Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2018
Joy comes unexpectedly in the sudden appearance of angels in the sky. Joy is God
revealing God’s love for us in the invitation to come to the manger. Joy is Mary quietly
witnessing the miracle as she cradles her son in her arms.
There is much joy at North Long Beach Christian Church!
Angels continue to drop out of the sky, like Learn 4 Life which
came onto our campus in 2016. Their enthusiastic teachers love
help young people earn their high school diplomas through
independent learning. And, in 2017, Father Ramon was sent to
us, pastor of San Juan Diego Community Catholic Church. Who
knew there was a Mexican Catholic Church which welcomes into
all areas of leadership women and LGBTQ persons? With his
crew, he has made substantial improvements to our property.
For example, we now can plug in multiple items in a room
without blowing the circuit.
We witness to the joy of living in God’s love. One of our members has turned coffee hour, once a month, into a shared meal. We represented our church at the Safety Fair, Veterans Parade, and Homeless Services Summit. That’s Mava and me! Our food pantry now hands out food to over 50 people a month. This month our pantry participants received something extra—a bag with warm socks, personal hygiene items, a $5 gift card to Jack in the Box, and a hand-made Merry Christmas card, put together by the loving mission and youth teams at Community Church Congregational, UCC in Corona del Mar. They spread their love to us by sponsoring our local mission and our children/youth outreach. Sometimes the joy is so deep all I can do is smile.
On Friday December 15th, through the generosity of many, we were able to
provide gifts for our Parent Café Families, a program which strengthens families
through family fun and evidence based parent education. I stood in wonder and
took it all in during the first hour as I silently watched children playing, parents
conversing, and church members serving. The woman videoing the event came
up to me and said, “I can’t stop smiling!” Another newer church attendee painted
faces and afterwards texted, “Best Friday night I’ve had in a long time!”
And, there is the joy of completing a project. Unable to ignore the 6 foot long, 2 foot deep potholes, we had a brand new parking lot installed—a true victory for a church our size. Thank you for your help in making our Christian Ministry possible in North Long Beach. Your generosity supports many. We have much to do in 2018. We plan to expand our Parent Café program and begin some parents of young children programs with the newest member of our team, Amber Pittman. I met Amber through our Parent Café. She rose up out of homelessness and is a spark I hope will light some fires around here. Mava, too, will continue on in the New Year and has made good relationships with some of the kids in our neighborhood and is going to add his clarion voice to our praise team.
We will continue to be a place of love for people on their journeys who stop in awhile, like
we did for 15 year old Angelina who was baptized here but now must move back to Florida to
live with her Dad. And, I will turn our attention to social media seeking to reach out further to
invite people into a life with God.
Finally, we seek to support our growing music ministry and Fr. Ramon’s funeral ministry.
For our music ministry we are looking for help to purchase and install a sound system that can
work for 8 microphones for singers and a way to balance them with the small band consisting
of piano, drum and bass.