2023 Reflections from Our Pastor
Dear Mission del Sol Community,
Grace and peace be with you! It is hard to believe we have just completed our third year together. It has been a good year. We began the program year at our leadership retreat defining our vision for the next few years at Mission del Sol as Reaching Out with Active Hands and Loving Hearts. Whether it is through mission projects, gathering in fellowship or giving praise to our God together, we do it with active hands and loving hearts. You can read more about this below.
I am proud of us. We have been brave to try new things, to retire some things and experiment with others. This has been a great year of serving, growing, connecting and giving. I am regularly overwhelmed by the generosity, love and care we have for each other and those around us. The Holy Spirit has been doing awesome things in this community! Just look around, read the short reports or watch the videos below that tell about ministries of our community.
A special thanks goes to our staff for all their hard work, their time, attention to detail and determination. We could do it without all of us together.
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, our focus on the vision statement 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 21, 2023. 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 and other leaders about the future. We will also hear a report from the Finance Commission about how we ended 2022 financially, get an update on the Vision Campaign and present the 2023 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 Carrin Rowe 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 what it means to reach out with active hands and loving hearts. Every time we join in another mission project or walk alongside another in our church or community we participate in this active work of God.
Together we have reached out to serve our call in mission through a variety of ways: food donations to St. Mary’s Food Bank and Guadalupe Presbyterian Church Food Bank, packing sack lunches for East Valley Men’s Center, four weeks of families join us from Family Promise, monthly Family Mission Projects, a Youth Urban Mission Trip or our newest mission, I-HELP. We have reached out to a lot of lives and they have reached out to us. That is the thing about reaching out- when God is leading, oftentimes we are the ones that are changed the most.
We have also discerned a call to start a new ministry in an effort to end homelessness in our community. This is after 18 months of discernment with the Churches in Mission program out of Western Seminary. We feel strongly that God is calling Mission del Sol to provide affordable housing to individuals and families in the surrounding community of Mission del Sol. We have named this ministry Casa del Sol Affordable Housing and we look forward to telling you more about it at the Annual Meeting. Currently, we are still in the infancy stage, we have a name and are hoping to file our 501c3 application in the next week or so. Please keep this ministry in your prayers. We can’t wait for you to be a part of this exciting way to reach out with active hands and loving hearts in our community!
Fred Huff, Class of 2024 - Elder for Human Resources (1 Year)
Debi Law, Class of 2026 - Elder for Christian Education (3 Years)
Michael Herrmann, Class of 2026 - Elder Coordinating Casa del Sol Affordable Housing (3 years)
Carrin Rowe, Class of 2026 - Elder for Human Resources (3 Year)
Jan Palmer, Class of 2026 - Elder for Worship (3 Years)
OPEN, Class of 2025 - Elder for Stewardship (2 Years)
Sally Appleby, Class of 2026 (3 Years)
Jay Karlin, Class of 2026 (3 Year)
Crystal King, Class of 2026 (3 Years)
Jason West, Class of 2026 (3 Years)
Robert Rimer, Class of 2024 (1 Year)
Bill Gunther, Class of 2026 (3 Years)
Diane Seller, Class of 2025 (3 Years)
Kathy Allemang, Class of 2026 (3 Years)
Lynn Kinsey, Class of 2026 (3 Years)
Tom Minor, Class of 2025 (2 Years)
In order for us to reach out with active hands and loving hearts, we first need strong roots in order to keep us grounded in our faith and life in Christ. We have done that through engaging sermon series, special services, Lent and Advent bags delivered to families, devotionals written by our Elders, Deacons, Staff and Pastor, vesper services, Worship in the Park, Blessing of the Animals, Lenten Art, and Wednesday Soup Suppers including our art projects. It is the steady faithfulness of us coming together to worship that reminds us why we reach out to others.
