Pastor’s Note September 19

Dear Friends,

As you read this Pastor’s Note, we will have just celebrated the 172nd Annual Conference Session of the California Nevada Conference. I hope and trust you found time over the past four days to watch the various sessions and worship services. I am grateful for our San Jose First Lay Members to Annual Conference, Ellen Shaner and Horacio Lopez, and I know they will have much to share about their experience of Annual Conference with our congregation.

I am so very thankful for our Episcopal Leader, Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, who presided over our first Virtual Annual Conference Session with skill, adaptability, and grace. I have the privilege to serve as Chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry and, therefore, have occasion to witness firsthand her leadership.

I have come to value and deeply respect Pastor Gerardo’s ministry as a transformational leader, and so it was with pride (the good kind) and a privilege to make a motion on behalf of the Board during the Clergy Session to approve him under the category of Local Pastors approved and appointed to serve in a full time appointment. We are blessed with another year of his presence and ministry at San Jose First.

Throughout the Annual Conference Session, I was inspired by the many gifted people who spoke about Black Lives Matter. I am grateful our Bishop and Conference leadership provided the necessary prominent platform to prophetically speak to the sin of racism and the hope of Christ Jesus to heal us and make us whole in our church, community, and nation. As a congregation, beginning Monday, October 5, we will start a 5-week study on the book, Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism, written by Drew G. Hart. I am looking forward to leading that study very much and believe we have at least 10 or 11 people who have signed up.

Sunday morning, I will drive to Sacramento to be present for the in- person Service of Commissioning, Ordination, and Recognition of Orders. Safety protocols have been established and will be followed. It is wonderful that you all will gather by ZOOM at 10:00 for fellowship and prayer and then view the Service in Sacramento via livestream. This is a tremendous moment not only for those being Commissioned, Ordained, and Recognized, but also for the annual conference as a whole. I know you will be praying for me, our Bishop, and for that very special service as I will be praying for you.

Monday, September 21, I will drive roughly 7 hours to Crescent City, located close to the Oregon border, in order to represent the Board of Ordained Ministry and assist Bishop Carcaño who will commission a candidate who could not be present for the Service in Sacramento on Sunday due to health considerations. In the hope of “catching my breath,” I will stay up in that area for a few days and return Thursday. I should still have access to WIFI, although it may be spotty, and so I plan to be present for the VLT Meeting and Pastor Check-in on Wednesday.

I would like to end this note with a poem that was shared by Retiring Deacon, Diana Bohn, at Annual Conference. The poem is written by Bonaro Overstreet. It did my heart good, and I thought perhaps we might carry it with us for a season. The poem is titled:

Stubborn Ounces
(To one who doubts the worth of doing anything if you can’t do everything)
You say the little efforts that I make
will do no good; they will never prevail
to tip the hovering scale
where Justice hangs in the balance.
I don’t think I ever thought they would. But I am prejudiced beyond debate
in favor of my right to choose which side shall feel the stubborn ounces of my weight.

Grace and Peace, Jeffrey

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