Once a month, pastors from the Point Loma/Ocean Beach area gather together for lunch and fellowship. No agenda is needed, we just enjoy each other’s company. All pastors are welcome. If some do not come, it’s not because they weren’t invited. The denominations represented today were: Lutheran, Episcopalian, Nazarene, Methodist, Catholic (both nuns and a priest), Presbyterian, Baptist, and non-denominational. We shared a nice lunch at the Catholic church, we also rotate who hosts.
I am really impressed by how this group operates. We look for things to do together for the sake of Ocean Beach. When I first arrived in 2010 I was involved in helping with helping create a space for people to talk about issues surrounding homelessness. Remember the sticker that garnered national headlines?
The clergy had a series of forums that included residents, business owners, and the homeless. We were hoping to calm the powder keg that was about to go off from these stickers. I lead a group of folks that had all three of these groups talking in a civil way about their concerns for Ocean Beach. It was an amazing experience. I saw people start to realize that the people sitting across from them where actually people, not “the other.” By God’s grace nothing bad happened to the homeless or businesses.
We have also found ways of proclaiming God’s Word together. On Good Friday we had an ecumenical faith walk. We started at the Catholic church, read part of the passion narrative, and then processed to the next church and continued the narrative. In total we visited 5 churches. There were 200 people in attendance representing most of the denomination in Ocean Beach. We held up traffic because the procession was so long!
Here is a picture from the service.
We are planning on holding an ecumenical foot washing for Maundy Thursday.
Most of all, I am impressed about how we do not let our theological differences impede our fellowship. We could easily start a fight over an number of issues, but we don’t, we respect each others space and traditions. That’s the beautiful nature of this group, we stay true to our own theological heritage, respect theirs, and see Christ working amongst our respective ministries. I am honored to have been part of these lunches. I am honored to have served in Ocean Beach with such a great group of clergy. I hope that wherever God calls me there will be a group willing to share the city and proclaim Christ and him crucified.