Park Hill — a church on Fir Street planted from Portland

"The gathering on Sunday is the huddle and everything we do all week long is the game"

Pastor Evan Wickham: "We don't want a church that cloisters in the building for two hours a week and that’s it."
  • Pastor Evan Wickham: "We don't want a church that cloisters in the building for two hours a week and that’s it."

Park Hill Church

590 Fir Street, Downtown San Diego

Membership: 125

Pastor: Evan Wickham 

Age: 36

Born: San Diego

Formation: Western Seminary, Portland, OR

Years Ordained: 15

San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

Pastor Evan Wickham: God is in relationship with himself — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — and out of that relationship comes humanity. The whole story of the Bible is that God pursues his family in love. I would want to preach on that my whole life — a relational God working history to recover a relationship with his family. At the end of the story, of course, he gets exactly what he wants — a renewed humanity in relationship with him.

SDR: What’s your main concern as a member of the clergy?

PW: What I notice among millennials that grew up in the church is a tendency to love spirituality and hunger for an encounter with the divine; on the other hand, there’s a real anti-authoritarian sensibility among millennials. The answer is for the millennials to rediscover the ancient identity of the church as the place of God’s dwelling in the world, a place of God’s healing presence, where the sick, infirm, and marginalized can find acceptance in a family.

SDR: Why non-denominational?

PW: My wife and I are leading a small team being sent from a family of churches in Portland, Oregon, to replant the church at 590 Fir St. Our family of churches in Portland are non-denominational with a conservative evangelical theology, but we also see a high value in social justice and a concern for the poor and the wellbeing of the community with a strong civic sense to help relieve suffering in the city at every level. It’s that family style of church we hope to bring to Park Hill Church.

SDR: What is the mission of your church?

PW: To be the place of God’s dwelling in the city, the presence of Jesus in San Diego along countless other denominations across denominational lines. The old boundary markers are less meaningful than they used to be, and that’s great. It’s less about denominations and more about networks. That’s our goal — to network with other churches for gospel causes in San Diego that bring tangible healing to places of true need.

The last thing we want to be is a church that cloisters in the building for two hours a week and that’s it. We see the gathering on Sunday as the huddle and everything we do all week long as the game. What’s more important to football, the huddle or the game? Well, it’s both, really — you can’t have one without the other. So our mission is to live out what the Holy Spirit does during the gathering — to live out these things Monday through Saturday, in the park, on the beach, wherever you are in the city.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

PW: I believe in a place of eternal separation from God for those who arrogantly reject the lordship of Christ; and there is a place at God’s forever-table for those who respond in humility and receive the lordship of Christ. Both of those things are forever. Jesus is a beautiful, peaceful, loving lord; but he’s also a just judge. Everyone wants justice and everyone wants the wicked, who have done them harm, to be judged. That’s exactly what God is going to do through Christ on the final day. The great call of the gospel is to repent of your own injustice.

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