Hi Everyone,

As you know, we have been preparing to start our winter cohort shortly. We want to take this time to quickly inform you that the date has been pushed back to Thursday, February 14th.

If you are interested in joining us there is still time! We would love to have you!

A few things:
• Questions? Want to chat with someone from our team? Click here to grab a slot!
• Want to learn more on your own? Click here to read about the course!
• Ready to sign up? Click here to get started!
• PSWR Pastor or lay leader? We have scholarships! Interested in coming as a team? Let us know!
• Want to watch our latest webinar? https://www.hatcheryla.com/pl/64727
• Looking to fulfill your annual PSWR CEUs? This counts.

We have had amazing experiences journeying with our students and have included sentiments from some of them below!

The Hatchery LA Team

AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt

We have a working, permitted elevator. Hallelujah!

Staff offices are up and running on the second floor. We still have a few boxes to unpack and we are taking our time as we purchase new desks and furniture. But you are welcome anytime. We may ask you to unpack a box or take home a parting gift but come on by.

First Christian Church, Fullerton members will tour the renovated facility this Sunday, January 6th, following worship. We look forward to sharing the results with the congregation whose gift initiated the opportunity to relocate our Regional ministries to Fullerton.  Their outreach ministries, sharing a hot meal ministry and providing hospitality to a large 12-step group, continue weekly. FCCF anticipates providing Worship and Wonder experiences to their own community and to the broader Regional congregations.

Casa de Oracion, Fullerton will begin the new year worshipping in the Fellowship Hall and providing children’s ministries in the renovated first floor of the West Wing. These dedicated spaces will be available to the entire Region during Regional Assemblies and Gatherings.  

Our phone transition has taken much longer than we expected. Good news: we will retain our long-standing phone number (626 296 0385). Bad news: AT&T, despite four months prior notice, will not be able to complete that connection until January 14th. In the meantime, please use our temporary number: (714) 459 0970. If you receive a busy signal, please bear with us and call back.

January’s calendar is a busy one. The Disciples Ministry Center will host a two-day retreat for the Committee on Ministry and several one-day retreats for the Regional Ministry Search Committee, Regional Board, and Regional Staff.

If you are planning Regional ministry events, please contact Janelle Vannoy atassist@disciplespswr.org to submit a calendar request.

AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt

Ryan Pryor, Pastor at Mission Hills Christian Church, was a graduate in the first cohort who took our twelve-week Certificate Course in Spiritual Entrepreneurship. We talked with him recently his ministry and how the program impacted the work he is doing.

Ryan, a graduate of Fuller Seminary, was seeking to bring fresh things to his community and had a lot of vision, hopes and dreams for long term revitalization of both his church and the community they serve.

Ryan started his ministry, which he calls ‘essentially a re-plant,” a little over two years ago. He started from scratch, and has had to figure most things out on the job. His focus was on spiritual innovation, asking the question, What do people in general in the 21st century need spiritually and in particular what did the Mission Hills community need? And along with that he is asking larger questions about the future of Christianity in the U.S. What will it look like? Putting those questions into practice in real people’s lives has been the focus in the two years he has been at Mission Hills.

It was his desire to explore the implications of these questions that drew him to our program. The Certificate in Spiritual Entrepreneurship is designed to help people think through questions like these in a focused and practical way, giving not only the necessary tools to explore theological innovation, but also adding models for working through change in a congregation, community or venture in ways that lead to transformative outcomes. Ryan said that one of the helpful concepts he gained from the program was the MVB, or Minimum Viable Benefit, which is one of the tools we offer our students as a means of focusing their energies, enabling them to determine potential outcomes and risks and achieve desired goals in effective ways. “There are so many people all over Los Angeles who are interested in issues of spirituality, who have come to Mission Hills because they are finding that what we are talking about and the kind of community we are creating resonates with their hopes and needs,” Ryan said. The class has helped Ryan refine his vision, take the risks and learn how to make necessary adjustments while things are in motion.

“The questions that you are asking right now are the questions that are going to innovate the future of Christianity in church communities wherever you are. For those who are burned out, there are places you can go and there is a way forward, there is a place for you and Hatchery and its programs are one of those places.” (Click below to view video interview)


If like Ryan, you are asking questions about what the future of your community looks like, or you are wrestling through how to effect transformation and change, or you want to learn how to ask new theological questions, we invite you to check out our course and the other offerings we have on our website: https://www.hatcheryla.com. A new cohort starts end of January!

AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt

by Ted Oden, Member of First Christian Church, Torrance

At our Regional Assembly last month, I asked Susan [Gonzales Dewey, Co-Regional Minister] if our region or even our entire national Disciples ministry had any, or supported any mental health programs. Her answer was that there may be local community activities, but no, there was nothing that she knew of at the regional or national level.

My interest came from participating in an ecumenical faith community panel where we were asked to provide input as to what we are doing to support and educate those affected, and address the skyrocketing rate of suicide in our culture's youth. 

The request came from the Volunteer Center in Torrance, a non-profit with access to funding and a mission to effectively meet the needs of our local community. 

During our session, we were told that in 2012 sociologists noticed that the teen suicide rate began increasing significantly. Also significant is the fact that although smart phones were introduced earlier, 2012 was the year that the United States became saturated with smart phones. This saturation includes our youth. 

Along with smart phone saturation came isolation, cyber bullying, and other historically anti-social behaviors. While there is no direct causality, there is a definite correlation between smart phone use and increased mental health problems such as suicide. 

According to Dr Jean Twenge, author of the book iGen, teens on average log 6 to 9 hours of non-education smart phone use PER DAY. She challenges parents to limit their children's non-educational smart phone use to one hour per day and to replace it with healthy alternatives such as family time outdoors, or reading a book. Of course in order to be effective, parents must be willing to limit their own smart phone use to one hour per day. 

So what can we do? Is there anything we can do together as regional Disciples? As national Disciples?

Here are a few possibilities:

1. Start small – Compile a list of local congregation resources across the Pacific Southwest Region.

2. Increase awareness – Educate our faith community and local families. 

3. Step out in faith – Embrace this situation as the opportunity that it is, to serve our local faith and secular communities in a very real and tangible way. 

Taking these steps can make us more relevant to our communities and that can only be good for the viability of our faith communities, and can help us reach more people with the good news of the love of God in Jesus Christ.

For further information, please check the following resources:
The Volunteer Center https://www.volcenter.org/youth-mental-health
The book iGen, by Dr. Jean Twenge CSUSD

 To express interest in forming or supporting a PSWR action group, please contact the PSWR Office at admin@disciplespswr.org.

AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt

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

AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt