"AROUND SUNOL" by VICTORIA CHRISTIAN


March 26, 2007

Although Little Brown Church members will soon be saying goodbye to Interim Reverend Yolanda Moreno, they are strong in their faith that a new permanent Minister will soon be called to Sunol’s “only” church. The church has been without a permanent Minister since May 2005 and has been working closely with Reverend Moreno since her arrival at the church on November 1, 2005. An interim minister’s duty is to help with the church’s transition and guide members through the search process.

Reverend Moreno said, “The Little Brown Church has not been without challenges, however, there is a renewed spirit, renewed optimism and renewed commitment on the part of the members; not only for themselves, but also for Sunol. The commitment of the members of the church, 80 % who are not Sunolians, are absolutely committed that this church will continue to exist for the Sunol community. No matter your religious background or none whatsoever, anyone in need, whether it is in time of joy or of grief, knows that they can come here. In your time of need this church is here for you. I really believe that the mission of the church is to serve the community. Even in the midst of financial instability, the church has dug a little deeper and tried a little harder.”

Reverend Moreno received her calling in 1985 and began her studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. After being ordained at the University Christian Church in Berkeley on June 6, 1993, she was an interim minister in Watsonville, then Senior Pastor at the United Christian Church in Livermore from 1994 to 2002 and interim minister at San Leandro Community Church for 2 years until her arrival at the Little Brown Church.

“What’s really unique about this church, which is not typical of most mainline denominations, is the youthfulness of the church and numbers of children in this church perhaps equal the number of adult members. It’s a rare privilege of an interim leading a confirmation class where 12 youth have actively participated over the last 8 months. With all their other commitments, they have made this their priority. The commitment has been their commitment, which says a lot about the sense of belonging on the part of these kids. They feel a sense of ownership that this really is their church. And they take that commitment seriously”, says Reverend Moreno

The 12 youth participating in the confirmation and baptism ceremony on April 22 are Danika Beard, Jovan Beard, Becca Brown, Mary Chambers, Jessica Christian, Adam Foster, Chance O’Conner, Justice O’Conner, David Robertson, Julia Robertson and Nick Robertson.

She enjoys a “personal desire for hands on ministry” and has demonstrated that by serving those less fortunate. Her constant desire to do hands on ministry has led her to take pilgrimage to Guatemala and Mexico where she helped build homes and serve the homeless. Her personal spiritual quest has taken her even further across the globe when for two weeks in 1999 she visited the Isle of Iona off the coast of Scotland and lived and worked in their Abbey. She said the Isle of Iona is considered one of the most spiritual places of the world.

“My personal hope is that after this ministry I will have the time to take a sabbatical for three months to renew my spirit and discern what God is calling me to do next.”

Yolanda makes her home in Hayward with her dog Boo-boo and cat, Ashes. She has two grown daughters, Cristina King, who lives in Oakland and Jean Graves who lives in Ft. Leonard Wood, MO with her husband Sgt. Drew Graves and their 3 year old son Baker.

The church would like to extend a personal invitation to join them during Holy Week. Services include Palm Sunday April 1 at 10:30 a.m., Maundy Thursday “A Journey from the Last Supper through the Crucifixion” April 5 at 6:30 p.m. and Easter Sunday Service, April 8 at 10:30 a.m. An Easter egg hunt will be held at the Sunol Glen School at noon.

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