St. Luke’s North Park
- Contact: 3725 30th St, San Diego 619-977-8173 www.stlukesnorthpark.org
- Membership: 130
- Co-pastors: Laurel and Colin Mathewson
- Age: 36/38
- Born: Eugene, Oregon/East County
- Formation: Stanford University; The School of Theology-University of the South, Sewanee, TN
- Years Ordained: 5
San Diego Reader: How long do you spend writing your sermon?
Pastor Colin Mathewson: I wish I spent more time on my sermons—my wife spends more time than I. But I spend three to four hours a week, and we take turns preaching. They’re usually delivered without notes, are fairly conversational and try to connect with people’s lives.
SDR: Why did you become a minister?
PM: At the end of the day, I blame God for my ministry. I had already wondered for some years about being called to be a priest within a Catholic Church context. Then I was called to marry my wife and supposed I wasn’t called to be a priest. Then a few years later, once we started going to the Episcopal Church, she was feeling called to start the ordination process. An Episcopal priest asked me if I ever thought of being a priest. It came back to me—I had. I can do that now, too. So we were able to do the discernment process together, which was a real treat.
SDR: What is the mission of your church?
PM: To create spaces for God’s grace to form life-forming relationships with God and each other across lines of privilege and prejudice. Our supporting Congolese asylum families and helping to advocate for their fathers and husbands who had spent the last two years in detention and just got paroled – that really epitomizes what we aspire to be as a community, welcoming all into a family that is trying its best to love each other across these large lines of difference. It felt like a miracle for us to bring Constantine back home with his family—which is what the recent San Diego Reader article was about.
SDR: What book has most influenced your ministry?
PM: I have a lot of respect and admiration for C.S. Lewis, especially in his creative writing – not only in his Narnia books but in his Space Trilogy—in making compelling stories that stand on their own. But then also tell the good news of God and Christ at the same time. That is genius and something I try to do myself. I also like The Great Divorce – it’s a short little book he wrote about heaven and hell—and it’s a helpful vision of what heaven and hell are.
SDR: Where do you go when you die?
PM: What we’ve learned from Jesus’ resurrection is that our relationships matter so much to God that they extend past death. That starts with our relationship with God but also with one another. I don’t know the details—but that’s what gives me hope, especially when I lose people in my life. Those relationships still have life because of the power of God’s love for us. That is the basis of hope not only when I die but also for why I try my best in this life to take care of relationships. But God cares so much about our freedom—because it is foundational to what love requires—that God is prepared to allow people in this life and even after they die to continue not to love God. It doesn’t sound like a great place to be in this life or the next—to not experience the presence of unconditional love. That doesn’t come from a place of judgment—it’s all a mystery, so it doesn’t make sense to me—there’s a lot about God that doesn’t make sense to me. But I do know that God is good.