Newsletter – July 19, 2017

July 19, 2017

Pastor’s Letter – July 19, 2017

I am grateful to so many of you who have contributed to the Community Christian Service Agency in memory of Merrie.  Total gifts so far: $5,030, and they continue to come in.  This is really wonderful!  These gifts are immediately being put to work at CCSA to buy low-cost food from the San Diego Food Bank, to maintain modest facilities in Pacific Beach and south Clairemont, and to pay the salary of the incredibly hard-working director (yay, Connie!)

CCSA operates with very low “overhead,” with just one full-time employee and two small, crowded facilities assisting 28,000 people in need each year.  This year we are serving even more people, while spending less money to do it.  Dozens of volunteers are daily doing things like packing food and distributing it to clients, organizing clothing, screening clients and providing referrals, updating records in the office, cleaning and repair, and promotion and fundraising.

Some specific needs at CCSA right now are:

  • backpacks filled with school supplies, for their back-to-school program (information at;
  • men’s trousers and jeans, sizes 30 to 36;
  • a good, used truck to pick up quantities of donated food from generous retailers.

Financial contributions to CCSA are always welcome–you can always write a check to St. Mark’s and write “CCSA” on the memo line.  Thanks!

See you in church!


(below: A summer moment at Camp Cedar Glen.)

Newsletter – July 12, 2017

July 12, 2017

Pastor’s Letter – July 10, 2017

“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy    Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high”

Many of you know these lyrics from George Gershwin’s opera, Porgy and Bess.  The opening lines of this lullaby make it seem like life is easy, but when we look deeper we see the discrepancy of what is and what ain’t.  Life ain’t easy; there is pain and suffering in the lives of Porgy, a disabled black man and Bess, the drug addicted, abused woman he longs to save.  There is segregation and there is poverty.  There are the haves and the have nots.

I bring this up because we live in a time when some people would have us believe that it’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy, but some people don’t see it that way.  They are struggling with life and death issues, acts of exclusion, poverty, and loneliness. That is why St. Mark’s continues to reach out to the community in a variety of ways.  Here are some of the ways you can help to ease the burdens and maybe, just maybe, allow for a little easy livin’ during this summertime.

  • Hygiene Items & Socks Drive– Bring your donations for CCSA to church on Sunday, July 16 to help community families receive the basics during financially difficult times. Bins will be located by the doors as you enter the church.
  • CCSA Backpack Drive – We hope to have 75 packs stuffed with the essential school supplies for student K-9th grade for blessing on Sunday, July 23. You can bring your packed backpacks to the church any time between now and July 23. Information is found in the church office or on line at
  • Clairemont Days – Saturday, August 5, 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM St. Mark’s will be across the street meeting and greeting our neighbors, playing games, and inviting them to all the free things St. Mark’s offers; monthly pancake breakfast, Vacation Bible School, Blessing of the Animals, Annual Concert Series, Living Nativity, and more… I invite you to sign up to help host the booth for two-hours
  • Annual Yard Sale – We are offering our campus up to the community to unload and load up on gently used items. What is not sold is donated to DAV and Calexico Neighborhood House.  Donations can be dropped off beginning Sunday, July 30.  All ages are invited to help sort and sell.  Sign up in the church office
  • Sunday Church on the Beach – Sundays, August 6, 13, 20 & 27 at 8:30 AM we will celebrate church in Mission Bay at Tecolote Shores (South of Hilton Hotel). This will be an opportunity each week to share communion, participate in a mission project, hear a message in a different way, and experience God’s great creation. Bring a chair or blanket
  • Grief Share – Beginning Tuesday, August 8 at 6:30 PM, Social Worker, Lindsey Van Gorder will lead the 13-week Grief Share classes for those who are dealing with the loss of a loved one. Registration is requested.

Yes, it’s summertime, so let’s make the livin’ easy for our neighbors.  I invite you to join us by volunteering your time and resources as we make the community a better place for everyone. Check in with the office for more information.  Our number is 858-273-1480.

See you in church,


Newsletter – June 27, 2017

June 27, 2017

Pastor’s Letter – June 27, 2017

It’s hard to know what to say. Thank you for the outpouring of love and support during Merrie’s illness, and in these last weeks since her death. I have been clearly reminded of what is important in this life, which I guess is what happens as part of the joy of beginnings and the grief of endings. Kind words, simple presence, small gestures–these make up the great richness of life in community. It is true, indeed, that we are never forgotten, never alone, and forever blessed.

