Pat’s Story

From Pat, with Heidi

Pat started attending Mountainside in 2010, though she was a part of our community much earlier than that. As early as 2004 and over the years during her time living on the streets of Glendora and Azusa, Pat befriended many APU students including Misty, Justin, Scott, Jordan, Eric and Becca, among others, all of whom would later become faithful Mountainside members. For over fifteen years Pat lived with her now ex-husband Daniel in a big white van around the Azusa/Glendora area. The Ralph’s parking lot in Glendora and the Stater Brothers in Azusa were ‘home’ to her. During those years she faced a lot of difficulties, including being mistreated by others, persevering through an unpredictable, often fearful, yet very loyal relationship with Daniel, and all else that is involved with living homeless. Continue reading

The Most Meaningful Meal of My Life

From Kristin

I want to tell you the brief story of a couple who both grew up in separate privileged families – families that always had a healthy dinner on the table; families that grew up before the 1990’s rehashing of food, making Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) present in almost every processed thing they ate. This couple didn’t garden before meeting each other. They owned cats and dogs at different times, but never saw a chicken and maybe had driven by a pasture of cows.

When they met and fell in love, they simultaneously fell in love with cooking – and cooking good food at that. They soon started looking for a house to call a home and the only thing that was not to be compromised was space for a small kitchen garden. Continue reading

Emily’s Story

From Emily T.

I belong to a cadre of ones who choose to be holy as unto The Lord, not good or moral or clean or pure merely, or as far as human nature may take one – rather as part of a framework designed by The Architect, God Himself, to make men holy and pure and righteous by His enabling power and love, in order to carry out His will and to please Him. (Hebrews 10: 24-25)

Having left my friends, church, and home in Oregon, because of critical injury in April, 2012, and being unable to recover alone, my sister and her husband moved me to California in November and graciously folded me into their home. I prayed, asking my Heavenly Father to lead me to a vibrant and authentic church, intentionally desiring to live for Christ, and He clearly led me to Mountainside Communion, Church of the Nazarene, in spring, 2013. Their voices are compassionate, deeply purposeful and unselfish, searching and grappling to find out what it means to live out God’s love. I like and respect my pastor, and for all my people, I wish to stand by them… and with them.


From Deborah

We had left our former church shortly after the eclectic, vibrant small group we had been part of ended abruptly with the Parkinson’s diagnosis of one of the leaders. Although we persisted with the larger church for a while, my tenuous connection broke the week after one particular Sunday service. That Sunday, the pastor had invited the congregation into dialog, asking people to submit questions to the pastoral staff on 3 x 5 cards, and mine was simple: When is the church going to resolve its less than affirmative position about women in leadership? The question was a real one for me as seminary student, and a bit of a nudge because our small group, which had been twenty-five strong, had been led by two women. Later that week, the pastor called and I was invited into a phone conversation – not a sit-down, not coffee at Starbucks – but a chat on the phone about this church’s ambivalence about women in leadership. Granted, I am sure that the pastor was busy and trying to get through the stack of questions that he had invited, but I hung up that day with the sense that he did not want to meet with me because I was a woman. If my husband had written the question, my sense was that this pastor would have been meeting him for coffee. Fair or not, I was done.  Continue reading

Danielle’s Story

From Danielle

The months following my graduation I felt extremely unclear and frankly nervous about what was ahead of me. Before I graduated I somehow thought that I would have an idea about what my life would look like; I thought it would magically fall into place. The morning of the 16th, something else happened. I felt a slow creep of despair crawl into my heart. Each morning began with this subtle feeling of hopelessness. The next five months felt like a slow haze of confusion driven by spurts of despair and fear. I had no direction. I didn’t know what to do with my degree in Theology. I almost felt like it was the worst decision to major in Theology. I literally regretted the choice the day of my graduation. During those five months, life moved slowly. I wasted time mulling over what I wanted and then allowed fear to diminish those thoughts. I watched too many TV shows and slept. I felt stuck; I felt useless.

So I did what I felt like would change things – I fled.   Continue reading

The Confirmation Kids Reflect on Godly Play

From Anna:

Godly Play was really a fun place. I learned a lot and got to have great Christian friends. Godly Play was very small when I started going there, but grew rapidly. I loved to learn about each story as each storyteller told the story in a unique way. My favorite story was Moses in the desert when he talked to God. It was so fun to play with the sand for response time and know that someone had talked and spoken with God. I learned a lot there and will always remember it well.

From Caleb:

Godly Play is always loud and happy. We would do cool projects and they looked amazing. We also had the sandbox. It is an awesome place and I always enjoyed myself.

From Lily:

I remember Godly Play as a very creative and artistic place where everyone could hang up their artwork or show their creativity. I know that Godly Play was always a place of worship, where we could tell stories, ask questions, and make crafts about our story. The sandbox, as an example, was my favorite. There was also a lot of comparing, where we would go outside and try to compare nature to our stories or God’s word.

From Sean:

Godly Play is: fun, lots of people, colorful, nice teachers, the sandbox. Godly Play is a peaceful place for loving God. I remember the Exodus story. We used to have snack, and we raised around 1,100 dollars for Sudan.

Facebook Comments Leading Up to Dad’s Death

From Craig

Craig, August 11:

Dad slept last night! All night!

(Which means I slept all night!)

Craig, August 12 near San Dimas, via mobile:

Dad’s condition has significantly worsened over the last week and a half. That decline is accelerating. He is in pain, his swallow reflex is going, and he can barely bear any weight as we move him from his wheelchair to bed or a recliner. We decided in consultation with Hospice to confine him to bed and up his dosage of pain and anxiety meds. He has now entered the last major stage of his life. Continue reading

What About Teenagers?: A Reflection on the Confirmation Journey

From Brad

“But what will we do when they turn into teenagers?”

We heard this question a few times during our first couple of years at Mountainside, sometimes with a laugh and sometimes with a tone of anxious seriousness.

No really, what will we do?

Mountainside’s approach to children’s formation through the Godly Play model raised a lot of questions about what it might look like to transition older kids into the next phase. That next phase was quickly approaching, but there was no “next phase” plan. Continue reading

My Godly Play Experience

From Anna

We first came to Mountainside because some of our friends recommended it to us. I went to Godly Play for the first time and recognized Jordan S., who I knew because we had a neighbor who was a friend of her family. It was comforting to know someone at this new church. We were looking for a new church because our old church was kind of far from our house, plus my parents wanted a new experience with a church. We had already visited many churches and I really wanted to stay at Mountainside. First of all, I knew Jordan S. and her sister Taylor, which was really awesome, but also because I loved Godly Play. It was so fun and helpful to learn a story and then have response time afterward! I loved the way the stories were told, too. It wasn’t just out of a book like at my old church, it was a live story told with mini wooden figures, tiny buildings, and descriptive words. Continue reading

The Big Ride

From Caleb

It was two years ago on retreat when me and my brothers, Owen and Ryan (who are also brothers), and Jack and Miles found a big hill.Once we saw it we all wanted to ride our bikes on it. Once we got to the foot of it, we noticed that the bottom had tire treads, so we all—except for Zach—backed out of riding down. We all slowly made our way up the hill to the top. Zach was a little hesitant, but did not change his mind. Once he went down, the six of us were shocked because Zach did not fall during the ride, but once he hit the bottom of the hill his front tire hit the tire tread and he flipped over his bike. We rushed down the hill to see if Zach was all right; fortunately, he was. We all started laughing because it was pretty funny when Zach flipped. Over the next couple of years we have gone back to that hill and have had great and thrilling memories.