[The woman of noble character] who can find? She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue… Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
from Proverbs 31
I remember a few years back, sitting in my office during a staff meeting, looking around the room, and thinking, “My goodness! We are very male-heavy.” We had a male business manager, a male youth director, and a male children’s director. Our administrative assistant was the only female in the room. Ironically, I was also single at the time.
My, how things have changed! The pendulum has certainly swung in the other direction. I’m happily married, now. We have a female Director of Children’s Ministry, a female Church Administrator, and a female Director of Youth Ministry. All (whether male or female) bring their unique gifts, talents, tastes, and perspectives; and each help us broaden our understanding and appreciation for the image of God implanted in each and every one of us.
In May, our country celebrates Mother’s Day, so we thought we could focus attention on Celebrating Women in the Church during this month. Our Family First Sunday on May 1st will be a traditional Tea. After our worship services, we’ll meet in the recently renovated Calvin Lounge; we’ll serve several different kinds of tea and a selection of finger-foods.
There won’t be any entertainment per se; rather, we’ll open the floor to have people share tributes to women who have made a difference in their lives or to remember women of FPCSA who were past pillars of the church. Who remembers Barbara Comito? Louise Crandall? Isabel Towner? Joyce Smith? Grace Paulson? Annie Lugo? Mary Lee? And so many more! There will also be a presentation by my wife, Sofía, for a possible support fellowship group for Spanish-speaking women. Should be a great afternoon!
Of course, the Sunday after Family First is Mother’s Day. And as we have done for many years, we will have time and space in the worship service to remember and to honor mothers. For those who cannot be in the service in person, please feel free to send me a written tribute, which I can read in the service.
And then on May 22nd, we have an incredibly special event. Many years ago, some very valuable paintings were donated to FPCSA. These scenes from the holy land were painted by the artist named Evylena Nunn Miller. Several of her paintings adorn our sanctuary walls; others are sprinkled throughout the facility. Bowers Museum in Santa Ana (just up Main Street a few blocks from us) has a collection of Miller’s paintings, as well.
Some years ago, one of Miller’s relatives (a great niece, I think) visited our church and took photos of some of the paintings. This past autumn, Leslie Compton contacted me to let me know she had finished the biography she had written for Evylena. She’s been invited to give a presentation at Bowers Museum and was wondering if FPCSA would be interested in having a book release party.
I checked with a few of our key players and they all said that they thought it was a wonderful idea. So Sunday, May 22nd, Leslie will give a brief announcement in worship. And then after the service we’ll all go down to Calvin Lounge where she will give a power-point presentation on the life, art and legacy of Evylena Nunn Miller. She’ll also have copies of her book available to purchase and I’m sure she would be happy to sign them. I’m not sure, but there might even be pictures of some of the paintings that hang in our facility in the book. What a great way to continue Celebrating Women in the Church!
Beyond our celebration of women in the church, May 5th is the National Day of Prayer. Along with other pastors, civic leaders and church workers, many of us will be gathering at noon in the Plaza of the Flags in the Santa Ana Civic Center to join our voices together to pray for our city, our nation and our world. There is power in prayer. And God’s Spirit is present when sisters and brothers gather together. Please join me. If you’d like to park in the FPCSA parking lot and walk down with me, I plan to head over around 11:45 a.m.
At the time of writing this, I’m still resting in the afterglow of our Easter season. What a great time we had! The Maundy Thursday service was different from previous years, but equally powerful; I especially liked Andrea’s and Ian’s solos and the Sanctuary Singers under the leadership of Carol. I also appreciated the different prayers offered up to God for Ukraine and the world.
On Resurrection Sunday, Sofía & I enjoyed the Hispanic Sunrise Service. We loved observing the youth cook and serve at the Pancake Breakfast. The worship service was a great testimony to our mission to be an intentionally intercultural and intergenerational community of faith. The Sanctuary Choir sounded awesome and Tom’s solo was great. A highlight for me was singing the praise song, “Undignified,” and watching so many children (and a few adults) jumping and shouting, “Hey!” And both Sandra and I saw quite a few unfamiliar faces at the Easter Egg Hunt. Just a great day all around! And a huge debt of gratitude goes to our staff and volunteers. Thank you all so very much!
How I love our creative God! And how I love His Church! Please join us in Celebrating Women in the Church this month. In fact, this month may be good preparation for us as we look forward to the arrival of our Summer Seminary Intern: Rachel Crawford. We are moving forward!
I remain yours in Christ’s Love and Service,