Rev. Larry Vilardo
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
This my last Newsletter article. This whole month I have been reflecting on what it means to participate for the “last time” in various events. This month was my last time in the food handout, in the Bible Study, staff deliberations, worship planning, hospital visits and preaching preparation. The most painful “lasts” have been the good byes that I have experienced as I have had dinners, lunches, and get-togethers with so many of you in this wonderful church family.
As I reflect back on the last 28 years I am struck by Paul’s statement that God is able to do “beyond measure more than we can ever ask or imagine through the power that is at work in us, to him be glory in the church in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever” When I came here 28 years ago I had no idea that our time together would reflect God’s power at work in us and His beloved family, for almost three decades.
Through God’s power we have accomplished great things in the founding of this church and in the maintenance of its programs of mission and mercy. I am especially touched by our work in carrying out Christ’s mission to those in our community especially to the most needy and the most vulnerable through our feeding programs.
Below I have listed some of the highlights of our work together in Christ, it has been a truly miraculous 28 years.
In 1989 I was called by everyone at Rockville Presbyterian Fellowship in the Presbytery of the Redwoods. I became our first installed pastor and served here for 28 years until the present.
We saw great milestones together. In the last 28 years our Church was incorporated, we purchased our first site and built our first building. After building, in order to repay the debt and keep the church viable we continued to develop cash only projects including the kitchen in Keck Hall, the remodeling of Keck Hall into a worship space, (including stained glass windows developed by congregants) the Memorial Garden, the Parking Lot, the curbing and guttering, the sewer, and Children’s playground. Due to this policy and several debt reduction campaigns Rockville is now completely debt free.
After several years of discussion and study the Session voted to celebrate the Lord’s Supper weekly and at all special services except for Good Friday.
Together we experienced many “firsts” including first VBS, first Youth Trip, first family camp, first Parish Associate, first pastoral Ordination (The Rev. Cindy Harris), the first Good Friday Service, the First Sunrise Service, the first paid choir director and paid praise team leader. For the first time two services were developed on Sunday, while the special service schedule was increased including three Christmas Eve Services.
Over the years we have been involved in extensive outreach to the hungry and homeless including the Migrant Program, the transitional hotel program, the food handout program, the milk distribution program and the Friday Nomadic Feeding Program. Currently we are one of the biggest distributors of food to the needy in Solano County.
We have been extraordinarily generous in giving to Presbytery and world mission, falling in the top ten percent of churches in Redwoods in giving to Missions causes.
We also developed a local Spanish Community Outreach program which hosted missionaries from Latin American countries, held weekly Spanish worship services, provided both theological and social support for the Spanish Speaking Community in our area, including a Bible Study, legal advice and health consultations with community providers. We also hosted classes for a Spanish Speaking Presbyterian Seminary.
Those paragraphs highlight just a few of the wonderful events that transpired here. Lorraine and I will be retiring this year and Joanne Martindale will take over as the head of staff. I know that the Lord brought Joanne here and that His hand will be upon her and everyone at Rockville in the next few years.
What is in store for everyone at Rockville and for Lorraine and I is even better than we can ever imagine. My prayers have been answered at Rockville Presbyterian 100 fold these past years. All of you have been those answers, God Bless you.
Warmly, Pastor Larry