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 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,