Tustin Presbyterian Church is in a time of transition. Following the loss of their two pastors, the session (the ruling body of the church) contracted with me to provide “first response” interim ministry for a period of three to four months. During that time I drove daily from Pasadena to Tustin three days a week. Somewhere along the way, the Holy Spirit led both the session and the Ericksons to convert the short-term “first response” contract into a long-term “intentional interim pastor” contract. The upshot is that I now have the privilege of serving this congregation until they find and call a new pastor, a process that may take as long as two years. Carol and I will be in Tustin Sunday through Wednesday each week, and in Pasadena the rest of the time.
This is a resilient congregation. The loss of their two pastors was a trauma from which they continue to heal, but the signs of recovery are promising. Worship attendance is strong. Fellowship after worship is spirited. Elders, deacons, staff and volunteers are giving able leadership. Vacant staff positions have been filled. Financial pledges in support of TPC’s 2013 ministry are greater than for 2012.
Worship is a highlight of TPC’s life. A superb choir, majestic organ, and other instrumental groups lead services filled with Scripture and singing. Tired of drums, guitars, and 7/11 music (seven words repeated eleven times)? Try the alternative at Tustin Presbyterian. We celebrate the majesty of God, the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and the assuring presence of the Holy Spirit in song, Word, and Sacrament.
Journey of Faith
We are all writing our stories, and each of us has to write his or her own. I cannot write my parents’ stories, any more than they could have written mine. I cannot write my children’s stories, though there are times that I have wanted to. I can write only mine.
(Days of Grace, Lewis Smedes, p. 65)
Lew Smedes articulates what should be common knowledge, yet few ever stop to reflect on the story they are writing. A close friend once told me, I’ve just let life happen to me. I know him well enough to know that’s not true, but evidently he has not taken time to trace the key choices he has made, the hard work he has done, and the part God has played in his journey.
This year’s Lenten study, Journey of Faith: God’s Work in My Life, will help you trace your spiritual journey from your earliest days in Sunday school to yesterday’s grace prayed at the table. Study booklets will be available on the patio on Sunday, March 2. Group meetings will commence the week of March 9.
You will gain most from the study by joining a weekly group. If that’s not an option, pick up a booklet for personal reflection.
I pray that you will come to share Martin Marty’s outlook: On occasion I’ve written of life as a book that includes discrete chapters but follows a sustained plot. Whenever one chapter ends, you turn the page and greet a new chapter. Each is amazingly grace filled and at the same time open to disappointments, frustrations, and suffering. Along the way we’ll try to delight in or make sense of each day.
(Martin Marty, Christian Century, 9/18/07)
A bit about Tom:
For now, I claim Scripture’s promise in behalf of your future: Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.1 With such a Savior at our side we may mount up with wings like eagles…run and not be weary…walk and not faint.2
225 West Main Street, Tustin, CA 92780-4319 (714)544-7070 www.tustinpresbyterian.org