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The Brethren share the unconditional love of God

Sometimes our best is not so good

Sara Haldeman-Scarr
Sara Haldeman-Scarr
Place

First Church of the Brethren

3850 Westgate Place, San Diego

Membership: 53

Pastor: Sara Haldeman-Scarr

Age: 59

Born: Bird-in-Hand, PA

Formation: Millersville University, Millersville, PA; Bethany Theological Seminary, Oak Brook (now Richmond), Ill.

Years Ordained: 28

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

Pastor Sara Haldeman-Scarr: Social justice. My personal mission statement is sharing Christ, friend to friend and heart to heart. I will try to see what’s going on within my life or the people I’m around and try to speak some kind of message of hope or unconditional love. So, I would tell people that you are not alone but you belong.

SDR: What’s your main concern as a member of the clergy?

PHS: We as people of faith are so focused on our own faith and dogmas that we oftentimes neglect to recognize we’re all part of a global community. We each have a piece of the light — the understanding of who God is and the divine is — and we need to be more about building bridges than about standing on who we think God is.

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PHS: I wanted to be able to share the unconditional love of God and be able to help people explore questions and to walk together on a journey. We’re so individualistic, but together we have a better ability to understand. Being a woman in ministry in the Church of the Brethren — I was really a pioneer. The first woman minister was ordained in 1950 and I felt my call to the ministry in 1981.

SDR: Why First Church of the Brethren?

PHS: We first landed, if I remember history, in America sometime in the 1720s. We’ve been around for a while but we’re a small denomination nationally. Our main webpage is www.brethren.org. I am born and bred Church of the Brethren. I love the ideal the Church has, the values of simplicity, peace, and justice.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PHS: We have a faith statement that bases our mission: Jesus is the center of our faith; community is the center of our life; reconciliation is the center of our work. We do this as a congregation that advocates, educates, and appreciates equality for all. We have on our campus what we call the Friends Center with a collaborative ministry here — we call the entire campus the San Diego Peace Campus, and we have a collaborative of four different organizations: the Peace Resource Center of San Diego, the Religious Society of Friends (the Quakers), the American Friends Service Committee Border Project, and our church.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PHS: I believe there is some kind of spiritual something. Some call it heaven…. I’m more of a universal salvation person — I believe no matter what happens afterwards, it’s not ours to control but God’s. I will trust God — God created us in God’s image and whatever happens after this is really for God to decide. It’s more than likely God loves each of us, and if we’re going to put that in terms of parental love. I don’t know of a single parent who would send someone bad, disappointing, or evil to a place like hell. I don’t use that kind of language. Rather I say, God loves us all — and we’re doing the best we can here, folks. Sometimes our best is not so good but it’s the best we can do in the situation we find ourselves.

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Sara Haldeman-Scarr
Sara Haldeman-Scarr
Place

First Church of the Brethren

3850 Westgate Place, San Diego

Membership: 53

Pastor: Sara Haldeman-Scarr

Age: 59

Born: Bird-in-Hand, PA

Formation: Millersville University, Millersville, PA; Bethany Theological Seminary, Oak Brook (now Richmond), Ill.

Years Ordained: 28

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

Pastor Sara Haldeman-Scarr: Social justice. My personal mission statement is sharing Christ, friend to friend and heart to heart. I will try to see what’s going on within my life or the people I’m around and try to speak some kind of message of hope or unconditional love. So, I would tell people that you are not alone but you belong.

SDR: What’s your main concern as a member of the clergy?

PHS: We as people of faith are so focused on our own faith and dogmas that we oftentimes neglect to recognize we’re all part of a global community. We each have a piece of the light — the understanding of who God is and the divine is — and we need to be more about building bridges than about standing on who we think God is.

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PHS: I wanted to be able to share the unconditional love of God and be able to help people explore questions and to walk together on a journey. We’re so individualistic, but together we have a better ability to understand. Being a woman in ministry in the Church of the Brethren — I was really a pioneer. The first woman minister was ordained in 1950 and I felt my call to the ministry in 1981.

SDR: Why First Church of the Brethren?

PHS: We first landed, if I remember history, in America sometime in the 1720s. We’ve been around for a while but we’re a small denomination nationally. Our main webpage is www.brethren.org. I am born and bred Church of the Brethren. I love the ideal the Church has, the values of simplicity, peace, and justice.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PHS: We have a faith statement that bases our mission: Jesus is the center of our faith; community is the center of our life; reconciliation is the center of our work. We do this as a congregation that advocates, educates, and appreciates equality for all. We have on our campus what we call the Friends Center with a collaborative ministry here — we call the entire campus the San Diego Peace Campus, and we have a collaborative of four different organizations: the Peace Resource Center of San Diego, the Religious Society of Friends (the Quakers), the American Friends Service Committee Border Project, and our church.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PHS: I believe there is some kind of spiritual something. Some call it heaven…. I’m more of a universal salvation person — I believe no matter what happens afterwards, it’s not ours to control but God’s. I will trust God — God created us in God’s image and whatever happens after this is really for God to decide. It’s more than likely God loves each of us, and if we’re going to put that in terms of parental love. I don’t know of a single parent who would send someone bad, disappointing, or evil to a place like hell. I don’t use that kind of language. Rather I say, God loves us all — and we’re doing the best we can here, folks. Sometimes our best is not so good but it’s the best we can do in the situation we find ourselves.

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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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