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Pastor's Corner

2022 Advent Newsletter


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Huge thanks to Maks Miner who designed our new logo to reflect the desire we have as a community to create safe and sacred space for all people, especially the LGBTQIA+ community that has so often been excluded from the church. Look for our logo on our website and social

media soon!!! Let us know what you think of our new logo in the comments below.



Our theme for Advent this year is From Generation to Generation, and I feel like this is a timely topic for our community. Within the church, it is clear that the work of the current generations is built on the work of past generations. So much of our ministry wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the saints of the past who intelligently secured property and financial resources, who cared for our buildings, who stood on the side of justice and peace, and who did the sometimes dull and mundane behind the scenes work.

Those of us living and loving today are the bridge between what has been and what will be, and this can feel a little overwhelming at times. How exactly do we bring the generations together? How do we honor the past but also make way for a new future? This is tedious work. But we are doing it!

I am inspired by all of the ways that we are working together in this generation, standing on the gifts and grace of those who came before, as we believe together about a new vision for the church. Here are just a few of the amazing things our community has accomplished this year!

  • We started our very own climate justice ministry and celebrated our inaugural year of Blue Theology!

  • We saw two of our own ordained last May. Look for their spotlights in this newsletter!

  • We welcomed a new preschool to our campus that aligns with our desire to build a multicultural community that is interested in partnering with us in our work.

  • We hosted Architects of Justice for Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice.

  • We rebuilt our website so that it is much more user friendly!

I could go on and on about all of the amazing things that we are doing as a community! But I think you all get the point–we are standing on the shoulders of the saints that walked before us, and we are reaching and striving, and believing in a future of hope and peace for the ones who will follow.



It feels like kismet that our theme for this Advent season is From Generation to Generation. I feel like I am right in the ”to” part of that statement. Next month, I will take the big leap into marriage with my fiancé. It's such a beautiful, (stressful), and exciting time for us. I also hold that along with the fact that this will be the last holiday season with my mother in our home. Caring for her the last few years has been such an eye opening time. I learned so much because of my mom, about selflessness, caring for people in need, speaking up for those who are marginalized, and never forgetting the “least” of us.

My work with the children and youth revolves around those principles. How to care for ourselves as we care for others and learning from biblical stories as well as our community ones. Together we weave stories of old with the new realities of life in 2022. Our small but growing group has learned about living in community by building friendships, celebrating each other's achievements, encouraging each other when they are overwhelmed, holding each other in prayer, and creating space for every person to be heard and seen.

Together we are building a community where children are not just the future, but also the present, they are the right now. They learn from us as we learn from them. And together, we find the narrow way that Jesus invites us to. Jesus knew how to build bridges and weave us into holy community, helping his people find their own leadership within.

We are now in the middle of our own middle ground, our own narrow way. Generations before us have shown us a way and we now get to choose our next step. We have lived through difficult moments and God's pure love, through grace, makes us whole.

You don't have to have the whole story all done and beautiful by yourself because together, from generation to generation, we are drafting our story together.



I was born in Lafayette, Indiana, in 1926, lived in Columbus, and Springfield, Ohio as a child. I went to Thomas Carr Howe High school in Indianapolis Indiana, was married to Bill Watson in l948, and graduated from Purdue university in l949. I have four wonderful grown children and one little angel baby, Timothy, who only lived ten days. We lived in Akron and Cincinnati and eventually moved to Maryland just outside the District of Columbia. I retired from the National Geographic Society in l989 and we moved to Shenandoah County, Virginia.

Bill and I started coming to Costa Mesa for the winters after we retired. We stopped at Harbor one Sunday morning, thinking we would attend Sunday school. Wayne Searcey greeted us and said that they did not have Sunday School, but that they were having an Elder's training meeting. We told him that we were both Elders in our home Disciple church in Virginia and he said to come and join them, which we did.

Wayne asked us if we sang and we said that we did sing in our home church choir so he outfitted us with choir robes (which were popular in those days). We rehearsed before church with the choir in what was then the office where the old baby grand piano was at that time. We sang with the choir that first Sunday, and every Sunday after that when we were in town. Gene Swanson was the minister then. After he left, we had two wonderful retired ministers as interims (Dallas Gladson was one and I can't remember the name of the other man). After that we hired Dennis Short who had been the Chaplain at Chapman University for a number of years, and he only wanted part-time employment. We agreed, but I think we got a bargain because he seemed to work full time. My husband, Bill died suddenly in 2003. Linda and Dennis attended the Disciple General Assembly in Virginia that year and they visited me in Virginia. The Searceys had visited us several times in Virginia and North Carolina and Wayne and Bill played golf on many occasions. We had been duel members of Harbor and Edinburg Christian Churches. But when I moved permanently to Costa Mesa to live with my daughter and son-in-law, I transferred my membership there where I have been happily pastored by Terry, Wes, Stan and now Sadie.



Harbor Christian Church has traditionally given our staff a small gift at Christmas. We do this through donations rather than from our church funds. We think they deserve this for all they do for us. Pastor Sadie prepares thought-provoking sermons; Lauren, Justin and Macy enrich our worship with music; Pastor Janette and Maks inspire our youth with parables and stories; Gabbie keeps us up-to-date with our website and messaging; Eric skillfully manages our Sunday morning zoom and worship order; and Rafael and Lucia keep our church spic and span. It is for these reasons that we wish to give them a small token of our appreciation at this time.

If you would like to contribute to these gifts, you may do so by check noting “staff gift” on the memo line or you can give online by clicking here. Press "Donate Directly" and type “staff gift” in the designated area. We thank you in advance for your contribution to this endeavor. Please note the deadline is Sunday, December 18 so that we may present the gifts on Christmas Day. Stanley Ackelson, Treasurer and the Harbor Christian Church Board



Here's a great photo of Rev. Ryan Cullumber receiving a Bible that his mother gave to him. You can see how humbling this moment was for him, to be surrounded by all of his loved ones and his faith community as we affirmed his call to ministry.

It was a long road through seminary as a father with two children, and a massive amount of responsibilities,

but he did it! And we are so proud!

In this photo you see Rev. Dr. Maria French receiving the Bible that she gifted to herself. This personal gift was very meaningful to her because

it demonstrated a lifetime of honoring and wrestling with scripture and faith. This special Bible even has a fabric band that matches her beautiful stole which was made by her dear friend, Rev. Dr. Beth Hutton. It was a beautiful day, and the smile on Maria's face says it all! We look forward to her next visit!!



Pictured Above(from left to right):

Our Gratitude Potluck

We had an amazing time this year at our Gratitude Potluck! There was so much food and even more love and joy to share! Thank you to all who participated in this wonderful event.

Blessing of the Animals

This year's Blessing of the Animals included a special service with music, a cooling pool, animal toys, healthy food ideas, and donations to local rescue organizations. It was a blast for our pets and their parents!

Blue Theology

We were able to join our local community this year for Newport Beach Conservancy's annual Coastal Cleanup. This is part of our partnership with Blue Theology Ministries. Every year the local community pulls thousands of pounds of trash out of our precious water ecosystem.


This season we are so excited for our Advent Festival to celebrate the season. Tickets are donation based (but always free) and are selling at fast! We hope to see you there, if you want to learn more about the activities we're doing click the link below.

Thank you for reading our first digital newsletter! Tell us what you think. Are there any other ministries

that you'd like to see featured? Any stories you'd want to share? We want to hear from our community.



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