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Finding connections between art and faith in Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water

Anytime people are being creative, the church can learn something from that.

Megan Cochran
Megan Cochran

Westminster Presbyterian Church

  • Contact: 3598 Talbot St, San Diego 619-223-3193 www.westminstersd.org
  • Membership: 100
  • Pastor: Megan Cochran 
  • Neighborhood: Point Loma
  • Age: 34
  • Born: Albert Lea, MN
  • Formation: Macalester College, St. Paul, MN; McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago
  • Years Ordained: 7

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

Pastor Megan Cochran: God is bigger and more creative and more loving than we can ever imagine. We are being called to be loving and creative people in the world. That message is always relevant. At Westminster, we talk about how we can help God to co-create a world that if filled with justice and joy for everyone, especially those the world harms.

SDR: Why Presbyterian?

PC: I always talk about the Presbyterian Church by saying it is a church of grace, gratitude and grit. Grace is a free gift before anything else. In life we are loved by God, and there’s this gritty aspect where we are committed to social justice and fighting for creating a world that Jesus was trying to create. Also, in gratitude, our whole lives are an incredible response to this gift from God…. I can’t imagine being anything but “Presby” now. This is my place; these are my people.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PC: At Westminster, we’re the place where art, faith and nature meet, and that we are seekers creating a just and joyful community where all have a place at God’s table. We are the first “More Light” Presbyterian church in San Diego. That means we are open, affirming and inviting to the LGBTQ community. We have a thriving theater community here; we have a pre-school; we have four acres of land in Point Loma. So we have a playground, a community garden and a park. It is really this totally incredible place where we are creatively trying to live into the future of what it can mean to be the church.

SDR: What one book has had the most impact on your ministry?

PC: I love art. Madeleine L’Engle has this book called Walking on Water, which talks about the connections between art and faith. That has profoundly impacted my journey as a pastor. In addition to literature, artwork for me – of all kinds – is informative for me as a pastor. Georgia O’Keefe is one of my favorites. Anytime people are being creative, the church can learn something from that. Because we believe in a creative God, we are all called to be creative beings in the world. L’Engle gives permission to all of us to consider ourselves artists. Art can look different for everyone; for some it might be a painting; for some it might be an Excel spreadsheet. Whatever way you are creating and bringing about connections in the world, that is you being an artist. For L’Engle and for me, that is a faithful process.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PC: I don’t know where we go when we die. But what I do know and deeply believe is that nothing in life or death can separate us from the love of God. This wild mystery that holds us in life will surely hold us in death also. I am so grateful for the bigness and graciousness of God. If you’re asking me personally do I believe in hell…probably not. But there is a lot I don’t know about the world, and this is one of those moments where I think, “Thank God that God is God and I am not.”

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Megan Cochran
Megan Cochran

Westminster Presbyterian Church

  • Contact: 3598 Talbot St, San Diego 619-223-3193 www.westminstersd.org
  • Membership: 100
  • Pastor: Megan Cochran 
  • Neighborhood: Point Loma
  • Age: 34
  • Born: Albert Lea, MN
  • Formation: Macalester College, St. Paul, MN; McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago
  • Years Ordained: 7

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

Pastor Megan Cochran: God is bigger and more creative and more loving than we can ever imagine. We are being called to be loving and creative people in the world. That message is always relevant. At Westminster, we talk about how we can help God to co-create a world that if filled with justice and joy for everyone, especially those the world harms.

SDR: Why Presbyterian?

PC: I always talk about the Presbyterian Church by saying it is a church of grace, gratitude and grit. Grace is a free gift before anything else. In life we are loved by God, and there’s this gritty aspect where we are committed to social justice and fighting for creating a world that Jesus was trying to create. Also, in gratitude, our whole lives are an incredible response to this gift from God…. I can’t imagine being anything but “Presby” now. This is my place; these are my people.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PC: At Westminster, we’re the place where art, faith and nature meet, and that we are seekers creating a just and joyful community where all have a place at God’s table. We are the first “More Light” Presbyterian church in San Diego. That means we are open, affirming and inviting to the LGBTQ community. We have a thriving theater community here; we have a pre-school; we have four acres of land in Point Loma. So we have a playground, a community garden and a park. It is really this totally incredible place where we are creatively trying to live into the future of what it can mean to be the church.

SDR: What one book has had the most impact on your ministry?

PC: I love art. Madeleine L’Engle has this book called Walking on Water, which talks about the connections between art and faith. That has profoundly impacted my journey as a pastor. In addition to literature, artwork for me – of all kinds – is informative for me as a pastor. Georgia O’Keefe is one of my favorites. Anytime people are being creative, the church can learn something from that. Because we believe in a creative God, we are all called to be creative beings in the world. L’Engle gives permission to all of us to consider ourselves artists. Art can look different for everyone; for some it might be a painting; for some it might be an Excel spreadsheet. Whatever way you are creating and bringing about connections in the world, that is you being an artist. For L’Engle and for me, that is a faithful process.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PC: I don’t know where we go when we die. But what I do know and deeply believe is that nothing in life or death can separate us from the love of God. This wild mystery that holds us in life will surely hold us in death also. I am so grateful for the bigness and graciousness of God. If you’re asking me personally do I believe in hell…probably not. But there is a lot I don’t know about the world, and this is one of those moments where I think, “Thank God that God is God and I am not.”

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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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