Pastor Jeanelle N. Ablola
Pastor Jeanelle Nicolas Ablola is a 2nd generation Filipino American. Her parents immigrated to San Diego, CA (Paradise Hills) in the early 1970's and raised her in the United Methodist Church, her mother being a PK (Pastor's Kid) in the Philippines. Her parents remain very active at their local church.
In 2004, she received her BFA in Graphic Design, minoring in Art History, at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Pastor Jeanelle has not always had a smooth relationship with church community or Christianity, wrestled with God for a long time, and found herself answering the call to go to seminary in 2007.
Throughout seminary she was nurtured and supported as a pastoral and community servant-leader by the Japanese American UM Caucus, the CA-NV Philippine Solidarity Task Force, and the Network for Religion and Justice for API LGBTQ people. She is still active and in relationship with these communities, as they strive for transformation and change.
She received her Masters of Divinity (M. Div.) at Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley in 2010. She spent two years of Field Education at Buena Vista UMC and served as Minister of Youth & Community Outreach. In this position she coordinated a program called JAMS (Justice, Art, Music, Spirituality), which organized opportunities for the church and community to come together and strengthen relationship, through exploring issues such as the occupation in Palestine, LGBTQ inclusion in Asian Pacific Islander (API) churches, human rights in the Philippines, and establishing affordable housing in the city of Alameda. She also cultivated the leadership of the youth at Buena Vista UMC, supporting their endeavors for outreach, spiritual growth, fellowship, and critical thinking.
She was appointed Lead Pastor at Pine UMC in July 2011. She is co-chair of the CA-NV Philippine Solidarity Task Force, board member of NRJ, and a member of the Annual Conference's Advocacy & Justice Committee. In 2014, Methodist Federation for Social Action California-Nevada Chapter (MFSA) awarded her with the Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly Peace and Justice Award.
It is through activism that she experiences deeper connection with Jesus Christ. She is interested in exploring how individual healing is connected to social justice and vice versa. Currently in ministry, her emphasis is on empowering community through supporting the deepening of their faith lives in love, transformation, justice, wholeness, and action rooted in the Holy Spirit.
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Rev. Makoto Kondo
After graduating from high school, Rev. Makoto Kondo went to Tohoku-gakuin University in Sendai. He graduated in 2000 with a major in Historical Science from the Faculty of Literature. He belonged to the choir of the religious department of the school, and was later appointed chief conductor of the choir. While in Tohoku-gakuin, he attended the Sendai-itsutsubashi-Church every Sunday. He served as one of the church-school teachers and also lead the youth group. It was during his time in Tohoku-gakuin that he made up his mind to devote himself to be a pastor.
In April 2000, he entered the Doshisha University. After having finished his undergraduate study, he went on to the graduate program with a major in Systematic Theology.
After graduating from Doshisha, he went on to become assistant pastor in April 2004 at the Imabari Church (est. 1979), which is located at Imabari City in Ehime Pref. The Imabari Church has been ran comparatively in larger scale among Japanese churches, having more than 100 attendees every Sunday. Imabari Church had a kindergarten school as its subsidiary enterprise. So he had a chance to learn about how to run a business in a church environment. It was also one of the important issues for the church to agree upon - what is desirable as to the relationship beween the church and its kindergarten school.
Rev. Kondo was ordained in December 2006. He was then assigned to the Uwajima-shin-ai Church in Uwajima City. Uwajima Church is one of the typical small local churches in Japan. The attendance is less than 15 every Sunday at this church with no other subsidiary enterprises, though the church's history is comparatively long (since 1888). These small local churches in Japan have some common difficulties with one another, such as decreasing attendance of the church members because of their advanced age, weakend economic basis of churches year by year, negative attitudes to Christian faith itself especially in the local area of this country, and so on. Christians in Uwajima are, however, making every effort to make their faith succeed to the younger generations.
Before moving to San Francisco, Rev. Kondo taught at the Matsuyama-aiko-gakuen Middle High School as a part-time Bible teacher since 2009, and also at the Matsuyama-shinonome Women's College as a part-time lecturer since April, 2010. He was also appointed to be one of the prison chaplains at the Matsuyama Prison, Matsuyama City. He preached the gospel to the prisoners twice a month. All of these experiences were very precious and valuable to his work now at Pine Church.
In October 2011, Rev. Kondo moved to San Francisco to become the Nichigo-bu pastor at Pine Church. His goal is to expand the Nichigo-bu congregation and also find out how the Nichigo-bu churches were founded in the Bay Area. He strongly believes in mission work and he plans to research to find out what kind of mission activites the Nichigo-bu of Pine Church can share with the community. Also, he would like to learn the history of Japanese-American people, especially in the Bay Area. He would like to know how they could keep their faith in Jesus Christ in spite of the difficulties and hardships during critical period of their life. By doing so, he believes that the good news of the Bible will make sense not only for the senior people but also for the new generations who are gathering at Pine church.
Rev. Kondo is afraid that these tasks might be too heavy for him to fulfill, but he looks forward to the challenge and the new tasks, with the help of the Lord and by a few talents He has given to him. He would also like to do his best in order that he may be able to carry out this special ministry as Nichigo-bu pastor at Pine Church.
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