Worship Commission's 2022 by Ann Lew
The goal of the Worship Commission is to advance Pine UMC’s mission “. . . to be a place of worship, to fulfill spiritual needs, and to provide avenues of service so that Christ becomes a reality in the world.”
To those ends, Pastor Jeanelle continues to hold worship services that are timely and relevant and that inspire us to action.
As a Commission we meet once a month to plan activities that support Pastor Jeanelle's work. Here are the basics of this year's Sunday morning worship:
1. Worship continues online for the most part. The tech team (Pastor Jeanelle and Don Gutierrez) skillfully combines videotapes and live zoom for an easily accessible online experience. We are grateful for their expertise.
2. We have increased the frequency of hybrid worship, thanks again to the tech team. They have enabled the congregation either to meet in person or zoom from home.
3. Pastor Jeanelle has used various formats for the sermon, sometimes delivering a traditional sermon, sometimes inviting the congregants to create a sermon collectively, and often combining the two, allowing congregants to share their perspectives and be active participants in worship.
4. To encourage participation, Pastor Jeanelle sends us the Scripture reading and thought provoking questions ahead of time, usually on Saturdays. This preparation makes for rigorous discussions.
5. Lynn Barbaree continues to coordinate music among singers, accompanists, and the tech team. We are grateful to her and all the musicians for their work in enhancing worship. She is recruiting new accompanists for the Japanese language services that are held on Saturdays.
6. The following are some of the themes featured in our Sunday services this year:
• Pride 2022: Abundant and Radiant
5. We have had excellent speakers from within our congregation as well from outside who have addressed some of these themes.
6. Each Sunday service is followed by a 30 minute Tea Time fellowship during which we go into breakout rooms either for further discussion of the day's Scripture lesson or for a general conversation.
◦ At special times of the year, we use Tea Time to encourage congregants to exchange cards and gifts: Valentine, Easter, Christmas, especially with those who are still isolated.
Our hybrid services have often been followed by projects and activities during Tea Time among those attending in-person. We have held these activities in front of church to connect with neighbors. Here are some highlights:
1. We decorated the front of church with hearts and messages for Valentines Day.
2. After the Easter hybrid, we invited neighbors to join us in coloring and decorating eggs.
3. We held the Mother's Day food drive for Richmond Neighborhood Center, and our preschool and the Boy Scouts as well as some neighbors joined in.
4. We celebrated Pride with a hybrid service in June.
5. Observed September 11 with a hybrid service.
6. On Halloween/All Saints' Day, we built an altar and decorated it with candles, flowers, and photos, in remembrances of children who have been separated from their families.
7. November 27 will be our next hybrid service. We will decorate for Christmas and share refreshments with neighbors.
8. In-person attendance has increased, but we will continue to offer the virtual option.
9. All of the above have helped to keep Pine's ministry going forward. Decorating our windows and bringing church outside have made us more visible in the neighborhood and have invited the participation of neighbors.
In August, we had a retreat in which we reflected on the past year and made plans for the coming year. Our theme for the 22-23 year is “Unchurching Church,” which we have been implementing by:
• Doing church in a different way, beyond church walls.
• Holding a hybrid service and communion once a month at different locations.
• Building partnerships and relationships.
Our plans for the rest of the year include
• November 27 Thanksgiving hybrid service. We will put up Christmas decorations.
• Christmas card and Secret Santa gift exchanges.
• December 24 Christmas Eve service.
• December 25 Christmas service.
A Word from One of Our Retired Clergy, Rev. Nobuhiro T. Imaizumi
It has been a good year. Although I retired from university teachings, I still maintain contact with my former and present students in many ways: I go talk to them once in a while about work camps in the Philippines. I used to take them twice a year to be engaged in helping to build houses in poverty-stricken areas.
I preach every Sunday in a local church. Even though many older people stay away from church because of the Covid, they are eager to come out, once it is settled. I main contact with elderly people mainly through phone calls. Children keep coming to church.
All in all, I am thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to serve people in this capacity.
Nobu T. Imaizumi
Pastor, mukonoso Church
Former professor of Kwansei Gakuin University
2022 California-Nevada Annual Conference Report by Edith Horner
The 174rd California-Nevada Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church was held at the Sacramento convention center June 10-13 2022. I was pleased to represent Pine United Methodist Church as your lay delegate to the main governing body of the United Methodist Church.
The Annual Conference is the annual convention of 333 churches and fellowships of Methodists, clergy and lay people, who live and work in Northern California and Nevada. The live meeting was held about seven months after the shorter 2021 meeting. The meeting was also live streamed.
The theme was “LET LOVE BE” Romans Chapter 12. Bible study of Romans chapter 12 was conducted by the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Kuan of President of Claremont School of Theology.
The interim Bishop Sally Dyck presided over the conference on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Retired Bishop Warren Brown closed the conference on Monday.
A church service with a great gospel band is held every morning with singing at different times. Annual Conference work is not too different than any corporate meeting. Many of the resolutions approved were about budgets, staffing policy, and the life cycle of churches. New elders and deacons were ordained. Retirements were celebrated and the dead were remembered. Since the meeting was held in June, minister’s appointments for July were announced and celebrated. A large group of clergy were submitted as candidates for three vacant Bishop positions for the Western Jurisdiction. The Western Jurisdiction Conference is scheduled for November 2-5.
This Annual Conference marked a return to more in person meetings and gatherings. I attended a lunch meeting of the Conference Committee on Reconciliation, a dinner meeting of the Asian Caucus and a lunch meeting of the Japanese Caucus.
The changing United Methodist Church was the underlying theme of the conference. The long debate within the United Methodist Church over LGBTQ+ inclusion is being settled. Traditional churches have a disaffiliation option to join the Global Methodist Church. A resolution for the terms a church needs to comply with for disaffiliation was approved after much discussion. One church in Weldon, CA was in the disaffiliation process, but no churches left in 2022.
Jeanelle Ablola was one the authors of a resolution that was approved at the annual conference. The resolution was to Establish a Clergy Wellness Task Force.
Anyone interested in the Recommendations, Resolutions, Petitions and other Reports of the 174th California-Nevada Annual Conference can contact me for copies.