Archive for Church Transition

Congregational Care ZOOM Gathering #2

We’re having another congregational care ZOOM gathering on April 22 at 7:00 pm. We had 13 people on the call in March. It seemed like everyone appreciated the opportunity to have time together. Again, we’ll provide any updates we have and open the time for discussion and sharing. Contact Susan at 408-729-6957 or by email.

Pastor’s Note: Leadership Update

Dear Friends,

Blessings to you during these Great 50 Days of Easter. It is with gratitude and joy I wish to share an update regarding the transition of SJ First to becoming the Flagship Hispanic/Latino United Methodist Church in the Annual Conference, a Center for Ministry in Downtown San Jose.

On Wednesday, March 17, members of the Vision Leadership Team elected a new Hispanic/Latino Nominations Committee. This action was authorized by District Superintendent, Rev. Samuel Hong. The vote was 8 support, 0 oppose, 1 abstention. The new members of the Nominations Committee are Emma Carmen Diaz Rodriguez, Josefina Flores Acebedo, and Alma Delia Martines. These persons were affirmed in part because of their Christian character, commitment to the church, and are well-respected among Hispanic/Latino members and constituents.

Following the VLT meeting, members of the new Nominations Committee met with Pastor Gerardo for a significant amount of time to consider and pray about the nomination of new Hispanic/Latino leaders and officers to be elected at the Special Charge Conference, authorized by Rev. Hong.

On Sunday, March 28, members of the Special Charge Conference, upon recommendation of the Nominations Committee, elected Hispanic/Latino leaders and officers to serve as members of the Vision Leadership Team, Trustees/Finance, Staff Parish Relations Committee, and Worship Team effective May 1, 2021. The vote was 8 support, 0 oppose, 0 abstention. Other committees, such as UMW Leadership Team, Inclusion Team, and Altar Guild are to be supplied at a later date and will likely be elected at the Fall 2021 Church Conference.

I am so very thankful for those leaders and officers who have labored for Christ and served on various committees and ministries over the years: Ron Hunt, VLT Chair; Kristin Huget, Treasurer; Susan Cassens, Membership Secretary; Ellen Shaner, UMW President & Alt. Lay Member to AC; Curtis Jones, SPRC Chair and members (Nancy Hellyer, Dianne Smith, Kari Wallick, Jeff Huget); Don Langworthy, Trustee/Finance Chair and members (David Cassens, Kristin Huget, Jerry Burge, Melissa Diaz); Dianne Smith, Inclusion Team Chair and members (Ellen Shaner, Kari Wallick, Kevin Crawford, Darlene Woodburn, Joan Clements); Members of the Nominations Committee (Jeff Huget, Yolanda Bernal, Ellen Shaner, Darlene Woodburn); Ray Castellon, Outreach Program Coordinator; UMW Leadership Team (Ellen Shaner, Susan Cassens, Dianne Smith, Carol Prewett, Kari Wallick, Arlene Zarou-Cooperman); Worship team (Kirk Tamura, Susan Cassens, Don Langworthy, Steven Hoffman, Abby Axtell, Nancy Langworthy, Darlene Woodburn and members of the Bell Choir, Abby Axtell, Kristeen Pemberton, Joan Clements, Don Langworthy, Perry Absher, Arlene Zarou-Cooperman, Patty Meeko, and Christian Delooper); Members of the Altar Guild (Joan Clements, Kristeen Pemberton, and Patty Meeko).

Now we pray God’s blessing upon these newly elected servant leaders: Miguel Rodriguez, VLT Chair; Iris Álvarez, Lay Leader; Yaritza Hernández, Treasurer; Maria Cordova, Membership Secretary; Jessica Cornejo, SPRC Chair and Members (Bertha Hernández López, Patricia Alvarez, Horacio Lopez, Romana Ramirez); Members of the Trustee/Finance (Erwin Polar, Felipa Hernández Carrada, Oscar Vazquez, Yaritza Hernández, Socorro Del Real); Members of the Nominations Committee (Emma Carmen Diaz Rodriguez, Josefina Flores Acebedo, Alma Delia Martines); Horacio Lopez, Lay Member to AC; Osman Mendoza, Young Adult Rep; Marcos Garza, Open Pantry Coordinator and Team (Horacio Lopez, Osman Mendoza, Oscar Vazquez, Veronica Zuares, Manny Ponce); Members of the Worship Team (Osman Mendoza, Marcos Garza, Miguel Rodriguez, Vivian Gabriela De León, Mauricio Mendoza, Oscar Vazquez, Betzabe Díaz Garciduenas).

