Over twenty years ago, Spirit of Joy was planted in Ramona with the mission to grow until we could manage to build a new church on the already-purchased land at Highway 67 and Highland Valley Road.
We are now getting ready to build, and we invite our familes, friends, fans and neighbors to make a one-time contribution to our efforts to build a beautiful addition to the nine acres beyond the the beloved Welcome to Ramona Monument. Please read more of our story below, and then see how you can help out. (If you live in Ramona, please look at our Ramona Gateway Improvement Fund.)
One of our favorite times each Sunday is when Pastor Dan invites us to greet one another as we pass the Peace. Have you ever stopped to think about what a blessed time this is within the Body of Christ that is Spirit of Joy? Ask the average SOJ member why they are here and they'll probably tell you that our good-natured, easy friendliness made them feel welcome and drew them right in. It is indeed a sight to behold: Click on the video to view a brief video of this remarkable time in the life of our church.
Can we think that this special time somehow reveals one of those fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Galations 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control?
If so, imagine how God might use this Spirit of Joy as we move into our new church home at Ramona's Gateway. As people are drawn to visit this new church in town... out of curiosity or genuine seeking... God stands ready to use us to greet and welcome and draw them in with His own Spirit of Joy.
Pray that this will be so... and that we will also be vessels of all of the Fruits of the Spirit.
In 1988 our Lutheran denomination purchased land way out on the northwest intersection of Highway 67 and Highland Valley Road with the goal of building a church on that corner. (When Highland Valley Road was aligned with Dye Road, it became the northeast corner). In 1992 Pastor Dan and Karyn Erlenbusch accepted the call to found Spirit of Joy and build a new church facility.
“THE LAND” has become a byword over the years as we have talked about it and had rallies, campouts, community Easter egg hunts and sunrise services. After many years of countless meetings, surveying, planning, revising and mitigating, San Diego County finally approved our plans in November, 2014.
The Glorious Unfolding campaign will enable us to more forward with this vision which we have dreamed of from even before our beginning. Click Here to see what this corner looks like now. And also here. (By the way... on that map, the label "Highland Valley Road" on the old dirt track should be moved west to the newer realigned road.)
It's been only in the past several years that the northeast corner of Highway 67 and Highland Valley Road has become Ramona's iconic Gateway to Ramona intersection. Driving up from "down the hill," who doesn't notice the striking Welcome to Ramona sign... and perhaps the non-native grassland behind the sign? There are some in Ramona who would prefer that those seven acres remain undisturbed. But "development" is inevitable. And if so, then Spirit of Joy's beautifully designed and landscaped plans for a church facility should be a welcome alternative to a myriad of less desirable possibilities. More about that in the next installment.
"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." (Psalm 24:1)
We believe Psalm 24:1 is a true statement. Although Spirit of Joy has "owned" the property at Ramona's Gateway for over 20 years, we know it is not truly "ours." God has entrusted it into our care, and we must be good and wise stewards of that trust for the benefit of future generations. Given its location, we also feel an additional responsibility to care for and improve the property in a way that will bless our Ramona neighbors and all who drive past.
Our architectural plans and permits which were approved by the County Board of Supervisors in November, 2014, specify that extensive landscaping must be completed before the project can pass final inspection. This includes irrigation and over 200 six foot tall trees as well as other shrubs and plants that must be planted around the property.
The landscaping plan and the striking architecture will help to make this highly visible property behind the Welcome to Ramona sign an attractive addition to our lovely Ramona Gateway. Click on the picture above to see a larger view of our planned development. (Please note that the aerial image was taken in the early 1990's.)
“A person finds joy in giving an apt reply— and how good is a timely word!”