"Charge Conference"

On Wednesday, January 25th, at 7 pm on Zoom, we will have our 2023 Charge Conference in accordance with the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church or a congregational meeting in accordance with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. Book of Order.

It is important for us to understand the meaning of a Charge Conference or a congregational meeting. At the meeting, our West District Superintendent, Rev. Mark Nakagawa, as the designee of our new Bishop, Rev. Dr. Escobedo-Frank, will give us a “charge” to go out into the world and engage the community in ministries as a community of faith of the United Methodist Church. Through our annual congregational meeting, we also recognize our membership in the Presbytery of the Pacific and our connectional relationship with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Our connectional relationships identify our spiritual partnership with all other PCUSA and UMC congregations around the world. 

One of the online dictionaries defines “community” as “a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists.”

The common characteristic that brings us together as a community is our faith in Jesus. We come because we believe in the power of the love of God in Jesus. Our common belief is based on a teaching of Jesus, “Love your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Particularities of how each of us manifests that love may differ, but our common life is based on our commitment to do our best and encourage each other to do the same and be gracious to ourselves and others in the process. 

Throughout history, the Christian Church has built its identity based on its distinction from the world. Even though it began as a universal religion focused on God’s grace for all people, Jews and Gentiles alike, it became an exclusive ideology only for those who adhered to “man” made rules. Jesus came as a Jew, a religion that believed God only loved Jews and heaven was only for Jews and declared that the love of a Jewish God was not only for Jewish children but for everyone, including the hated Gentiles, heathens, pagans, aliens, sinners, and heretics. He preached inclusivity of the kin-dom of God for all, and the exclusive Jewish religious leaders hung him on the cross. 

Like the Pharisees, the Not-Christian conservatives mistakenly believe that heaven is an exclusive place for only those who adhere to their mistaken doctrine and believe themselves to be the gatekeeper of heaven. They believe their role as doling out the ticket to their paradise only to those whom they favor. 

However, in the parable of Good Samaritan, Jesus teaches different distinctions that please God. When the man asks how he may obtain eternal life, Jesus says the “neighbor,” the person who tended to the one who was in need, is the one who will inherit eternal life. The Priest and Levite both kept away from the man lying on the road for religious reasons to make clear of their distinction from the world. However, the person who pleased God was socially unacceptable and hated Samaritan, whom the Jews believed would never be allowed into heaven.

In Matthew 25, Jesus taught that the distinction God makes is between those who feed the poor, clothe the naked, give water to the thirsty, welcome the aliens, and visit the prisoners and those who do not. Jesus said, “…just as you did to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” 

As a faith community, our distinction is not our doctrine but our faith lived out in love. Our difference from the world is that we love when the world will hate. We will be generous when the world is selfish. We will welcome the aliens while the world will send them away.  

We are to come together so we can love our neighbor as ourselves. So let us come together on January 25th at 7 pm so we can be charged to love our neighbors.

Pastor Sunny

For Your Information 

Please use this link for Zoom:

Meeting ID: 814 9910 9163

Password: 123456

Volunteer Opportunities 

Volunteers are always needed at our food pantry. We hope that you will join us in serving the community and being an agent of hope. 

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