New Associate Pastor Announced!

Tau Tupua Named Associate Pastor for Youth and Mission

The Search Committee for the Associate Pastor for Youth and Mission is excited to share the good news that Taulau (“Tau”) Tupua has accepted the call to serve at our church! The committee - Andrea Surova, Diane Hirsch, Gaye Coffman, Lucy Zavala, Mike Dobbin, Rae Eiklor, and Sally Hallada as ex officio - has been serving our congregation since November 2022 to find who God is calling to our church.

Tau has the gift of being approachable and engaging to both adults and children alike. His  unique combination of humility, openness, and creativity will help bring alive the Gospel in the context of today’s world. I am confident he will promote a culture of inclusivity, respect, and belonging as he encourages children of different backgrounds to be themselves and tap into their own gifts in a safe, supportive space” shared Andrea Surova, chair of the committee.

During the interview process, it became clear that Tau’s gifts would be a perfect fit of our congregation! Gaye Coffman says, “I  am so happy and thrilled that Tau will be joining us and I can’t wait to share the news!! I really can’t wait for him to start building relationships with our kids and church. Wow! We are blessed to be moving into this new chapter!”

The committee search for a candidate based on the survey results from the conversation and our listening session with youth and families in January 2023. It was important for us to include others in this process, especially since this role is larger than the role of youth director. Rae Eiklor added: “I’m excited about Tau! He has safety in mind for the children, church and himself. Tau has a gentle nature that surrounds him.” Some of our committee members have experienced Tau’s leadership within our larger church body.

The safety of our children and youth is primary to our congregation. Everyone should feel safe in our community as we seek to serve as God’s hands and feet in the world. Tau's initiative in creating a safe, inclusive environment will allow the youth to express themselves and grow withing our church and the world at large. His long term expectations and goals for our youth and young adults with enrich and strengthen faith based teachings, while building a program that will ensure continued participation as they grow and evolve through different age levels,” shared Mike Dobbin.

Tau will begin serving our church on Sunday, July 2. Please stay tuned for more information!

Words from Tau

I am excited to join FCCNH for so many reasons but the main reason is the vibrant community and your commitment to faith, love, and justice. These words are not just values in a book. They are in the worship, youth group, summer events, Children's Ministry, music program, the Interfaith Pantry, and Bible studies to name a few. I'm also excited to join you all because I am ready to return and serve my Disciples community.

In my first year, I feel called to learn. Learn names, the community, the neighborhood, and the ministries. I also wish to teach you all a bit of who I am and how I worship, lead, and engage. In the following years, I feel called to preach the word of God that stirs the spirit, pedagogically teach our youth and young adults about critical faith and it's importance in our world and times, support ongoing mission opportunities, create new mission opportunities, and ultimately offer ways to continue building beloved community.

I am joined in this calling journey by my loving wife, LooLoo, and our dog, Chiquita. We live in Long Beach and continue to love our neighborhood and the rich culture. I am Samoan, Filipino, and Niuean American. I received my Bachelors Degree in Mathematics from Chapman University in 2016 (Go Panthers!) and my Masters of Divinity from Claremont School of Theology in 2022 (Go Jesus!). I'm a huge fan of USC football, the SF Giants, the SF 49ers, and the LA Lakers. If you're a Dodgers fan, no worries, I'll still love you. Lastly, I love adventuring to new places, tasting new foods, and sharing experiences with loved ones and friends. I can't wait to meet you all!



Many Thanks to Luis Oliart for Serving as Interim Youth Director

Many people stepped up to serve during the most difficult parts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Luis Oliart was one of those!

Thanks to Luis our families and kids were able to be supported through the pandemic and in the wake of Pastor Bobs passing, Pastor Louise retiring, and Youth Director Jeremy Gillette leaving.

Luis’s heart led him to this service. “My son was raised here through our youth program at FCCNH. We were able to though scaled down to continue local, national, international mission trips, and seasonal overnights. I was interim manager of our Operation Santa Clause ministry so that the kids could continue to volunteer. Our after school kids were also able to volunteer at the Tree Lot. Our youth have continued to attend our winter and summer camps as well as leadership events. We have added a monthly young adult Young Adult gathering, an annual Alumni event, and weekly Youth Worship Team additions serving as Acolytes and Diaconates. Our afterschool kids are now also doing special service projects around the church. We read scripture each week from our order of worship and had open dialog of what the scripture meant to the youth personally as well as how to apply to day to day life. Our after school program has grown to 15 kids.”

A celebration event for Luis will be announced in the coming weeks. His last day as interim Youth Director will be on May 31. Pastor Jonathan said, “We are incredibly grateful for the ways in which Luis has served our community over the years. The ability to step into a gap during a time of need was priceless for our youth and families. For that, I am incredibly grateful to Luis!”

Luis shared, “I am most excited to have supported Pastor Jonathan, Sally Hallada's vision, the search committee and the congregation during tough and challenging times. We all have our calling and I felt taking the interim role was something I needed to do under the circumstances. This place is my home; supporting the kids and families was very meaningful. I am excited to have helped build a solid foundation of which our new associate pastor can build upon shifting my role to more of a musical support to our congregation.”