There is a new preschool director, Amy Jones, and an interim pastor, Steve Locke. Though the corner church complex is somewhat low-profile, its presence — and importance — in the beach community is anything but.
“It serves the community,” said Jones of the preschool for ages 6 weeks to 5 years. She added, “It’s like a little family.”
“People say, ‘I didn’t know there is a church and a preschool here,’” said Locke.
Why is that? Locke hazarded a guess.
“The church blends in so much with the community, it seems invisible,” he said. “It doesn’t have a tall steeple painted red or something like that. It blends in with the architecture of the community.”
The preschool, among other things, sets PB Presbyterian apart.
“We have 26 kids and we serve working families five days a week,” director Jones said, adding, “Obviously, there’s daycare because we’re here till 5:30 p.m.”
Jones said preschool class sizes are intentionally kept small to maintain a low teacher-to-pupil ratio, so kids get more individual attention and the quality of instruction is superior.
The church/preschool is also unique in its hands-on approach to education/faith. That’s where Grant Kay, director of Christian education, comes in.
“I run the young adult ministry and we have preschool kids in the program too,” Kay said, adding, “We’re participatory with all our Christian education. The goal is to get people’s hands dirty, get them thinking and doing it themselves.”
Kay talked about an innovative PB Presbyterian ministry program called Theology on Tap.
“We go down to the Tap Room (on Garnet) and talk about God over a beer,” he said. “We have a Sunday night service for young adults. It’s run by young adults and for young adults. It’s very casual. I’ve preached in shorts.”
PB Presbyterian feeds the homeless on Sunday evenings. Jones said there are other special things the church does for the community’s most needy.
“In the state of California you can’t use a P.O. Box to get Social Security or a driver’s license,” she pointed out. “So we run a mail program. We receive mail here for 225 individuals. We have a contract they sign that basically asks them to be good neighbors. It allows them to come into our office and get their mail. We give them three chances. If they break our rules, or aren’t respectful, we tell them they no longer can receive services here.”
Of PB Presbyterian’s mission, Locke said, "We want to engage with the community. When you come here, we want you to be spiritually connected.”
On Sept. 16, 1888, the Rev. C.S. Sprecher organized the Pacific Beach Presbyterian Church on the corner of Garnet Avenue and Jewel Street. A lemon packing house was moved to the church site, becoming the first church building.
PB Presbyterian has a fall harvest festival tentatively scheduled for Oct. 3. The public is invited to come out and enjoy food, face painting, pony rides, a petting zoo and games, said Jones.