A Timely Matter

Dear Brothers, Sisters and Siblings in Christ:

We haven’t had Pastor’s Column in a while and so I thought I would write one on an important topic that we are addressing in Livermore–Affordable Housing.

Whenever, a United Methodist pastor is appointed to a church we are reminded that not only are we appointed to a specific church but also to the community in which that church is located. This is called our parish area. Thus, when Chelsea, Heather and I were appointed to Asbury we were also appointed to Livermore and asked to serve the larger community which truly is one of the joys about being a United Methodist pastor–the expectation that our assignment includes the whole community.

Affordable Housing is a hot topic right now in our community and needs to be. As we all know, there is not enough housing in Livermore, and it is expensive. Partners for Change, the non-profit that Asbury has close ties with, finds one of the major obstacles in helping people break out of the cycle of poverty is housing. It is very difficult to find housing in any economic bracket but most especially for those who have lower incomes. Before the Pandemic brought it to an abrupt halt, I was in the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Livermore class. I was astonished to discover that over 50% of the class, all of whom worked in Livermore (at the city, the police department, wineries, real estate, etc.), lived outside of Livermore because they could not find housing they could afford. They wanted to live here but were unable to do so. When I was appointed here, I had a very difficult time trying to find housing. Due to the generosity of Asbury and its willingness and ability to pay a competitive housing allowance, I was finally able to find a suitable house to rent.

As those who follow in the Way of Jesus, we are reminded in Matthew 25: 37-40: Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.” (The Message)

Housing is one of those basic needs to which all of God’s people should have access. One of the ways we can love our neighbors in Livermore is to work for and support Affordable Housing. Another way we can love our neighbors in Livermore is to acknowledge that the way housing has been developed in the last century no longer works for our community and we need to be open to what will work. Housing is a basic human right. Housing is a part of of God’s vision for God’s people here on earth.

Affordable Housing is on the City Council this Monday. Asbury has been contacted by a variety of individuals and groups within the community of Livermore to encourage people at Asbury to participate in the public comment section at City Council (more on how to do that at the end of this column).

I know there is not agreement among Asbury folks about the specifics of affordable housing in Livermore. I also know that there is a significant level of incorrect information “out there” about the Eden Housing plan. So, I wanted to take this opportunity to share some accurate information. If you follow the links you will find a wealth of information. I encourage you to read this and consider making a public comment at Monday’s City Council Meeting:

Here is the link to the Agenda of Monday’s night City Council Meeting which includes the Zoom Link. Page 8 and 9 of the agenda explain how to make public comments.

I know we may not all agree on the best solutions to the affordable housing crisis, but I hope we will all acknowledge that affordable housing is crucial to Livermore being a community where people can grow, thrive, flourish and experience compassion in their daily living.

As always, I am happy to talk with you about what I have written or any other matters.

Blessings,

Pastor Kathy

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