Update from Pastor Mark, 06.02.2020
Dear SVCC family,
We ARE a family!
We are a family going through a global health crisis not seen for a century, that has affected the structures of our society in profound ways. In confusing eras, every family needs leadership, and ours is no different. As a reminder, our highest leadership group is our Elder Team (Ryan Cornelsen, Terry Espinoza, Ron Fergason, Jim Fletcher, Bryan Schalesky, Mark Simmons, and Josh Stover). I serve, as Senior Pastor, under the collective leadership of this team.
During times of huge transition, our Elders have appointed special teams to serve with us and advise us in leading our church family. The first era of our church (Chapter 1) took us from 1984-2002. From 2002-2004, we had a “Chapter 2” Team that guided us through the process of raising funds and doing a complete Campus Re-Development project. The Elders have now appointed a “Chapter 3” Team, because navigating the wisest course of living out our mission in this COVID-19 era is so very critical.
This is the team that will research, pray and advise the entire Elder Team through the process of discerning our eventual re-opening strategy. We have had two meetings so far and we will be meeting regularly for the foreseeable future. Please pray for the Chapter 3 team! They are:
Shelley Berg - SVCC Business Administrator
Ryan Cornelsen - Architect, SVCC Elder
Matt Fleming - K-12 Administrator, PhD student
Terry Espinoza - Retired Educator, SVCC Elder
Jim Fletcher - Senior Business Consultant, Chairman of our Elder Team
Rae Gularte - CPA, SVCC Finance Team
Doug Huckins - Retired military and state law enforcement
Barbara Mejia - Attorney
Nancy Beymer - Hartnell Nursing Faculty
Tim Reece - SVCC Facility Manager
Paul Richards - SVCC Worship Pastor
Mark Simmons - SVCC Senior Pastor, SVCC Elder Team
When Katy and I were raising Tyler and Jason, they heard constantly, “In the Simmons family, we . . .” It really didn’t matter what OTHER families or parents were doing (there is a free parenting/grand-parenting tip for you!). Every church family has a culture, and during times of stress, it is good to focus on fundamental truths about how OUR SVCC family will navigate the future re-opening decisions that will be made. What OTHER churches do is not our primary concern.
A few guiding principles that our church leaders are united in are:
- Protect the most medically vulnerable members of our church family and community. Therefore, we will follow the best federal, state and county health guidelines.
- Partner with (and be a blessing to!) our governing authorities. Therefore, we will not have a posture of protest or defiance.
- Separate the HOW we do our ministry from the WHAT and WHY. Therefore, we will not be focused on getting back to what we USED to do but navigating a course to the future.
Our church family lives out our calling as citizens of heaven in a Jesus colony (as we’ve seen in Philippians) in a particular nation, state, and county. In my role as Senior Pastor of SVCC, I am in meetings with our county and city leaders regularly. I repeatedly hear how much they consider the faith community to be ESSENTIAL to the fabric of our community’s people. There is NO governmental persecution of the church on the local level (which is my only personal reference point). Our local authorities want to re-open Monterey County as soon as it is safely possible to do so, and are presently asking the faith community to work with them on planning HOW we can serve people’s spiritual, emotional and physical needs safely all through California’s 4-Phase re-opening process. Our elected and appointed County leaders WANT our input and partnership!
The Apostle Paul’s benediction seems so fitting for our church family at this time:
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. (Romans 15:5 NLT)
For the Chapter 3 Team, Elders, Pastors, and Staff,
Click HERE to read a letter from Jim Fletcher, Chairman of our Elder Team.