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Stan Fix leaving SCUMC for Friendly Valley

Fix will replace Leon Strand, who is retiring after 11 years with FVCC

Posted: June 28, 2008 2:18 a.m.
Updated: August 29, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 
You can't spell "fixture" without "fix" and that's what Santa Clarita United Methodist Church will be losing when Pastor Stan Fix leaves the church on Sunday.

The pastor will replace the Rev. Leon Strand of Friendly Valley Community Church, who is retiring after 11 years.

Pastor L.L.C. Hammond of Los Angeles will start at Santa Clarita United Methodist Church on Tuesday.

Fix said the decision to be appointed to another church is common among the United Methodist congregations. He said pastors are assigned to a church for one year. A year later, United Methodist leaders will evaluate the pastor's role at the church and decide what action to take.

Because every pastor has a variety of strengths and weaknesses, the idea behind shuffling pastors is for churchgoers to be exposed to a variety of leadership styles.
While Fix has been a pastor at the Bouquet Canyon Road church since 1996, the Southern California native has been involved with the church for more than three decades. He served congregations in Banning, Upland and Laguna Hills before arriving to Santa Clarita in 1996.

Over the years, Fix has been active with the Santa Clarita Valley Interfaith Council and deeply involved with humanitarian efforts in the valley like setting up a homeless shelter.

Fix served the church for more than a decade, which he believes is not typical among United Methodist reverends.

Plus, 12 years at one congregation is the longest for him, as well as the church.

Over the last year, Fix said the "church has been re-imaging itself" in an effort to draw people to the church and be more "visitor friendly."

"The largest number of people are those who are not affiliated with any church," Fix said.

Fix, a Valencia resident who will soon find a home in the Newhall area, noted that in the Midwest, going to church on Sundays is a regular habit. However, he believes that in California, youth sports and leagues "don't hesitate" to schedule programs when church is held.

In order to draw visitors, Fix said the re-imaging has involved offering different types of services on Sundays that bring together contemporary and traditional styles of worship.

Plus, Santa Clarita United Methodist Church offers Korean language services to meet the needs of the valley's Korean population.

Along with initiating more opportunities for potential church attendees, Fix said the church has been involved in mission outreach projects that go beyond the state and country's borders.

With his years at Santa Clarita United Methodist Church soon behind him, Fix is excited about the opportunities at Friendly Valley Community Church, which serves the senior retirement community located near Newhall.

The 57-year-old believes the transition will be smooth, especially because the parents of many Santa Clarita United Methodist members attend Friendly Valley.

He has already met with the Friendly Valley church leaders, who he referred to as "delightful folks."

He believes that he will be able to relate to the Friendly Valley congregation members. For his doctorate, Fix said he studied dying, death, funerals and beyond, which he believes is on the minds of his future church members.

His wife, Sharon, has beaten cancer two times.

Strand also sees an easy transition for Fix.

"I've known him for the 11 years that I've been here," he said, noting that Fix is familiar with Friendly Valley.

Strand sees Fix as someone who can continue what has been established at the church, while adding his own touch in the years to come.

As for Strand, he recently turned 70 and the United Methodist Church requires pastors to retire when they hit the milestone.

Before assuming the role as a pastor, Strand said he spent 35 years as an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Strand, who splits his time between Friendly Valley and his hometown of Pasadena, said he was raised in the church.

"When I was graduating from high school, my pastor thought I should continue," he said. "I felt my calling was an engineer who was Christian."

Decades later, he would hear the church's calling and would ultimately lead the Friendly Valley Community Church for 11 years.

He's enjoyed being "a pastor to the community." and "just loving the seniors in our community and being loved by them all in different ways."

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