Welcome Pastor Stephen Smith, our new interim Pastor!
Grace and peace to you, As Spring weather arrives, the Christian Church enters the season of Lent. It is a time of reflection in preparation for the celebration of Easter. We can be grateful that this year’s Lenten experience comes with some easing of COVID’s grip on our lives. As part of our Lenten journey, we are also being called to care prayerfully for the people of Ukraine. To that end, the Session of the church has made plans for a coordinated way to bundle your individual gifts of monetary support through the relief arm of our denomination.
On a personal note, I want to say “thank you” for the chance to be with you in ministry again. My email and phone number are listed in the hope that you will feel free to reach out. By April, we will publish the regular times for me to be in Walnut Grove each week.
I also want to wish Pastor Anna Gheen “Godspeed and good luck” in her new calling. The church is diverse. My prayers are that we will all find a way to love God and each other effectively, especially in circumstances that are challenging. I look forward to connecting with you soon. Until then, may the Lord bless you and keep you.
In Christ, Pastor Steve
The Church was first formed in the 1940s with the redwood church building, built and dedicated in 1951. Some of the church members are from the same generations of families who formed the congregation initially. We love to get together and celebrate in worship and song to the glory of the Lord. Over the years, we've seen adult and youth choirs who support the worship service with their song, and many committees whose work for maintaining the facilities to reaching out in missions has been a major part of the community church. Mission projects have helped many in need, plus scholarships have helped send young people to send young people to a college of their choice. Volunteers help maintain grounds and help with fundraising. We love our church family, and we think you will too.
The Sacramento Delta Community is a large agricultural region situated along the Sacramento River with small towns that sprung up in the early 1800s when the levees were built to create rich soils for a wide variety of crops from orchards to open ground crops. The community of people is comprised mostly of farm working families, ranchers and businesses, and retired people. The Delta's charm and miles of rivers and sloughs attracts tourists to local small wineries, waterways for boating, and fishing, and the town of Locke, which is today the only town in America owned and built by Chinese immigrants. Entering Locke is like stepping back in time to the 1880's. In close proximity, the small town of Walnut Grove is a bedroom community for residents who work in Sacramento, Elk Grove, Stockton, Lodi, Walnut Grove and other towns, all within a 15 tp 35 minute drive.
The town of Walnut Grove has a population of around 1,500 residents, a volunteer fire department, grammar school for children from preschool to 6th grade, several grocery stores, a gas station, three churches, a post office, hardware store, library and small businesses from restaurants, Dentist offices, gift shops and specialty shops. The local coffee/ice cream shop offers great coffee, danishes, sandwiches and opportunity to meet up with many town folks, as well as tourists because it sits right across the main road from one of two big community public docks.
One of the well known outreach events is our annual pancake breakfast held in the church hall (Koinonia) for the whole town and their families. Held on the 4th of July and preceding the big July 4 Parade put on by the local Fire Department, our pancakes are made of a secret recipe passed down through the ages and served up with of sausage, fruit, coffee, and juice. It's a community tradition because we all have so much fun seeing everyone before the big parade. Another event is Candlelight Service during Advent, a town favorite on the Sunday before Christmas with the Chancel Choir and special music and message from our pastor.
Small towns can be a big attraction for families looking to flee the big city life and their issues. Residents know each other fairly well, with some who have lived here all their lives. Much of the surrounding area is zoned agricultural, giving the area its peaceful atmosphere. It has rich history, and small community feel that knows how to pull together to help each other when needed. Walnut Grove sees new residents move in to stay many years because of its quiet and laid back style.
Within several blocks walking distance from the church is the Pastor's home, the manse, a three bedroom, two bath home with large fenced in back yard, two-car garage and a work shed, that is owned by the church. The Pastor of the Walnut Grove Community Church is provided with this residence plus all utilities as part of his/her compensation. This cozy home is situated in a well established, friendly neighborhood and has been recently remodeled and upgraded, and welcomed its newest pastor, Anna Gheen in early August of 2020.
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