Author Archives: Erin Dunigan

153 Fishes

Capital campaigns are rarely ‘exciting’ in the life of the church – especially not when they are for needed repairs, maintenance and upgrades. But don’t tell that to Gus Altuzarra and the other members of Laguna Presbyterian Church. “We’d been on this capital campaign to refurbish the sanctuary since about 2010,” Gus explained. The church took out a ten-year mortgage to pay off the construction loan, and was about seven years in. “We decided that … Read More

Meet Our New Director of Cyclical, Neema Cyrus-Franklin

Neema Cyrus-Franklin, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister, has been a Presbyterian all her life. But, she says, there was a point at which she made the choice to continue that on her own. “The Presbyterian Church is a place where I have grown, have been given a voice, and have been given the chance to lead,” she shared. It is a place that she also wants to help see grow as well, part of … Read More

Did You Know?

Did you know that the Presbytery of Los Ranchos is one-fifth Korean? (9 of 45 congregations) Did you know that during any given week, more than 8 different languages are used in worship within our presbytery? Did you know that at our February 25th Presbytery Gathering we will, for the first time, provide simultaneous translation of the business meeting into Korean? What a gift this is for our presbytery, to be one body with many … Read More


It started as a casual conversation, as such things often do. I’m not sure who brought it up, but I posed the, shall we say, awkward question. “Why should people give to the presbytery? In today’s world, where so many of the ‘givens’ – like ‘if we put a church on the corner people will come worship with us on Sunday mornings’ – are no longer so ‘given,’ how do we answer that question? In … Read More

Meet Jonas Hayes, Grace First’s New Pastor

For Rev. Jonas Hayes, newly called pastor of Grace First, Long Beach, coming to Los Ranchos from Kansas City (and before that Mississippi), all roads lead to California, it seems. He met his wife in California, got married in California, was ordained in California and had his first child (Sonja Grace, 7) in California. So, his return is a homecoming of sorts for the native ofthe midwest. Before Jonas and his wife Kim were married … Read More

Cyclical: the Next Boom of Churches

At our recent presbytery gathering the GCT brought the new Mission Plan, endorsed by Council, before the presbytery. After discussion the plan will continue to be refined and will be brought back to the presbytery in May. One of the tools in the proposed Mission Plan is Cyclical. At our recent Open Space we had a chance to learn a bit more about it from Nick Warnes, of the Presbytery of San Fernando. Nick Warnes … Read More

Discerning the Mission as It Unfolds

Jason Ko admits it’s a bit early to really know how things are going to unfold. But that doesn’t mean that he and the leadership of Community Presbyterian La Mirada are not excited and anticipatory about the new Korean speaking worship service that began January 31. “I think that we have really turned around from survival mode to kingdom driven missional outward focused church,” Jason said. Elder Marilyn Moore couldn’t contain her excitement about the … Read More

A Conversation with Tim McCalmont on the Situation in Syria and What We Can Do

The recent Paris bombings have only heightened the media emphasis on Syria on the ongoing conflict. Our own Tim McCalmont, as many know, has become quite involved with the situation in Syria particularly through members of his congregation. I asked him to offer some reflections to help us as a presbytery navigate our own understandings and possibilities for response. Can you give us any update on the situation? I think it is good to be … Read More

Steve Wirth on Generosity and Giving It Away

Steve Wirth believes in generosity. He has seen it at work in his former congregation, Grace First. He is seeing it at work in his new role as Regional Representative to the Presbyterian Foundation. And is looking forward to seeing it at work in the Los Ranchos Challenge Fund. Steve is the Moderator of the Challenge Fund Communications Team. “Generosity breeds generosity,” says Steve. “We have to get out of the fearful mode.” For Steve, … Read More

Good News in the Heart of LA

As anyone who has been around awhile knows, presbytery life can sometimes be frustrating. But, in the midst of that, there is good news. It is good news that Elizabeth Gibbs Zehnder is ready to share as part of her new calling to the chaplaincy at County USC Medical Center in East Los Angeles. “I think this is really good news that people aren’t often aware of, that presbyterian churches in Southern California are working … Read More