​Grace and Peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

During this time of physical distancing, we continue to be faced with the difficult reality that we are not able to gather for worship services, bible studies, or fellowship opportunities. However, I take great solace in the fact that although the church building is closed, Goleta Presbyterian Church is open and thriving. Thankfully, church is not a building. Church is a community of faithful believers! For six weeks I have had the opportunity to provide virtual worship services, which include video, audio, and an Order of Service. I am grateful Julie Neufeld, our Praise Team, and all who participate in making the service meaningful by sending in music and Scripture readings. The Sunday school provided by Alison Tamminga, Marilyn Gross, and Peggy Ciolino is appreciated by our parents and children.

We now have two adult Zoom bible studies each week, which correspond with the sermon and text from the previous Sunday. Katie Pazan is also leading a children’s study and a youth study every Friday. Our Women’s Book Club continues to have Zoom gatherings as well. Jim Friestad is hosting Zoom fellowship Sundays at 11:00 a.m. We have a group of members who are committed to contacting and staying in touch with all GPC congregants, to connect and ensure their well-being. Our Children, Youth, and Families Ministry Team has been contacting each family in the church to maintain relationships and work toward a vision for the future. Session and our Board of Deacons continue to meet via Zoom to prayerfully lead the church. Shirley Hance maintains payroll, financial needs, and keeps our office tasks organized. Ernie Tamminga maintains our GPC website, posts weekly services, and is currently working to add many features to the website. Because our services are now online, we are engaging twice as many people weekly. Ernie is also leading a Zoom Spiritual Companionship Group, which meets on Tuesdays.

Our Finance Ministry Team has done a tremendous job navigating significant challenges relating to the loss of income from many groups who rent our spaces, costly roofing needs that required immediate attention, working with Ministerios Betel, and applying for low interest loans to be forgiven if the funds are used for payroll. They have also set up online giving options. If you need assistance with online giving, please contact me or Herb Hall. You are also welcome to continue mailing in your donations. They are needed and greatly appreciated at this time!

Alan Scholl and Lynn Kirby work daily to make our GPC gardens and grounds beautiful. We have an opportunity to support their generous efforts by physically distance volunteering to help with the gardens when requested. We also have a current bid of $1200 to remove the debris and brush along the creek. In addition to pledged giving, please consider contributing to this amount so they can continue their work.

My prayer is that our online options and creative adaptations are providing a means of comfort until such a time as we are able to safely be together in person. Many of the necessary adaptations are going to benefit our church greatly once the pandemic is over. Please join me in praying for our church. I trust that God is teaching us and leading us in the midst of this pandemic. We have an opportunity to notice God speaking to us. Let us continue to grow and learn together so we are ready to move forward when we can meet in person again!

I am available if you need pastoral care, prayer, or simply want to touch base. If you have new ideas, I welcome them. If you would like to participate in our worship services through providing music, reading Scripture, leading a children’s sermon, or by any other means, please contact me.

Pastor Jim Pazan

In Christ, Pastor Jim