Our music ministries have served to deepen our faith and are ways that our members have reached out to the community sharing their heart with us each week. Thank you to Smith Graham, our Music Minister for the weekly musical leadership of the Mission Bells, Mission Chorale, and Heart and Sol Worship Band. We also celebrated Beryl’s retirement this year and welcomed Juhee Park to the organ and piano benches. We thank you all for your faithfulness and leadership as you guide us through worship.
From our youngest kid to our oldest member, there has been a way for folks to grow in their faith through Christian Education. Along with regular Sunday school for our elementary kids, adults and C.R.E.W youth group’s regular gatherings, we have had opportunities to deepen our faith by asking tough questions and learn more about the Bible. We also held our Advent Festival and the EGGstravaganza as fun opportunities for us to learn about God during the holy seasons of the year. Our Social Justice Commission offered several one time educational opportunities for us to learn about justice in our community including Cafe Justo coffee and the work of St. Mary’s Food Bank.
These core activities help us to really be able to reach out with active hands and loving hearts. I hope you had a chance to participate in some of them. If not, make sure you make space to deepen your faith this year!
We don’t just reach out with active hands and loving hearts beyond our community, but within the church community, too. This year our connections have not been hindered by the pandemic. We hosted our first potluck brunch, the famous pancake supper, and special hospitality gatherings after worship. We gathered for church work days, sent Sunshine boxes to our college students and homebound members, and gathered in small groups. We also had opportunities to reach out through our Hiking Group, Sunday discussion groups, Wednesday Morning book Study, Yoga classes, Monthly Happy Hour and at hospitality each Sunday. These have been life giving for us.
We also celebrated 15 new members joining our faith community and we grieved the loss of 6 of our beloved members. Our community continues to grow and change with each of those who are with us one gathering at a time. God is reaching out to connect us.
We also have been reaching out to connect with the community so that more folks know about who we are and what we are about. We hosted our second Annual Block Party, a Trunk or Treat festival and welcomed several new groups onto our property. It is great to have folks reaching out to gather on our campus regularly!
Thank you for reaching out with active hands and loving hearts to give of your time, talents and financial resources this year! We ended 2022 well as you can see from the reports below. We were able to give our staff raises this year, add funding to our budget for important growth ministries and continue our search for the right Christian Education Director. Although we continue to search, we have not yet found the right person. Please pray for the right person at the right moment to reach out.
We are grateful for Dominic Fenton’s work in the background to keep our campus clean and ready for all of our activities. As well as the capable and faithful hands of Jennifer Grimes, our Administrative Assistant, for her dedication, welcoming presence and faithfulness to our ministry. Each of our staff give of themselves by reaching out with active hands and loving hearts. We couldn’t do any of this without the two of them.
We have had some extra asks this year including the need for a new sanctuary piano. Ours is over 130 years old and is broken beyond repair. We have put a down payment on a used concert piano that our Session hopes will be with us for the next 130 years. Please consider donating to help purchase the new piano.
We are in the middle of our 2022-23 Vision Campaign to lower the debt on the Sanctuary. This year we have brought the mortgage down to $806,901! Congratulations! In 2022 we have raised $171,198. It is because you have reached out and given extra funding to help make this happen. We were also able to have Mission and Maintenance funds this year to help with special building projects and new mission opportunities. In the winter of 2024 we will be launching our final Vision campaign and we hope you will all participate! Thank you for your financial gifts.
As you can see from the above activities in our Serve, Grow and Connect areas, we are also sharing our time and talents with each other. A special thanks goes to all our leadership rolling off our leadership teams, including Elder Karen Bruggeman, Elder Cyndi Reighard, Elder Jan Spence, Elder Nelma Shearer, Deacon Doug Brown, Deacon Dorothy Hanson, Deacon Janie Parks, Deacon Jeanette Parnell. We couldn’t do it without you!
Below are the financial report for 2022 and the budget for 2023. Please contact Steve Rowe or Gordon Parnell through the Church Office with any questions.