Finding the Foundry

Zaneta Encarnacion

Wed November 25, 2015 8:45pm

Francisco Garcia-Velasquez and his wife Anika, along with their English Bulldog Molly, moved back to Chula Vista five months ago for Francisco’s new role as Reverend at Foundry United Methodist Church in Otay Ranch. However, they are not new to the area. They previously lived her from 2003-2011 while serving in the U.S. Navy.
“We love the diversity of the people, the abundance of pet and family friendly parks, the running/biking trails, and the great care the people and city take in keeping the community safe and clean. We also have enjoyed seeing the craft beer industry take root in Chula Vista with great places like Third Avenue Ale House, Novo Brazil, and Bay Bridge. We are also thrilled to live in a city that is made up of well established communities found in the West side and the ever growing development in the East.”
The Garcia’s passions are deeply rooted in their faith and how it is applied in everyday life and through the church. Anika has a degree in counseling and is passionate about providing places for people struggling with mental health disorders to build community and connections within the church. Francisco sees the arts as a vehicle of divine grace for self-expression and to provide healing and self-reflection during difficult times.
“… I hope to make a difference in the community through the arts by hosting various events at Foundry that bring artists and the community together. Beginning in January we anticipate hosting several concerts, open mic nights, and art galleries where local artists can share their craft with the community. Because my wife is a veteran and I am still serving as a Chaplain Candidate, we are also planning for ways in which the local church can serve military service members and their families during challenging moments such as deployments.”
A tradition kept at Foundry during the holiday season is bound up with the Advent Season. Garcia encourages church members to pay close attention at how the practice of lighting a different candle in the advent wreath during worship services can extend to how they live their own lives in the community.
“Our vision for our community is that it becomes one with a strong sense of community where neighbors know each other and residents can feel a part of the community in which they live. Even though there are many houses in the area with people living in such close proximity to one another, sometimes people can feel very isolated and detached from one another. We hope that Foundry can become a place where people can connect with God and with each other through our various worship services and the many art and live music events we are currently planning at the moment.”
In addition to Sunday services, Garcia hosts monthly Faith on Tap meet-ups at local breweries and Pizza with the Pastor dinners. For more information on Foundry visit www.foundryotayranch.org
Zaneta Encarnacion is engagement director of communications and external affairs at South Bay Community Services.