Dear Friends,

In my first few years in the ministry, the denomination published a weekly magazine called “Monday Morning” for pastors about various goings on in the PCUSA, pastoral articles, clergy transitions, etc. It has long since ceased publication. I shouldn’t infringe on too many copyrights by taking the name. 


As part of some of the new things I would like to do for a fresh start in 2019 is post a weekly email to the congregation about some of my thoughts regarding Southminster. It will be titled simply “Monday Morning” followed by the date. This won’t replace the weekly announcement email from Marissa on Thursdays. 


One of the things I would like to do in 2019 is to have a fresh start in terms of relationship-building with our church members and friends. How I plan to do that is by making myself available, communicating that availability, and by setting several times per week for phone calls and personal visits either in my study, or at a coffee shop, breakfast, lunch, members’ homes, etc. My goal is to have at least one face to face conversation with every member (or household) this year. This would be in addition to contacts in regards to normal pastoral care. I will review this every couple of months regarding progress. If I were able to make 4-5 Fresh Start Contacts a week, that should pretty well cover the membership. Obviously, I won’t impose on those who do not desire a contact.

What will we talk about? Anything you want. Getting to know you better, building relationships, the ministries of Southminster, the world is our oyster. 

I will be setting these up by going through the directory and contacting you to set appointments. But you can help by getting a jump and contacting me as well. 


I am updating my schedule in terms of work time and personal time. Work time is Sunday through Thursday. Fridays and Saturdays are personal except when they aren’t such as pastoral emergencies and other unavoidable events. For example, Ancient Mariners on Friday would be something I would like to attend regularly and when that happens, I would trade-off that block of time for something else during another part of the week. 

If someone wants to invite me to their home, Sunday afternoon would be great as well as Thursday afternoon. On Tuesday and Wednesday early mornings I will be at Sharis on Murray and Allen from 7:30 – 9. You can drop-in for breakfast or coffee or call/text ahead 503-309-5346. I may change the location but will let you know each week. This week I will be there.

Marissa will know my schedule when I am in and out and I am a only a text or email away. 


The Adult Education committee invited me to lead Sunday Starter in January. I gave an overview of Progressive Christianity on Sunday and I will talk about my trip to Iraq and how that ties into Progressive Christianity this week. 9 am Room 7.

MISSION PERSONNEL FROM IRAQ Tuesday, January 15th 7-8:30 pm

Speaking of Iraq, we are excited to welcome PCUSA mission personnel working with Presbyterian congregations in Basra, Iraq to Southminster next Tuesday evening. Details will come in Thursday’s email, but now you have the date.


The session had a special meeting for the 2019 budget on Sunday. A motion was passed so this will be public, but I want you to know that we nearly had to cut a staff position to balance the budget, the tenor section leader for the choir. We were able to save it by Don and I foregoing our cost of living increase. That was the gist of the motion that was passed.

I wish to explain what this position (tenor section leader) is and why it is important. Paid section leaders for choirs are not unusual. Southminster has had two in the past. They serve to stabilize and give confidence to choir members. Without these strong voices, other choir members feel vulnerable and drop away. We had hoped to add a soprano section leader, but were unable to do so because of our budget situation. 

We have a fine choir and an amazing choir director. The choir adds so much to our worship experience as well as enabling volunteers to experience the joy of singing. Maybe you will be a part of it? You can participate for a season such as Lent and Easter (coming soon!) We want the choir to be successful and the tenor section leader position has gone a long way to make that happen over the years. 

I mention this in the spirit of transparency and because we all need to know the hard work and hard decisions your session makes regarding our budget. We are now at the level of cutting staff. The budget will be final-final at the next session meeting on the third Thursday. If more income is available in terms of 2019 pledging, we can add back to the budget things that have had to be removed. Any of your session members, including of course the trustees, can talk with anyone about this important work.


This was a long first Monday Morning. Future emails won’t be quite this long! 

Contact me via or my cell phone/text 503-309-5346.

In the spirit of a fresh start…

Blessed Be,