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Craig’s Corner for July 2018

A Word from Our New Pastor

Hello everyone!

I am honored to serve at Berkeley Methodist United Church. I’m looking forward to learning from you, listening to you, and leading you as we journey in our faith together. For those of you who are wondering about this new pastor serving at the church, I’m Craig Yoshihara and the main reason I became a pastor was to help people feel the love of Christ in their life and to know that God is with them. I didn’t grow up in a Christian household and wasn’t even baptized until I became an adult (all stories I’m SURE I will cover in worship eventually). And for the longest time, I was very comfortable with my faith – not realizing how much I was missing. I don’t want anyone else to miss out on how incredible it is to live with Christ in their life. And for those of us who believe, I hope to help us delve deeper into our faith so that we can grow closer to God and be the people Jesus always hoped we would be.

I have to tell you, it’s a daunting task to follow a beloved pastor like Rev. Naomi! How do you follow in the footsteps of a pastor who has been here for over 20 years?

I don’t think I can.

Please don’t take that as a lack of faith. I don’t know anyone who could. A pastor like Rev. Naomi who has been part of the life and breath of the church for so long knows the nooks and crannies of ministry in this place in a way no newbie could. No one can step into her shoes and be the pastor she was. And to try would be a disservice to you, to her, and to God.

My actual running shoes – well at least they were until I wore them out

Instead, I hope to carve my own path. Wear my own shoes. And learn how we can walk together side-by-side in this journey of faith. The best way I can honor God and all of you is to be true to who I am and to the gifts and graces I bring to the table. Some of them might be the same as Rev. Naomi and some may be totally different. But my hope and prayer is that I will use the gifts God has given me to help us continue to grow and learn.

Over the next few months, my goal is to get to know you; to learn our traditions, find out how things work, and what our hopes and dreams are for the church and for our faith. It may take a while, so please bear with me and offer your forgiveness for the times I may stumble. In the meantime, if I haven’t yet had a chance to talk to you personally, please feel free to reach out to me. I’m easy to find on social media (often I use Instagram and Facebook). I have my own blog at CraigYoshihara.com. My email is Craig@bmuc.org. And you can always call me at the church.  If I don’t pick up, just leave a message and I’ll call back as soon as I am able. I respond to any number of hails – Rev. Craig, Pastor Craig, or even just Craig. Rev. Yoshihara just seems way too formal for me.

My wife, Cassie and I walking in the Disneyland 5K in 2016

I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve as your pastor. I’ve got my shoes on. I hope you’ve got yours. Let’s go walking!
–Rev. Craig