Community in Action


    During this Shelter In Place (SIP) time there are situations that are causing us a bit of frustration. Since Joan is a teacher I know about the frustration with using the different software platforms to teach students while using the internet. I hear from students about their frustration with distance learning.

    Zoom meetings are very helpful, but it is hard to keep watching the screen so many hours a day and the interaction is limited. People are getting antsy to go to the beach or go to the Mall or go to Disneyland and we don’t see a deadline for this SIP, at least in the Bay Area, in the near future.

    I point of frustration for me, which isn’t only because of the Shelter In Place restrictions, is our dumpster. Normally it is not a big deal, but different people in our neighborhood do use our dumpster to get rid of large items without seeking our permission. When I am throwing something away from our campus I sometimes see a large or cumbersome item in our dumpster that I know is not for our church.

    One time someone dropped off a large couch in our driveway. We were able to get a video from the neighbor’s surveillance camera showing a large white truck stopping just inside our back entrance and people off loading a couch. The camera couldn’t quite pick up the license plate number so we never found out who it was, but thankfully one of our members helped us get rid of it.

    During this SIP time there is a lot less traffic on our campus which drastically lessen the amount of garbage as well. In order to help curb our financial expenses we stopped dumpster pick up for about six weeks. We probably saved about $800 by stopping the pick up, but people in our community continued to use our dumpster and our recycle bin.

    We restarted pick up again on Tuesday since both dumpsters were overflowing, but since the recycle bin was jammed so full with cardboard from our neighbors when the pick up came half of the cardboard stayed lodged in the bin. Since the pick up service for businesses does not allow a one time pick we have to wait another week to empty the recycle dumpster out. Because the preschools are still doing packets for their kids, the Family Ministry Team is dropping off craft items, and the office is still printing items our recycle cans are full. I was looking forward to emptying those cans into the dumpster, but now we have to wait another week.

    Sometimes our church becomes a dumping place for other people’s garbage, which can be a useful metaphor in some instances. But I would rather be known as a forgiving space, than a dumping place. A forgiving space is a place where people can come to experience God’s love as they admit when they have done wrong. It is a space where people can learn not only to forgive others, but a space where people are encouraged to forgive themselves.

    I think when we lash out at others it is often because we don’t feel good about ourselves. We have those voices in our head that says we are not good enough. We have those memories where we have been told we are stupid or ugly or worthless, sometimes in actions and sometimes in words.

    I hope and pray that we can learn to not only receive the love of God, but learn to share it with others. I hope this for each person, but also for our church as a whole. We all need a forgiving space and that is so much more useful than a dumping place.

    Let’s give our worries, concerns, and troubles to God and we will experience the freedom from all that weighs us down. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).”


    Pastor Randy

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