This Sunday we will share communion and consider Jesus’ invitation to radical hospitality in Matthew 10:40-42. Commenting on these verses, Emilie Townes of Yale Divinity School said, “Our will to achieve caring relationships is within our grasp, yet all too often, if left to our own devices, we fall short of creating and nurturing the genuine relationships in which we develop into the people God calls us to be. Pride, ego, self-doubt, and their kin keep us from connecting with each other except in self-interested ways.”

See you in church.


Newsletter – June 23, 2017

June 23, 2017

Pastor’s Letter – June 23, 2017

Last week five members of St. Mark’s and I went to Redlands, CA for the 2017 Annual Session of the California Pacific Conference. This is a time for the local church to join with other UM churches in our region to shape and vote on our Church’s work and ministries. The theme for this year’s Conference was #heretothere. Here we greeted our new Resident Bishop, Bishop Grant Hagiya and welcomed others from our denomination who led us in worship, prayers, legislative issues, celebrations, and many conversations. One of our leaders, Rev. Myron Wingfield, used the following passage to talk about the role of the Church as we consider going there.

As a result, those who had gathered together asked Jesus “Lord, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now?” Jesus replied, “It isn’t for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has set by his own authority. Rather, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:6-8)

Here is my take away from this passage and Rev. Wingfield’s meditation as I reflect on St. Mark’s journey from here to there.

St. Mark’s is a missional church. You continue to support Community Christian Service Agency (on our corner) and Christ Ministry Center (in central San Diego) to feed the hungry and help students prepare for and finish their education. This is our Jerusalem. St. Mark’s partners with International Relief Committee (IRC) to help new refugees search and prepare for jobs in San Diego and provides funding for the Linda Vista Vietnamese UMC’s outreach for a healthier community. This is our Judea. St. Mark’s continues to collaborate with the interfaith community on social justice and human rights issues. Welcome to Samaria. And St. Mark’s helps build homes and a school in Tijuana, Mexico with International Relief Teams (IRT), while continuing to provide missionary support, most recently in Fiji, where our youth played a large part in supplying new school books after Cyclone Winston in 2016 destroyed many libraries.

Yes, locally and to the ends of the earth, St. Mark’s has built bridges of hope for our neighbors. These are just snapshots of the work that has been done recently. There is so much more. We invite you to help decide where we go from here. Look for more information in future newsletters.

If you want to know more about the work of St. Mark’s in the community or about the California Pacific Annual Conference, I invite you to contact your 2017 delegates, Carol Brown, Arlene Dempster, Bob McMeekin, Karen Scanlon, and Diana Starnes. They are happy to share their take aways and perhaps inspire you to consider being part of the 2018 delegation. Sign-ups have begun.


Rev. Jeri

Newsletter – June 8, 2017

June 8, 2017

Pastor’s Letter – June 8, 2017

It isn’t every day we can do something we KNOW will make a difference in the world.

However, on Sunday, June 11, we will get to do just that — together — through Peace with Justice Sunday, a Special Sunday of The United Methodist Church.
Our gifts support efforts like these:

  • Displaced Young Mother’s Ministries Fight for Justice, Spottswood United Methodist Mission, Cotabato, Philippines. This project enables young mothers of displaced indigenous families to free themselves and their families from the bondage of poverty, exploitation, hunger and helplessness. Through education and skills training in small-business management, young mothers are empowered against exploitative schemes of traders, landlords and money lenders. The women also are technically and financially assisted in establishing their own livelihood through a cottage industry.
  • Daybreak in Alabama: How People of Faith Can Change Public Policy, Huntsville. “Daybreak in Alabama” is a series of study guides and videos that provides groups of 10-30 people an opportunity to discuss how people of faith can help alleviate suering, promote racial and religious harmony, and become advocates for Peace with Justice. The guides are a project of the Interfaith Mission Service, a cooperative founded in 1969 and owned and operated by 34 member congregations including most mainline Christian congregations, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Unitarian Universalist and Unity. Trinity United Methodist Church is a coordinating congregation for Daybreak in Alabama.
  • Safe Communities Project, Zimbabwe East Conference, creates communities with zero tolerance for violence by training 500 church leaders and 100 other community leaders from five villages in basic tools of conflict transformation.
  • The Task Force Against Racial Violence of the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy provides care for ethnic victims of racially motivated attacks.
  • The Child Action Initiative of Kasungami-Lubumbashi United Methodist Church in Democratic Republic of the Congo promotes peace through educating young people in collaboration with church leaders about the culture of violence.
    The United Methodist Church is unwilling to ignore injustice, both in the U.S. and around the world. I know you share that commitment to justice and to the ministry of reconciliation.

Would you empower local Christians from east to west to Europe and around the world to share Christ’s call for peace and justice?

Remember to bring a generous heart for the poor and defenseless, as well as a generous gift, when you come to church this Sunday, June 11.

See you in church!