2022 Reflections from Our Pastor
Dear Mission del Sol Community,
Grace and peace be to you in our second year together. It feels like I just started and we have been together much longer all at the same time. I am proud of us. I am proud of leadership as they made many pivots to make our ministries happen this year. Not every church community has done that. We have supported each other and tried new things. I am grateful of the many ways we have served as God's hands and feet this year. We have tried out some new projects and held on to long ones. I am especially grateful for our vision work about what mission means for us. I hope you read more about that below. I have loved our worship services. The music, the participation, and the ways the Holy Spirit has moved in and around us. I hope you found them engaging and a place to grow in your faith. I am overwhelmed by the generous spirits and the anticipation of what God is doing in this place. Thank you for the ways you have taken part in the Mission del Sol community and given your time, talents and financial resources. Below is a short report of the life and ministry of Mission del Sol. We have done a lot this year! A special thanks goes to the staff for all the extra work they put in to make our ministry a success.
You will see the report is broken into the four areas of our ministry: Serve, Grow, Connect and Give. Under each area there is a short summary of our activities, the work on our leadership goals for the program year and some hopes for the coming year. Make sure you take a few minutes to watch the highlight videos of some of our ministries. Below you will find a link to the agenda for our congregational meeting on May 15, 2022. You can join in person or via Zoom in the link below.
At the meeting we will vote on the pastor's terms of call, a slate of nominees, and hear a few updates from me about the future. We will also hear a report from the Finance Commission about how we ended 2021 financially, the Vision Campaign and present the 2022 budget. Please contact me if you have questions about anything we are talking about.
I want to thank the Nominating Committee for their diligent work in filling our open spots for leadership. Please thank Greg Allemang (Chair), Bill Gunther, Diane Seller, Jayne Prohaska and Flori Welty for their work.
I hope you have found God in the life and ministries of Mission del Sol. Thank you for your patience, grace and ideas as we follow God's call for us. We all play an important part in our community. Thank you for sharing your gifts. See you at the meeting!
Serving God and others is at the heart of our ministries. With the help of the Churches in Mission Cohort, a Lilly Funded Grant out of Western Seminary, we have been discerning what mission and serving means to us. We completed neighborhood conversations and congregation surveys to learn what our neighbors need and how we can help.
The Elders and Deacons have defined how "mission" is more than just a word in our name. Mission is how we live out our faith by serving as God’s hands and feet wherever we go. We hope this statement resonates with you and why you join us to serve God in the community. Thank you to our Cohort team, George Prohaska, Susan Hernandez, Doug Brown, Mike Herrman and Pastor Kelsy for their work each month.
And have faithfully lived out our call to mission through a variety of monthly commitments: donating food for the Guadalupe Presbyterian Church Food Bank, packing sack lunches for the East Valley Men's Center, loading groceries at St. Mary’s Food Bank, and delivering food for Meals on Wheels. For four weeks this past year we also hosted Family Promise, participated in a Habitat for Humanity building project, and gardened at St. Vincent de Paul to help provide food to underserved individuals. We started our Family Mission Projects meeting where once a month, families with kids in Elementary through High school do mission projects together. We want to develop a heart for mission in our young congregants at an early age and these monthly projects done with family members have not only been fun, but have begun to lay that foundation and familiarity with mission. Thank you to the dedicated Deacons who have led and guided us through many of these projects.
In the next year we hope to focus our local energies on hunger and homelessness. This work will include opportunities for us to evaluate the mission partners we have and develop some new ones. We are excited that as pandemic restrictions decrease we will have increased opportunities to go on a mission trip(s) in the coming year.
We have worked towards our SERVE GOAL of addressing/engaging a social justice issue by choosing to focus on food insecurities and immigration as social justice issues to engage. Each month we have included “Justice Notes” in the weekly Soundings calling attention to education opportunities and things to learn about related to food insecurities and immigration. In May we had our first hands on learning project at the Welcome Center for asylum seekers.
