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College Lutheran Church

6650 Montezuma Road, College Area

Membership: 60

Pastor: Christine Higueria-Street

Age: 61

Born: San Diego

Formation: Mesa College, San Diego; California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks; Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Berkeley

Ordained: October 2012

San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

Pastor Christine Higueria-Street: Jesus loves you. That’s the biggest gift we’ve received in this life, and people don’t hear enough that they are loved — and loved unconditionally, without any strings attached. They didn’t have to do anything — it’s just a genuine love.

SDR: What is your main concern as member of the clergy?

PH: One of my main concerns is that people could have grown up in the church and don’t understand the church’s mission — what we’re really called to do, which is be outside the church and living gospel lives. Church isn’t something you go to and do on a Sunday morning. With some of the small groups and other people we have on council, we see the church as missionary — we’re supposed to go outside and serve our neighbor. We come to church on Sundays to be refreshed and renewed so we can continue to do the work God has called us to do outside.

Pastor Christine Higueria-Street

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PH: The church was established over 60 years ago and named after the [San Diego State University] area. Sixty years ago, San Diego State wasn’t that big at all, and I think the congregation didn’t have any idea how big it was going to grow. The vision they had was to have a preschool in the area because they figured they would need one. So, they started it and that has been one of the biggest ministries they have here at College. It serves families in the area with lower incomes. It’s a more affordable childcare, and it’s in a Christian environment.

SDR: Why Lutheran?

PH: I’ve been a Lutheran all my life. Lutherans really center their theology on the grace of God. God’s grace is a gift, and there’s nothing we can do to earn it. It’s for all. Our means of grace are through word and sacrament. We come to hear the word and then we also come and we are washed clean through our baptism and continually nurtured and forgiven through the sacrament of the Eucharist.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PH: That’s something I struggle with — who goes to heaven? I think it’s because God’s grace is something we can’t imagine. I think that, being human, we’re so limited in our thinking that it’s hard — we want to put little rules in little boxes. “You’re good so you deserve this; you’re bad so you deserve this.” I think it’s hard to describe — I think that God’s grace and wisdom is bigger than we can imagine. I would hope that everybody would be in heaven. There is a heaven and a hell; I think perhaps the only way someone would not go to heaven is if they purposely say they reject this love. Those are questions we all wrestle with and I do, too.

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