Report of the Interim Pastor December 2019

Opening Prayer

Loving God: be with us and guide us during this time of transition and discernment. Fill our leaders with your wisdom. Keep us mindful of the work you would have us do. Lead us and guide us, O God, to be about the work of establishing your reign here on earth as the search for a new pastor continues. Bless all who have taken on extra responsibilities and fill them with a sense of your love and presence. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thank You

Thank you for your faithfulness as members of the church council. Thank you also for the many other ways you help to maintain and uplift this community of faith. I’m particularly grateful to those who added so much to the Advent and Christmas worship services – the decorators, musicians, worship leaders, altar guild, and others. It has been a joy and privilege to walk with you this past year.

Statistics (December 2019)

Worship attendance – Sundays: 1st36; 8th28; 15th33; 22nd34; 29th32
Other Days: 24th76; 25th14
Midweek Wednesdays: 4th8; 11th11; 18th9
Visits and Pastoral calls – 21
Events – 13 (includes Conference Pastors meeting, Homeless Vigil, St. Mark’s event, Earthquake event, etc.
Average hours worked per week: 50

Gift of Chairs

On September 28 I agreed to let (945 Taraval St.) use the Parish Hall for a neighborhood earthquake preparedness event in Cantonese. They planned for 100 people, but 125 showed up for the event. I learned a valuable lesson that day – we don’t have 125 chairs; we don’t even have 100. I imagine that over the years several of the chairs in the parish hall have broken or disappeared. This left us scrambling to find every chair we could in the building, including the balcony. When they asked for space for another event, they offered to buy us chairs so their group would fit. That morning, December 14, 60 chairs arrived from Costco which are now in the racks under the stage.

Construction Begins

On December 29, 2019 Maria Gudmundsdottir signed a contract with John Paul O’Brien of John Paul O’Brien Construction to serve as our General Contractor. Windows were replaced on January 2 and 3, inside work will begin on January 6. I’m grateful to Maria G and Steve M for their long hours and faithful management of the process thus far. Since they know most about this project, both will continue working on this project, and help us secure a paying tenant.

Contract Extension

As part of our business in January I would ask you to consider a contract extension. My original contract as Interim Pastor was for one year – January 15, 2019 through January 15, 2020, working at 2/3 time. I am suggesting that I would remain with you through May 15, 2020, if you wish, at the same 2/3 time if you wish. If so, a Housing Allowance Resolution (attached) should also be passed.

Vacation Time

I’ll use up the rest of my vacation time from January 17 through February 8. While away, Pr. Kathleen will preside at worship (19th, 26th and 2nd) and preach (26th and 2nd). Pr. Tom will preach on January 19 as part of our recognition of his 45th Ordination Anniversary.

Transition Team and Call Committee Update

The Transition Team is finishing up preparing their draft of the Ministry Site Profile. Their last official meeting will take place on Monday, January 13 when they will make final revisions to that document. From there it goes to the Call Committee for review, and then to the Sierra Pacific Synod for approval. It will then be posted on the ELCA website for all clergy seeking calls can have access to it. On January 19 Pr. Katy Grindberg, Assistant to our Bishop, will meet jointly with the Transition Team and the Call Committee to reflect on the past year (transition team) and to look forward to the specific tasks ahead (call committee).

Synod Assembly

The Sierra Pacific Synod will gather for its next assembly under the theme: “We are Church Together: Called and Sent”. The Assembly will be held at the Doubletree Hotel/Fresno Convention Center May 1-3, 2020. At this Assembly we will elect a new bishop for the Sierra Pacific Synod as well as attend to other business. It may not be too early to find those who will represent us there so plans can be made.

Bible Study Resumes

Since I’ll be gone several Wednesdays in January/February, Bible Study has been put on hold, but it will resume on Wednesday, February 12. We’ll be looking at Paul’s Letter to the Philippians.

Church Council Installation Date

Let’s not forget to set a date for the installation of the church council. This can happen any Sunday.

Looking Forward

Friday, January 10 – Friday Night Group (taking down decorations)
Monday, January 13 – Transition Team’s final meeting
Sunday, January 19 – Pr. Tom’s 45th Ordination Anniversary Recognition, Pr. Katy’s visit
Tuesday, February 4 – next Church Council meeting (I’ll be away)
Wednesday, February 12 – weekly Bible Study resumes (Book of Philippians)
Wednesday, February 26 – Ash Wednesday worship (noon and 6:00 pm)

Things to Consider Moving Forward – 2020 and Beyond (Based on What I Have Heard You Say, and Seen Myself)

Develop a five-year strategic plan (with new pastor and perhaps outside support)
Develop a Stewardship program (could be part of your strategic plan)
Develop an Evangelism strategy (could be part of your strategic plan)
Develop an Outreach strategy (could be part of your strategic plan)
Keep disposing of what you do not need or use, and develop systems to decide what is kept, for how long, where it’s stored, who makes the decision, etc.
Recruit members who are not as involved to take over some of the tasks (fixing things, cleaning, gardening, etc.
Enhance security (such as cameras or adding other secure spaces)
Banking committee clarification (how do we record electronic donations, etc.)
Change practice of waiting until December to pay benevolence (return to your usual practices)
Clarify Job Descriptions
Revise Welcome Statement for Reconciling Works
Provide Leadership training and support for your key leaders
Revise and Update constitution, possibly to the latest ELCA version
Consider changing insurance company (Ministry Pacific could broker for you)
Establish a Mutual Ministry Committee
Plan for annual staff reviews (the staff will also review your leadership)
Consider ways to optimize your space – renting it out for events, inviting community partners in, etc.
Develop a strategy to work more closely with neighboring congregations (Lutheran Church of Our
Savior, Congregation Ner Tamid, Holy Innocent’s Episcopal Church, etc.) as well as the San Francisco / Peninsula Conference and the Sierra Pacific Synod.

Dream big!
Can you help establish a Lutheran Campus Ministry at SF State?
Can you offer a senior center program again?
Can you offer a program for the staff at The Avenues Transitional Care Center?
Establish / Promote a Special Building Fund to address the long-term needs of an aging building (handicapped bathrooms, better lighting in the sanctuary, enhanced heating system, updated Sunday School room downstairs, etc.) and create a strategy to fund it
Consider establishing a Foundation that can support your outreach programs.
Continue talking about how we can offer the best support for our homeless folks. Is it time to change course?

Respectfully submitted,
Lyle J Beckman, Interim Pastor