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

Community Congregational: Chula Vista's 230-year-old church

We’re a very diverse congregation

Elizabeth Aguilar
Elizabeth Aguilar

Community Congregational Church of Chula Vista

  • Contact: 276 F Street, Chula Vista, 619-422-9263, chulavistachurch.com
  • Neighborhood: Chula Vista
  • Membership: 187
  • Pastor: Elizabeth Aguilar
  • Age: 53
  • Born: Chicago
  • Formation: North Park University, Chicago; Andover Newton Theological School, Newton Center, MA (since relocated in merger with Yale University)
  • Years Ordained: 23

San Diego Reader: How long does it take to prepare a sermon?

Sponsored
Sponsored

Pastor Elizabeth Aguilar: Because of the pandemic, my full rhythm of work, worship and sermon preparation has changed, because now we are pre-recording our worship services. I prepare my sermon by Wednesday, which is when we record. Final edits and everything have to be done by Friday morning. It’s completely different from how I was preaching live in front of the congregation on a Sunday morning. The time of preparation varies week to week because it depends on what else is going on with ministry. For instance, this week we have a lot of people sick, not all with the virus, but with other serious illnesses too. That shortened my sermon prep time. I say my research of scriptures, meditation, thinking about how the scriptures speak to me, and writing the sermon varies. It could go anywhere between five to 10 hours a week. It depends also on the scripture, because some are harder than others to understand, and speak to me in a different way. I tend to follow the lectionary and I try to incorporate current events into my sermons; I also look at what the author was originally saying, and the reasons for what was written — to draw practical every-day lessons for today’s disciples.

Elizabeth Aguilar

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PA: At the very beginning, I felt an urge. I didn’t know what shape it would take, but I wanted to show people that God was real and that God loved them. That was my original call at the age of almost 18 years old. It evolved since then, obviously.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PA: This isn’t our official mission statement, which is in development, but we are a church that needs to demonstrate Christ’s love in our community and beyond by serving our neighbors. We’re a very diverse congregation; most United Church of Christ churches, even in California, tend to be mostly white. But we have Filipinos, Latinos, young and older white folks. It demonstrates the diversity of this part of the country really well. It is exciting to minister in this kind of community. We’re also seven miles from Tijuana, and we’ve been supporting a migrant shelter there for a few years now. Also, people have been at this church for generations. We’re the oldest church in Chula Vista — 230 years old.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PA: Because God is full of love and grace, God wants all of us to be with God when we leave this place, and it’s up to God to decide who that is and how that is. When I’ve heard people speak about what they saw and heard after-life experiences, it’s always been peaceful, beautiful and full of love and joy and kindness. God has given us free will. Some people reject God and will reject God, but I’m going to leave it up to God to decide what happens to those people. But if we choose God, even at the last minute, we will be with God, and it’s going to be beautiful. Even if we look at the sky, we see only a glimpse of what’s in store for us.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Jerry Schad hiker extols Ryan Brothers

O.B.'s homeless not Newbreak Coffee's fault
Elizabeth Aguilar
Elizabeth Aguilar

Community Congregational Church of Chula Vista

  • Contact: 276 F Street, Chula Vista, 619-422-9263, chulavistachurch.com
  • Neighborhood: Chula Vista
  • Membership: 187
  • Pastor: Elizabeth Aguilar
  • Age: 53
  • Born: Chicago
  • Formation: North Park University, Chicago; Andover Newton Theological School, Newton Center, MA (since relocated in merger with Yale University)
  • Years Ordained: 23

San Diego Reader: How long does it take to prepare a sermon?

Sponsored
Sponsored

Pastor Elizabeth Aguilar: Because of the pandemic, my full rhythm of work, worship and sermon preparation has changed, because now we are pre-recording our worship services. I prepare my sermon by Wednesday, which is when we record. Final edits and everything have to be done by Friday morning. It’s completely different from how I was preaching live in front of the congregation on a Sunday morning. The time of preparation varies week to week because it depends on what else is going on with ministry. For instance, this week we have a lot of people sick, not all with the virus, but with other serious illnesses too. That shortened my sermon prep time. I say my research of scriptures, meditation, thinking about how the scriptures speak to me, and writing the sermon varies. It could go anywhere between five to 10 hours a week. It depends also on the scripture, because some are harder than others to understand, and speak to me in a different way. I tend to follow the lectionary and I try to incorporate current events into my sermons; I also look at what the author was originally saying, and the reasons for what was written — to draw practical every-day lessons for today’s disciples.

Elizabeth Aguilar

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

PA: At the very beginning, I felt an urge. I didn’t know what shape it would take, but I wanted to show people that God was real and that God loved them. That was my original call at the age of almost 18 years old. It evolved since then, obviously.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PA: This isn’t our official mission statement, which is in development, but we are a church that needs to demonstrate Christ’s love in our community and beyond by serving our neighbors. We’re a very diverse congregation; most United Church of Christ churches, even in California, tend to be mostly white. But we have Filipinos, Latinos, young and older white folks. It demonstrates the diversity of this part of the country really well. It is exciting to minister in this kind of community. We’re also seven miles from Tijuana, and we’ve been supporting a migrant shelter there for a few years now. Also, people have been at this church for generations. We’re the oldest church in Chula Vista — 230 years old.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PA: Because God is full of love and grace, God wants all of us to be with God when we leave this place, and it’s up to God to decide who that is and how that is. When I’ve heard people speak about what they saw and heard after-life experiences, it’s always been peaceful, beautiful and full of love and joy and kindness. God has given us free will. Some people reject God and will reject God, but I’m going to leave it up to God to decide what happens to those people. But if we choose God, even at the last minute, we will be with God, and it’s going to be beautiful. Even if we look at the sky, we see only a glimpse of what’s in store for us.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Nicholas Leigh Hunt revisits the Grover Cleveland school shooting with new book

The “trial by media” notoriety kept growing with the Boomtown Rats’ song “I Don’t Like Mondays.”
Next Article

Fight over barbed wire at Kendall Frost Reserve

View of Mission Bay vs. protection against homeless camps and predators
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close