Rev. Cheryl Ann Raine
What a joy it is to be in ministry with the people of First Presbyterian Church of Garden Grove. I became their pastor on June 1, 2002, leaving behind a career in chemical engineering! Well, that's a story in itself!
I grew up loving the Lord and remember walking to church on Sundays with my younger sister. I enjoyed choir, vacation bible school, youth group and Sunday school. In junior high school, a verse spoke to my heart from Apostle Paul's letter to the Galatians: "It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me." It was then that I realized that God didn't live "way up there" but lived in my heart and through my life. My relationship with the Lord was my steadfast companion the year I traveled abroad to South Africa while in high school. Compassion for all of God's people grew out of this life changing experience. Upon returning from South Africa, I met my husband to be, Paul, at youth group. A water balloon night, guys against girls, was the beginning of our friendship! Paul and I were married a year after graduating from high school.
Paul went to work full-time post high school, while I entered college, majoring in Chemical Engineering. After completing my degree, I began the corporate climb, advancing many rungs up the ladder before the Lord placed a call on my heart to the ordained pastoral ministry. It took seven years part-time to complete my Masters of Divinity at San Francisco Theological Seminary/Southern California because of my full-time career. During those years of full-time employment and part-time seminary, Paul and I were also busy raising our twin sons, Jason and Aaron, gifts of God that arrived a few weeks after our 6th wedding anniversary.
You might ask why I serve in the Presbyterian Church? I value this expression of church because it allows for questioning and stresses education. A historic principle of the church, "that God alone is Lord of the conscience," is also important to me. This principle allows Presbyterians of deep faith to come to different conclusions on issues of faith that are considered non-essential. Therefore, with our eyes focused on Jesus Christ, Presbyterians can joyfully serve together even though we have differences. We have unity which is not uniformity, because we are the "Body of Christ" and we can't all be noses! Some must be hands and feet as well.
One more verse to give you some insights as to who I am as pastor. I firmly believe these words of Scripture found in Ephesians, "Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine." God is at work within us, and this verse has been my experience as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Garden Grove. Come and be a part of the story!