven's unique environmental and historical resources.”

 The love and dedication of my Disciples family. Our Co-Regional Ministers, the Reverends Don and Susan, have been incredibly supportive of Loch Leven as well as of me, both personally and professionally. Regional Staff, Boards, Committees, Churches, and many individuals have helped us thrive these past 8 years. I value all our relationships. 

The opportunities to serve other denominations and religions.  Loch Leven hosts faith communities from churches, temples, and mosques throughout southern California. It has been inspiring to see the many different ways people grow closer to God, and each other, while they are here. It has been an honor to help facilitate the camping programs of our units and ministries as well as those from outside our denomination. I know from experience and research the potential positive development camping programs can provide. Camp Joe Ide (All People’s Community Center) and our developing Project Impact Camp within the PSWR, as well as non-PSWR programs like Camp 99 and Western Young People’s Advance are excellent examples. I feel blessed to be a part of all these life-changing communities.

The opportunity to develop Loch Leven’s role in the local community. We have partnered, sponsored, hosted, and participated in a wide variety of events with diverse entities including: ACA, NCCC, Red Cross, Department of Corrections, CalFire, SB County Department of Health, NRCS and IERCD, Citrus High School, History of SB Mountains, Scouts, and more. We have been cultivating loving, mutually beneficial relationships remembering our goal of “witnessing, loving and serving from our doorsteps to the ends of the earth.”   

The opportunity to learn about Anti-Racism and Pro-Reconciliation, especially in our culture today.  I continue to try to grow from the realization that my previous philosophies and actions are no longer helpful. I have been loud and proud and certain I was right. I am ready to be quiet and to listen.

Brothers and Sisters, I am going to miss you! Still, for my own health and well-being, I need to spend more time in the world, more time with my family, more time listening, more time learning, more time playing.  Joseph and I are relocating to the Eugene, Oregon area to be closer to family. We are buying property near their farm and look forward to tending to the garden, orchard, dogs, horses, and each other into our own retirement years.

I am excited for new leadership who will continue to build on the legacy at Loch Leven. I believe I was the right person to get us to this point.  I believe we are ready for someone with different strengths and gifts to help Loch Leven soar.  

Loch Leven, like all of you, will always hold a special place in my heart.


In peace,

Operations Manager at Loch Leven

AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt

by Reverend Heather Miner, Pastor of North Long Beach Christian Church

I became the minister of North Long Beach Christian Church (NLBCC), an elderly church located in an area of need, six years ago.  The church had no savings but had stalwart, ‘salt of the earth,’ faithful people.  We were 15 in worship.  We are now reaching towards 50. 

What happened is a series of testimonies to what God can do when churches care for one another.

The first significant event was when the Saturday night church, Holy Spirit Fellowship (HSF), closed.  They were born twenty years before out of Christ Chapel, an independent gay church in Long Beach.  Twenty years ago, they came to the elders of NLBCC and asked if they could rent the space Saturday night for worship.  Apparently, there was a lot of discussion.  But the elders decided that everyone should be able to safely worship God.  A relationship was born.  Over the years, the churches worked side by side to keep the campus safe and beautiful.  People felt free to move between the churches.  We shared a musician.  When it became clear that HSF could no longer sustain itself, they decided to go and support churches already in existence.  Ten people came into the worship of NLBCC.  Worship was filled with singing and spirit led ‘amens.’ 

But, still the problem remained of how to be welcoming to those who had children.  I prefer the model where children begin worship in the sanctuary with their parents and then have a space and time of their own with loving, faithful adults to guide them.  While I can fix toilets, preach, visit people in the hospital, and make community connections, I cannot be in two places at 10:45 on Sundays.   

Our congregation was still elderly.   Those who were comfortable working with children were no longer physically able to do so (despite the woman in the wheelchair saying she’d wheel on over and be there for them if I needed her).  And, our newer, younger members did not have a passion for children and youth ministries. 

Then, Community Congregational Church of Corona del Mar, UCC (CCCC) got involved.  I had served them as an Associate Pastor for five years.  One day, their Mission group asked me what I needed.  I responded money to pay for someone who could be a children/youth person on Sundays, help with our midweek Christian program we call Family Café, and with outreach during the week.  I created a 12 hour/week job; $600/month.  They sponsored that person and more. 

It took time to find the right person.  I made a couple of mistakes.  But the grace of the Mission people at CCCC, allowed me to try again. Finally, the right person came.  Amber attended our Family Café, which, when she first came, was limping along with the wrong children/youth leader. 

