Saint Paul's Lutheran Church of Irvine

Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine 2012 Annual Report

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


Thanks be to God for all of the blessings the Lord has poured out upon us at Saint Paul’s in 2012!


Please enjoy this annual report.


In Your Service and To Christ’s Glory,


Pastor Espinosa

December 17th, 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Thanks be to God for what He is doing to grow Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine! I’m sharing this short annual report so that we may have a greater sense of our identity, give thanks to God for His blessings to us, and to use this information to form our goals for 2013.

Last Sunday, December 16th, we celebrated our 89th Sunday divine service since the restart of our congregation on August 10th, 2011. The Lord has blessed us with 103 baptized members and 76 confirmed members. Our membership-to-attendance ratio is exceptional. In 2011 we averaged just over 41 worshippers per Sunday, but in 2012 we have averaged over 65 per Sunday and over 70 during the last 12 Sundays. In addition, we’ve received two adult transfers yet to be officially welcomed and I am conducting adult confirmation for a third adult. Furthermore, a half-dozen more have expressed their intention to join St. Paul’s even while several more attend on a regular basis. This is humbling to say the least when one takes into consideration that on November 16th, 2010 there were only seven (7) who gathered to call me to serve Saint Paul’s.

We had four (4) “new member Sundays” in 2012. On April 15th we received the Muellers, Hobus’s, Debbie Burns, Kuntz’s, and Chris Harris. On May 27th we received the Brashears, Frank’s, Ashmon’s, and Synder’s. On August 12th we received the Taylor’s, Bradford’s, Stolte’s, and Carolina Barton. On October 21st we received Sarah Barrick, the Geisler’s (Rev. Herb), the Dawn’s, and the Geisler’s (Dr. Herb). We only had one family (Bob and Ninette DeYoung) transfer out (because of relocation). In 2012 we also had a total of four (4) baptisms and two (2) adult confirmations.

Pastoral care was a priority as always and in 2012 (through December 17th) the Lord permitted me to conduct 147 pastoral calls and 123 pastoral counseling sessions. The work was not, however, all about the pastor. Our volunteerism among the royal priesthood of believers was on the rise. With the exception of the director of stewardship (please pray that we fill this vital position), we now have a full slate of parish council officers. We had our first Vacation Bible School (since the re-start of our congregation) in June on the beach! Besides having a high of 19 children, we had well over two-dozen additional volunteers serving the children! In addition, we now have five (5) altar guild teams, and this past Lenten season and for Easter Sunday we had our first choir in a long time. 2012 also saw the official formation of a high school youth group (we sent our first delegation to a “Higher Things” conference this past summer), and we made strides to formalize our young adult ministry.

Being in the Word is a priority at Saint Paul’s. Our four main Bible Studies have included a Sunday study in which we recently completed the synodical Witness, Mercy, and Life Together and just started On the Incarnation. Wednesday nights has been an intensive study, Galatians, consisting of 26 parts.Tuesday mornings completed a study from “The Lutheran Difference” series entitled God the Son, and is now conducting another study from that same series entitled Creation. Tuesday nights has been our study for our young adults and meets on campus at Concordia University Irvine. We have taken a “Table Talk” approach for this study.

Speaking of catechesis, we have two (2) separate confirmation programs for our youth. We have four (4) 7th-8th grade confirmands going through Luther’s Small Catechism and I am hoping to conduct their confirmations this May. In addition, we have seven (7) 5th-6th graders I am visiting individually in their homes while conducting a biblical foundations course. We have also continued to offer a Sunday School class for the children thanks to the services of Traci Espinosa, Christina Espinosa, and Dr. Mary Hobus.

In 2012 we also increased worship services. 2012 is the first full year that we have offered both Wednesday night Lenten services and Wednesday night Advent services in the same year. In addition, 2011 saw only a Christmas Day service, but in 2012 we are offering both a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day service. In addition to worship, however, we also gathered for Fellowship. We have a strong tradition of gathering every Sunday in the café after worship and this December had about 50 members attend our first congregational Christmas party since the re-start.

We were also witnessing. I lost count of how many individual members connected us to other folks (family and friends) once again proving that the best outreach “program” is personal invitation and one-on-one sharing of the faith. But this ideal did not stop us from commencing our “Evangelthon” program with our older youth in which we knocked on some 455 doors in our Irvine community and extended some 107 personal invitations. Furthermore, we formed serious evangelistic connections as we are now an association congregation of both Crean Lutheran High School and Orange Lutheran High School to say nothing of the very close relationship we have with Concordia University Irvine.

Our witnessing extended to supporting the greater church. Once again we dedicated significant funds (almost $3,500.00) to support The Lutheran Church in the Philippines. And in this witness we shared the Lord’s mercy while sending a $1,200.00 (approx.) special offering gift to Trinity Lutheran Church in New Hyde Park, N.Y. hit by Hurricane Sandy; supporting The Teen Project which helps emancipated foster children by donating a used van to them and then donating many Christmas gifts on their Target wish-list. We were active in our first “Heart for Hunger” drive and we used $500.00 from our social ministry fund to help Evalynn Cerdenola (wife of the Lutheran Church in the Philippines president Rev. James Cerdenola) who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The Cerdenola’s were in need of additional funds for Evalynn’s proper treatment. The rest of our annual social ministry funds helped others in the community who had come on hard times and we assisted for the basics like food and housing.

The blessings at Saint Paul’s have truly been innumerable. I think for example that we are truly blessed to have a fantastic organist/choir director in Karissa Lystrup, and most recently have welcomed our very helpful and efficient part-time administrative assistant Angela Perry. We have a developing website ( updated weekly, a new church brochure (ask me for some if you’d like to share with neighbors), and do you want to hear something really exciting? When I served this congregation “the first time” when she was in Laguna Beach we developed a reputation for sending church sons to seminary preparing to become pastors in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synond. In the past 15 years we have sent forth such church sons as Steve Parks, Bror Erickson, Philip Miller, Jeff Ware, and Ross Johnson as well as well as church daughters who became LC-MS deaconesses like our current member Linda Seward, and former members Mireya Johnson, and Patty Kristofic (did you know that two of the pastors listed here were some of my vicars in Texas?!). And now we have just learned that one of our members, Mr. Joshua DeYoung, has announced his intention to apply for admission to Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN after he graduates from Concordia University Irvine in 2014. Please keep Joshua’s preparations for application in prayer!

The blessings have not stopped flowing from the Lord in and through our congregation. Let us rejoice! What does all of this mean for 2013? First, let us work together for the Lord to grow His congregation at Saint Paul’s in and through us, His dedicated people, so that we may do even more – much more – in the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Second, let us pray for and find our own facility and view this as a key way of facilitating a more thorough and stable ministry. Third, let us grow our Bible Study and catechetical opportunities (the Lord has blessed our congregation with a small platoon of teachers). Fourth, let us commence our stewardship ministry so that each member would be in a better position to individually share in the ministry of our congregation (please pray for a leader in this area). Fifth, let us be in 2013, Christians who pray – each and every day – for the Lord to bless us and then just watch, He will! In Your Service & To Christ’s Glory, Pastor Espinosa

Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

No trackbacks yet.