10887347_10204661020020040_7895084331371317372_oMy story is not unique. 

There is no shortage of people that have had negative experiences within a particular congregation. I grew up in a non-denominational church that used the Bible to hurt people. Pastoral education and accountability were minimal and the congregation became an elite social club that I would never be welcomed in. 

Prior to attending college, I found my baptism certificate indicating that as a child I had been baptized in a Presbyterian Church (USA). That connection caused me to rethink a call to ministry that I had long rejected growing up amongst exclusively fundamentalist churches. 

When I moved to attend UC Irvine, a Google search for Presbyterian Churches led me to Irvine Presbyterian Church.  I was active from 2006-2010 at IPC in the college group. I then became a member of the Veritas (now Canvas) leadership team and eventually began the PC(USA) ordination process with IPC and the Presbytery of Los Ranchos.

In 2010 I moved to attend Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. After graduating in 2013, I moved back to Southern California to serve as a Chaplain Resident at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in San Diego. 

Being part of Veritas and IPC was vital to my beginnings in ministry.  It was where I learned that the church could be good, not perfect but good.

My experience at Veritas began a process of forgiveness recognizing that with God’s help I could heal from past negative experiences. I learned we could be broken together and I learned difficult relationships are worth saving. 

The leadership team style of Veritas and now Canvas helped me to recognize that our strength is drawn from our ability to work together, to listen to those who challenge us and to know that the Lord Jesus Christ works through the most broken circumstances.