Things happened and Amber moved into the children/youth leader position two months ago.  In the six months she’s been with us, Amber has brought into our church eight people who now are the leadership for our Family Café and children/youth programs. 

Amber is a connector with a passion for people on the margins, a perfect fit for a church where those on the margins minister to those on the margins.  The people of NLBCC have ministered well to her and her children.  They welcomed her with open arms long before she took on her role with us.   When she was about to fall, they caught her, and helped her through.  The ability to help her with a financial situation was also enabled by the gift of CCCC.   

The newer people were integrated with our long term members through a weekend leadership retreat.  Our church people are on very limited incomes.  Food at the end of the month is often hard to come by.  Again, a member of a church I served in the past, asked “what is your need?”  This time, I suggested a fund so we could go on a yearly retreat together.  The retreatants connected deeply in the Spirit; a connection which strengthens our ability to minister to our community each week.

HSF and CCCC gave us a way forward.   They show how churches can truly support one another in Christ. As churches consider their mission budgets, it would be such a blessing if larger churches used some of their funds to helping struggling churches stand again.  By making it a partnership, rather than a grant process, you allow grace that enables a church to experiment until they find the right path forward.  And, you just might find yourself standing side by side someone dear and holy who you otherwise would never have had the chance to know.

Reverend Heather Miner    

Pastor – www.nlbcc.net

Coach – www.thesixthday.org

AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt

The Board and Search Committee invite nominations and expressions of interest for the position of Regional Minister(s) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Pacific Southwest Region (PSWR). We seek the leader(s) who understand(s) the diverse and changing context of the church and society, and who can offer a clear vision for ministry that draws all to Christ’s Table. The position begins on or about September 1, 2019.

Regional Profile

The warm and vibrant church family within the PSWR celebrates diversity as its greatest strength and its greatest challenge. The area served by PSWR congregations includes 12 counties across portions of California, Nevada and Hawaii. Currently, we operate with a leadership model that has Co-Regional Ministers. In addition we have Associate Regional Ministers for youth/young adults and various ethnic ministries. In the past, the PSWR had one person serving as Regional Minister with some deployed staff.  We are open to God’s call for leadership of the PSWR, with no pre-conceived idea of the future ministry model. The full Regional Profile can be viewed here.

Nominations and Application Process

The Regional Minister Search Committee will receive nominations at PSWRsearch@gmail.com .

To assure full consideration, those interested in applying for the position must submit a letter of interest by November 9, 2018. In the letter, applicants should provide their personal characteristics, qualifications and/or experiences that meet the Preferred Skills and Preferred Experiences sections of the Position Description, which can be viewed here. In addition, applicants must include contact information where they wish to receive communications from the Search Committee. Letters should be sent to PSWR Search Administrator, 5225 Canyon Crest Drive., Ste. 71-711, Riverside, CA 92507 and electronically to PSWRsearch@gmail.com .

All applicants are required to provide updated profile information and letters of reference through the Search & Call process: https://www.discipleshomemissions.org/clergy/search-call/  The application period closes and all materials must be received by December 7, 2018.

This position is a six-year term with the possibility of a second six-year term for a maximum of twelve (12) years of total service.

AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt

Each year the Regional Youth and Young Adult’s ministry provide an immersion experience for young leaders to practice and engage the tools of faith they’ve gained from their training. This year we felt compelled to extend this opportunity to young adults from around the General Church – United States and Canada. In the past we have sent young people to unfamiliar areas of the world for most of us. When considering what unique opportunities we could host for folks from around our larger Church, it only seemed natural since we share a border with another country that we tackle issues of immigration and deportation.

Immersion 2018.jpg

With the support of a grant from the Oreon E. Scott Foundation, our region hosted a 10-day immersion experience for eight young adults, four youth, and a number of adults from around the PSWR. Five days of training were provided by immigration resource ministry Matthew 25, Obra Hispana National Pastor, Lori Tapia, our Associate Regional Minister, B. J. Barlow, and conversation that engaged perspectives on racism and cultural sensitivities. The other five days took participants across the US-Mexico border to visit border patrol agents, deported veterans, and our sister church Iglesia de Las Todas Naciones in Tijuana.

The results of this project are continuing to be revealed to us. Our hope is that with the gathering of resources, personal stories, and close encounters with our immigration system, these young leaders will work to provide support and services to immigrants throughout the General Church and beyond.

To hear the impact the program had on one participant, visit: https://youtu.be/4ciShEqHPg8 or watch the video below.

AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt