455 Palm Avenue, Imperial Beach
Pastor: Phyllis Ashe
Born: San Francisco
Formation: Claremont School of Theology, Claremont; National University, La Jolla
Years Ordained: 12 years.
San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermons?
Pastor Phyllis Ashe: I’m always looking for something and I’m always reading — I’ve never read so much in my life — and picking up things during the week that would be good sermon food. On Thursdays, they’ve given me a reading day, and I read and look over what I’ve accumulated over the week and start writing my sermon.
SDR: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?
PA: The grace of God and all those wonderful stories in the Bible, because it gives people hope and a reason to come back to church. Hopefully, they’ll read about God’s grace and love for them and they will know their sins are forgiven; they will be saved and they will be in Heaven someday. Of course it is necessary to be accountable and follow the Commandments, but the mission of the church is to make disciples, and so salvation is available to every one of us if we turn to Christ.
SDR: Which of the Ten Commandments does your congregation have the hardest time keeping?
PA: Generally, pride is the big problem. Like everyone else, we’re generally thinking about “me first” before everyone else. I’m thinking this is what society encourages us to do and that affects the kids and how they think and plan. It would be so much better if we turned our lives over to the Lord and let the Lord guide our lives.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PA: The mission of our church is to make disciples of Christ for the transforming of the world.
SDR: What is the greatest strength of your church in carrying out its mission?
PA: Our church has marvelous outreach. Every Saturday morning, we open our fellowship hall to the homeless and anyone in the community who would like to come in for breakfast and take a shower. And since we have clothing donations from all over the place, a lot of people who get out of the showers get into clean clothing. We are blessed because there are people who donate money or come to church and bring food.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PA: Hopefully we’ll all be in Heaven together. Scripture tells us Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and only by knowing Christ can we get into Heaven, but I think since the Jewish people are God’s chosen, you can’t tell me they’re not going to have as good a chance to get into that place. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I trust our Lord to be faithful and loving to his people and filled with grace.
SDR: Does Hell exist?
PA: Scripture tells us there is that place, but people will have an opportunity to accept Christ after they die. They still have free will and can turn away and not accept Christ, but I think many people do not have all the information they need to make a decision. But when people do have the information they need and still choose not to accept Christ, then they will go to that place.