I lamented in last month’s newsletter/blog post that summer had been progressing much too quickly. And now August has passed us by; the annual Fun-in-the-Sun-Picnic has (hopefully) become a fond memory, and September is upon us.

Children are returning to school. Our local colleges have begun or are beginning. The tourist activities are largely calming down, and in some limited cases traffic is even returning to normal.

On one hand, I myself am experiencing a bit of grief as my oldest son begins Middle School. I confess that part of my grief is because his parents are clearly not old enough for him to be in Middle School!!! …though it is wonderful to watch him continue to grow and learn.

But to be honest, it’s not a time of true grieving. As I look back on these past few months and toward the next few, I look with joy and pride at his progression into a new phase in his own life. As summer comes to a close, I choose to focus on new possibilities and adventures.

And surely this has been an eventful summer in the life of PB UMC! Anniversaries and birthdays have been celebrated; vacations have been taken; children have been born; parade floats have been built and displayed; a new group has been formed to fellowship with our Wednesday night guests; and in a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, marriage equality has become the law of the land. Signs of newness are all around!

Much of what is new will be shared and celebrated, and this is right and appropriate. One way in which we as a congregation may celebrate the Supreme Court ruling comes as Pacific Beach UMC joins the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) and Methodists for Social Action (MFSA) and other congregations with a celebration on October 10th.

As a part of a multi-site celebration, we will join Pasadena First UMC and San Louis Obispo UMC in a joint event that will include worship and commitment or re-commitment ceremonies. Video will be taken from all three sites and compiled to illustrate our annual conference support for LGBTQ inclusion in our church. For more information, click this link to the Facebook event and don’t forget to invite friends and family to join.

Persons who wish to participate in the Ceremony are welcome, including:

  • Same gender couples are invited to have their marriage blessed in the Vows Renewal Ceremony in the sanctuary;
  • All Reconciling United Methodist clergy are invited to participate in leading the Vows Renewal Ceremony;
  • All beloved children of God are invited to stand with couples and clergy together as we raise our voice saying “Love stands for all” in the United Methodist Church.

The day’s celebration will also include an “Altar for All” in the sanctuary. Ways to participate include:

  • Same Gender Couples are invited to bring a symbol of their love and covenantal relationship;
  • Friends & Families are invited to bring items to honor their LGBTQ loved ones, past and present;
  • Churches that welcome same gender weddings are invited to bring a candle in their favorite rainbow color!

I believe that God continues to make things new. Let us celebrate the newness all around us, and continue to open our eyes and hearts to discover God’s ongoing work. Look for new ministries, new people, and new ways to serve here at PB UMC. Look for new small groups, new leaders, and new opportunities to engage with our community.

As passionate members of the body of Christ, we continue to live into God’s perfect and powerful vision of love, justice, peace, joy, and hope. As we are empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, we continue to transform lives and the world.

Grace and peace to you all…

Pastor Bob