by Rev. Yvonne Varner, NSJ Community Church
All are invited to attend church with The North San Juan Community Church at 29190 Hwy 49 in North San Juan any Sunday. On February 7th, they celebrated being a church family for a year!! Be advised, though, you WILL have fun there. Loads of music and a concentration of the life of Jesus is the main theme of this so very small church. “It's like Sunday School for the whole family!” expounds Pastor Pinkie Varner. Youth Pastor-in-Training Marshall Varner says, “Its fun, there's a lot of people and a lot of music.” This is no conventional church, but a non denominational church of self proclaimed “Pedestrians”. “Jesus did the talkin' and we'll do the walkin.” says Associate Pastor Lane Baldwin, with an undeniable fire in his heart. Co-Pastor Chad Varner backs him up with, “I would rather live like there is a God and find out there isn't, than live like there is no God and find out that there is.” Associate Pastor Denise Llamas had this to say, “Get right, or get left!” Well, how do you do that? Pastor Pinkie Varner says, “The way we do it is to volunteer to do things for our community. How can we ask people to volunteer if we are in paid positions? North San Juan Community Church has no paying positions, no salaried staff and we are serious about the “Community” portion of our name. We have a lot of people helping who don't attend, but believe in what we do. We wouldn't be able to help our community without our community's help.”
Pastor Pinkie goes on to say, “Here are some of the community outreach programs we have provided to North San Juan in one short year;
*Community Outreach really started in April when we co-hosted the Easter Celebration along side the North San Juan Community Center. The day started at 6:32 am with Easter Sunrise Service then on with the Free Community Pancake Breakfast. The Pancake Breakfast was a huge success due in part to folks like the management at Tom's Sierra Super Stop North San Juan, who donated all the syrup we could possibly need! The Easter Celebration concluded with an Easter Egg Hunt complete with stuffed animals and all kinds of toy and candy discoveries.
*This was followed not so closely by Cowboy Vacation Bible School in June, right before Father's Day. Our little cowpokes ate cowboy food like chili bowls, fried bread, and pancakes with bacon inside. The kids made cowboy crafts like snakeskin hat bands, vests, roped a steer and made dad a new coffee cup! There at the end, they even got to ride horses for free, courtesy of Fred & Bonnie Smeltzer!
*Then we started “Operation Number 2.0 Pencil”, that's where we collect and continue to distribute school supplies to four local schools. Grizzly Hill, Milhous School, Washington School and Camptonville Schools all receive supplies. We wanted to ease the burden of school supply costs on our local teachers. Some families can't afford to buy supplies for their all of their kids and the teachers fill in the gaps after their supply grant has been used up. For some, its hard to understand why the schools would run out of money when they have grants and such. Not everyone knows that the schools get what is called allocated fund grants. That means if they get a $20,000 grant for a garden – not one cent is spent on pencils or school supplies. It started with pencils, for us, and has yet to end....
*”Souper Sunday” allows anyone to come in after church, at noon, and have a bottomless bowl of soup de jour as well as partake in the numerous types of crackers we end up with. We recently obtained a new coffee pot and loads of teas to accompany the soup. We encourage folks to stay and enjoy a family movie at 1:00pm - if they need a place to stay warm or just to socialize.
* Sponsoring and organizing “Community Work Day” was a beautiful thing! The building we call Church was sanded and readied for painting, new doors were installed, new window panes replaced, a bunch of landscaping was done and video cameras installed. There was building material purchased to build a portable handicap ramp in the near future. It was wonderful to see so many smiling faces volunteering. Everyone was treated to a free lunch and was very happy with it!
*We had a ginormous Christmas Celebration on Christmas Day! It started at 6:00 pm with our Christmas Program complete with Santa giving out gifts. We had an intermission and had dinner at 7:30. A huge pot of corn chowder soup, two kinds of chili, a giant spiral ham, breads, cookies, candies, cakes and such were served. We gave away loads of warm stuff. We watched the movie, “The Nativity Story” and then we had church service pretty close to midnight. The last person to leave left the building at 1:00 am. No one left hungry or cold or empty handed. We gave out presents to 75 people that night and for some - made Christmas what it once was in their eyes. A family celebration.”
*“Cold Hands – Warm Heart” started on Christmas Day during the Christmas Celebration. It is a mobile clothes closet that stays in the same van as the food delivery bags. This new outreach provides sweaters, sweatshirts, pants, socks, hats, scarves, mittens and anything else warm we can get our hands on..... daily. Recently, Tie Dye Pat of North San Juan donated 30 pairs of new mens' socks. New socks are a huge hit!!! Sometimes its just the smallest thing that we all take for granted that can make someone else's day.
Again, we wouldn't be able to help our community without our community's help.”
North San Juan Community Church – we don't believe in black sheep – just tie dye sheep!
Practicing Pedestrians – just trying to walk the walk.
For more information …...
The North San Juan Community Church
29190 Highway 49
North San Juan, Ca. 95960
PS - Thank you all in local media - for everything you all do!!