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.
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,