Pastor Joel Rodriguez serves as associate pastor of Sunnyside UMC. Rodriguez is working to reach out to the community, including to those participating in Sunnyside United, a non-profit that focuses on reducing youth substance abuse, depression, suicide, and gang violence.
Pastor Joel Rodriguez’s wife, Aurora, features a bulletin board with a “quiz” that helped the congregation learn something about the two of them.

By Pastor Joel Rodriguez

Sunnyside, Wash. – Recently we had great opportunities to connect with our young people, including those at-risk. Here are just a few moments that illustrate our community’s needs and how our ministry meets them.

National Night Out
National Night Out is organized by the Sunnyside Police Department and was held at in Central Park. It was a very pleasant event to meet new people and families. We distributed invitation sheets to our church with an inclusive and encouraging message. I had the pleasure of meeting two young people who meet in the park every Friday and Saturday to play volleyball. They both are about to start their high school studies – but due to the lack of opportunities, they are not very sure to continue studying.

It seems to me that it is a perfect opportunity to begin a pastoral accompaniment with young people. We are already organized to meet in the park to share. They know many more young people who I hope to reach with the help of God.

Sunnyside United and our local congregation
We have also participated with the faith community at lunches and dinners to learn more about each of the members of the Sunnyside congregation. They are very good people and I look forward to working together as much as possible.

We also closely monitor the non-governmental organization, Sunnyside United, at meetings to plan events that help the community to become aware of the problems that can generate the irresponsible use of substances harmful to the body especially in the young.

Joel Rodriguez serves as associate pastor of Sunnyside UMC. Special thanks to Lyda Pierce.

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