Pastor’s Blog
What is your favorite Christmas song?
December 6, 2023
  Methodists have long been known as “a singing people.” I am not a good singer, but I can say that I am a passionate and, hopefully in God’s ears, a beautiful singer. Singing is one of the important parts of my life and in my church life, especially during this time of Advent and the Christmas season.
What is your favorite Christmas hymn to listen and sing? What is your favorite Christmas carol to listen to and sing?
  I believe that “Silent Night” is a favorite of many people but what other Christmas songs do you love to hear and sing? To me, it is “What Child Is This?” I love listening to “What Child Is This,” because of its tune. The tune is known as “Greensleeves,” an English melody from the 16th century. Recently, I learned that Shakespeare refers twice to “Greensleeves” in his play “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” helping to date it to the 16th century.
I believe that it is one of the most beautiful and beloved melodies of the season. The reason why I love this hymn and tune is that it gives me mixed but harmonious emotions. It could sound melancholy. It could sound joyful. Somehow it embraces all my mixed, unexplainable and hidden emotions, and makes them harmonious, beautiful and fully present as they are.
  I know that this season is often hectic, and we are distracted by many things. But how about taking a pause and taking the time to listen to your favorite Christmas song or to enjoy singing it with your unique and beautiful voice? It is Christmas. Please remember and reflect that you are loved.
Our God came as a baby Jesus, the most vulnerable one, in order to show God’s love and grace to you. I hope that you have a Merry Christmas with your family, friends or neighbors and with your favorite Christmas song!
This article was also shared at Gilroy Dispatch
Thanks to your presence, it’s our 170th Anniversary!
June 1, 2023
  It is our 170th Anniversary! Our very first church meeting was held on June 4, 1853. This year, Gilroy United Methodist Church will celebrate our 170th Anniversary on Sunday, June 4, at 11am. Lunch will follow the worship celebration. If you are available, please come and enjoy our 170th anniversary celebration.
  While looking back on our church history, I learned that there was a big fire on Sunday, Nov. 13, 1938. All of our church buildings were completely destroyed due to an explosion of the church boiler. I cannot imagine how helpless everyone felt to see the church burning down. Maybe some of your parents or grandparents watched this fire.
Amazingly, in less than a year, the current church building was dedicated in the same location on June 11, 1939.
  What I am surprised by and what I am thankful for was that there was a lot of support from the community. For example, the Catholic Ladies Aid Society gave us a donation of $108.60 in early December 1938. For your understanding, accounting for inflation, this $108.60 in 1938 would be worth about $2,300 in 2023. Many other churches and organizations followed with their kindness and generosity. Our former pastor at that time, Rev. Ezelle Cox, summarized it this way: “Practically all organizations and churches here have cooperated wholeheartedly in providing us with a new home.”
  This new home still exists here and now. It is across from the Gilroy Post Office and next to the Habing Family Funeral Home. You might happen to see a pastor who waves his hands to you on Sunday mornings from the doors of this awesome church.
  I believe that the church exists for the community, not for the church itself. However, what I learned from our church history is that our church has been loved by our community even more than our church has loved and served, especially when our church buildings were destroyed and when our church was in need. As the current pastor of Gilroy United Methodist Church, I would like to express sincere gratitude for the support from all of the organizations and churches in the community that enabled us to rebuild our church buildings 84 years ago.
  While celebrating our 170th Anniversary, I remember again when our church was in need. There is a saying, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” Our church has many friends. And it is our turn to become your friends. When you are in trouble, we want to be your friends. When you are under threat, we want to be your friends. When you are in fear, we want to be your friends. That’s because we learned this from our church history. That’s why our church is a part of the Interfaith CommUNITY of South County. That’s how to build our community together as friends.
This article was also shared at Morgan Hill Times
New Sunday Worship Time at 9:00am & In-person Focused Worship, starting on July 4th, 2021

June 19, 2021

Dear Gilroy United Methodist Church, 


 After a lengthy period of time where our Sunday Worship has been done through YouTube (since March 15th, 2020), we have joyfully started our Hybrid (both YouTube & In-person) Sunday Worship as of April 11th, 2021. For ten Hybrid Worship Services, I have been so thankful to see many of our church members and friends, even mask-to-mask. I am always grateful to worship together at the same time via YouTube live-streaming, with those who are not comfortable yet to come to indoor worship. Your physical health and safety as well as your spirituality matter to me, because I am joyfully called to serve all of you as your pastor. 

