1920 Shadowridge Drive, Vista
Contact: 1920 Shadowridge Drive, Vista. 760-598-3852; oakhillschurch.tumblr.com
Denomination: Evangelical Covenant Church
Pastor: Marilyn Williams
Born: Chula Vista
Formation: Vanguard University of Southern California, Costa Mesa; Bethel West Seminary, San Diego
Years ordained: In process
San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?
Pastor Marilyn Williams: I would say that my favorite subject is God’s love for us and how God’s love changes us forever. I think of John 3:16-17, which surmises the foundational truth from which every sermon builds — “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son. Whoever should believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world but to save it.”
SDR: What is your main concern as a member of the clergy?
PM: My aim is that we would all live our lives by faith in God who loves us and that we wouldn’t just believe that God is who He says He is, but that we would live our lives in the confident belief that God is with us and He has a plan for our lives. I like to say that we would live out an active faith.
SDR: Why did you become a minster?
PM: I honestly never saw this one coming. I was an itinerate international Christian speaker and Bible teacher for about 15 years, predominantly to women. I only went to Bethel Seminary to become a more skilled bible teacher. It wasn’t until half way through seminary — my professors, friends, and even my husband started telling me, “You are a pastor.” It wasn’t until everyone else seeing it in me that I began to consider becoming a minister. When I thought about it, I made the choice to go in that direction because I felt the closest to God when I was doing the work of minsters — such as serving communion, baptizing or preaching, loving people through the different seasons of life.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PM: I Corinthians 13:13 probably surmises it best. “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” The mission of our church is to be a safe and friendly place where anyone or everyone can find faith and hope and live a life in Jesus. Our mission is to enjoy God together, to love one another, and to serve our neighbors.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PM: I believe that when I die I will go to be with God in an even fuller way than I already am. Because I’ve placed my faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of my sins, I believe I reconciled with God now and forever…. So, God meets us now and knows us, and we begin the journey now but death only brings us closer to Him.
SDR: Is there a place for hell in your theology?
PM: Absolutely. I don’t believe that God condemns people to hell, but that people who don’t receive the gift that God has given them, the forgiveness of their sins, end up there of their own choice. But I believe that God does everything and anything — all the way to a brutal and horrible death on a cross — to reach out to save everyone. I believe he wants all to be saved.