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Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

Love beyond belief in Vista

“We try to love beyond the varieties of belief in our congregation,” says Pastor Beth Johnson.
“We try to love beyond the varieties of belief in our congregation,” says Pastor Beth Johnson.
Place

Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

1600 Buena Vista Drive, Vista

Contact: 1600 Buena Vista Drive, Vista, 760-941-4319; http://www.vistau...">vistauu.org

Membership: 180

Pastor: Beth Johnson

Born: Chicago, Ill.

Formation: Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA

Years Ordained: 10

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

PJ: That our interconnectedness leads us to oneness. What grounds me and informs almost all of what I do is an understanding of our interconnectedness with each other, the earth and all beings, and the love that comes out of that. From that also comes how we take care of each other within the congregation, how we care for the wider world, and how we care for the earth.

SDR: Why Unitarian Universalist?

PJ: Our theological diversity and ability to hold multiple perspectives attracted me, as well as our ability to create a community that is covenant-based instead of based on a creed and because of our absolute commitment to social justice.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PJ: We like to say that we love beyond belief. What we mean is that we try to love beyond the varieties of belief in our congregation. Our mission statement is that we nurture minds, bodies, and spirits; foster peace, justice, and compassion; care for the earth and the life it sustains; and build the beloved community.

SDR: What is the greatest strength of your church in carrying out its mission?

PJ: They have warmth and commitment and are a very caring and warm group, opening and affirming. They embody radical hospitality. We have a value statement as a congregation that says who we are and a covenant that says how we want to be together. That includes an agreement to practice radical hospitality, mindful communication, and active stewardship. Those are things that really ground what we do.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PJ: I don’t think we can know that. But we all speculate. I have people in my congregation who have ideas that work for them. People come together in religious communities and ask those types of questions. More relevant to me and my community is not the question “Where do you go when you die?” but “What do you do while you’re here?” and “How do you live and how do you love?” At the same time, it’s not like I haven’t thought about that question. I think consciousness continues for a short time after you die but I don’t have a way to know that. I believe that we live as long as we’re remembered and through the influence we have on others and in the world. That’s called objective immortality — so that whatever happens after death, what matters is how we live and how we love.

SDR: What about those who are unjust on Earth today — what happens to them?

PJ: I’m sure people have those sorts of questions and wrestle with them. Historically, Universalists understood that a good God would not damn God’s people to hell. That’s part of where we come from. The people in my congregation will lift up the benevolence and love of God. What I would say is that people who do harm to others are already living in hell. They’re disconnected from the source of love and are already probably pretty tormented and tortured.

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“We try to love beyond the varieties of belief in our congregation,” says Pastor Beth Johnson.
“We try to love beyond the varieties of belief in our congregation,” says Pastor Beth Johnson.
Place

Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

1600 Buena Vista Drive, Vista

Contact: 1600 Buena Vista Drive, Vista, 760-941-4319; http://www.vistau...">vistauu.org

Membership: 180

Pastor: Beth Johnson

Born: Chicago, Ill.

Formation: Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA

Years Ordained: 10

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

PJ: That our interconnectedness leads us to oneness. What grounds me and informs almost all of what I do is an understanding of our interconnectedness with each other, the earth and all beings, and the love that comes out of that. From that also comes how we take care of each other within the congregation, how we care for the wider world, and how we care for the earth.

SDR: Why Unitarian Universalist?

PJ: Our theological diversity and ability to hold multiple perspectives attracted me, as well as our ability to create a community that is covenant-based instead of based on a creed and because of our absolute commitment to social justice.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PJ: We like to say that we love beyond belief. What we mean is that we try to love beyond the varieties of belief in our congregation. Our mission statement is that we nurture minds, bodies, and spirits; foster peace, justice, and compassion; care for the earth and the life it sustains; and build the beloved community.

SDR: What is the greatest strength of your church in carrying out its mission?

PJ: They have warmth and commitment and are a very caring and warm group, opening and affirming. They embody radical hospitality. We have a value statement as a congregation that says who we are and a covenant that says how we want to be together. That includes an agreement to practice radical hospitality, mindful communication, and active stewardship. Those are things that really ground what we do.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PJ: I don’t think we can know that. But we all speculate. I have people in my congregation who have ideas that work for them. People come together in religious communities and ask those types of questions. More relevant to me and my community is not the question “Where do you go when you die?” but “What do you do while you’re here?” and “How do you live and how do you love?” At the same time, it’s not like I haven’t thought about that question. I think consciousness continues for a short time after you die but I don’t have a way to know that. I believe that we live as long as we’re remembered and through the influence we have on others and in the world. That’s called objective immortality — so that whatever happens after death, what matters is how we live and how we love.

SDR: What about those who are unjust on Earth today — what happens to them?

PJ: I’m sure people have those sorts of questions and wrestle with them. Historically, Universalists understood that a good God would not damn God’s people to hell. That’s part of where we come from. The people in my congregation will lift up the benevolence and love of God. What I would say is that people who do harm to others are already living in hell. They’re disconnected from the source of love and are already probably pretty tormented and tortured.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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