New to the City – Pastor CJ Bergmen

It has been surreal these past 2 months as we get settled in the city of San Francisco. There is so much to take in, so much to absorb. It is obvious that this city is dense with history, culture, food, ethnicity, and language. It is a bit overwhelming, and yet, one thing is clear, this feels like home.

As a young Christian I tended to focus far more on the spiritual and future nature of God’s kingdom, as opposed to a physical and present reality of it. This emphasis caused me to miss the deep reality that I am a physical being, created in God’s image, and that I am inside of time, and standing on the earth. I recently read, and I forget where, that in our existence we can only inhabit one small piece of the earth at a time, and that the place we are is sacred, and appointed to us by God for that moment. I think this is good, healthy, and Biblical. San Francisco is our physical as well as Spiritual reality, and we are loving every minute of it.

One of the things I have shared with a lot of people over the past weeks is how the geography of the city has affected the way we view ministry. We come from Phoenix, a city that spans over 500 square miles, and has over 3 million people. San Francisco, by contrast, has just over 800,00 people, spread out over only 50 square miles. This has had enormous implications for us. Namely, anyone I meet in the city lives close enough to me to cultivate a friendship with. This has played out in several examples thus far, all the way from friendships with co-workers, to meeting a couple across town at a coffee shop, striking up a conversation, and setting up a time to get our families together. This idea that everyone I come into contact with I might actually see again has been transformational and really life giving.

Some highlights so far for us in The Inner Richmond neighborhood:

Lou’s sandwich/coffee shop just around the corner
Joe’s ice cream in walking distance
Velo Rouge coffee shop at Cabrillo and Arguello
Hanging with our new pals from Christ Church 4 blocks away from our house
Walking to Golden Gate park to the Blue playground with Keane