Pastor’s Note: Hymn of Promise

Dear Friends,

Grace and Peace to you during these remaining Great 50 Days of Easter as we approach Pentecost Sunday, May 23, when we celebrate the gift of God’s Spirit lavishly poured out upon all humanity without discrimination. During this Easter Season, I pray you have experienced the Risen One bringing light, love, healing, and justice into your lives and into our world.

The transition toward becoming the flagship Hispanic/Latino United Methodist Church in the California-Nevada Annual Conference continues. Newly elected Hispanic/Latino leaders begin their work of leading the church May 1. Meetings are being scheduled in May for the Staff Parish Relations Committee; the Vision Leadership Team; and the Board of Trustees, at which time members of the Board will elect their officers. Pastor Gerardo is working very hard to ensure committee members are receiving the proper resources and orientation materials to begin their work.

Additionally, the Open Pantry Ministry, a ministry vital to the identity and values of SJ First, is also now fully in the care of our Hispanic/Latino sisters and brothers. We give great thanks for Ray Castellon and his faithful service and past leadership and pray God’s blessing upon the newly elected Open Pantry Coordinator, Marcos Garza, and the Open Pantry team.

Susan Cassens continues to work in the office, providing the critical on-the- job training and support while Nancy Villalobos learns about her many responsibilities as the church administrator. This training and support will be even more important as Pastor Gerardo and the Hispanic/Latino leadership look toward re-opening the church, perhaps sometime this summer.

Let us continue to offer our love, support, and heartfelt prayers for Pastor Gerardo and the Hispanic/Latino congregation during this time of transition as they continue to take those important steps to live fully into God’s vision and future for SJ First and the San Jose community as a whole

As you are aware, Bishop Carcaño intends to appoint me to Los Gatos UMC July 1. District Superintendent, Rev. Samuel Hong, has issued a letter to our congregation informing members, constituents, and pastors of conference policy regarding a change of appointment. While circumstances surrounding the change of appointment here at SJ First differ from many other United Methodist churches in our Annual Conference due to the discontinuation of English-speaking services June 13, the expectation is we will all abide by the letter and the policy it outlines. I know there are some of you who were considering Los Gatos UMC as your future church and may be disappointed you will not be able to attend Los Gatos for a year. I know this is a tender and fragile time for the English-speaking congregation as a whole as you let go of SJ First. Please know I care and am praying for you.

It’s hard to say goodbye, to suffer real loss…to trust the Paschal Mystery. And, yet, as followers of Christ we know “in our end is our beginning.” So, I pray for each and every one of you that this time of ending will be a new beginning. I pray you will find a church home where you will be warmly welcomed, have a place at the table, and receive the care of a pastor who will love you wastefully and lead you with heart.

I will conclude this Pastor’s Note with the Hymn of Promise, perhaps hoping we might find some strength and hope for our respective journeys ahead – our respective futures – as “something God alone can see.”

Hymn of Promise
By Natalie Sleeth

In the bulb there is a flower;
in the seed, an apple tree;
in cocoons, a hidden promise:
butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter
there’s a spring that waits to be,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

There’s a song in every silence,
seeking word and melody;
there’s a dawn in every darkness
bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future;
what it holds, a mystery,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning;
in our time, infinity;
in our doubt there is believing;
in our life, eternity.
In our death, a resurrection;
at the last, a victory,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

Grace and Peace, Jeffrey

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