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UrbanMission 2015 Annual Gathering Report

urbanmissionUrbanMission is your Conference’s new church plant in the city of Pomona, under the leadership of our Conference Minister and with oversight from the Conference Board of Directors.

Things have really picked up at UrbanMission since our last report to the Gathering!
In late May of last year our facilities were broken into and vandalized, and our sanctuary suffered heavy water damage. We used this opportunity to transform our traditional sanctuary into a multipurpose, mission-oriented gathering space.
We’ve also transformed the former Sunday school rooms into a food pantry and a community closet (Don’t worry, the children ended up with a much, much better space!)
We’re currently exploring and discussing the transformation of our social hall into a community coffeehouse.

UrbanMission approaches church planting by empowering leaders and creating ministries that have a direct and positive impact on the community. The worship service was developed once we had nurtured relationships and friendships with our community. We like to think of UrbanMission as a cohort of ministries experiencing God’s transformative love as one church. We currently count with three of these ministries:

urbanmission another chanceAnother Chance Ministries @ UrbanMission
Rev. Nora Jacob, a Disciples of Christ minister, and Shami Espinoza created Another Chance Ministries to facilitate healing and transformation of individuals and communities affected by incarceration. This ministry was started with some seed funds from the Pacific Southwest Region of the Disciples of Christ and joined UrbanMission in the Fall of 2014.

 

 

 

urbanmission open doorThe Open Door @ UrbanMission
Led by Stephen Patten, a third-year student at Claremont School of Theology, this urban community food justice ministry offers the hospitality of a free, warm meal every Sunday at 5 pm. The Open Door seeks to address the many food justice challenges facing our community in a deeply relational way.

 

 

 

urbanmission worshipWorship @ UrbanMission
We gather every Sunday morning at 10:30 am and hold our Sacred Conversations (Bible study) Wednesday evenings at 7 pm. We strive to draw from the deep well of the Christian tradition as well as culturally relevant in our worship.
The following is a brief breakdown of the many milestones and accomplishments that each of our ministries have had this past year.

Summer/Fall 2014

• Work begins on our damaged sanctuary.
• We continue to host our Sacred Conversations.
• Another Chance Ministries officially joins UrbanMission.
• Nora Jacob begins serving as our Restorative Justice Minister.
• We help create the Pomona Valley Reentry Coalition (led by Nora)
• The Open Door begins hosting weekly Sunday evening Open Table dinners.
• Stephen Patten begins serving as our Food Justice Minister.
• We partner with a local food bank to establish our Open Pantry.
• We partner with a local organization to serve over 300 meals on Thanksgiving Day.
• We hold our first Preview Gathering on the first Sunday of Advent.

Winter 2015

• The PVRC, led by Nora, establishes and begins hosting the Pomona Valley Ex-Offender & Reentry Resource Fairs on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at a local Church of God in Christ facility.
• Rev. Nora is ordained!
• A Disciples of Christ church commits to hosting one Open Table dinner per month.
• The pastoral team continues to establish relationships with different local organizations and faith communities.

Spring 2015

• The PVRC submits a $10,000 “Pomona Valley Reentry Coalition Partners” grant proposal to Tri-City Wellness Center.
• Western University of the Health Sciences begins hosting Open Table dinners.
• The Open Table submits a $10,000 Community Wellbeing grant proposal to Tri-City Wellness Center.
• UrbanMission submits a $6,971 Start-up grant proposal to the UCC national setting.
• Rev. Nora begins co-facilitating a weekly Insight Prison Project “Victim Offender Education Group” with men inside Chino State Prison.
• We partner with Western University to offer a “smart shopping/healthy cooking” class to our community. Our first two test classes are a success.
• Our Holy Thursday gathering attendance draws over 25 participants.
• In partnership with the Disciples Seminary Foundation, we hosted a book signing of Pre-Post-Racial America, written by Rev. Sandhya Jha. At this event we unveiled two new initiatives: the creation of a “Beyond Bars Congregations” Internship for 2015-16 and Waste Not Pomona, an initiative to address food waste in the Pomona Valley.
• Due to demand from our worshipping community, we host baptism classes leading up to Pentecost Sunday.
• Rev. Nora completes months of work with Progressive Christians Uniting and its Justice Not Jails interfaith initiative to create “We Who Believe in Freedom,” a resource guide on mass incarceration.
• On Pentecost Sunday we baptize 21 people (10 adults and 11 children/youth.)

My story so far…
Last year I asked for your prayers as our second daughter would be born right as my last year of seminary was starting…we welcomed Kaylee Sofia into the world a few weeks after the fall semester began. It was a difficult school year for our family but this past May I completed my Master of Divinity studies at Claremont School of Theology. I have also been affirmed and approved for ordination by the Committee on Ministry of the Pacific Southwest Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

There is much that is not included in this report, but for more information please visit our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/urbanmissionpomona

Paz,
Al Lopez
Church Planter, UrbanMission

 

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