By Cheryl Raine
Are you more aware of what you are thankful for, given that as a nation we just paused to celebrate Thanksgiving? Well, I am exceedingly thankful for the Rev. Ngoc-Houng “Cedar” Dang who recently moved from the position of Associate Pastor to the position of Pastor/Head of Staff of the Vietnamese Presbyterian Church (VPC) of Garden Grove.
I have worked side by side in ministry with Pastor Cedar, beginning while she was still under care of the Presbytery as a candidate for ministry. Over the years we have prayed together for our ministries and for our families. We have shared our dreams of how we each see God moving in our lives and calling us to serve. We have walked together through multiple pastoral changes in the congregation she has continuously served in love.
Pastor Cedar’s ordination to the position of Associate Pastor in March of 2012 was filled with joy for not only VPC, but also the denomination, for she became the second Vietnamese woman ordained within the PC(U.S.A.). She now holds the distinction of being the first Vietnamese woman to be called as a Head of Staff of a PC(U.S.A.) church.
Yet, these distinctions are not what speak most deeply of her commitment to Christ’s church. What speaks most deeply is her humility of spirit and patient endurance. As one of God’s chosen ones, I have seen her clothe herself daily with compassion for those she serves, with kindness for those who disagree with her, with humility in her interactions with others, and with patience for God’s timing and not her own.
Pastor Cedar leads a life worthy of her calling and she leads it with all humility and gentleness, with patience, while always bearing in love those she serves. I have no doubt that as she serves as Pastor/Head of Staff of the Vietnamese Presbyterian Church of Garden Grove, that God will do far more than she can ask or imagine. I also trust that everything she will do as she leads this congregation will be done to the glory of God! With thanksgiving for Pastor Cedar’s new call as Pastor/Head of Staff, I give thanks for the years of ministry we have had together in Garden Grove.