Sunday Worship, 10 am

Bible Study, 9 am

Contact Us

Phone: (909) 622-1144

Fax: (909) 622-5771

Email: fcc@fccpomona.org

1751 N. Park Ave
Pomona, CA 91768

Office Hours:
Monday: 9am – 1pm
Tuesday: 9am – 1pm
Wednesday: 9am – 12:30pm
Thursday: 9am – 1pm
Friday: 9am – 1pm

If you'd like to meet someone before you walk through that door the first time, just give us a call or send us an email.

We'll arrange for one or two of our members have coffee or something with you and give you a chance to get to know someone, so you won’t be by yourself for your first visit.

Links

Pastor’s Blog

Julie’s Jar, “Defining Success”

~Defining Success~

My 8th grade science teacher required a weekly task. Copy a science article. That’s right, copy it. I’m not sure if he thought we’d actually read it as we copied it, or even hoped we might learn something as we copied. Dutifully, every week, I found a science article in a newspaper or magazine and copied.  This was WAY before one could “Google” a topic. The only one I remember was one about a lunar landing. I remember it primarily because I stayed up until 1 o’clock in the morning to finish it.

There was a competition in the class to get the highest grade for this assignment. Most everyone got an A. But Mr. Spiros started giving out A pluses. There was one student who consistently received 5-8 extra pluses. The record was 10 pluses: A ++++++++++! The rest of us were convinced her mother typed them, did the artwork and more.

I was determined to get more than a mere A or A+. I cut out the pictures and wrote out the article. I made it look especially good. At about 11 pm, my dad wandered into the dining room wondering what I was doing. He simply turned in disbelief and went back to bed. No offer of help, no “way to go; atta girl”. I was on my own. When the assignment was returned to us, I got A+++. I determined to never do that again.

We define success in many ways, but it usually involves doing better than someone else. It’s competition. We are taught that from the time we are quite young. Our education system continues to encourage that; winning is more important than learning. It’s the non-curriculum we teach.

success

What makes a congregation successful? Is it the congregation with “a great youth program”? Is it the congregation that goes out to the parks and feed people who have no shelter? Is it the congregation that builds affordable housing? Is it the congregation with the most trendy worship? Very often, success is seen in numbers: how many in worship, how many dollars to benevolence, how many programs for people to attend.

What makes a congregation successful? A community of faith that follows Jesus has a barometer of a very different sort. It is not about being successful; it is about being blessed. The community of the blessed looks nothing like what our society deems successful: those who mourn, the poor, the peacemakers, the meek, the pure of heart, the gentle, the merciful, those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

And what about you? What makes you a success? Frankly, you already are. You are God’s beloved already. There is nothing we have to DO to win God’s favor. You are already in God’s favor; you never left it. Success as a category for understanding our life is inadequate. For Christians, the categories are instead beloved and blessed.

Life is NOT a competition between winners and losers. Jesus invites us in to a deeper experience of Reality. Jesus invites us to hear and know that we are beloved and blessed.

From Your Pastors

There is an orienting principle that can guide us in these times fraught with easy anger and blame. It is the orienting principle preached and lived by Jesus; love God, love your neighbor, love yourself. As I skim re-posted articles on Facebook, letters to the editor and more, the desire to blame and shame is evident.

least of theseOur congregation has grown our capacity for hospitality: the kind that Abraham demonstrated when he fed strangers, the kind Jesus demonstrated when he ate with outsiders. We haven’t arrived, but we are growing in that direction. Every time we participate in the blame and shame of the world around us, we diminish our capacity to be Christ’s hospitality in our time.

Another orienting principle is “whenever you did it to the least of these, you did it to me.” If our words and actions inhibit the well-being of people living on the margins of society, we inhibit the well-being of Christ. The way of Jesus is the way of compassion. The compassion of Christ begins from a place of love, not fear.

As we live in these times of fearfulness, anger and blame, we would do well to ask ourselves these questions before we speak or act. Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?

