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A Few Thoughts from the Pastor

Posted by Pastor Phil Wood on with 0 Comments

Supplemental to the submitted Charge Conference forms, I would like to share a few thoughts: First, thank you!

It’s continuing to be a privilege to be appointed here. Our Staff is superb to work with, everyone. My deepest gratitude to all—Don, Kurt, Stephanie, Susan, Greg, Kim, Diane, Yvonne, John, Kelly, Hyeyeon, and Russ!

Our elected officers are dedicated, discerning, and create opportunities for healthy and positive dialogue every time that I am with them. Our PreSchool is nothing short of a miracle, due to Stephanie and Kelly and Diane and everyone who had faith in them to move the program forward. Our Music Ministry is simply awesome. And for me, it’s great to get up every morning and come to Church, and to learn something brand new with all of you, my extraordinary sisters and brothers.

Our Church is growing! Membership is increasing, with 24 new brothers and sisters strengthening our Church family since January, and we still have a few weeks to go! Our average Sunday Worship Attendance for these first 39 weeks of the year stands at 156, which is 48% of our Professing Membership. We have visitors weekly, and the Invitation to Christian Discipleship completes every Service.

Our Wednesday Night Bible Study has an average attendance of 19. Currently we are journeying together through the Gospel of Luke. The sharing that takes place around the tables is honest, and profound, and the experience is open to all.

Open to all: The United Methodist Church! and Fullerton First continues to embody the Wesleyan example of disciplined Scriptural Holiness combined with a passion for Social Justice. The ministries of feeding the homeless and displaced continue on Saturday mornings, cooperatively on Wednesday evenings, and through distribution of food vouchers on the fourth Friday morning of the month. The monthly collections of food items is a good-natured opportunity with St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and gives us all another way to be of tangible service.

The opportunities for mission and ministry continue to grow. Recently, we have witnessed an increase of transients who are challenging to minister to. We will, in this next year, be addressing these challenges with the City, County, and State, in an effort to be faithful to Christ and to provide a safe sanctuary for all who come to our campus.

Finally, I’m always asked to say something about my personal growth: I am currently working through the wisdom of Dr. Ken Callahan and the Readiness 360+ program to assist us with the redirection and continued growth of our Church. I am reading the book written by our new Bishop, Grant J. Hagiya, Spiritual Kaizen, to help me become a better Church leader, and I continue my ongoing, life-long exploration of the Christian Mystics. My studies of the Japanese martial art Toraoyama Karate-do, coupled with Weight Lifting, are my spiritual disciplines. And I am always being renewed by spending time with our children and grandchildren and just being with Elsa, who is my All.

Regardless of language differences, there is one word that has always summed up the Christian life for me, and that word is “Forward!”. In Italian it’s “Avanti!” Forward into new life, forward into change, forward into growth, forward forever! That’s our Call and our Purpose in this New Year together; to move Life forward by the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Together let’s be about it!

Avanti! Phil

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