Spirit of Welcoming

Dave Schwab

Fri January 30, 2015 11:23am

As its name suggests, Foundry United Methodist Church in east Chula Vista is a place where religious beliefs and convictions are forged. Only what’s being molded is spiritual, not material.
Foundry Rev. Christian DeMent used a metallurgical analogy to describe the process.
“Our catch phrase is church is a place where people gather to be melded, molded and transformed,” DeMent said “That’s exactly what Foundry does: taking different elements, melting them down, and molding them into something new and useful again.”
The 2-year-old church’s name is partially derived from its venue at 861 Harold Place.
“We meet in a warehouse,” said DeMent. “It’s a unique worship setting with a different feel, environment and experience, with concrete floors and walls and a high ceiling giving it a modern feel, with big glass doors we can roll up to let the outdoors come in.”
DeMent pointed out the church is mission-focused, regularly participating in Habitat for Humanity builds, collecting food and clothing for the needy, and in its support of the STARS program aiding female victims of human trafficking.
Foundry is unique in a number of other respects. One is that its doors are open to members of the LGBT community.
“This is not a church especially for gay folks,” said DeMent. “It is a church that is open to all people. We provide hospitality to people of all ages, races, genders and sexuality.”
Dement is passionate about his ministry and his convictions. He’s led countless mission teams on trips to places as far away as Vladivostok, Russia, and locally to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He also has served the LGBT community through a United Methodist camp in Julian, Camp Cedar Glen, for adults with HIV/AIDS called Strength for the Journey.
What DeMent learned from those at the camp was they didn’t need a “gay church,” but rather a church “that’s about spirituality, not sexuality.”
“Foundry is committed to being that place,” Dement said.
Foundry is a new church sponsored by Foothills United Methodist Church in La Mesa. In the late 2000s, when SR-125 was being expanded linking South Bay and East County, members of Foothills discussed plans to send a postcard invitation to everyone in Eastlake and Otay Ranch to make the 15-minute drive up the new toll road and invite them to worship there. But DeMent took that idea one step further.
“I said what we really should be doing is bringing the church to them,” he noted, adding, “That started the ball rolling, providing a new mainline denominational presence in this newest community.”
DeMent said that while church services are only on Sunday, “it’s about what we do Monday through Saturday to be an example of God’s love and Christ’s body that are most important.”
Foundry now has about 100 parishioners. “We want to continue to grow as we get more exposure,” DeMent said adding, “Our church is a compelling story. We hope that will create some interest.”