UNITED CHURCH OF THE VALLEY
There’s a fresh wind blowing in the Murrieta/Temecula Valley. It is the wind of openness and inclusiveness, the fresh breeze of a community built upon an affirmation approach to life which respects the customs and integrity of all persons. This fresh wind is called United Church of the Valley. This church comes from a tradition of calling and gathering God’s people to respond to the world with new eyes and new hearts. It is a church of vision and involvement. We unashamedly work hand in hand with our God to dismantle the fences which have been erected between people. We follow God’s vision of a just world where all will live peacefully, growing in their concern for each other.
How We Minister
At United Church of the Valley we don't utilize a full time minister, but rather a rotating group of ministers who are creative thinkers. During the course of a month you might see the Rev. Sharon Graff, Rev. Stephanie Toon, Lee Eddy, Sandy Selby or Darcie Dunlop behind the pulpit. We enjoy a different approach as seen through a different pair of eyes each week. Not only does it keep us on our toes, but it keeps our minds fresh and open to new ideas and a new way of seeing that, which we have looked at the same way for years.
September 27th - Jamie Barnett
Jamie has spent his whole life in sunny Southern California. He grew up in Anaheim, went to college in Los Angeles, and now lives in Temecula. He met his wife Kathryn in Malibu. They married in 1980. They have three grown sons, Lucas, Nicolas, and Sean, two daughters in-law, Rachel and Allison, and one granddaughter, Lucy. Jamie recently retired from a long career in public education. He has been a member of United Church of the Valley for about 25 years. One of the many reasons he loves UCV is that we are a “progressive Christian community.” We honor diversity of thought. We don’t all understand, believe, and think about things in the same way and that is okay. In fact it is celebrated. We find grace in the search for understanding.
Can you believe we are already over halfway through the longest 4 months, I mean year, that has ever existed? Quarantined since mid-March, I have been lucky enough to save a ton of money on gas by WFH (working from home) and it’s given me huge appreciation for the fact that I am still able to work full time but also thankful for the amazing people I work with that I haven’t seen in several months. The Council has made concerted efforts to maintain as much normalcy as possible despite not being able to have traditional church on Sundays, while also searching the most responsible way of being financially stable during these unprecedented times.
The Council (with a significant effort on Sandy Selby’s part) was able to garner a decent loan for the PPP (Payroll Protection Program) allowing us to continue to pay our staff since they are working from home themselves as much as is absolutely possible. The biggest advantage of this loan of almost $15,000 is 100% forgivable, meaning we do not have to pay it back if it is used for payroll, payroll taxes and benefits like pension and insurance, and utilities!! WOO HOO!!! We have until November to spend the money so we will qualify for 100% loan forgiveness. It is wonderful that we were able to secure this funding so we would not have to lay off any staff members and to be honest most of them are actually working even more as the church moves forward with the planning and production of virtual services.
Also, gratefully, most of our amazing members have stayed current on their yearly pledges! The total pledges for 2020 were $45,300, so if you split that in half to determine where we are at the halfway point, it means we should be at $22,650. I am excited to say that we are at $21,937 meaning we are just over $700 behind. This is exceptional news given we haven’t been able to meet in person. It is awesome that everyone is deeply committed to keeping their pledges up to date! THANK YOU!!
The 8 Points of Progressive Christianity
By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…
1. Believe that following the path of the teacher Jesus can lead to healing and wholeness, a mystical connection to “God,” as well as an awareness and experience of not only the Sacred, but the Oneness and Unity of all life;
2. Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience “God,” the Sacredness, Oneness and Unity of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom, including Earth, in our spiritual journey;
3. Seek and create community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:
Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
Believers and agnostics,
Those of all races, cultures, and nationalities
Those of all sexual orientations and all gender identities,
Those of all classes and abilities,
Those historically marginalized,
All creatures and plant life;
4. Know that the way we behave towards one another and Earth is the fullest expression of what we believe, therefore we vow to walk as Jesus might have walked in this world with radical compassion, inclusion, and bravery to confront and positively change the injustices we experience as well as those we see others experiencing;
5. Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning with an open mind and open heart, than in absolutes or dogma;
6. Work toward peace and justice among all people and all life on Earth;
7. Protect and restore the integrity of our Earth and all of Creation;
8. Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love on this journey toward a personally authentic and meaningful faith.