Pastor Gerardo and I will continue to work with our Hispanic/Latino sisters and brothers in Christ, orienting them to leadership and committee responsibilities.

I am grateful for the support offered to members and constituents by our Congregational Co-Ministers, Ellen Shaner & Susan Cassens, during this time of transition. As I mentioned in my last Pastor’s Note, Sunday, June 13 will be the last day for English-speaking services. I will, however, continue to be available for pastoral emergencies through June 30 before beginning a new appointment at a different church July 1.

Lastly, we welcome Nancy Villalobos as our new Church Administrator in training. After meeting with the interview team, and our current Church Administrator, Susan Cassens, for a significant amount of time on at least two or three separate occasions for introduction and orientation to the job, Nancy accepted the position and begins training this week. Susan will continue to work at SJ First in order to offer the necessary support and on the job training while Nancy learns about her numerous responsibilities. Nancy is bilingual and brings many gifts to SJ First. The church and community will, no doubt, be blessed by her presence.

Indeed, we give thanks to God for all that the Risen One is doing in the life of the church and community.

Grace and Peace, Jeffrey

Congregational Care ZOOM Gathering

You’re invited to join a ZOOM call on March 25 at 7:00 pm to talk about the church transition. If you’re interested in attending, we’re asking you to RSVP by March 22.

This is a congregational gathering. Pastor Jeffrey and Pastor Gerardo won’t be on the call.

There isn’t an agenda for this gathering. We’ll share any updates we have and then we want to offer this time for people to ask questions and share their feelings. We can brainstorm about the future. Do some people want to share what they know about other churches? Do some people want to attend a service at another church together (virtually, of course) and share their thoughts about what they experience?

We’d like to know: what would be helpful for you going forward? We appreciate your comments. Please let us know if you have questions you’d like us to try to have answers for on March 25.

Contact Susan at 408-729-6957 or by email.

Pastor’s Note: Church transition update

Dear Friends,

I want to update you on some significant developments regarding the transition of SJ First to becoming a Hispanic/Latino United Methodist Church. On Saturday, March 6, Pastor Gerardo and I participated in an important virtual meeting with many Spanish-speaking members and constituents where there was a shared vision and passion for SJ First to become the Flagship Hispanic/Latino United Methodist Church in the Annual Conference, a Center for Ministry in Downtown San Jose:

  • Where Hispanic/Latino people are leaders of the church they love.
  • Where cultures and traditions are woven into the theological and ecclesial fabric of the church.
  • Where the building is used for ministry to its potential.
  • Where the church is connecting with the surrounding community.
  • Where the church has space made sacred by generations past to baptize and make disciples for generations to come.

The response was inspiring. I have no doubt the bold witness of God’s light and love, and the legacy of SJ First’s commitment to acts of compassion and service, will be carried faithfully into the future by our Hispanic/Latino brothers and sisters in Christ.

The next step written in chalk

The next step in the transition takes place at our VLT meeting, Wednesday, March 17. The District Superintendent, Rev. Hong, has authorized the VLT to elect a new Nominations Committee that will be constituted by Hispanic/Latino persons. Pastor Gerardo, and me as Chair of the Committee, will present the names of those to be elected as the new Nominations Committee.

Following the VLT meeting, the new Nominations Committee will nominate new leaders and committees constituted by Hispanic/Latino persons who will be formally elected at a Special Charge Conference, authorized by the District Superintendent. The date of the Special Charge Conference has not yet been determined, but it will likely occur in a timely manner while also meeting Disciplinary requirements.

At the Special Charge Conference, the District Superintendent will identify an effective start date when the newly elected leaders and committees will officially begin, which will also likely happen in a timely manner.

Along the way, Pastor Gerardo and I will be working with our Hispanic/Latino sisters and brothers in Christ, orienting them to leadership and committee transition. Importantly, we are working with the District and Conference to identify resources that would be helpful in the orientation and training of committees.

Sunday, June 13 will be the last day for English-speaking services. I will, however, continue to be available for pastoral emergencies through June 30 before beginning a new appointment at a different church July 1.

As I mentioned in the previous Pastor’s Note, when the building can be re- opened and safely hold in-person worship services again, there will be a special worship service when all English-speaking members and constituents will be invited to mark the occasion by passing the torch, so to speak, and bless Pastor Gerardo and the Hispanic/Latino congregation as they carry the legacy of SJ First faithfully into the future.

Grace and Peace,
Jeffrey

SJ First UMC – Historical Summary

To read a full summary of San Jose First UMC’s history, including a detailed summary of the last decade, please view this PDF document.

