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Methodist church taps new pastor

Shaver moves from Pittsburgh to V alencia church

Posted: August 22, 2008 8:29 p.m.
Updated: October 24, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Pastor John Shaver, from Valencia United Methodist Church, recently moved from Pittsburgh to assume the role of senior pastor of the church.

Something happened to John Shaver around the time he was preparing to go to law school: He began to feel a calling from God.

Although he was just beginning a career in politics and had studied political science during his undergraduate years, Shaver listened to the calling.

Instead of working on people's campaigns, he decided to become a camp counselor at a church summer camp in Pennsylvania.

With so many members of his family affiliated with the church, Shaver went to Boston University School of Theology.

Since then, Shaver has served multiple East Coast churches while living in Pittsburgh over the past decade.

But thanks to a recent appointment through the United Methodist Church, Shaver has found a new home in Valencia serving Valencia United Methodist Church.

He officially started July 1 and, since then has made an effort with his wife and daughter to interact with the worshippers.

"We've been going to a lot of small groups within the church" as a way to share food and fellowship, he said.

At a recent pool party for the youth ministry, Shaver joked that he was able to connect with Valencia United's youngsters by doing a belly flop into the pool.

The Southern California lifestyle, however, is not completely new to Shaver as he said has family in the area and once served as youth minister at a Westlake Village church.

As he adjusts to the church and life in Santa Clarita, Shaver said he hopes to maintain a focus on outreach efforts like the Angel Food Ministry, which strives to provide food to low-income families in the area.

Because Valencia United, which boasts up to 400 worshippers during its multiple Sunday services, teams up with other churches for the Angel Food Ministry, he said, "It helps us connect to the whole community."

Shaver also has experience reaching out to low-income families.

During his time at Christ United Methodist Church in Bethel Park, Pa., which offered a mix of contemporary and traditional services, Shaver became involved with bringing the church to the inner city of Pittsburgh.

Even though Shaver has undertaken numerous outreach projects for the less fortunate, he understands what life in the suburbs, like Santa Clarita, brings.

Through the difficulties and pressures of materialism, Shaver believes that church is a way for people to find their "Christian home" and find a God-centered balance in their lives.


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