First Presbyterian Church, San Jose; Joining hands with Christ in the Inner City

FPC WELCOMED SHARON HARE AS OUR NEW PASTOR ON JULY 1, 2010

Rev. Sharon Hare
The Reverend Sharon Hare

A Concord, California, native and Presbyterian since birth, Sharon Hare has served churches in urban and rural America, as well as working for the Salvation Army and a Presbyterian Mission serving homeless women in Chicago.

Sharon has had a long and enduring interest and passion for mission and service with people at the margins of society. Sharon is the mother of an adopted daughter, and cares for her aging parents who still live in Concord.

In her long walk with God, she has become a trained Spiritual Director, and plans to help our congregation to nurture our own spiritual growth.

In her Statement of Faith, she wrote, “I experience the wonder of God’s love in the beauty of all that God has created and called good. Not only in all that nature offers, but in the creation of human kind and all its unique variety.” She ends with, “...I am overwhelmed by a God who witnesses our bumbling efforts to walk this life of faith, and continues to love us unconditionally into wholeness.”

 

SPIRITUAL JOURNEY

by Rev. Sharon Hare

I have had the joy of growing up in a Christian home. My earliest memory was looking over the nursery door waiting for my parents to come and get me after the Sunday evening service. My family was active in the First Presbyterian Church of Concord, California. I attended Sunday school as well as the youth groups and participated in every avenue of church life. I began to teach Sunday school when I was in high school. I was blessed with the opportunity to explore the Christian life by traveling to Arizona and teaching Bible school on the Navajo reservation, working with Cesar Chavez in Delano, visiting Watts in Southern California and learning how to begin to ask questions about what it means to live as a Christian in our society. I was also afforded the opportunity to travel to Guatemala and spend a year working with a Presbyterian missionary outside Guatemala City at Mount Zion Retreat Center. It was my pastor who encouraged me to attend Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, where I pursued an area of concentration in Sociology and Christian Education.

During my first year of College my faith began to deepen and become my own. I experienced an awakening of my faith that led me to explore new experiences in prayer. My faith was enriched by attending silent retreats that taught me to listen to God. Under the direction of a wonderful priest I began to learn about prayer disciplines and how to use them in my life. After college I found myself working for the Salvation Army in their Booth Care Homes. I worked with teenage women who were single and pregnant. Many were pregnant as a result of prostitution. Eventually we opened a residence specifically for these young women and their babies. It was during this time that I felt God calling me into ordained ministry. It seemed to me that the church was called to be a place that embraced all people, even a fourteen year old girl who had been working the streets as a prostitute, and had now met Jesus. It was not her job to fit into the church; it was the job of the church to embrace her and find a place for her to fit and be loved and grow in grace.

I attended McCormick Seminary because it was a Seminary in the heart of the city. It was where I thought I would receive the training to minister in an urban setting. It took a long time for me to graduate because I needed to stop and work to help pay the bills. As a result I had the most wonderful opportunity to work with a Presbyterian Mission in downtown Chicago where I helped open and develop a residence for homeless women who needed some assistance in starting life over. I became a believer in miracles as God transformed women before my eyes. I was surprised that after Seminary, God took me out of the urban setting and placed me in rural America. But it was the place that enabled my adopted daughter to grow in a somewhat protected setting. I think it also served to introduce my congregations to a different way of thinking about people.

What has remained constant is my love of prayer and discovering new ways of encountering God. I became a Spiritual Director after taking an intensive course at the Mercy Center in Burlingame and earning a certificate. I continue to seek out a spiritual director for my own growth and counsel. I have the joy of using the skills I have acquired to help members of my congregations grow in faith. I have learned well, that joyful service is a direct result of walking closely with our Lord.


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