As I begin my third year partnering with you in ministry as the pastor of San Dimas Community Church United Church of Christ, I wanted to share with you some updates from our annual meeting this past Sunday. It seems appropriate to call this my State of the Church address.


Family Ministry

We have begun the search for a new Family Ministry Coordinator who will oversee our ministry to children and youth. This position is different in scope from the previous Christian Education position and focuses primarily on Sunday morning activities. Until the position is filled, our Sunday School for children and youth continues on with the help of volunteers. Activities for our youth will be on the second Sunday of each month with various activities plus the third Saturday of each month with the Third Street Cinema. Our families are integral to our DNA as a church. We had one Sunday without volunteers, but a new schedule is now in place.


Your New Church Council

We elected a new Church Council at our meeting welcoming Steve Weyrick as Moderator; Alison Ekdahl as Clerk; Lisa Kopanke as Treasurer; Tim Young as Worship Ministry Leader; Mary Yonan as Missions Ministry Leader; and Joel Enriquez as Stewardship Ministry Leader. I will be partnering with these leaders to lead the ministries of our church. The changes in our bylaws allow for a more nimble council that can expand as our needs grow. We hope these changes will allow people to be involved in multiple areas of the church without having to commit to a specific committee. You can help out in the Hunger Kitchen and serve as a Worship Leader on Sunday mornings.


The Budget

Many of you saw the draft budget with a deficit of $43,985 presented ahead of our annual meeting. This was after our reduction to the education/family ministry staff budget. With roughly $39,000 unrestricted cash in the bank, approving a budget with a large deficit for the third year in a row was unsustainable. After much prayer and speaking with the council, we presented a revised budget with a deficit of $16,183 to the annual meeting. This was possible by reducing my role to half-time. This allows us to continue our ministry with the current cash on hand until the summer of 2020, giving us much more time to see the growth for which we have been working hard. It will be a leaner year, but I believe we are primed for growth.


Goals for 2018

With the reduction in my hours, three clear goals have emerged as important for 2018:

First, is to continue providing quality worship. With our recent hiring of Fredric Hallas as our Worship Music Leader, a new energy has been infused into our Sunday morning gatherings. Fred is still learning some of our songs, and incorporating some of his own favorites as he sings during the interlude and offertory. We will have a selection of guest preachers bringing their unique voices on my Sundays away.

Second, is to grow in our care of one another. Regardless of my reduced hours, I am still available anytime you need me for care. You may call or text the pastoral care phone number (626) 658-8221 anytime. Anytime I am away, there is always a backup.

Last, but not least, is outreach and impact. Focusing directly on growth is rarely a good plan. Growth is not why we exist. The council and our missions ministry have, instead, turned our eyes toward reaching out to the community around us. We believe this to be crucial in living out our vision. The Third Street Cinema and the Hunger Kitchen are our current projects which strive to reach people where they are and serve them where they are. More and more research describes the church as no longer relevant to the world around us. We hope ministries like this will show our neighbors that we care about them. As we become a church which is more relevant to the world around us, growth might just be a happy side effect.


I give thanks for the volunteers who have stepped up to fill in the administrative gaps that now exist with my reduced time in the office. I am thankful that we have Fred joining us in planning worship and volunteers covering our Sunday School. San Dimas Community Church is still alive and well. I hope to see you soon in worship or at the Third Street Cinema.

Grace and peace to you,
Pastor Matthew

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