God Loves Everybody

God loves everybody — no exceptions! I remember my favorite biblical scholar, Marcus Borg, saying that perhaps more than anything, it was Jesus’ eating habits that got him crucified. By breaking bread with the “unclean” he was violating holiness codes. He was hanging out with the wrong people. You might say that he was saying “God loves everyone — no exceptions!” 
This is what we believe at First UMC Salinas. This is what our ministry to the poor is built upon. Jesus touched the lepers. They were the untouchables of the day. There are modern day equivalents and we serve them and they serve with us. We touch them. And we are touched deeply by them. 
We are finding that some do not like this. Or they say, “We like what you do, just do it somewhere else.” But our outpost for ministry since 1927 has been 404 Lincoln Ave. and here we will remain, living out our calling. 
We put safeguards in place for everyone involved. We will continue to work for the safety of all. We will work for the common good. And we will continue to give top priority to the poor, homeless, addicted, and mentally ill. 
No one is beyond God’s forgiveness. No one is untouchable. God loves everyone! No exceptions! Thanks be to God! That means that even I get to be a part of this.
In humility,

A Special Day ! 

What a great day we had Monday in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.! The march was great, the lunch and entertainment was fun, and the turnout was quite good. Several churches participated, and a good number of city leaders were present. As I look at the pictures I had this feeling that this is something of the beloved community that Dr. King talked about. Thank you for coming out and making it a special day! 
Today (Wed) a few of us met with the city planning department and reviewed the plans for our new kitchen. Very exciting! Progress is being made. Unfortunately, there are still those who are opposing us getting a kitchen and even continuing to operate. Even though the number is growing all over the state of people who are ending up homeless for multiple and varied reasons, there are people who actually believe that if there are homeless people in downtown Salinas, it is because of the United Methodist Church.
This is beginning to feel like a war on the poor generated by a deep seated prejudice. According to statistics, homeless people are less likely to commit violent crimes and are more likely to have violence committed against them. When a crime is committed by a homeless person, “homeless” is the way the perpetrator is described. How often do we learn from the news that a crime was committed by a man who is housed? 
In the spirit of Dr. King and the beloved community that he worked for, we will continue to serve the poor — housed or homeless. We will continue to advocate for those who struggle. And we will continue to work to make our neighborhood safe for everyone. Please pray for our ministry, the poor in our neighborhood, and for the safety of our neighborhood 

Pastor Steve Lundin