Posted by Taylor Chazan

Dear fellow church members,

Here are some updates since my last check-in in October.

Honoring Rev. Dr. Jim Nelson: On Sunday, March 25, 2018, we will be dedicating the Programs Building Courtyard to Rev. Dr. Jim Nelson at an event after services, honoring his accomplishments during the ten years he served as our Senior Minister. Nancy Breaux has graciously offered to chair this important event, and we hope that Jim will be available to attend. This will also be Rev. Lissa Anne Gundlach’s first service back after her parental leave. More information will follow in the New Year!


CUP (Conditional Use Permit): On November 1, a small group of church leaders attended the final City of Pasadena hearing related to our CUP. Two of our neighbors came forward with positive comments and our hearing officer declared that we had met all 68 stipulations after a year of considerable effort and investment. Rev. Lissa has engaged a seasoned consultant to help us in any further dialogue, including modification of our current weeknight curfew. Additionally, the City office is in dialogue with us about a possible restriping of Orange Grove Boulevard to encourage visitors to use a driveway on that street to access the church.


Where Little Miracles Happen: At a board retreat during Grady Goddard’s presidency, all the members were asked to choose a place on the church campus that is their favorite. I said mine was the choir rehearsal room (Programs Building 21), because it is there that I have seen “little miracles happen.” As a choir member for three years, I’ve had the joy of singing with our superb choir under Director of Music Stephen Grimm’s direction, and watching Stephen conduct with humor and brilliance, turning a large group of very different voices into a sonorous blend. I hope everyone will plan to join Stephen on Sunday, April 29 for after services for a retirement “roast” honoring our beloved Director of Music. More details to follow!


Inclusivity: The Board has been asked by a very thoughtful church member to explore a policy or bylaw for fair representation of church membership at the Board and hiring levels. Rev. Lissa will be examining a standard for inclusivity at the hiring level and the Board at the Board membership level. The Board is starting a deep exploration of how we can achieve greater inclusivity with a dialogue with the People of Color group this month, and we are very excited. We expect to have an action plan in the next few months.


Robert Millikan Room: If you attended the Heritage Sunday service on November 12, you are aware of longtime member Irene Burkner’s moving statement about Dr. Millikan, the first American to win a Nobel Prize in science who was our church’s co-founder as well as board member of a eugenics organization. The Dining Room in Cole House on our church campus is dedicated to him with a nameplate and picture and given Dr. Millikan’s association with eugenics, it has been suggested these be removed. The Board has heard from church members who advocate both removing and preserving his name in Cole House. Consequently, the Board has asked Ned Racine, our church historian, to look into Dr. Millikan’s personal history and provide a biography in great detail in order to make an informed decision. If you have information to share on this topic, I can forward it to Ned; please send it to


Thank you for reading, and for offering your thoughts to me via email or in person. I hope to see you at church during this holiday season, and that yours is wonderful!