Friday, July 30, 2010


Dear St. Andrew Family,

As I am working on taking more time to be listening, I am reminded of the story of Mary and Martha, where Mary was lifted up for doing “the better part” sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening.

I am aware that I started my time at St. Andrew by taking time to listen to you. I made an effort to get around to as many in the congregation as possible, and I got about 1/3 of those visits made. My plan is to continue to do that, with special effort being made in August, September and October. We will be setting those up through the church office with Alesia.

As I have found myself flagging in energy through this past year, I noticed that I needed to spend more time listening to God, and what it is that God wants from me, and is doing in the world around me, for me and for others. I would like to propose that we take on the challenge of doing a congregational Bible Study once a month, starting September 2nd, with a Bible Study on Philemon between 1st and 2nd service. The plan would be to continue to hold Bible Study between services on the 1st Sunday of the month. I want to listen to the Word of God.

Listening to God also comes in the form of prayer. I have two changes in the prayer life of the church that I am working to institute. Once a month during service, on the 4th Sunday of the month, we will have an open mic prayer time, where you will be given the opportunity to share your prayer requests from the floor. You will also be able to continue to pass in the prayer cards, and I will read those, during that service, and all other services, and the names will be in the bulletin.

To enhance our time in prayer, I will be adding a time of focused prayer during the 3rd Sunday of the month between 1st and 2nd service. We will have some forms of prayer we may learn - such as word and breath prayers, and Lectio Divina, and Guided Prayer. We will use this time as an opportunity to listen more closely to what God wants for the world and for each of us. We will have listened to one another during our changed community prayer time, and will set this time aside to listen to God through different forms of prayer.

In addition to all of these things in the church, I am aware that we need to listen to what is going on outside of the church more too. There are a few things I am proposing to do. One, I am going to be visiting our neighborhoods once a month, and would invite you to come with me on those days where I walk a neighborhood surrounding the church. My hope would be that we would introduce ourselves and let the people we meet introduce themselves, offer our listening ears and listen. We want to be different, and we want to hear the cry of those in need.

From that listening, I hope to gather some of the clergy nearby to help host forums of discussion in public locations, like schools and mobile home parks, not to push an agenda, but to hear the needs and hopes of the people in our community, that we might build programs and opportunities that fit those needs, and help forward the Kingdom of God in the world today.

I thank you for joining with me in our listening to God, Self and Others. I have to admit I openly stole this plan from the Rev. Dr. Anna Crews Camphouse, who wrote her dissertation on this topic, and worked with some amazing people to put it into practice. Pastor Anna serves the Christ United Methodist Church in Santa Maria, is my wife, and the proud mother of Sophia. I am grateful for the ways in which she has taught me to listen.

Friday, July 02, 2010

One More

One More

Pastor's Corner July 2010

I spoke with our District Superintendent for evaluations as clergy and to see how she can help encourage and resource us better in the local church. At the end of the conversation she asked specifically what I needed with St. Andrew UMC. I told her, "One More" year. I know we live in an appointment system that works one year at a time, and all I felt I could reasonably ask for was one more year. As I return from Annual Conference the appointments have been set by the Bishop and Cabinet, and I have, in fact, been appointed for "One More" year. I am excited to serve with you all for "One More" year. As we all know, one can be only one, or it can become a series of "One More" that turns into 32 (see Rev. Stamper at Burbank UMC before retirement for confirmation of this reality)

A few months ago I spoke with you in a sermon about "One More". We have many in our church and community who are hurting. I asked if you might consider taking on "One More". The next week, I pressed the issue a little bit more, and asked you to consider taking on "One More" per month. I said that would mean that some of you after a year of taking on "One More" per month would have a new circle of those you are caring for that numbers 12. Some of you might choose those you care for differently and at the end of a year have 0, because each of those you took on to care for were only hurting for a season and those seasons of hurt ended before the year did.

The core principle of "One More" is to help stretch us and make us more connected to our community, that of St. Andrew and our area here in the Santa Maria Valley. I wanted to share some goals I have to help get and stay connected with St. Andrew, the UMC, and the Santa Maria Valley. I hope to write to about 10 people per week. I will admit I set out to do this at the start of the year, and managed alright until about March, and since have only written about 10 people in total. I plan to resume off site (in home or in local establishments of Santa Maria/Orcutt - I hear I need to go to Jack's) visitations with the Congregation in August, September and October. I completed about 1/3 of the congregational visits last year, and I am striving to get close to 100% by the end of 2010. I also acknowledge that I am connected to my clergy peers. We participate in a clergy covenant, and I realize that one of the deepest needs in that covenant is to establish regular care for one another. To that end I plan to contact 2-3 different clergy each week, by phone, email or as some of those 10 letters per week, with a desire to say, "How are you? I am thinking of you and I am praying for you."

Caring for one another is part of the basic commandments we received from God, and reminded to us in Jesus Christ. We are to love God, and love neighbor as self. The kicker for me is that little nudge that says that we do not know how to love, except in the love that we receive from God. If we love, we love God. If we love God we by very nature then must love neighbor. If we do not love neighbor, then we have no ability to love God. If we do not know God, we have no knowledge of how to love neighbor. In this way, let us begin our care for one another and God simply by loving.

I am grateful for the love that you all have shown Anna, Sophia and me. We know your love for us, and I pray you have know my love for you all. I know you have experienced Sophia's love for you. And while Anna is busy loving her own congregation, her love for you is growing by the day, in appreciation for your care of us, and concern for her ministry at Christ UMC. We are grateful to have "One More" year among you in ministry. May we each, together, seek out "One More" to provide care in the months ahead.

David Camphouse