Every Sunday:

10:30 am PST English

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


SEPTEMBER 25, 2022

     Splendid Autumn! While our temperatures will go up heading into the weekend, be assured that Autumn will have arrived, at 6:04 P.M. PDT on Thursday, September 22. I don’t the importance of such precision, but I find it fascinating and plan to celebrate by dropping a leaf to the ground.

     One of the signposts of Autumn, especially in our agrarian past is the harvesting of crops before the arrival of Winter, which means what here in the Central Valley? Nevertheless, this harvest-gathering remains entrenched in our church culture in the form of stewardship campaigns aimed at securing financial commitments for the upcoming year, allowing us to budget well and spend wisely.

     This year is no exception, though I am going to invite you to more actively participate in its completion—beyond filling out an estimate of your giving for 2023. The theme which we have adopted for our efforts is entitled What Do We See from Their Shoulders? and urges us to think back to the people whose lives have inspired our own Christian walk by the ways they have invested their prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness in our lives and in the broader community. We will consider how what we can see from their shoulders equips us to live more faithfully into our shared future.

     What I really would like is your submission of stories of these people, be they former (or current) church participants, relatives, or friends. My only requirement is that the people must be known to you—not somebody you read about somewhere. I want to hear the stories of what they did (and perhaps are still doing) and how that inspires you to more faithfully follow Jesus. In my 4+ years here at Holy Cross I have heard about exceptional people who have prayed mightily, showed up regularly, given generously, blessed and aided many by their service, and/or communicated well the love of God in Christ Jesus.

     If you know such a person—or many such persons—please make their stories known to me, by October 4th if possible. You can write up your own account of their exemplary work for Christ or invite me to interview you to capture their essence. Each week I will try to emphasize one of the traits of a generous Christian during worship: 10/9 (Prayers/Praying), 10/16 (Presence/Showing up), 10/23 (Service to others), 10/30 (Being a witness to others), and 11/6 (Giving generously).

     More information about our stewardship emphasis will be seen here (and in your mailbox) in early October. For now, please let me know about the people in your life, and/or the life of Holy Cross who have taught others great lessons about how to live the Christian life.

     To forward your nominations and suggestions to me, here’s how you reach me: Phone: (209) 472-2177 [church office], (775) 530-7418 [cell phone]; Email:; Snail mail: 1200 W. Hammer Lane, Stockton, CA 95209.

I am very eager to hear your stories and learn about your saints, so that we all can stand on their shoulders and view God’s favored future for us all.

     Yours for Christ,

     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: