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