by Rev. Michael Mudgett
WHAT’S HEADLINE NEWS: Some things associated with my job as Executive Presbyter are difficult to do, this is one of those “things.” It is with bittersweet feelings I share with you that the stated clerk of the Presbytery of San Diego, Linda Therien, has decided to retire effective December 31, 2017. After more than 14 years of faithful and excellent service not only to our presbytery, but the denomination at large, Linda became a friend to many.
Her service to the church is storied. Not everyone knows that Linda served our Presbytery as vice-moderator, moderator, and chair of the Executive Committee, before coming on staff as the presbytery’s office manager (under EP Andy Smith) in 2003. She also served on the COM and as chair and on the Executive Committee as chair of COM; on the committee on representation and chair; on the Nominating Committee; on the PJC and various administrative commissions; on the Committee of Council to prosecute a case before the GA PJC; and as a Commissioner to GA at the Long Beach GA.
She began serving our Presbytery as stated clerk in 2004, and has faithfully served in that capacity ever since. Linda served our Synod in various capacities. She served: (1) on the Hanmi AC for about 15 years; (2) on the synod executive search committee that called Doska Ross; (3) and served various terms on the council, PJC and co-chair of personnel.
At the General Assembly level, Linda (1) chaired a Committee on the Constitution; (2) served as a member of the stated clerk search committee that called J. Herbert Nelson as Stated Clerk of the PCUSA; and (3) served as a member of the stated clerk review committee of Cliff Kirkpatrick.
Wow! … is the one word that just about sums it up. Thank you Linda, for your extraordinary service to the church of Jesus Christ. As her church family, we’ll have occasion to share our well wishing and encouragement for a bright and joy filled future, at our presbytery meeting on November 14, 2017, at Mt. Soledad Pres beginning at 4:00 p.m. Linda, you’re appreciated. We will miss you. You’re one of a kind.
- Job openings, that’s what! Go to the Presbytery’s website and click on “Relational” and go to “Job Openings.” There are listed 7 job openings in our presbytery. Please spread the word — let your people know. It’s a win-win. The Presbytery is looking for an admin assistant, part time at 25 hrs/week. The job description and benefits are on the website. Anyone interested can send their resume to Susan Dillaman at email@example.com.
- Volunteer handy-person needed: The South Sudanese American Presbyterian Fellowship (SSAPF), is looking for a volunteer handy-person to help with minor maintenance at the church site, 5202 Orange Ave., San Diego, CA 92115. If you have free time to lend your expertise to help with minor maintenance matters, please contact Bruce Huebner (elder at Solana Beach Pres), at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Generosity in the name of Jesus Christ! There is no shortage of opportunities to respond with aid and comfort to the litany of natural disasters and tragedies that seem to be a daily staple of our world. I want to point out two instances of generosity in response to the natural disaster that has wreaked havoc in Puerto Rico. First, when I attended the Commission of Assembly two weeks ago, we voted to send $30,000 to the Synod of Boriquen (Puerto Rico) and $20,000 to PDA for its work in disaster assistance. Second, I am glad to report that our Presbytery’s Business, Property and Finance committee (BP&F) voted to recommend to our Executive Committee that the Presbytery send $15,000 directly to the Synod of Boriquen (PR) to be ratably distributed to the three presbyteries in Puerto Rico. I have spoken with synod treasurer in PR, Mr. Wilson Jugo Rios, and he informed me that the entire island is devastated — all three presbyteries could use funds to help with relief, and that he has capabilities to receive and transfer funds to the presbyteries in PR (NW Presbytery, SW Presbytery, and the Presbytery of San Juan). Our Executive Committee approved BP&F’s recommendation and the actions will be reported out to our Presbytery in November. Stay tuned.
- Continuing the Conversation - race relations: I’m inspired by the work Point Loma Community Pres has done in developing a Forum for Race Relations — for both conversation and action. PLCPC is holding a TalkRace Symposium on Saturday, October 28, 2017, from 9 am to 4 pm, at Point Loma Community Pres Church, 2128 Chatsworth Blvd, San Diego, CA (Point Loma). See the flyer, attached below. Bring $10 for lunch. There will be several excellent presenters. Join me, and let’s engage in a healthy and robust conversation around race and what we can do, in Christ, to make our world more like the Kingdom of God.
