WHO WE ARE AND WHO WE ARE BECOMING

Community

We are a congregation with deep connections and we often refer to ourselves as a family.  We bear one another’s burdens through our prayers, listening, visits to hospitals, and supportive friendships. We celebrate the joys of each other’s lives and how we see God working through us.  We are a core group with layers of family, friends, and neighbors who join in different parts of our ministries.  We are learning new ways to grow in belonging as we share meals together, share deep struggles of our lives, and share our skills, time and resources with each other. We seek wisdom and guidance from each other and are working on listening and understanding across difference.  We believe God will guide us into new joys of Christian community as we open ourselves to receiving help, seek discernment with others, and offer our gifts in service.


Mission

We find energy and joy when we look for and join what God is doing beyond the walls of our church building in our neighborhoods and city. We grow closer together as we serve others and are fueled through these actions to live out our faith in the ways we love our neighbors. Through a laundry mat ministry and food donations we connect with vulnerable members of our community and are opened to the complexity of needs and life stories.  We partner with a transitional housing ministry and provide holiday support to single mothers.  A partnership with a Hispanic church plant helps us to connect to our increasingly Spanish speaking neighbors. We participated in an accompaniment team for new refugees from Guatemala and lend ongoing microloans to women’s small businesses around the world.  We recently began working with a sister congregation in the Philippines to construct a church building, donate books, and to provide scholarships.  We provide space and participate in local community organizing efforts to support renters, new immigrants, and the most vulnerable within our community.  We created a deacons food pantry with other churches to share resources between our communities and with our neighbors. We celebrate the times we are able to move from ‘giving to’ to ‘serving with’ our neighbors and hope to share life and community with them.


Learning/Studying/Reflecting/Growth

Study and reflection are an important part of our faith journey. We are a learning community that seeks to study scripture, theology, our lives, our history, and surrounding culture in order to more faithfully live the ways of Jesus. Reading and studying about the lives of Christians and church communities helps us to examine our own lives and to live more faithfully.  We understand sermons to be an ongoing conversation that is initiated by our pastor or another member and continued by our whole church as the Spirit guides us with questions and encouragement and new convictions. We share meals and study the scriptures together each Wednesday in order to know God’s Story and live within that Story.  We study our lives through ongoing discussions – how to care for aging parents, enneagram, and what is grief? and how do we support each other? Our annual retreat allows space and time to dive deep into learning and reflection together and opens our eyes to new possibilities as a church.  Our desire is that learning and study would lead to new faithful actions, we then reflect on these actions and bring our reflections to our next study in an ongoing loop of study/action/reflection.


Worship Gatherings

We believe that each part of our Sunday morning worship gathering- reflection & response, Bible reading, teaching, giving, prayer and singing- is a template for our lives during the week. The height of our time together is when we pass the peace of Christ and we welcome each other into God’s family.  One can sense the energy and excitement of our community being together.  We invite all members including our youth and children to take active roles in our church services.  We share the leadership of our worship gatherings as an expression of the importance of each person in the church.  Many of our members have given sermons.  The entire community offers prayers, gives testimony of what God is doing in our lives, and with questions/comments look for ways that the scripture connects to our daily life.  We participate in creative movements and expressions of confessing, lamenting, praying, giving, and responding to scripture in order to reflect on our lives and ways of living.  


Youth/Families Together

We desire to see our children and youth to be raised in the ways of Jesus.  We invite them to active participation in our worship gatherings through their leading prayers, preaching, and musical worship.  We create special learning experiences such as the Jesus dojo and rite of passage trip in order to practice the ways of Jesus while learning. We support and encourage our college students through letters, packages, and visits. We encourage and foster intergenerational relationships between long time members of our community and our youth, knowing that we are strengthened and enriched by our Christian community.

OUR LEADERS

Ygnacio Valley is made up of men and women who serve in many ways and have significant responsibility within our congregation. These leaders play crucial roles in what happens each week in the life of our church. 


In addition to Pastor Matt Prinz, our worshipping community is also led by Elders and Deacons

Elders 

Elders are elected by the congregation, and they set the spiritual tone of the community, acting to make our space a sacred and safe one and partnering with our pastor in the spiritual care of our community members.  Our current ruling elders, elected by the congregation include: Todd Swick, Juanita Luthy, Paula Ash, Mike Thompson, Christie Jacoban. Sylvia Chatagnier is the clerk of session.

Deacons

Deacons help organize concrete ways in which we respond to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of church community members and those outside who ask for help. The Deacons organize, collaborate and address emerging needs.  Our current Deacons, elected by our congregation include: Stan Wilson, Lucie Skourup, Carrie Waters

Worship 

We seek to celebrate the goodness of God, and simultaneously be transformed in worship. When you come to join our YVPC community, you’ll find a casual atmosphere, led by a variety of people with different styles and life experiences. Our current worship leaders include Christie Jacoban, Matthew and Linda Kost, and Todd Swick. 

PASTOR MATT PRINZ

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Matt Prinz has served as the pastor of Ygnacio Valley Presbyterian Church since 2006. 


After growing up in Ventura, California, Matt completed his B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology at UC Davis. Following college, Matt moved to Mexico, where he worked for three years under local faith leaders in rural and urban communities, learning Spanish along the way. He went on to receive a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. During graduate school Matt worked with the unhoused in Pasadena, reinforcing his belief that one's spiritual practices must be integrated with community based action. 


At YVPC Matt fosters intergenerational relationships, leads congregational experiments, cultivates deep and life-giving community within the church, and forms connections with existing non-profits doing work in Contra Costa. Matt also does community organizing with Faith in Action East Bay - serving on the board, doing formation work with local faith leaders, and helping to guide the Ceasefire Anti-violence strategy. 


Matt, and his wife, Susannah, love being parents to Monrovia (11) and Ruby (9). They also have a flock of backyard chickens that often wreak havoc but make up for it with freshly laid eggs. Matt enjoys coaching his daughters’ soccer teams (although they don’t really love his coaching feedback!) He also loves cooking, and typically has kitchen projects of all types curing, fermenting, rising, brining or slow-cooking. On his day off he wakes up early to surf (as long as the waves stay small!)  He loves eating at new hole-in-the-wall or foodie spots, looking at contemporary art, running in the Redwoods, gardening, and hanging in the backyard with his family.