Building bridges: Pastor urges City Council, community to find healing

May 26, 2010
Santa Paula City Council

Building bridges in place of walls that harm Santa Paula is the concern of Pastor Ron Dybvig, who told the City Council a group has started to pray for healing and to overcome community divisiveness.

At the May 17 meeting, Pastor Dybvig of St. Paul’s Episcopal/Emmanuel Lutheran Church invited the council and the community to take part in the group to explore issues.

“I have been a pastor here in the community for 10 years,” and a member of the Santa Paula Ministerial Association. “I have been observant talking with people locally,” and what concerns Pastor Dybvig are “divisions in the community.” Such division results in some putting others behind a wall built with “bitterness” and divisiveness.

The late Robert Frost was told by one of his neighbors, “Good fences make good neighbors,” but in a verse the great poet questioned such a statement. Frost, noted Pastor Dyvbig, said “He would have to know whom to wall in or to wall out... ‘Before I built a wall I’d ask to know, What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offence.’

“I propose we work together as a community to tear down walls and build bridges” by gathering at 5 p.m. on Saturdays at the church, located at 117 N. 7th Street. Pastor Dybvig said each session will start “by naming the elephant in the room... our hurts, our scars” and concerns, followed by prayer. People are welcome to stay “five minutes or 45 minutes.”

Dybvig urged those who serve on various boards of directors to meet to explore their similarities or differences, ultimately to ascertain “what are our dreams, what is getting in the way of those dreams,” and what can be done to help each other to reach their dreams. “We can build bridges, not for our sake, but for the children; they belong to all of us” and are the community’s hope and future.

“It will take all of us,” Pastor Dybvig noted, “to tear down those walls” to find a new sense of unity in Santa Paula.


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