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California congregations commemorate merger in stained glass cross

New Hope and St. Paul’s Presbyterian churches have come together to carry on legacy of ministry in Anaheim

by Rich Copley | Special to Presbyterian News Service

ANAHEIM, California — This Saturday, St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church and New Hope Presbyterian Church will celebrate their merger, guaranteeing vital ministry will continue at the corner of South Magnolia and Orange avenues in Anaheim, California.

The merger is the culmination of long journeys for the congregations separately and together. St. Paul’s heyday was many years ago, the church’s pastor Rev. Jason Micheli said. When he was called to the church, its remaining membership was trying to discern its future and the future of its property in Anaheim. New Hope started as a 1001 New Worshipping Community, starting in the early 2000s with money from the Black Fund, a forgotten appropriation made by the Presbytery of Los Ranchos during the civil rights movement era.

When New Hope needed a new home, the congregations started talking about how they could join their ministries together.

Stained-glass artist Greg Atwood and artist the Rev. Denise Anderson met for the first time at the dedication service for the stained-glass cross at New Hope Presbyterian Church. (Photo by Rich Copley)

In November, the birth of New Hope and union of the congregations was celebrated in a stained-glass cross that is now the centerpiece of the church’s sanctuary. It was designed by the Rev. Denise Anderson, co-moderator of the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Compassion, Peace & Justice Ministries, and crafted by stained glass artist Greg Atwood of nearby Laguna Niguel.

“I did not know that the ministry that I’ve been called into — its history, its struggle, its joys, everything about it — could be captured in one image,” New Hope Pastor the Rev. Chineta Goodjoin said of the cross, which bears the words “You Matter.” “It’s a part of our culture, our values, to tell people that they matter, and to live it out, when we journey together in this place.”

The message “You Matter” anchors the stained-glass cross. (Photo by Rich Copley)

Micheli said, “There was a lot of intention built into the cross in order to capture the stories of the two congregations, their history, legacy and how God has brought all that together.”

Watch the video above, or here, to see the story of New Hope and St. Paul’s and moments from the November dedication celebration for the stained-glass cross.

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