Dear MBCC Congregation,
Greetings with continual hopes and prayers that everyone who is part of Mission Bay Community Church may know God’s infinite love; and that everyone may discern God’s plans for their lives—plans which are just, merciful, and holy. Being on a journey of faith in Christ together is truly a joy. And MBCC best journeys with the studied, gifted, called, experienced help of a pastor.
Looking ahead as a church to the new year, it seems good to look back on the last year as well. The guidance and support of MBCC pastors has been an uninterrupted and amazing blessing. We are grateful—just very very grateful. That said, our church has experienced what seems like an awful lot of goodbyes in terms of pastors and we are not quite finished ….
After Pastor Dawn left, we steadied ourselves with longtime MBCC/PCUSA Parish Associate Leslie Veen; and also with MBCC Pastoral Intern and UCC Pastor Lacey Hunter.
Leslie moderated three monthly Session meetings. She brought great encouragement to the MBCC elders on the interim pastor search committee. Leslie assured that the process, which has seemed rather administrative and open-ended, would be fruitful, which it has been. She graciously gave of her time and care every Sunday. As she needed to conclude her time mid-January, and before she departed, she arranged local PCUSA pastors who are coming weekly to help serve communion.
At the same time Lacey took part-time hours and tasks of regular Sunday preaching and worship prep with Jason; pastoral prayer and care for the community; communication coordination and holding space for people to deal spiritually with transitions on a personal, church and even national level. Lacey’s pastoral leadership and care has been so very healing and timely. And she has offered it generously … until such time as the search committee could reasonably call an Interim Pastor from the PCUSA.
Leslie’s encouragement of our leadership and Lacey’s overall care for the whole community have greatly helped bring the church to a situation and time when we will soon welcome Rev. Diana Bell of the PCUSA to serve as our full-time Interim Pastor. But this does mean another goodbye. We hope in the coming weeks that you will consider how God has covered the church’s pastoral care needs so very well and that you will express your appreciation to Lacey.
For those wondering about departures of former pastors, the PCUSA maintains a standard of professional space-making with pastoral transitions. This is to allow a new, called pastor to form their own pastoral bond with a congregation.
On Sunday Feb 26 MBCC’s Session will welcome and introduce Pastor Diana. Pastor Lacey will preach the Sunday message.
Please note the date and join us!
With humble, heart-felt thanks to God,
Mission Bay Community Church Session:
Christópher Abreu Rosario
A Note From Pastor Lacey:
Dear Beloved Church,
Where to even begin! One of my favorite spiritual practices is that of creating Love Letters. Somehow that framing allows me to hold with gentleness and care, all of the beauty, hopes, urgency, stillness…all of the complex emotions that go into a moment, everything that pulls and tears and inspires my heart to honor this tremendous and flawed journey we are all on. I have found epiphany love letter to be particularly precious to me in these days, as the world around us continues to break open, as the vulnerability of the Divine rises up in our midst and as hearts turn, day by day, to their greatest callings of beloved-community-creation. As I reflect on my departure from MBCC and the journey that awaits us all, I cannot help but want to offer this love letter, because truly, this church means the world to me!
Our journey together goes back to 2013 when I began serving with you as your Intern Pastor. It was Mission Bay that invited me to preside at my first baptism, baby blessing, Holy Communion and lead a community in confession. Together we created Ashes on Bart, prayed together after the mass shooting in Orlando, and encouraged and challenged one another in how we engage from a place of solidarity in social movements like Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock. To share all of this with you, to learn alongside you and feel the presence of God in this place, is a blessing that lives within me and anoints my vocation. “Thank you” is not enough for the opportunities I have received in this community, for the trust you gave me with your prayers and the openness and creativity you greeted me with in worship and in this time of transition. I am so grateful we share communion together each week as it captures the adoration and hope I feel for Mission Bay.
While it is terribly difficult to journey from MBCC, my faith delights in knowing that beautiful, radical, Spirit-filled ways are open and opening here. In these last few months, amidst ongoing transition in our church and the nation, I have seen a new fire kindle and spark in MBCC. A unique heart beats in this church. I know you will continue to beat and sing out, because the world needs your song!
My final Sunday will be February 26—Transfiguration Sunday. The story of the Transfiguration is indeed one of my favorite scriptural Love Letters, and is a good Holy Day to celebrate all that we have done together and the joy of welcoming Rev. Diana Bell as the full-time Interim. I look forward to sharing these next few weeks together and to all that awaits.
In steadfast prayer & communion,
Pastor Lacey Hunter