PSF ANTIRACISM TRAINING  |   DISMANTLING STRUCTURAL RACISM  |   PSF TEAM LETTERS  |  

Your Presbytery Leadership Team

Rev. InHo Kim – Transitional Executive Partner for Congregational Vitality and Clergy Support
Marda Quon Stothers – Transitional Executive Partner of Mission and Church Assets
Rev. Karen Thistlethwaite – Transitional Executive Partner for Operations and Communications
Rochelle R. Shaw – Stated Clerk


*** Read our December 2022 Newsletter ***
*** Read our November 2022 Newsletter ***

Friday, December 2nd, 2022

A Message from Karen Thistlethwaite, Transitional Executive Partner for Operations and Communications

“There’s no place like home.”

Karen ThisthlethwaiteIn the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ Dorothy clicks her ruby red slippers three times and says, “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home,” and then in a matter of seconds, she is home. Transported back to a place of love of support, she is reunited with Auntie Em and Uncle Henry, and the three men who work on the family farm. Everything is the same, and yet everything is different. And after traveling along the yellow brick road in search of a brain, a heart, courage, and a broomstick, not to mention inadvertently killing two “wicked” witches, Dorothy returns home a different person as well.

This tale of journeying and discovery, reconnecting and facing life with a new perspective, reminds me of my last 18 months in the wonderful land of the United Church of Christ and then being called back “home” to serve as the Transitional Executive Partner for Operations and Communications, here in the Presbytery of San Francisco. During COVID, my call took an unexpected turn as I learned a whole new set of theology, polity, and history, in a denomination that is similar yet distinctly different from our own. While doing the work to gain dual standing, I learned about the importance of covenantal relationships and to “never put a period where God has placed a comma.” I learned about the power of “one voice, one vote” and the beauty and complexity of a congregational approach to decision-making.

Like Dorothy, while on this journey, I never forgot about my Presbyterian roots, and now that I have returned, I bring with me all the relationships I made and lessons I have learned along the way. As I return and see familiar faces and spaces, I am aware that while things might seem the same, just as I have grown, that these faces and spaces that I love have blossomed as well.

Many of you might have also experienced this phenomenon, after reconnecting with loved ones and systems at various points in COVID, or throughout the years during the holiday season.

So, to those of you who already know me, I say “hello,” and to those of you who don’t know me, I say, “Hello.” I can’t wait to get to know you better, work with you, learn from you, and serve you, as part of this holy family we call the Presbytery of San Francisco.

With much love,
Karen

Fun Fact: Karen performed as a Lullaby League Munchkin (93) and Wicked Witch of the West (96) in local productions of the ‘Wizard of Oz.’

Photo: Karen enjoying all the “sweetness of life” after seeing ‘The Book of Mormon’. Click on the link to listen to the opening number “Hello!”
Friday, November 18th, 2022

A Message from Marda Q. Stothers, Transitional Executive Partner for Mission and Church Assets

Greeting Presbytery of San Francisco congregations, pastors, siblings and friends!

Here are the important November announcements, invitations and unique opportunity offerings throughout our Presbytery. Please click here if you have an event you would like added to our next update!

I recommend Rev Yoo’s book which some of us are studying with Rev Kamal Hassan on Wednesday evenings. It is an in-depth study of the Presbyterian actions during abolition.

The churches who have assembled Teams to be part of the first cohort of KI Holy Currencies incubation are:

  • First Pres, Alameda
  • Chinese Presbyterian Oakland with Christ Church, San Leandro
  • Breakfast Program at Irvington, Fremont Ygnacio Valley PC
  • Sojourner Truth PC, Richmond
  • Noe Valley Ministries, SF
  • St James, SF

If anyone is available to journey with any of these church teams, please make yourself known. If anyone is curious about the value of the incubation process, please journey with us by contacting the leaders or talk to me.

I’m thankful for your support. I’m thankful for diverse voices focused on God’s missional sustainable work in our midst.

Marda Quon Stothers

Friday, October 28th, 2022

A Message from Marda Q. Stothers, Transitional Executive Partner for Mission and Church Assets

Greetings Presbytery! This week I am aware of the excellent job by the Personnel Working Group (PWG) to convene a Selection Committee for a new Executive Partner for Operations and Communications.  Thank you to those who have considered our need, and to those who have applied. Our Team of three (3) partners will be operational after mid-November. 

Thank you to those who supported the Holy Currencies leadership training at First Presbyterian Church Hayward and the recruitment of churches to go through the first cohort of incubation for sustainable missional projects.  There will be a 2 hour Incubation Kick Off Meeting (via Zoom) on Wednesday 9 November from 6:30-8:30 pm for the incubation church teams.  All are welcome to sit in to learn.  There will be a day and a half Retreat at San Francisco Theological Seminary on 2-3 December.  Attendance priority is for the incubation church teams, for PSF leadership staff, MVL, and FPOC leadership and any others if space permits.

Please reach out to me early if you have any questions or plan to submit to the Finance Property Oversight Committee (FPOC) for issues of major repair or renovation, leasing or sale of property.  If my professional skills can be helpful, be in touch.  I am willing to work with you.

