Go, Sow, Grow: Pentecost circuit features various ministries

December 15, 2022 | by JB Brayfindley

Go, Sow, Grow: Pentecost circuit features various ministries


Editor's note: Go, Sow, Grow is a prayer initiative that launched early in 2022 in which local churches were invited to pray for one another in order to align our prayers for God's vision of growth and abundance to manifest among us.  As a companion to that prayer ministry, we will be reaching out to circuits across our 5 districts to develop short profiles on the ministry of our local churches and include links for more information and how to get involved. Together, we are the church. #BeUMC
 
“We have met for sharing and clergy support,” states Rev. Dr. Felicisimo Cao, current Circuit Leader of Pentecost Circuit. Churches in the circuit are located close to downtown Sacramento, stretching from Mid-town into East Sacramento with First, Faith and The Table at Central and Wesley UMCs. A few streets south are Riverside and First Taulanga-U Tongan UMCs. Hope UMC is located 15 miles south near Florin. Circuit meetings have been held over zoom and in person. Although the circuit is geographically close, each church has unique ministries. “Each local church in our circuit is very honest and open in sharing what they are doing in their individual ministries and locations.”
 
“We are just two miles from Sacramento State,” states Dr. Cao serving Faith United Methodist church located on the same street as the campus. The congregation is “envisioning to be engaged in the community by way of starting a new campus ministry,” notes Dr. Cao addressing the idea of permeable borders that would allow several circuits and many more churches to also contribute to such a ministry. “We are working to really make the church more relevant in our setting.” The church also has a Fijian language ministry.
 
Riverside UMC, also served by Dr. Cao has had a lay church planting team on board with plans underway for a community garden. “They have already caught a vision of a community garden, using The Table Farm as a model, and partnering with a food bank to distribute the food,” states Dr. Cao, hoping to link the ministry to the campus outreach at Faith UMC, “it will engage the community and invite them to hands on service.” The church has both a Chinese and English ministry and focuses on building friendships.
 
Rev. Tikiko Lesuma serves both Hope UMC, an ethnic ministry church with African American identity and Wesley UMC, an ethnic church with Pacific Islander and Fijian identity. Wesley focuses on youth ministries including hosting a summer camp at Lodestar. Both churches support their communities through Bible studies, worship, and celebrations.
 
First Taulanga-U Tongan UMC is served by Rev. Latulala Toetu’u with worship services in Tongan and English.  The church has a growing Sunday School program and Bible studies. The church supports the local mobile food bank and other outreach programs as well as supporting the Tongan community in the US and abroad.  Members are getting involved in the new conference Lay Servant Ministry training in the Tongan context and language.
 
First United Methodist Church, located in the Lavender District of Midtown Sacramento, is “a flagship for reconciling ministries,” states Dr. Cao, “serving as a model for other churches on how to step up as a reconciling congregation.” A roughly $2 million dollar project to reinforce the foundation and remodel the interior of the sanctuary was completed and reconsecrated by Bishop Sally Dyck on October 16, 2022.  The church also supports a food ministry to reach out to people in need in the Mid-Town area.
 
The Table at Central, served by Rev. Linda Dew-Hiersoux and Rev. Matthew Smith. “We are benefitting a lot from the Table UMC as a very strong model in helping the church strive for growth,” states Dr. Cao. The Table emphasizes growth in faith by a small group ministry called “Kitchen Tables.”  Chloe McElyea and youth at The Table are developing social enterprises called Table Farm & Table Bread. The church works with Habitat for Humanity, a local refugee resettlement organization called Opening Doors, Tubman House, South Sacramento Interfaith Partnership’s Food Closet, Mustard Seed School, and Meals on Wheels.
 
 
 
 
 


JB Brayfindley is a freelance journalist.