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St. Francis Episcopal Church Welcomes A New Priest

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Members of St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church on Sterling Avenue in San Bernardino recently welcomed a new priest, a name change and a new service time.

The church, a fixture in the San Bernardino community since the early 1960s, is now known as the St. Francis Episcopal Mission Outreach Center, to highlight its community garden and reflect a renewed focus on outreach to its surrounding neighborhood and area, according to Jim Smith, a member of the church’s governing board.

The congregation also welcomed on Jan. 16 the Rev. Patricia McCaughan, who will preside over the congregation’s weekly Sunday worship services, now held at 10:00 a.m.

With the planting season approaching, the public is invited to participate in the community garden, located on the church grounds at 2855 Sterling Avenue, said McCaughan.

“We are hoping to expand the garden to include those interested in growing vegetables and other crops,” said McCaughan.

“We will be offering classes on such varied topics as gardening, healthy meals as well as other health-related activities and events and we welcome community involvement,” she added.

McCaughan is no stranger to St. Francis. She served as priest-in-charge of the congregation from 1998 to 2001 and described her recent return as “a wonderful homecoming.”

“St. Francis was the first congregation I served when I moved to California in 1998,” she recalled. “Almost immediately we became family and we still are,” she said. “This is a lovely group of welcoming, wonderful people who are serious about their faith and about serving others. It’s an honor and privilege to return to serve here.”

A native of Detroit, Michigan, McCaughan moved to California in 1998.

She is also a journalist, writing feature and news stories for both the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and for the Episcopal News Service of the Episcopal Church, which represents more than 2 million members in 22 countries, including the United States. The Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion, which has an estimated 80 million members worldwide.

McCaughan said she left St. Francis in 2001 when she and her husband, the Rev. Keith Yamamoto, responded to calls to Episcopal parishes in Orange County. They returned to the Inland Empire in Jan. 2009 after Yamamoto was called as rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Upland.

“We’re so happy to be back,” McCaughan said. “We at the St. Francis Episcopal Mission Outreach Center have deep roots in this community. We welcome our new growth and we look forward to continuing our tradition of worship, service and hospitality.”

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