- Bridges II: Well, at a time when it seems our federal government can’t build a wall too big or too wide on our border with Mexico, our Presbytery’s Hispanic Ministry Council (HMC) is planning the second Bridge II meeting with our brothers and sisters in the NW Border Presbytery in Baja. Speakers from our Presbytery and the NW Presbytery of Baja will speak on the issues of immigration, poverty, and violence. These Bridge gatherings are for the purpose of developing relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ across the border, learning about each other’s context, and eventually partnering on projects to serve the poor, marginalized, and underserved. I invite you to join us. Please see the attached flier for more information on how to participate. Make your reservations now!
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT, michael mudgett
- PUM (Presbyterian Urban Ministries): I’d like to lift up Chelsea Asaro, a volunteer at PUM who also serves on PUM’s steering committee, and give her a big “Thank You” on behalf of the San Diego Presbytery. She spends a lot of time updating and enhancing PUM’s website. If you know people who want to do missions in the inner city San Diego, encourage them to volunteer at PUM — show them this blurb that Chelsea shared with me: "Remember as soon as you take a step out of your front door, you have entered the mission field. You don't need to travel abroad to bring Jesus' message of hope and restoration to those in need. The Presbytery is proud to support Presbyterian Urban Ministries (PUM), a service center for the homeless and urban poor right here in San Diego. Check out their new Website at org and prayerfully ask Jesus to show you what you can do to help.” Thanks, Chelsea.
The world is in constant flux. Change is certain, both external and internal.
Look around. External world events bespeak change. We’re not the same world we were 5 years ago. Truth be told, we’re not the same world we were yesterday. We may not like change, but it happens every moment of every day in the business sectors, national scene, and international geopolitical stage.
Change is internal, too. That excites me. As a Christian, I believe the indwelling Holy Spirit is at work in my innermost being, changing how I think and act, what I value and believe, how I spend my time and what I make a priority. Internal change can unlock our God-given gifts and potential. The Celtics referred to the Holy Spirit as the “Wild Goose.” The phrase a “Wild Goose chase,” takes on a whole new meaning for us Christians. The Spirit of God is at work — pursuing us, changing us from within.
Regarding personal spiritual change, Paul told the church in Corinth, “Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!” (2 Cor. 5:17; The Message) He again emphasizes this issue of change in that letter when he writes, “And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18; NRSV) Paul is pointing to this supernatural and beautiful change that God brings about in his people through their faith in Jesus Christ. Through faith, the Spirit gets loose within us, and changes us, so that as we are blessed we become a blessing to others. God’s economy.
So what does spiritual change have to do with us. A lot.
As a presbytery, we are on the cusp of significant change on two fronts. First, and notably so, our faithful, long time stated clerk, Linda Therien, who has served our presbytery so dutifully and faithfully, will be retiring effective December 31, 2017. Yes, major change! We will surely miss Linda and her decades of faithful service, experience and relationship with the PCUSA at large. Yet there are seeds of new life within a living organism with every loss. Good things will grow out of this change, and I pray that God gives us eyes to see it.
We are also experiencing change within our Presbytery with the advent of Cyclical San Diego. We’ve welcomed Rev. Daniel So as the first director of Cyclical SD, and we can only anticipate and envision all the good — the new worship communities, new relationships, new discussions around Jesus Christ and salvation, new visions, and new testimonies — that will flow from this incarnated vision. Yes, new and exciting changes are afoot in our Presbytery.
Knowing that we, as a presbytery, are in the midst of significant change, let me ask these questions for you to think about: In the midst of a dynamic world and the changes taking place in our presbytery, how will you engage to help make our vision as a presbytery more of a reality, and our presbytery more like the Kingdom of God? Not only “How will you,” but “Will you?”
I pray for you, your work, and the presbytery, daily. May God continue to richly bless you and your family in all the good that you do.
At the meeting on November 15, 2016, the San Diego Presbytery adopted as its mission statement: “We are spiritual, missional and relational leaders assisting and supporting congregations to become communities of faith, hope, love and witness.”