  When I am appointed to both Gilroy UMC and Hollister UMC, starting on July 1st, I joyfully and actively say, “O Lord, Here am I; send me to anywhere this pastor is needed.” After prayers and consideration, as I shared through my message of June 6th, I suggested that our Lay Leadership Team adjust our worship time, for me to serve both churches more effectively, as your pastor, and as the pastor of Hollister UMC. On Wednesday evening, June 16th, our Lay Leadership Team gathered, discussed, and made a difficult but brave decision: Our New Sunday Worship Time will be at 9:00am, starting on Sunday, July 4th. I also suggested that the Hollister UMC leadership council change their worship time, and they have also decided to do so. I know that this worship time change might be a difficult adjustment for some of our church members and friends. But as your pastor, I would like to worship together at both churches every Sunday, and the worship time change is unavoidable. Thankfully and courageously, our Lay Leadership Team accepted my suggestion. 

  Along with this worship time change, our worship will be changed from Hybrid Worship to In-person Focused Worship, starting on July 4th, transitioning slowly but steadily. A lot of our streaming equipment will be removed, but we will still broadcast our worship via YouTube live-streaming for those who are not comfortable yet with indoor worship, even if its quality will not be as good as that of our former Hybrid Worship.

  Sometimes, this time of change or transition feels like a storm. But we have God as our anchor and our hope. “We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain” (Hebrews 6:19) Amen! 

Love & Peace,

Your Pastor, Hwapyoung Kang


United Methodist Church Clergy Statement of Solidarity

~~~ January 6, 2021

We, as United Methodist Clergy in the Central Coast area of California, stand in solidarity against today’s violence at our nation’s capital, and hereby reaffirm the statement of Rev. Dr. Susan Henry- Crowe, General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church:

Today is when the Congress of the United States certifies the votes of the people. This duty fulfills Congress’s constitutional role in the democratic process.

The peaceful transition of power is a pillar of representative democracy.
Even as we affirm the right to peaceful assembly, nothing must disrupt this democratic process.

We condemn the rhetoric from leaders inciting violence and division. We call on all to work for justice and the common good of the country and our democracy.

We continue to pray for the healing of our nation. Join [us] in praying these words from the Prayer in a Time of National Crisis (from the United Methodist Book of Worship, # 517):

May leaders be led by your wisdom;
May they search your will and see it clearly
If we have turned from your way,
Reverse our ways and help us to repent.
Give us your light and your truth, let them guide us;
Through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of this world, and our Savior. Amen.

We also reaffirm the message of Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño of the California-Nevada Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, who professed:

On this Day of Epiphany, Christians remember that the Magi guided by a divine light visited the Christ Child bearing gifts and their souls.

Let us pray for the divine light of Christ to manifest the fullness of his righteousness in this our moment of darkness.

The protests against the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris that have escalated to violence at the US and at the California state capitals are truly an expression of darkness based on deception and fear- mongering.

As people committed to a civil society and a democratic process of governance, this is not the way to express differences of opinion. It certainly is not the way to be as people of faith.

Let us pray for our broken society and recommit to being followers of Christ who is the Light of the World.

Gabriel House (Aptos),

Clyde Vaughn (Boulder Creek),

Luke Ham (Carmel),

Patrick Davis (Morgan Hill),

Hwapyoung Kang (Gilroy),

Karla Lundin (Hollister),

Angel Rivero (Marina),

Sanghyun Lee (Marina),

Steve Lundin (Salinas),

Jay K. Pierce (Santa Cruz),

Robin Mathews-Johnson (Watsonville). 

Memo from Pastor Kang: What do you see at night?
December 17, 2020
(This is what I submitted to Gilroy Dispatch)

  I am Hwapyoung Kang, the first native South Korean senior pastor to serve the Gilroy United Methodist Church, which was established in Gilroy in 1853. I believe I can now say that I am a 2.5-year-old Korean-Gilroyan, because I have experienced the taste of our garlic ice cream from volunteering at the 2018 Gilroy Garlic Festival.

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” (Matthew 2:1-2, NRSV)

  As the wise men from the East followed the star, so did I follow my star from South Korea, my calling to be a pastor. Thankfully, since July 2018, I have served the church as a pastor in the United States. I believe that the wise men’s journey from the East to Bethlehem was not easy. They faced many unknowns and uncertainties. But they were not alone. They were together. So, strongly they followed the star! My journey to be a pastor as a Korean in the United States is filled with many challenges: language barriers, cultural differences, etc. However, with the help of our awesome church members, I become a better pastor every Sunday. Not only bravely, but also joyfully, we follow the star, while creating many wonderful stories in our faith journey.

  What do you see at night? What I see is not the darkness, but the stars. In the past two years, including this year in Gilroy, we have suffered tragedy in many ways: for example, the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting, wildfires and the Covid-19 pandemic this year. Even though there is darkness at night, I can still see the stars. Together we follow the stars beyond many challenges and many unknowns. What star do you see and follow in this holiday season?

Tasting Garlic Ice cream! 
at Garlic Festival on July 28th, 2018