Thursday, October 2, 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

.

News

 
Sunder wants to expand opportunities for all

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

 
At Davis intersections, let’s be careful out there

By Kim Orendor | From Page: C2 | Gallery

 
Third-graders face high-stakes reading targets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Learn how to ride a bike in Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Feinstein, Boxer depend on red-leaning Senate races

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A3

Gallery hosts poetry night

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Oktoberfest features Grand Isle Fire Brigade

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sunder supporters gather on Sunday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Trokanski discusses new project on ‘Davisville’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Learn more about Boy Scouts during upcoming events

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Tour gives opportunity to watch moonrise in the bypass

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

UC campuses aim to be more inclusive to LGBT students

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Check out Soroptimists at info night

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Helping disabled ag workers stay in agriculture

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Register to vote by Oct. 20

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Parenting advice on radio show

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Archer event set for Sunday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Per Capita: Tales from the back burner

By John Mott-Smith | From Page: A4

 
Sunflower power at the Winters Community Library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Unitrans persists through changing times

By Lily Holmes | From Page: C6 | Gallery

 
Up for a fun day trip? Take a bike to Bike Dog

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: C8 | Gallery

Volunteers are trained to help with train questions

By Bob Schultz | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
There are plenty of fun activities around town

By Enterprise staff | From Page: C13 | Gallery

Getting from here to there by buses, planes and trains

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C14 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

‘Maupin’s Law’ 2.0: Prevention is better than punishment

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

Choose Archer, Sunder, Adams

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Barbara Archer for school board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Vote for change on board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Poppenga considers all students

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Climate change is coming for you

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
A true vision for peace

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Drivers, just follow the rules

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Let’s fix the park deck

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Despite 168 points allowed, PSU defense may not be lousy

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Bumgarner, Crawford help Giants slam Bucs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Cheung paces Devils past Pacers on the pitch

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS JV runners shine in varsity events

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
Youth roundup: Diamonds swing to victories at Vineyard Classic

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: DHS girls tennis goes three for three

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

.

Features

Davis robotics team pays it forward

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
.

Arts

Wineaux: Picking the last rosé of summer

By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A9

 
Natsoulas to host mural conference

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

Robbie Fulks will visit ‘Live in the Loam’ on KDRT

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Odd Fellows to screen classic Westerns

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Old Macs get new life at art exhibit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Woodland Opera House rounds up cowboy poetry, music

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Music for brass, choir and organ set at DCC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, October 2, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6