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New pastor preaches from United Methodist pulpit

Posted: August 1, 2008 7:37 p.m.
Updated: October 3, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 

Pastor LLC Hammond marked her first month as the senior pastor of Santa Clarita United Methodist Church this week, and so far she's just been getting used to the Bouquet Canyon Road congregation.

"I'm listening for six months," she said.

That means spending a lot of time with the worshippers and church personnel to get a feel for the congregation.

"This community has been ‘overgracious' in the extension of hospitality," she said while sitting in her church office.

With every event, like the upcoming "meet, greet and eat potlucks," Hammond said she hopes to explore the needs of the church and local area.

The "listening period" is also at a good time because Hammond, a Pasadena resident, said the church is on summer worship, which generally means less activity.

Hammond was appointed to Santa Clarita United Methodist Church to replace former senior pastor Stan Fix, who now leads Friendly Valley Community Church.

The appointment process, which is common among Methodist churches and is made by the bishop, takes into account the needs of the church and how the church's pastors fit into the community.

Although Hammond is new to the Santa Clarita Valley, she has been involved in the church for a total of 25 years, serving as pastor at various Southern California Methodist churches.

Before coming to Santa Clarita United Methodist Church, Hammond spent 11 years as senior pastor at Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Los Angeles. Prior to that, she assumed the leadership role at a church in Pasadena and another in Los Angeles. Hammond's experience is not limited to the church, as she also was a teacher and member of corporate America before moving to Southern California to study at Claremont School of Theology.

Throughout her years at the church, Hammond, who is a native of Tennessee but calls Mississippi her home, has developed a passion for seeking "women's justice and equality."

To achieve that, Hammond believes in their "full participation in the life of the church."

Additionally, Hammond has placed an emphasis on assisting the elderly through the church because she believes they are frequently victims of abuse by the system and other people.

"This is a fine time for the church to be in one of its greatest roles," she said about assisting senior citizens.

As she continues to adjust to Santa Clarita United Methodist Church, Hammond reflected on what a church can accomplish for its people.

"We come together to get inspiration and to get support and to hear of how God has been working in others since we last met," she said.

From there, Hammond believes that experience can become a source of reflection and inspiration as its members "go forth into this world and share the love of God."

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