By SHANA LIVIGNI
After four years with only an interim senior pastor, the church has finally found their man. He is Pastor Bill Flanders – or as he likes to be called “Pastor Bill”. He comes to our community from Monday night was Pastor Bill’s official Installation Service with pastors, reverends and clergy from all over Southern California, including members of the church he spent ten years at in Indio and, most recently, Rancho Cucamonga, where he was the pastor for three years prior to accepting his new title here.
He was officially began his new role as senior pastor on July 12th, so he’s relatively new to the area. He and his lovely wife Tammy are in the process of moving to La Crescenta… with the unfortunate welcome of the out-of-control Station Fire. His sixth sermon was last Sunday – Day 4 of the terrifying flames and smoke moving in on the foothill community. I asked him what that sermon was like for him and his nervous congregation. He sighed, thought for a moment and began.
“I think the main thing that we did different just in terms of the sermon, I just kind of modified it in terms of the issues.” Pastor Bill explains. “One of the points of my sermon was how do we be steadfast in terms of life’s trials and difficulties, so there was an obvious connection. I already covered relationships, unity and encouragement that we give to one another, prayer and our relationship with God. Those are the foundational points to get through the tough times, and that kind of tied it all in.”
Prior to that day, Pastor Bill and the wonderful staff (I know, I met many of them), plugged right into the fire disaster. “When some of our families began to get evacuation notices, we opened up our Fellowship Hall so they’d have a place to stay. Some people came to Sunday services directly from CV High where they spent the night after being evacuated from their homes.
Pastor Bill told felt his call to the ministry at a young age while attending the Forest Hill Christian Camp in the local mountains and it stayed with him through out his teenage years. From the ages of 18 – 24, he spent six years as a helicopter pilot for the U.S. Marine Corps while following his calling by his voluntary involvement as a youth pastor with a church in Santa Ana.
After his commitment to the Marines, he pursued his Master’s Degree in Seminary at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada. Pastor Bill spent the next six years at several churches in San Diego. Then to Indio, Rancho Cucamonga and now here, as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in La Crescenta. He and the staff welcome and encourage people of all religious dominations and ‘seekers’ to unite and create a community support system and celebration of all people.
Some of the upcoming events at the church include:
•Back to Church Sunday – Sunday, Sept. 13th inviting people of ALL faiths to re-visit church services by attending this special invitational sermon by Pastor Bill at 10:45 am followed by a full-on BBQ with jumpers and games for the kiddos in the parking lot. Pray, eat and mingle with your neighbors.
•Fall Family Festival – A double celebration! Pastor Bill’s birthday and Halloween fun! The kids enjoy ‘Trunk or Treat’ (the trunks of cars filled with candies), game booths and safe scary fun for all.
•Mothers’ Day Out – Every Tuesday and Thursday, moms can drop off their pre-schoolers from 9am – 1pm to have some affordable well-deserved ‘personal’ time off.
•Free E-Waste Recycling Event – Bring your unwanted electronics to the parking lot on Saturday, November 14th from 9am – 3pm.
The church library holds over 45,000 books, videos and DVDs – all Christianity-based for readers and viewers of all ages and offers library cards and access for CVHS students next door to take advantage of this amazing collection of information and entertainment.
Other interesting programs you might want to check out include men’s and women’s prayer groups, quilting groups, Awana’s Club for the younger ones, dance and choir rehearsals and basic sign language classes. For more information call them at 249-5832. First Baptist Church – La Crescenta is located at 4441 La Crescenta Avenue, La Crescenta 91214 (one block south of Foothill Blvd. at Mary St.)