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COVID Vaccine Update

The WHO has downgraded the COVID-19 pandemic from an international crisis to a public health threat for there are still variants out there.


In case you missed it: If you or a loved one are 50 or older, or are moderately or severely immunocompromised, you can get an additional Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 booster shot at no cost to you.


The CDC recommends an additional booster shot for certain individuals to increase protection from severe disease from COVID-19. People over the age of 50, or who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, can get an additional booster of Pfizer or Moderna 4 months after their last dose. This is especially important for those 65 and older who are at higher risk from severe disease and most likely to benefit from getting an additional booster.


Remember: Medicare covers the COVID-19 vaccine, including booster shots, at no cost to you. You can go to google to find a COVID-19 Vaccination center near you.


Through it all, we give thanks that, to this point, we are survivors and that we

can carry on.

Meet Our New Intern!

Today we welcome Jeffry Umaña Muñoz (he, him) as our new CIOP Intern! Jeffry will be with us part time for the next 6 months. We look forward to getting to know him and seeing how this new relationship broadens and changes us and our community. We will be planning some conversations with him, but for now, we share just a piece of his resume (there is so much more, but here is a flavor). He currently volunteers at the 580 Cafe, led by deaconess Jeanne Roe Smith.


"At 580, I engage in much the same responsibilities that the internship for The Church has listed. I myself am personally a writer (both of academic and creative pieces, especially short narratives, profiles, and poetry) and a graphic designer, both skills that I have applied directly to my 580 work as I host a biweekly writers’ and poets’ circle where we reflect on our individual and collective experiences through the medium of word. Additionally, I also support the 580 in the creation and production of various graphics and video projects (and have further graphic design and videographic experience dating back to at least 2017) that highlight our event and spotlight those we seek to love and empower. 


I came to love these skills and talent of writing, graphic design, and video production because of a primary thread that connects them all, a deeper art form:

the art of storytelling."


Welcome, Jeffry! We are glad you're here!

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Welcome to Bishop Dottie Escobedo-Frank,

the new Bishop of the Cal-Pac Conference of the UMC

The Church in Ocean Park welcomes Bishop Dottie Escobedo-Frank, the new Bishop of the Cal-Pac Conference of the UMC!


For more about Bishop Dottie Escobedo-Frank, click here!

No Matter What Others May Say,

You Are Holy and Blessed and You Matter!


The leaked conversation among Los Angeles City "leaders"
is harmful to all of us, but traumatic for those communities
and people who are specifically named. It also exposed the
politics of power and the nuances of racism within groups.

As those involved refuse to step down, the wound grows deeper. 


In Santa Monica, the Police Officers Association has been working to disempower the Public Safety Reform and Oversight Commission since it began. Their latest misinformation strategy is causing trauma for individuals and strengthening the divisions already present in our community.


And oh, yes, the elections!


No matter what the world is saying to you right now,

you are sacred. You are blessed. You are loved.


A Celtic Blessing


May the road be smooth under your feet.

May the trees chase you on your way.

May the desert be smooth under your wheels.

and may your water be enough.

May the sea be smooth under our boat,

and the winds blow you gently across the border.

May kindness be your companion and your guide.


Working to create a more equitable and just community,

where all are treated with dignity and respect,


Janet Gollery McKeithen

Minister, The Church in Ocean Park

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How are we doing?

When will we open the Sanctuary?


We have raised approximately $125,000 and need approximately $340,000 to be where we need to be. Our funding campaign is continuing but seems to have reached a plateau.

Funds are coming in at a slow trickle. Please donate or spread the word!

As soon as bids and permits are finalized, we hope to be in position to start construction.

Help make this the week that we reach $200,000!

Go to and help us meet our goal!

Thank you for your continued support!

Open the Doors!  Let the People In!

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Open the Doors!  Let the People In!

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Open the Doors!  Let the People In!

The Church in Ocean Park needs your help to open the doors!

An Update From Your “Open The Doors" Team

Thank you to all who have donated, spread the word, or supported this campaign in any way! 


Update: Thank you to you all for hanging in there and for donating to our @OpenTheDoors Campaign. Thank you to Supervisor Sheila Kuehl for her recent very generous donation! We are now almost midway to our goal!


