Please let me introduce myself, I am your new Pastor, and I am grateful to be called to serve with you. My given name is James E. Stochl, Jr., named after my dad, but I prefer to be called Pastor Jim.
I was born and raised in Minnesota, where my dad taught at the University of Minnesota. After my parents’ divorce in 1970, my mom and brother and I moved to Walnut Creek, where I finished High School. While at UC Davis, I was befriended by some wonderful Christians, and God slowly melted my anger and my heart, and I accepted His call to follow Jesus at the end of my Sophomore year. I transferred to UC Berkeley and graduated with a Math for Teachers degree, intending to follow in my dad’s footsteps and teach high school Math. God had other plans.
After graduation, I married Beth, whom I met at a Bible Study at Berkeley, in 1980. Our wedding was in a Quaker Church, we were counseled by a Baptist pastor and his wife, and the wedding was officiated by a Presbyterian pastor. We served college students for five years with Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship, where I discovered my love of teaching the Bible. While serving at San Jose State, Beth earned a Master’s degree in Urban Planning. During our San Jose days, we were quite known for our hospitality, especially inviting visitors to join us for waffles after church.
After I worked two years for Tandem Computers, we packed up and moved to Pasadena so I could attend Fuller Seminary. While at Fuller, I interned at three Presbyterian churches. Mark was born in 1989, Rachel was born in 1992. From 1991 to 1995, I was a stay at home dad.
In 1995, I was called to serve as half-time Stated Supply Pastor at Faith United Presbyterian Church in the Highland Park neighborhood of northeast Los Angeles. FUPC was a historic church, and had been the original location of Occidental College. The 120closeERROR: No results were found for your search.closeERROR: No results were found for your search.0 seat sanctuary was yellow-tagged because of damage due to the Northridge earthquake, and we spent ten years completing almost a million dollar seismic retrofit of the building. With a congregation of about 40 people. We shared the facility with two other congregations and a Head Start program. The church’s Food Program distributed about 3,000 pounds of food a week to homeless, low income, and seniors.
I returned to Arcadia Presbyterian Church in 2006 to serve as their Business Administrator and Teaching Pastor. I oversaw a million dollar budget and a staff of 15, and taught adult classes on the Gospel of Mark, Church History, Story Telling, Spiritual Disciplines, Evangelism, “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “The Da Vinci Code”.
In early 2011, I received two new hip replacements, which was a life-giving change. I can now walk, and stand, and my goal is to walk 20 miles a week. For the past year, I have joyfully served as the Interim Pastor at Community Presbyterian Church in West Covina, the oldest Protestant Church in the city.
I have chaired the San Gabriel Presbytery’s Administration and Finance Committee, and the Presbytery Council. I attended as an observer the 2004 General Assembly in Richmond, and I was a commissioner to the 2010 General Assembly in Minneapolis.
I love teaching, and I love the Bible, and those passions have both been fulfilled since 1995 as I have taught Biblical Studies classes as an Adjunct Lecturer at Azusa Pacific University. My classes included Acts, Luke-Acts, and Johannine Literature.
I am an Advanced level AYSO soccer referee, and teach refereeing classes. I blog infrequently at captaingobart.blogspot.com. I love reading, especially history, and I love movies, and I love the Giants and 49ers. Beth has worked as a City Planner, and most recently as a consultant for Habitat for Humanity in Los Angeles. Our son, Mark, is a recent graduate of UCLA with a degree in Aerospace Engineering (yes, a rocket scientist!). Our daughter, Rachel, is a junior at Cal Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo (SLO), studying Sociology. She served on a mission team to Japan last summer, and this summer was in Bosnia. We have two cocker spaniels, Golden Sunshine and Bonnie June.
I’d love to get to know you. You can friend me on Facebook (Jim Stochl), or email me at Harvest.Pastor.Jim@gmail.com, or drop by at the church office for a visit, or call, and I will visit you!