Greetings in the Love of Jesus Christ:

After three weeks, I am beginning to settle in as your new Regional Minister and President.  I’ve hung my diplomas, unboxed my books, rearranged the office furniture, moved into my apartment, and finally feel like life is settling down a bit.

But more importantly, I’ve enjoyed meeting wonderful Disciples from all over Arizona.  Highlights include:

  • Disciples Women’s Retreat in Prescott
  • Worship with First Christian Church of Prescott
  • Meeting with the Search Committee of East Mesa CC
  • Meeting with La Mesa, the leadership group of the Arizona Convencion
  • A week in Tucson meeting individually with every congregational pastor, together as a group with all congregational pastors (see photo), and with some of the members of Desert Dove, FCC, Saguaro, and Marana
  • Worship with Community Christian Church of Marana
  • An evening with Pastor Elias Garcia at Alfa y Omega
  • Retired minister’s breakfast
  • Regional Pro-Reconciliation/Anti-Racism training for clergy
  • Worship with Foothills Christian Church celebrating their 30th anniversary
  • Individual meetings with Don & Kathy Bryant (interim pastors at Coolwater CC), Nick Greenwalt (interim pastor of East Mesa CC), Abigail Conley (pastor of Chalice CC), Valeria Bejar (Disciples Immigration Response Specialist), and Jim Barton (Regional Moderator), and more (some being confidential)

I look forward to meeting several more of you at Pastor Rep on Wednesday in Phoenix and Thursday in Tucson.

Some initial impressions:   We have much to celebrate in Arizona.  We have strong pastors who are connected to each other, supportive of each other, and open to learning and growth.  We have congregations engaged in mission and ministry, offering care and comfort to people in need.  We have leaders passionate about church camp. And we seem to be saying goodbye to the summer heat, which will mean saying hello to several returning church members.

We also have the opportunity to be an example to our denomination and our world by working together and building truly significant cross-racial partnerships.  So many efforts to bring races together are based on superficial togetherness, pretending that we all love each other but not really understanding the underlying realities that everyone faces.  I believe we have the leadership and opportunity here in the Christian Church in Arizona to go deeper than that, and I look forward to sharing that journey with you.

Peace, Love, and Justice for all,

Pastor Jay

Regional Minister and President, Christian Church in Arizona