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The Congregational Church of West Medford is now doing business as Sanctuary UCC.

Introducing Isaac Martinez: Community Missioner

Isaac Martinez Linked InIt is my pleasure to introduce Isaac Martinez who brings a wide range of gifts and graces to our mission to be sanctuary through our ministries and relationships. In his role as “Community Missioner” Isaac will attend to these three key objectives:

  • Further root Sanctuary UCC in its new “storefront” home and surrounding community and expand its reach in West Medford and beyond with a concrete organizing project;
  • Raise up a cadre of empowered lay leaders who are well trained and practiced in a collaborative leadership model through the same organizing project, as well as ad hoc training opportunities (radical welcome, pastoral listening);
  • Provide organizing support to Sanctuary’s primary missionary initiatives, including and Open Sanctuary drop-in hours.

In addition to what I experience as a deep faith and an abiding love for all of God’s creation within him—the skills and experience Isaac brings that I am most delighted to have on our team are in community organizing, leadership development, social networking and building connections. He will be with us through the summer, via contract and will be working from 10 — 15 hour per week.

Here are a few words from Isaac himself..

It is a true blessing to express joy in joining the Sanctuary team and supporting the creation of a new, exciting expression of the Church in West Medford. I look forward to bringing my gifts and experiences of community organizing, leadership development, and training to…[the key objectives identified above].

I believe the Spirit is at work in putting us in each other’s orbits. I have been a resident of Medford since 2010 (except for a yearlong stint in Somerville) and have felt a stirring to become more rooted in my physical community. I am a lifelong Christian, born and raised in the Pentecostal tradition and then finding a home in the Episcopal tradition three years ago through two “unconventional” Episcopal communities in St. James’s, Cambridge and The Crossing. I see many parallels between what Sanctuary has built and will build and these spiritual homes of mine. Finally, three months ago, I joined LDI, the Leadership Development Initiative, as their Director of Programming, where I have formalized my faith-rooted organizing methodology that will be the basis of what I hope to bring to Sanctuary.

All along my life’s path, I have known myself as fully alive when I am deeply connecting with people and raising them up to be leaders and reconcilers themselves. I am thrilled at the prospect of joining the knowledge and skills I’ve gained with the opportunity to “organize” Sanctuary and further the collaborative leadership model that has begun to be built there as well as further refine my organizing and pastoral skills.

Isaac is a candidate for the Episcopal ordination process and plans to enter seminary in the fall. Here are snippets from one of his references for that process:

…strong faith, natural preaching gifts, and native intelligence plus his organizational savvy (honed in his non-profit work consulting with small-business owners) and dedicated follow-through on his commitments. He also brings a singularly warm and supportive approach to relationships with others of all ages and backgrounds. He brings a precious competence in cross-language and cross-cultural communication, being natively fluent in Spanish and English, and being conversant from childhood with multicultural and multi-faith settings. He is comfortable in multi-class settings as well, again a precious commodity among Episcopal clergy.

…special calling to work with vulnerable populations of folk who have suffered from marginalization…great sweetness of disposition and a ready enthusiasm for new possibilities…a well-founded emotional ballast, and learns readily from experience…

…his reconciler’s heart, which instinctively reaches out to understand others, draw them into community, encourage them to discover their own potential, and pay attention to their accomplishments. It is Isaac’s love of Jesus – together with his learned reliance on the Spirit’s presence even in his “desert” times – that empowers and sustains this generous instinct for hospitality and impels him to use his gifts in convening the Eucharistic community. Wherever he might be called to serve – in affluent communities or disadvantaged ones – he will bring this resilient faith and warm-hearted welcome, as well as a sense of strategic organization and commitment that brings strength and coherence to his hospitality.

Friends, I believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in bringing this gifted young man into our midst for a season and I pray that you will welcome and connect with him and allow him to teach us.

With Blessing and Prayer. Rev. Wendy (

PS: We will organize a gathering to meet Isaac soon! And watch for more news next week regarding our new “Minister of Communications”…



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