Peace, Mike and Julie

Julie’s Jar, “Covenant”

~Covenant~chalice

Our congregation is part of a denomination: Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Every congregation in our denomination has the right and duty of self-governance. No one from “on high” tells us how to run the church, what we must believe or how to budget our money. We are connected to other congregations through a covenant.

Covenants are relational agreements, not contracts. There is give and take. I am called by this congregation to pastor the First Christian Church of Pomona and I have responsibility to relate to the wider church with which we are in covenant.

On May 5th and 6th, I am leading an Appreciative Inquiry (AI) retreat at First Christian Church of Torrance. Their pastor, Steve Fietz, is also trained in Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and attended our initial retreat. He could easily lead the retreat where he serves, but having a colleague in ministry facilitate affords him the space to participate in the retreat with the congregation he serves.

The training I received to lead AI was paid for by our Region, the governing body of a geographically contiguous group of congregations. I am not required to provide leadership as an AI facilitator, but I do it as part of the covenant relationship with our partner congregations. In a society in which people are more and more isolated, we choose to be connected. In a world in which people want to be sure they get their due, we choose to be covenantal and collaborative. We are counter-cultural in many ways. Of course, so was Jesus.

Julie’s Jar 4-21-17

Conventional wisdom is that congregations do not grow in numbers if they engage in social action. It is a belief that has been as an excuse to disengage from the world around them, lest someone be offended. There is a very recent challenge to this belief.

According to the Church Times, Sept. 2 as picked up in the Christian Century last year, “An Anglican study, Church Growth in East London is more about attitude than theological or liturgical tradition. It challenges the notion that only evangelically oriented congregations using contemporary forms of worship can grow. The churches that engaged in the most social action attracted the largest number of new Christians.”

The reason to engage in social action is to be faithful in following Christ. A happy by-product can be numerical growth. Curious, that the growth is among new Christians. Perhaps these new Christians are attracted to the same message that motivated the early followers of Jesus and the early church; the kingdom of God is in you and at hand. Building the kingdom of God is the vocation of every Christian and that means engaging the world around us.

ICON LogoAt FCC Pomona, we engage in social action because it is one of the many ways we extend God’s compassion through the work of solidarity, justice and empowerment. ICON (Inland Communities Organizing Network) is the primary vehicle we engage in the hands on mission of justice and empowerment.

On April 26th, many of our ICON leaders will gather once again to support the passage of a ban on new waste and recycling facilities in Pomona, including the expansion of existing businesses beyond their agreed upon conditional use permit. With over 24 of these facilities in the city, we believe it is paramount to be in solidarity with our neighbors who work and live near these facilities.

Jesus understood the power of community in his ministry in Galilee. Through the building of relational power we are expanding the work of God’s compassion in our place and time.

Julie’s Jar, “Resisting the Irresistible”

~Resisting the Irresistible~

Do you resist God? Do you find yourself having thoughts of self-judgment: “I should have or shouldn’t have…”? Do you find yourself having thoughts of blame, whether of yourself or others? These internal thoughts and movements are ways we resist God, truly.

Softening our own hearts is one way to ease our resistance. We can soften our hearts by inviting the presence of God to settle in us regularly. Those of you have undertaken to engage in the Compassion Practice are feeling the spiritual stretching that this brings.

The way of Jesus is one all of us, as Christians, seek to follow and be on. It is a way that engages God’s compassion for us. God’s compassion invites us to see ourselves as Beloved of God, just as Jesus was Beloved of God. God’s compassion invites us to have compassion for our own woundedness and giftedness. When we lack self-compassion we resist the movement of God.

The same is true when we are unable or unwilling to see other people with compassion. We are actively resisting the movement of God. Eventually, as we give ourselves to spending intentional time with God, the irresistible power of God smooths out our sharpness and buoys us to be the compassionate presence of Christ for ourselves and for our world. This is resurrection.

Resurrection is the ongoing process of coming near to God, allowing God to come near to you and transforming you into the person you are created to be. Resurrection is the ongoing process of the people who practice coming near to God, putting their collective ear to the heart of the world and responding with compassion that brings healing, health and hope.

Word Letters Hope Scrabble

Word Letters Hope Scrabble