I am pursuing a solar contract to enable all our churches to obtain solar systems at no cost and leveraging volume to get the best deal.  This is very important to us as we seek to reduce our contribution to global warming.

Thank you to all of you who have welcomed me to this position.  I am continually grateful.

Marda Quon Stothers

Friday, October 28th, 2022

A Message from InHo Kim, Transitional Executive Partner for Congregational Vitality and Clergy Support

I am currently spending four days at Zephyr Point, participating in and supporting the Clergy of Color gathering for the San Francisco, San Jose, Redwoods, and North Central California presbyteries.

Close to 30 clergy have gathered for physical, spiritual, and emotional rejuvenation. The pastors are here to heal and rejuvenate each other. We are sharing devotions, moving our bodies, singing beautiful songs, enjoying the breathtaking beauty of God’s creation, laughing together, and mostly importantly, sharing stories of the difficulties of the pandemic and the sense of resiliency we have through it all. Listening to these stories brought up my own memories of fear, confusion, not knowing what to do, and losses. But it also has brought up memories of how I have continued navigating through it. And I sit with my own stories I know I am not alone. At this particular gathering, 30 other colleagues and friends support me and each other on this journey.

Last night, we sang a song, “Lean on Me”. You know words. They are:

Some time in our lives
We all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow
Lean on me
When you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on…
For it won’t be long
Till I’m gonna need somebody to lean on

We at the Presbytery want you to know that you are not alone. We have been with you from the beginning and we will be with you through the pandemic and beyond. We continue to keep you in prayer in each day and please don’t hesitate to contact us for support.

Thank you and may you continue to feel God’s loving arms closely wrapped around you through this time.

InHo Kim

Thursday, June 9th, 2022

Lifting up Prayers

Recently, I attended the Coldplay concert with 60,000 other fans at Levi Stadium. In the middle of the show, the lead singer, Chris Martin, asked the crowd to look at the moon slowly rising above the stadium and say a prayer for Ukraine and the tragedy in Buffalo. Sixty thousand raucous fans went quiet. I do not know how many in the stadium may have any faith in a higher being, but I felt at one with them, praying to God for several minutes for the tragedies around us. Prayer is so needed these days.

A few Sundays ago, in the Gospel Lectionary passage, Jesus tells his disciples, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) The daily news reminds us just how far we are as a people from following Jesus’ words. As I was writing this note to lift up prayers for mass shooting tragedies two weekends ago, news of another mass shooting at an elementary school popped up on my computer screen. So far, 19 kids and several adults have died from a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. I can’t imagine what that community is going through. Less than two weeks ago, in a predominately Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, ten people were shot by a hateful, racist 18-year-old. All ten who died were Black. On the same weekend, a gunman entered the Irvine Taiwanese American Presbyterian Church and began shooting as the congregation members enjoyed a fellowship lunch together after worship. This church is one of our PCUSA sister churches in Los Ranchos Presbytery in Southern California. One member died, and several others were injured. Around the country, hate and violence against Asians continue to grow.

As we commemorate the second anniversary of the death of George Floyd, we as a country and society still view Black bodies with disdain and not as equals. There is much suspicion and prejudice against asylum seekers, especially those from Mexico and Central America. We have much work to do as the presbytery, the church, and as disciples of Jesus Christ to live into love as Jesus asks of us.

So even as we work on these issues together as a presbytery to transform ourselves and our communities, we ask you to pray and go where God moves you. And continue to love one another, your church, your presbytery, and the world. It continues to be a joy and privilege to serve alongside you in our presbytery.

With much love and prayers,
InHo
Partner for Congregational Vitality and Clergy Support

Monday, May 16th, 2022

An Introduction

Dear Siblings of PSF,

As the newest Executive Partner I want to greet and thank all of you who came to the May 10, 2022 Presbytery meeting and approved me for this position, as well as those who served on the Selection Committee. I look forward to doing the work.

My sense of call for this position is very strong. I was invited to join the Finance & Property Oversight (FPOC) Committee in the Fall of 2020. A few months after Leonard died in August of 2021, I heard the scripture about Moses and the burning bush. Not me, it was easy to say, but I was convicted by Moses’ fear that the people would not follow him. I decided that if the job were advertised, I would fearlessly make myself available. Later a mentor reminded me that this is a pastoral position. The shepherd tends the sheep and they follow her. This position uses all my professional skills, my work in Belfast and my heart’s desire to help the church and to shepherd her people. Less you think I’m too old, my mother worked until she was 81. There is only work and rest and doing the Lord’s work until we are called home.

What kind of leader am I? I am a ‘people and task’ leader, interested in the well-being of the group and interested in getting the job done. I am a problem solver/decision maker. I am collaborative and lead by example. I want to engage as many stakeholders as possible. I answer all emails and return phone calls. Please be in contact if I can help you or your church with mission and church asset issues. Contact me early if you need actions for full Presbytery or Committee approval. Please reach out if you think you can help me with information or resources. marda@sfpby.org or 510.849.4393 ext 303.

Marda Quon Stothers, Partner of Mission & Church Assets