Church building exterior

Nota del pastor

Queridos amigos,

Como probablemente ya sabrá, San José First UMC se encuentra en medio de una significativa transición en lo que se refiere al ministerio futuro y la misión de la iglesia; es decir, para hacer la transición de SJ First a una Iglesia Metodista Unida Hispana / Latina y descontinuar los servicios de habla en inglés.

Soy consciente de que las transiciones como esta son difíciles y traen consigo una mezcla de emociones, particularmente sentimientos de dolor y pérdida.

 Por favor, sepa que el pastor Gerardo y yo estamos aquí para apoyarlo en lo mejor de nuestra capacidad. Nuestras copresidentas de atención congregacional, Ellen Shaner y Susan Cassens, también estamos aquí para apoyarlo y cuidarlo a medida que avanzamos con la transición y la visión de futuro de SJ First.

Una visión para que SJ First se convierta en La Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida hispana / latino insignia en la Conferencia Anual, un Centro de Ministerio en el Centro de San José:

  • Donde las personas hispanas / latinas son líderes de la iglesia que aman.
  • Donde las culturas y tradiciones se entrelazan con lo teológico y tejido eclesial de la iglesia.
  • Donde el edificio se utiliza para el ministerio en todo su potencial.
  • Dónde la iglesia se conecta con la comunidad circundante.
  • Donde la iglesia tiene un espacio sagrado por generaciones pasadas a bautizar y hacer discípulos para las generaciones venideras.

Durante los próximos meses, el pastor Gerardo y yo estaremos trabajando con nuestros hermanos y hermanas hispanos / latinos en Cristo, preparándolos para el liderazgo.

La transición del comité. Anticipo el primer comité al que haremos la transición será el Comité de Nominaciones / Liderazgo Laico en nuestro VLT de marzo reunión. Esta acción permitirá la nominación y elección de otros comités en abril y, si es necesario, mayo.

En este momento, lamentablemente no tenemos una fecha para cuando los hablantes de inglés los servicios se suspenderán, aunque probablemente será antes del 1 de julio.

Estamos trabajando duro en esto y nos aseguraremos de compartir esa información con todos ustedes tan pronto como podamos.

En una fecha posterior, cuando podamos reabrir el edificio y mantener en persona de manera segura servicios de adoración de nuevo, habrá un servicio de adoración especial para todos.

Se invitará a miembros y electores de habla en ingles a marcar la ocasión pasando la antorcha, por así decirlo, y bendecir al pastor Gerardo y a la congregación hispana / latina a medida que llevan el legado de SJ First al futuro.

Paz y gracia,
Rev. Jeffrey Hall

Note from Pastor Jeffrey

(Nota del pastor, en español)

Dear Friends,

As you likely know by now, San Jose First UMC is in the midst of a significant transition where it concerns the future ministry and mission of the church; namely, to transition SJ First to a Hispanic/Latino United Methodist Church and discontinue English-speaking services. I am aware transitions like this are difficult and bring with them a mixture of emotions, particularly feelings of grief and loss. Please know Pastor Gerardo and I are here to support you to the best of our ability. Our Congregational Care Co-Chairs, Ellen Shaner and Susan Cassens, are also here to support and care for you as we go forward with the transition and future vision for SJ First.

A vision for SJ First to become the Flagship Hispanic/Latino United Methodist Church in the Annual Conference, a Center for Ministry in Downtown San Jose:

  • Where Hispanic/Latino people are leaders of the church they love.
  • Where cultures and traditions are woven into the theological and ecclesial fabric of the church.
  • Where the building is used for ministry to its potential.
  • Where the church is connecting with the surrounding community.
  • Where the church has space made sacred by generations past to baptize and make disciples for generations to come.

Over the next few months, Pastor Gerardo and I will be working with our Hispanic/Latino brothers and sisters in Christ, preparing them for leadership and committee transition. I anticipate the first committee we will transition will be the Nominations/Lay Leadership Committee at our March VLT meeting. This action will allow for the nomination and election of other committees in April and, if necessary, May.

The next step

At this time, we unfortunately do not have a date for when English-speaking services will be discontinued, although it will likely be before July 1. We are working hard on this and will be sure to share that information with all of you as soon as we are able.

At a later date, when we can re-open the building and safely hold in-person worship services again, there will be a special worship service when all current English-speaking members and constituents will be invited to mark the occasion by passing the torch, so to speak, and bless Pastor Gerardo and the Hispanic/Latino congregation as they carry the legacy of SJ First into the future.

Grace and Peace,
Jeffrey