A New Beginning
During August, I created a sermon series called "A New Beginning." This series began discussing what it means a new beginning with Jesus when choosing a new life with Christ as our Lord and Savior. Then, since that moment, we begin to be Jesus' disciples, Jesus followers. Jesus calls us to be connected to him to abide in him. We depend on Jesus, and by staying connected to him, he will provide us the nourishment, support, and love that we need to live as true followers of Christ. And how can we stay connected to Jesus? Through spiritual practices. Now, there is one place where we can see in action many spiritual practices among us, such as worship, prayer, Christian fellowship, participating in the Holy Communion, serving in the community, advocating for justice, even sharing our faith. Do you know what that place is? Yes, the church.
On Friday, August 28, as part of the sermon series, we celebrate a Worship & Prayer Night for a new beginning at our beloved church, Casa Linda. We had special guests praying with us. Bishop Mike McKee from the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church shared words of encouragement and prayer in this new beginning. We also had our district superintendent (DS), Debra Hobbs. She prayed for Casa Linda’s leaders, staff, ministries, community, and the church's future. It was amazing to represent the conference on this special day as we celebrate this new beginning.
We also had special prayers for the different ministries at Casa Linda lead the leaders of this Church: Halya Rojas, Julia Martinez, Mary Ann White, Martha Rosas, Shirley Boyd, and Jaime Cedillos. And of course, our worship band, who had been an incredible ministry during this challenging time of a pandemic. Then, we reveal one of our surprises.
The first surprise was Casa Linda’s new image, a new logo created by our administrative assistant and marketing strategist, Monica Lopez. This is the fantastic logo…. wow!
©Copyright Casa Linda UMC
This logo represents how each of us, each family, each member, each guest comes together to form this amazing church. This new face will be on all their social media platforms and soon on their new website. But that was not all.
The second surprise was not only a surprise for the church but for me. Just a couple of days before this event, I was notified by the DS that I was appointed as the new senior pastor of Casa Linda Church. Just the day before this event, I was presented to the SPRC as their new pastor. Yes, I'm the new senior pastor, and I'm still processing this new beginning for Casa Linda and me.
It was an inspiring day as Pastor Edgar announced this new surprise at the Worship & Prayer Night event. Pastor Edgar passed the baton, literally!
Of course, I was nervous. I didn't know how the congregation will react. There have been many changes in our church for the last couple of years. I understand that this can bring a level of uncertainty, especially in these difficult times that we are living in with a pandemic. But we try to encourage all who were with us that night through Facebook, watching us, to celebrate this pastoral transition. A new beginning at our beloved Casa Linda Church that has been around for 69 years.
Casa Linda is the church where I experienced rapid growth in my spiritual life, which I call home for the last four years. At Casa Linda Church, I felt at home and welcome the first time I arrived in December 2015. It was Casa Linda, where I finally accepted my call to ministry and whose members have been supporting me through prayers ever since. It was Casa Linda, where I had the opportunity to grow as a spiritual leader and where I began to experience what a pastor's role is like. I have been beyond blessed to have been serving throughout all these years, giving back all the things that I have been learning at Perkins School of Theology. I'm more than excited to now begin as their next pastor.
As their next pastor, I will serve with love, enthusiasm, and passion. My experiences at Casa Linda have prepared me for this new beginning in all of our lives. I have learned so many things: perseverance, hard work, kindness, and love. I have witnessed the love as a faith community they give out to their members and community.
As their next pastor, I’m here to help them achieve God's plans through this church. Trusting in the Holy Spirit guidance and with their support, we will continue to:
Embrace people with the love of Jesus Christ;
empower them to grow into spiritual maturity;
and equip them to find their place of service in God’s world.
I am committed to learning from them by working together as one body in Christ to accomplish God's mission. To be there and care for them individually and as a faith community. To support and celebrate their vision and mission in this church that will continue to embrace, empower, and equip other people and families. To provide empowerment to all so together, we can continue to grow in our faith. To continue to equip leaders to fully live their calling and lead this church as God has called them to do. And also living my calling among them by “Embracing people with the love of God, guide them into a deeper understanding of their faith and grow our faith in God together."