By Charly SHELTON
n July, Tujunga United Methodist Church welcomed a new pastor, Tom Kendall Sr. With the first six months under his belt, Pastor Kendall has gotten a feel for the congregation and the programs and outreach at UMC.
“The people here are wonderful,” said Kendall. “I work at the Bailey Center every Wednesday and I’m planning on, hopefully in July, just setting up a table for pastoral counseling. Anybody who would like pastoral counseling at that time can come over and talk to me.”
With programs for community outreach and helping the homeless, the Bailey Center is one aspect of what UMC does to care for this area. The Bailey Human Care Center is a free community outreach program of the Tujunga United Methodist Church that has been providing services to the local community since 1981. According to its website, it is an entirely volunteer-run organization that serves over 200 needy families and individuals a week by providing emergency food and clothing for low-income individuals and families.
The congregation itself is an elderly congregation, and Kendall is looking forward to growing the congregation and bringing in more youth to begin youth-dedicated ministries.
“I love working with youth, especially middle school youth, but the congregation right now is an elderly congregation with not a lot of youth involved,” Kendall said. “But hopefully in the future.”
The parishioners and other worship leaders at UMC are enthusiastic about Kendall. Jim Emery, lay leader at UMC, had only the highest of praise for the pastor.
“I can say it in about one lump sum: he’s a breath of fresh air, let me tell you. He’s a man who does not want to be rewarded because he feels it’s all for God,” said Emery. “I tell you, he has led us in a very good direction and I believe that in 2016 we will really go forward even more in that church, not just for the people in that church but for the community, too.”
Kendall was assigned to UMC in Tujunga after serving at the San Gabriel United Methodist Church for four years. In the United Methodist Church system, Kendall explained, the bishop is the one who assigns pastors to churches, moving them every four to five years. At six months in, Kendall is excited to be starting new programs and adding to existing ones, like the pastoral counseling at the Bailey Center. In January, he plans to start a small study group at the church, “to begin with just the basics of our faith, what it means to be a Christian and how you live your life as a Christian,” Kendall said.
Meanwhile, he will continue to provide the leadership and guidance that his congregation has come to expect from him.
“He really is a man of the Bible, he preaches Scripture out of the Bible which is really great,” Emery said. “He does a good job on that; he does visitations, we have the Bailey Center [where he works often.] All around, he does very good work and has gotten the juices in a lot of us people flowing again.”