Greg Allemang, Class of 2025 - Elder for Nominating (3 Years)
Chris Brown, Class of 2025 - Elder for Special Projects (3 Years)
Karen Bruggeman, Class of 2023 - Elder for Christian Education (1 Year)
Larry Langer, Class of 2024 - Elder for Facilities (2 Years)
Liz McKenna, Class of 2024 - Elder for Congregational Life (2 Years)
Sue Neel, Class of 2025 - Elder for Membership (3 Years)
Chuck Zimmerman, Class of 2025 - Elder for Stewardship (3 Years)
Jill Hewitt, Class of 2025 (3 Years)
Jayne Prohaska, Class of 2025 (3 Years)
Maria Richards, Class of 2025 (3 Years)
OPEN, Class of 2025 (3 Year)
Jen Rake, Class of 2025 (3 Years)
Carrin Rowe, Class of 2025 (3 Years)
We have grown through fun, engaging and faith filled worship. Throughout the year we have adjusted how we worship due to pandemic constrains but continue to grow in depth and numbers averaging 100 people in worship online and in person. We continue to have our services streamed online via Facebook and our website. Some of the worship highlights have included our Advent and Lent bags delivered to each family in the church, our devotionals written by members, Elders, Deacons and Staff, handmade Easter banners made during our Wednesday evenings during Lent and beautiful song filled Advent services. Right after Easter we hosted our first annual Blessing of the Animals service in the front courtyard with about 25 pets where pet owners bonded over their love for their pets and how God blesses us through His creation of animals.
Our music programs have continued to thrive including the Mission Bells and Mission Chorale who continue to lead us with great music each week. Plus our new Heart and Sol Worship Band has been a great addition to our Sunday music. We are grateful for Smith Graham and Beryl Elwood who have lead us faithfully with hymn sings, special music and congregational singing. Thank you!
This fall we began Sunday school from preschool through adults. Our preschool and elementary school had Sunday school during worship, our C.R.E.W. Youth Group began meeting every week and our Adults hosted two Sunday school classes each week. We hosted the Urban Mission Trip with 15 youth serving around the East Valley. Our whole congregation especially our young families enjoyed successful Advent and Lent Festivals which helped to prepare our hearts and minds for Christmas and Easter. We have done a lot even though we have not had a Christian Education Elder all year. We continue to look for a Christian Education Director for this coming year. A special thanks goes to the commission for their hard work without a dedicated leader and Karen Bruggeman for her leadership. We hope that we will successful fulfill this position soon.
We have worked towards our GROW GOAL of having more new people involved at Mission del Sol by hosting events that gather our community and neighbors together including trunk or treat, neighborhood caroling, a neighborhood block party and our Blessing of the Animals service. We continue to learn the joy that comes from inviting our neighbors, sharing experiences and get to know those around us. We hope to continue to bring our neighbors together to grow in our faith.
Even though the pandemic made it difficult to connect, it did not stop us from connecting with each other. We have gathered after worship at hospitality each Sunday, supported each other through small groups like our Virtual Happy Hour, Yoga classes, Hiking group, Sunday discussion groups, and Wednesday Book Study. We sent boxes of Sunshine to our college students and homebound members and gathered for church work days. And we have invited our neighbors to join us in these connections. A special thanks goes to the Congregational Life commission for their help to make all these activities possible. In particular, thanks to Colleen Pope who stepped in to guide our team in the absence of the Elder overseeing Congregational Life.
This year we have celebrated new members and grieved the loss of long time members. But what is most important are these continued connections that bring us together and closer to God. It is these people that we lean on for support, guidance and prayer.
As you can tell we have worked hard to complete our CONNECT GOAL of developing small ministry groups for the church and community, to make social, emotional and spiritual connections. Each of our Deacon and Elders have taken on the responsibility to complete a small group activity which has helped us connect in new ways.
Thank you for giving your time, talents and financial resources this year! We ended 2021 well even in the midst of this pandemic. With funds to give staff end of the year bonuses for their extra work through the pandemic and raises for 2022. Our 2022 pledge campaign exceeded our expectations in gifts meaning that we are able to give our pastor a raise as well as fund our GIVE GOAL of hiring a Christian Education Director. While we have been searching for this position to be filled, we have not found the right person yet. Please pray for the right person at the right moment to come into our lives.
We are grateful for Dominic Fenton’s work to keep our campus clean and ready for whatever programing comes up. As well as Jennifer Grimes, our Administrative Assistant, for her organization and dedication to being a welcoming presence in the office. We end this year in gratitude to George Allman for his years as our Finance Secretary. We hope to celebrate his work with us in the coming weeks and welcome a new Finance Secretary.
We completed our 2020 Vision goal giving a total of $437,800, lowering our debt on the sanctuary by $350,000 and increased our Mission and Maintenance funds by $43,800 each. Because of your generous pledges to the 2022-23 Vision campaign we have met our pledge goal which will help lower our debt over the next two years. Thank you for your financial gifts.
As you can see from the above activities in our Serve, Grow and Connect areas we are sharing our time and talents with each other. A special thanks goes to all our leadership rolling off our leadership teams including Elder Clyde Parks, Elder Jeanne Koba, Elder Dennis Richards, and Deacon Marica Clark. We couldn’t do it without you.
Below are the financial report for 2021 and the budget for 2022. Please contact Steve Rowe or Gordon Parnell through the Church office with any questions.