Every Sunday:

10:30 am PST English

2:00 pm PST Tongan Language (No Tongan Language service on the 1st Sunday of the month)

UMCOR Cleaning


Four Rivers Circuit of the United Methodist Churches presents:


Saturday, FEBRUARY 18th

1 pm - 3 pm

Stockton Holy Cross UMC, 1200 West Hammer Lane, Stockton, CA

Volunteers needed for bucket assembly on February 18th

Register now through 2/16 with email to:




Click here for FLYER! 

For more information:

      I write to you this week from a room at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in sunny Pacific Grove, California (near Monterey).  I am awaiting the beginning of The Gathering of Spiritual Leaders, a required annual assembly of clergy from our Annual Conference for the purposes of instruction, inspiration, and self-care.  We are gathering back in person for the first time in three years.  It promises to be a very beneficial three days.

     I came over early to get my roommate for this event, my friend Charles White, to a pre-event meeting on time, affording me this time to share with you.  When we arrived, we came into the building where you check in to your room and I was met by the wonder of a wood-beamed room in the Arts and Crafts style, set off with the scent of wood smoke emanating from the nearby fireplace.  At once, my soul began to relax after the stress of getting out of Stockton in time to make it here.

     That experience got me to thinking: what soothes and feeds your soul?  For me, the type of architecture I just mentioned, done well in warm oaken tones is at the same time calming and exciting.  Just to walk into the registration area filled me with a pervasive sense of satisfaction.  Many of our meetings will take place in similar settings, so I expect to leave here on Thursday afternoon with my soul filled.  And what’s more, I will engage in meaningful conversations with colleagues, I will worship more than once daily: I am eager to see how the Lord speaks to me while I am in such a soul-expanding environment.

     When I am not in a space such as Asilomar, I can nevertheless access such inspiration as I meditate upon such meaningful things (for me) as hymn lyrics, beautiful music (usually classical), and a peaceful nature setting (including—at times—our back patio).  All that is required is the presence of mind to seek such things out and relax into them.

     Here’s my question to all of us: do we?  Do we take time to immerse ourselves into the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and touches which help us connect with a Presence beyond ourselves, when we know ourselves to be at peace?  I have the unfortunate practice of putting off such “indulgences” for my soul, wanting to finish the “essentials” before doing what fills my soul.   I really want to do better, because when I delay gratification too long, my soul becomes too starved to fully appreciate such soul-stirring blessings when they do come.

     Please join me in a process of knowing and going; knowing what indeed fills our souls and ministers peace to our spirits, then going towards it in faithful pursuit of the unique blessings it can bring, whatever it is.  For me it includes Arts and Crafts architecture and a well-finished piece of furniture, a heaven-opening hymn and a soul-calming prayer.  For you it may involve a walk in the woods or a gourmet dinner with friends.  Whatever it is for you, move towards it…today, right now.

     The more full our souls are, the more effectively we can convey God’s grace because it will no longer be mere words, it will be our lived experience.

     As you experience such soul-filling events in the days ahead, do me the honor of sharing with me what you engaged in, and how it blessed you.

The best way to convey your story to me is via email:

     Seek the blessing, then share the joy,

     Pastor Gary





A New Resource to Aid Your Spiritual Walk—Literally

     Holy Cross United Methodist Church consecrated its new labyrinth on Sunday, December 5, 2021.

     The project, which has been in the works for more than two years, is now open to all community members to experience.

     “I've walked these a number of times and you really can get outside of all your stress and strain," Gary Pope-Sears, pastor at Holy Cross United Methodist Church, said.

     Whether seen as something religious or not, labyrinths are well knows to relate to the exploration of meditation, and are often used for rituals or ceremonies, Pope-Sears refers to it as a “spiritual walk.”

     Once just an idea is now a reality come true for the community. The labyrinth is a place for creativity and new ideas to spring, he said.

     The space was blessed by Pope-Sears with anointing oil and with two prayers, one in English and one in Tongan.

     Even though the labyrinth holds similarities to a maze, it shouldn't be confused with one. The labyrinth is supposed to help individuals find peace or find answers for their unanswered questions.

     Click here to read the article in The Record: