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Story Beloved of San Diego: Celebrating Grace, Inclusion and Compassion

Beloved of San Diego: Celebrating Grace, Inclusion and Compassion

Dale Suggs

Dale Suggs poses with Sandy Harvey and Terell McTyer at the 2018 Leadership Academy, an event made possible by New Church Ministry

Beloved of San Diego, a progressive ‘and contemplative’ Disciples community in southern California, is unique – in vision, focus and, certainly, origin. It started in 2014 out of the concern of its founding pastor, Dale Suggs, for people who had left two nearby congregations during periods of conflict and never again found a church home.

Pastor Dale wanted to create safe space for these people to reconnect with their faith and experience compassionate community.

“Early on, we met in homes and apartment clubhouses,” says Pastor Dale. “We still do. But our favorite meeting place is in the park. A sunny San Diego morning is a great setting for the church-wary to encounter God and rediscover Christian community.”

Pastor Suggs was called to a church in Indiana in 2016, but Beloved remained. Under the guidance of Shelly Suggs and other lay leaders, Beloved continued to live its core values of grace, inclusion and compassion. Together, they created the “Beloved Compassion Network” which leads workshops and retreats on compassion throughout southern California.

In June of 2018, the New Church Development Committee of the Pacific Southwest Region provided grant support for a full-time minister to lead Beloved. Pastor Suggs returned two months later. Since then, Beloved has broadened its vision — building interfaith relationships, welcoming the LGBTQ+ community and their families, and reaching out to individuals and families who struggle with mental health.

“We are intensely focused outward into the community,” says Pastor Dale. “Our goal is to invest 80% of our time, energy and resources into people who do not and may never identify as part of the Beloved community.”

At mental health and suicide awareness walks as well as community festivals, Beloved is known for the invitation to “add a link to our prayer chain.” Over the last nine months, Beloved has collected more than 1,500 prayer links.

Through the 2020 Vision, the new church movement has already helped the Disciples family grow by nearly 1,000 new and affiliated faith communities. Beloved of San Diego is an example of doing it in ‘a 1,000 different ways.’ Through an adaptive model focusing on prayer, sacred conversation, breaking the silence on difficult subjects, promoting wellness, and welcoming ALL to the Lord’s Table, this new church is answering God’s call to serve its neighbors, spread the gospel, and make Disciples. It is supported in these efforts by New Church Ministry and people like you who support the annual Pentecost Offering.

Each year, half of this offering stays in the local Region or Area where it was collected to start and uphold new churches. The other half is used across the United States and Canada to support the recruiting, assessing, training and coaching of new church leaders at events like Leadership Academy.

The 2019 Pentecost Offering will take place Sunday, June 2 and 9. Please consider a contribution to support the new church movement, New Church Ministry and more new congregations like Beloved of San Diego.