If you’d like to join the “Open the Doors” team to help, please send an email to and let us know. Please continue to think of people you can share the below brochure with. Donations can be made at:   Please continue to spread the word. Contact people who appreciate our history, our building, our diverse, interfaith community, or our current work for social justice. Here is a link to a brochure that you can share with friends and family:


CIOP Open the Doors! - Brochure

Help us Open the Doors!

Please share this with a friend, if appropriate!


As you probably know, part of the sanctuary ceiling has fallen and the rest is at risk of doing so. We need to replace it before we can meet inside our church.  

There is no danger that we will be closing the Church permanently: we will be back! We have a wonderful $35,000 challenge grant from generous donors including Will Burrington, Kathleen Benjamin, Chris Thornton, George Brown, Tom Cleys, Nina Fresco, Carol Lemlein, Mary Ann Yurkonis and others, a grant which will match every contribution (up to $35,000) made to our Open the Doors Fund. If you give now, your gift will automatically be doubled!


The Church in Ocean Park is a community resource. People come to us for support and empowerment. People come to us seeking action, seeking change and seeking community. Our arms and hearts are open. Help us open our doors again too. 


We truly hope that you will make a tax-deductible donation – in any amount – to the Church’s Open the Doors Fund, so we can meet together again.


Please share this with people who have a heart for social justice and The Church in Ocean Park.


The easiest and fastest way to donate is via this link:


You can, of course, mail your donation check to:

Open the Doors Fund

The Church In Ocean Park, 235 Hill Street

Santa Monica, CA 90405


We know we can do this! We don’t let barriers stand in our way.


We are The Church In Ocean Park!  

With sincere appreciation,


Janet Gollery McKeithen  


Susan Love Loughmiller                  

President, Board of Trustees

Joanne Berlin  

Co-Chair, Administrative Board                             

Joseph Hepburn

Co-Chair, Administrative Board 

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Open the Doors!  Let the People In!

A New Way


With a Thankful Heart


Two years ago, we began a pandemic journey that
has changed our lives.  We have faced unprecedented
challenges and we struggle with substantial losses of
life and of livelihood.


We are tired of this, and we are grieving.


During the past two years, we have relied on and continue to rely on the dedication of those who keep our communities viable and safe. We recognize the essential workers who help us live our daily lives – the health care workers, grocery store employees, farm workers, maintenance workers, teachers, librarians, hotel workers, city staff, etc. The Church in Ocean Park appreciates the Santa Monica Fire Department, the County Health Department and code enforcement for working to keep the food we purchase safe and keep our beaches, businesses and Pier strong and healthy.  The City of Santa Monica has made critical decisions and provided supplemental programs that have helped residents remain in their homes and have helped businesses stay in our community. In February of 2020, when we suddenly hunkered down at home, learning how to navigate our new personal situations, our city officials, our restaurant employees and our community volunteers were also pivoting to a continually changing reality. Even while navigating their own changing personal situations, they continued to also look out for us. And they haven’t stopped.


Thank you,

Mayor Sue Himmelrich, Mayor Pro Tem Kristin McCowan and other City Council members.


Thank you,

business owners and employees


Thank you

to all our essential workers.


And thank you,

members of the community for stepping up to help your neighbor: for bringing groceries, for sewing masks, for sharing information and vegetables, for giving virtual hugs and for really listening to one another.


That’s what we need to strengthen. 


While this country is more and more polarized,

while people are strengthening the walls between them, let’s strengthen our listening instead.  At The Church in Ocean Park, we understand that your voice is just as important as any other voice. The world is polarized in separate camps to the detriment of all of us. 


Let’s be different.

Our separate camps have their role, but they also contribute to a great amount of harm, pain and suffering. In our separate camps, false stories and negative exaggeration about those we disagree with quickly spread. This is what fuels Hate groups. Hate groups develop, feed and expand through polarization. It can be traumatizing and deadly. We don’t need to live this way. 


We can be different. We can be the best of who we are.  We each have different lived experiences and different perspectives, but we have some shared values. We don’t want people to be mistreated, and we do want to be safe and we want businesses to thrive. We care about our neighbors and we help each other out. Let’s live out of our values. Let's live out of our gratitude. Let's be the best version of us as a community.


When polarizing and “othering” is the norm,

reaching out a virtual hand, may be the most courageous thing we can do. 



With Appreciation,

Rev. Janet






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