Staff

Meet Our Pastor, Rev. Jim Burklo

Pastor Jim

Rev. Jim Burklo is the pastor of the United Church of Christ of Simi Valley, CA.   He also serves as the Executive Director of Progressive Christians Uniting, which is now organizing ZOE, a national network of progressive Christian ministries at colleges and universities.   He is the founder of Souljourning.org, providing resources for families to nurture the natural spirituality of young people.  He retired after 14 years as the Senior Associate Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life at the University of Southern California in September 2022.  An ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ, he is the author of seven published books on progressive Christianity.  His latest is Tenderly Calling: An Invitation to the Way of Jesus (St Johann Press, 2021).  His weekly blog, “Musings”, has a global readership.  He is an honorary advisor and frequent content contributor for ProgressiveChristianity.org.  Jim and his wife Roberta live in Ojai, CA.

A Word of Welcome from Pastor Jim

Dear beloved community:

I am humbled and delighted to be asked to serve as the pastor of UCC Simi!  I started on October 30, 2022, but I’ve been preaching here on occasion for 14 years – and have always had a warm spot in my heart for this church.  I look forward to getting to know all our members and friends personally and to learning about and serving the wider Simi Valley community.
 
My aim is to preach good news that you can use.  Down to earth good news we can put to work in our own lives, and at home and at our jobs and in our community.  My theology consists of three words from the first letter of John, chapter 4:  “God is love.”  Love is God.  A simple statement with tremendous consequences.  When I’m talking about God, I’m talking about something that we are trying to do.  When love is easy, obvious, simple – what happy times those are!  But very often, love is very challenging indeed.  How to love a family member suffering from addiction?  How to love a very difficult neighbor?  How to change broken social and economic structures so that they embody compassion for the most vulnerable?  How to love ourselves – perhaps the hardest challenge of all?  Unconditional agape love is our God, it is our church’s mission.  So we gather together here as a fitness center for love.  We come here in celebration of the love that’s easy, and then we “work out” so we can return into the world to practice the love that is heavy lifting – and to help each other out in doing it.  I am in it with you! 
 
Yours along Jesus’ way of radical compassion,
 
Jim Burklo