Courage and Imagination for Twenty-first Century Ministry
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We write you with good news of transformational ministry for the communities of St. Luke’s, North Park; St. Paul’s Cathedral; and indeed, the whole diocese. We are happy to announce the North Park Project, for which Bishop Mathes will appoint the Rev. Colin Mathewson and the Rev. Laurel Mathewson as vicars-in-charge at St. Luke’s. Their last Sunday at the Cathedral will be September 25.
The North Park neighborhood is a rich crossroads of cultures and communities with a multi-cultural immigrant core and a young professional influx. Building up the presence and ministry of the Sudanese congregation, St. Luke’s will become ever more a multi-cultural community, a place where truly “in Christ there is no east or west.” It will offer a spiritual home to millennials, and others who are drawn to God and God’s mission although they may not use that language.
Laurel and Colin Mathewson are well-equipped for this ministry. Together they have combined leadership experience of over 20 years. Both have worked at Sojourners in Washington DC, a powerful voice for progressive Christianity. They bring passion for congregational development, diversity, justice and discipleship. Their charge will be to work collaboratively with the bishop, the other congregations in their mission area, the diocese, and the wider Episcopal Church. As they lead St. Luke’s, they will build a prototype of congregational development and growth in an urban setting for the benefit of the whole diocese, and beyond.
We are pleased that St. Paul’s Cathedral’s Vision for Mission strategic plan supports this kind of collaboration with St. Luke’s. Indeed, Colin will continue to serve as the Cathedral’s Spanish-speaking pastor until a suitable replacement can be found. The dean will continue to mentor the Mathewsons as they move into their work at St. Luke’s.
In addition to the Cathedral’s support, the diocesan Executive Council has committed $100,000 to this project over the next five years and Bishop Mathes is in the process of securing gifts from congregations and individuals. The project incarnates a commitment made by the dean and rectors of six other large congregations at the diocesan convention in February 2015 when they stood before the convention body and pledged to break down walls between congregations and find ways to offer resources in service of the common good.
St. Luke himself described Jesus as sending the disciples out, two-by-two, to reap the harvest. Through the North Park Project, we are faithful in following that example and responding to the twenty-first century mission field with courage and imagination. Please join us in celebrating and praying for this exciting development for St. Luke’s, the Cathedral, the Mathewsons, and our diocese.
The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes
Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego
The Very Rev. Penelope Bridges
Dean, St. Paul’s Cathedral, San Diego
Mr. Joseph Jok
Bishop’s Warden, St. Luke’s, San Diego – North Park