Tuesday, September 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Longtime local religious leader returns to Davis

kitchens1W

The Rev. Jim Kitchens, who was the senior pastor at Davis Community Church for many years, is back in Davis, filling in as interim director at the CA House. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page A1 | September 24, 2013 |

The call for service at a campus ministry is not one that the Rev. Jim Kitchens can let go unanswered.

So when the Cal Aggie Christian Association, a nearly 100-year-old ministry at UC Davis, asked for an interim director, Kitchens responded. He shared his reasoning for feeling so indebted to ministries for students in particular:

“I have always cared a lot about campus ministry, because it was the Presbyterian campus ministry at the University of Mississippi, in the late ’60s, that sort of rescued me for the church.

“I grew up pretty conservative, evangelical, and got to the place where I was having real problems with that understanding of the Christian faith. And it was campus ministry that re-framed for me what faith was about.”

Kitchens, who served as pastor at Davis Community Church for 16 years, is filling in for Kristin Stoneking, who guided CA House over the past 14 years. Stoneking recently accepted a new job as executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a multi-faith peace and justice organization.

Kitchens left Davis in 2003 to take a job as pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Nashville, where he remained for seven years. He later returned to the West Coast, and just finished another interim appointment as pastor at San Francisco’s Calvary Presbyterian Church. This granted him perspective on the goal of these temporary assignments.

“Interim time between directors of any organization is a time to reassess,” Kitchens said, “and reimagine what the mission is for the next 10 or so years.”

As interim director of CA House, a position he expects to fill until June 30, he’ll provide leeway for the managing board of the campus ministry to decide how they wish it to proceed.

“Not that you’re going to walk away from the trajectory they’ve started, but it gives you the opportunity to get a lay of the land and examine what it is we’ve been called to do,” Kitchens said.

The path on which Stoneking had led CA House included the opening of a multi-faith student living community at 433 Russell Blvd. The six townhouses constructed at the ministry’s headquarters now are home to more than 30 students.

It’s in the balance between that and the other direction CA House has long been in — as a presence of progressive Christian-based faith at UCD — that a dilemma has arisen for the organization.

“Do we continue to try and do both, or will we shift into becoming fully an interfaith ministry?” Kitchens said. “That’s the question the board will be wrestling with.”

Kitchens has been a Presbyterian pastor in all other calls, but he said his congregations always have been involved in interfaith dialogue and communication. He was also a part of the San Francisco Interfaith Council.

“It was formative in helping me think through what interfaith community and interfaith dialogue was for,” he explained, “because it certainly wasn’t to try and convert each other.”

Interfaith community helps everyone better understand the commitments made by people of other faiths, and the values that guide them, he said.

But what Kitchens believes is perhaps most significant is the way it allows an individual to think more deeply about his or her own faith tradition. He recalled an anecdote that spoke to this from his time with the Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco:

“That church had a really strong relationship with a nearby synagogue,” Kitchens related. “It was always fun to watch my church’s members when a Jewish friend said, ‘So, explain this holy trinity thing to me,’ and to find them struggling to say something that made sense.”

And it’s essential that CA House continues on with interfaith dialogue, he said, given that it has become a key ingredient of today’s American conversation.

How to maintain relevance in an ever-changing society is an interest of Kitchens’, who wrote a book on the subject, “Postmodern Parish: New Ministry for a New Age.”

Kitchens will be joined by Mahsea Evans, programming director and co-pastor at CA House, in bringing speakers to the living community who will address the multi-faith dimension of American culture.

The first meeting of the living community will be Wednesday, which is intended to double as a community gathering. The public is invited to attend the 5:30 p.m. event to formally bid farewell to Stoneking.

The event also will celebrate the naming of one of the townhouses in honor of the late Richard Harris, a professor emeritus at UCD, and his wife, Vera Harris. These locals were longtime supporters of CA House.

The students will be introduced to the interim staffers on Wednesday, and community members are invited to attend to welcome Kitchens back to Davis after his decade away.

The role of being a pastor at DCC meant that you had a community presence as well, Kitchens said, so he developed strong relationships with people who weren’t even a part of the church.

“People have already begun to reach out, certainly with social media, but they’re being nice about not overwhelming us,” he said with a laugh. “They’re being gracious about letting me slowly re-establish those relationships.”

Details

What: CA House welcome-back gathering, greeting interim director Jim Kitchens and bidding farewell to former director Kristin Stoneking

When: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: 433 Russell Blvd., Davis

— Reach Brett Johnson at bjohnson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    UC joins U.N.-supported Principles for Responsible Investment

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

     
    Nature’s beauty is in our own back yard

    By Charlotte Orr | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Jury finds Dixon man guilty of mortgage fraud

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

     
     
    U.S., Arab allies hit Islamists in Syria, Iraq

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Bob Dunning: These are the tanks we get

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Harmony Award nominations sought

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Unscheduled landing

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Free community yard sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Street Food Rodeo rolls into West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Wolk kicks off ‘Morning with the Mayor’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    So you want to be an entomologist?

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A4

     
    Sheriff’s Office honored for safe-driving initiative

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Baha’is celebrate 50th anniversary in Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Downtown gift cards get a new perk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Forum will answer questions about new license law

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Applications open for Biberstein grants

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    .

    Forum

    Brother’s drinking out of control

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Daughter has her own opinions

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    We must not stand for perpetual war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Don’t cut all the trees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    A great Day in the Country

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Donors support school matinees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    A big Explorit thanks!

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Teacher tenure becomes key campaign issue

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Running game powered Devils in first football win

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Davis field hockey team rights ship at Lassen

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Devil golfers soar past Sheldon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Blue Devils bounce back against Pleasant Grove

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggie women reach finals of East/West golf tourney

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2Comments are off for this post | Gallery

     
    U11s get a win in an eventful weekend of youth football

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    A’s support Samardzija in a win over Angels

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Carol L. Walsh

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7