A message from Pastor Chris:
I often marvel at the enduring tie that binds congregational members. Many of our longtime stalwart members have enjoyed deep abiding friendships with one another for years that even surpass the ages of their adult children.
I’m pleased that Community UCC continues to be a vibrant and thriving congregation with members from diverse origins. The spirit of love and grace is alive and well at Community United Church of Christ.
For the past six years, it has been my sacred honor to bless, baptize, confirm, marry, memorialize, consecrate, and affirm what is holy and gracious in the lives of the members of Community United Church of Christ. Together, we’ve tackled social injustices and environmental concerns impacting the greater Fresno community. For years, and in a powerful ongoing way, Community UCC has boldly raised its extravagant banner of welcome and has embraced many that are often excluded and marginalized in society.
After much heartfelt and prayerful discernment, I am resigning from my call of ministry to Community UCC, to accept a call to pastor Los Altos, Foothills Congregational Church. This has been a mixed time of gratitude and sorrow for me as I’ve evaluated and considered this significant change in both the life of my family and treasured congregation at Community.
I will always be grateful for the kind members and most excellent staff at Community UCC that have nurtured my family with indelible compassion and tender mercies.
I want to ask once more for your blessing of God’s call on my life in ministry. Also, please forgive my mistakes and any moments of uneasiness that arose during my tenure here — know that my heart and soul longed only for a wider experience of God’s grace. I know that at times, the boldness and provocation of my preaching and presence sometimes pushed too hard and without the necessary patience that mercy and love teaches us. Your blessing and forgiveness is a divine gift and transforming grace in my life.
My trust and hope is that faithful members will continue on with both presence in and support of the ongoing ministries of Community UCC. It is my intention, after consultation with church leadership, to conclude my ministry on Easter Sunday.
My resignation as pastor at Community, UCC, will start a careful process of the church in its prayerful search for its next interim steps and eventually the call of a new settled pastor. Having a long-standing relationship with the greater United Church of Christ family, I know that the NCNC conference and more than capable lay leadership of Community will guide and lead the church through this journey.
As an UCC clergy, I am committed to the UCC Code of Ministerial Conduct, starting after my last Sunday at Community, to respect boundaries in the life of this congregation. That means that I will not be present or participate in any of the ministries of this church and would only ever do so by invitation of the Interim or Called Senior Pastor. I will not perform baptisms, weddings or funerals, or participate in the worship or ministry life of the church. This is the healthiest way for me to love and honor you, even as I depart.
In this moment of transition, I am comforted by the words of Paul to the church at Philippi:
“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing the Gospel from the first day until now. I am confident that the One who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1. 3-6).
I love you Community UCC, your lives and families, your hopes and dreams, our ups and downs, in all moments — God is faithful. In the hymn “In the Bulb There Is a Flower” there is a powerful line that resonates this mystery: “In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity.”
Grace and Peace,