Pastor Steve

For over eleven years now we have been in ministry with some of our neediest neighbors. The Neighborhood Ministry, now Neighborhood Services Center has grown in scope and offerings and we have made improvements along the way. We have earned the appreciation and respect of police, city officials, county and state political figures, secular non-profits, and many churches and people of faith.  
We have also weathered our share of attacks from business and land owners who have told us that they like what we do but want us to do it somewhere else. Now we have a group of residents who believe that we are hurting the neighborhood. I’m not sure why we are taking all the heat when our neighborhood is loaded with organizations that serve the homeless, mentally ill, addicted, and working poor. For some reason “that church” seems to be the lightening rod. 
Fear in the neighborhood is completely understandable. We have had two terrible stabbings in the neighborhood, one ending in the senseless and tragic death of a young pregnant woman. This act was committed by a mentally ill man who wandered all over Salinas and rarely used our services. But when something horrible like this happens and fear sets in, people want to point fingers and we are receiving blame. 
Homelessness, mental illness, and addiction are very complicated problems on a local, state, and national level. We work in cooperation and partnership with the city, police, other non-profits, and the faith community. 
I have been working with Mayor Gunter, Council member McShane, and City Manager Corpus to organize a community meeting at the YMCA next Friday January 10  from 6 to 7:30 PM. The hope is to focus on neighborhood safety and move away from a focus on shutting down the church. But there will certainly be some of that. 
I want to invite those of you who know this ministry and have seen what we do and how lives have been and are being touched to come to this meeting in support and to be a level head that would like to work with others to make a safer community. I need your support. 
I believe that we are called to this ministry in the spirit of Jesus. 
In Christ’s Service.

Constructive Dialogue

I was walking on Lincoln Ave. past City Hall the other day when I ran into our Mayor Joe Gunter. We stood and visited for a couple of minutes and then since we were both headed over to Main Street we walked together. As we walked, someone came out of a donut store and yelled at the Mayor, “you ought to get your head out of your —,” You get the idea. I was a bit surprised by this. The Mayor was not. He simply said, “You have a good day.” 
I’m not sure I could have maintained my cool so well. I don’t always agree with the mayor but I sure appreciate him maintaining his cool and doing the best work he can do with out a lot of fanfare and arguing. Made me think of the words I put on our church sign the other day. “Let’s move from destructive name calling to constructive dialogue.” 
This is the season that we pray for peace. We hear the angels sing, “Peace on earth goodwill to all.” We need peace these days. There is a lot of destructive name calling and not so much constructive dialogue. Remember that song — “Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now.” 
Christmas Blessings to you,

Pastor Steve Lundin