Hope at the Beach – October Newsletter


Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore, we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.                                                         Romans 6:3–4 NRSV

As I sat at my computer and looked at the week before us, I was reminded of why Lin and I are doing this ministry. Forty-five years ago, by God-given wisdom and love we decided to become one, with one purpose. This was not done by chance. We knew that each of us was devoted to the new life that Christ provided for us on the cross. Thanks be to God, because this calling has not wavered. Challenges have presented themselves, yet God’s call has been clear. No matter if we were called to move over the sea or across the land we went with the hope of God’s grace to share with any who would hear – that as Christ first loved us, he has called ALL to be saved and set free from sin and guilt. No matter what a person is, does, or claims to do, God loves them, and God’s promises are not weak but unbreakable.

That being said, a new challenge has raised up. We were told we had to move – the house we have been renting the past 6 years is being sold. We asked God, where to next? This time we were led to an apartment right down in the heart of Seal Beach, very close to our call, Hope at the Beach. We are very excited to be here, yet It is still a challenge. Our living expenses have been covered by the grace of God. because of your gifts and generous prayers. Your support has confirmed our purpose these past nine years and we desire to keep going as long as physically possible.

Something new to pray about, Lin has begun her new calling of being self-employed. She is using her creative talents to build and maintain websites, focusing on small business and churches with the name Cornerstone Web Solutions. This decision was made just before we received our moving notice, and a huge chunk of her time has been in this move. Now she is getting into the groove of a home office worksite and developing many new ideas. This is a wonderful opportunity to grow and earn for a stable future. I think “retirement” is the last thing on our minds.

One last thing, as many already know, Chuck was in the hospital a couple of months ago very short of breath. He was diagnosed with Congestive Heart failure. He’s had a setback with his medications messed up, and we think a bought of the flu, but is recovering now.  He will always have CHF but the prognosis is good and it looks as though God is not done using this man yet. But as he always says, like Paul, in Philippians 1:21: “For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain.”

Please continue to pray for us and the wonderful ministry and people of Hope at the Beach.

With love,

Pastor Chuck and Lin


Remember the French article we shared in the last newsletter? Lin was able to have Google translate it – a rather LOOSE translation and quite humorous. We are placing the excerpt of Hope at the Beach below. Its interesting to see how others from a non-church, non-American view a ministry like this. What is our true witness?

Pastor Chuck Carlson of the Church
Hope at the Beach organizes
ceremonies from 6 am

A guitar tune floats on the beach at Seal Beach, at north of San Diego, on this Sunday morning. Some big
palms were planted in the sand and a fortnight people are already singing, each on his little chair camping. The pious circle surrounds a large cross in scrap metal, crafted by the pastor’s sister-in-law with treasures gleaned here and there. Everyone is armed with a smile and of his little stamped leaf of the arms of Hope at the Beach (“Hope on the beach”): Gothic letters as tattooed on a beautiful red board. “

In our church, we accept everyone: the old fords, Buddhists, bums, vegans, … even the billionaires! “It is with open arms that Pastor Chuck leads the dance with his wife Lin. Former Lutheran pastor, he enjoys his retirement to give his blessings feet in the sand.

“Take a coffee and a chair,” the mustachioed ton character, a wooden cross hanging on the neck. The faithful Jill is on percussion and calms the pace for Cody, 14 years, reads a passage from the Epistle to the Philippians of his febrile teenage voice. Everyone discusses the text, so just a stone’s throw away, students from the MM surf school brush up their boards with application. “Before Chuck arrived nine years ago, I waited years for a church to moved here permanently. says Michael Pless, the pious owner of the school. There is a mass at 6 o’clock morning, and another at 7 o’clock for later. Like that, we can take water in good conditions. ” On the beach that begins to populate, no one is not surprised to see this devout assembly. It’s America of all contrasts. No need to watch his slip when it comes time to move on to the third singing, Oceans, “You call me the ocean floor / The great unknown where my feet could get lost / And I discover you in mystery / In the depths…

Hope at the Beach – September Newsletter


After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “…22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”                             John 17:22-24 (NRSV)

Palm Sunday

It isn’t very often that we get to share this great gospel internationally but a few months ago a reporter and photojournalist from France contacted us (below) and asked to interview and shoot some photos of our worship service.

“We’re a team of French freelance journalists, I Eugénie Baccot is a photographer represented by both Divergence and Parallelo Zero agencies in France and Italie (www.eugeniebaccot.com)  and Anne-Laure Pineau am a writer working with the collective Youpress (www.youpress.fr) and. We publish articles about social and human issues in french and international medias (Paris Match, Elle, Le Parisien…) We’re going to publish a photo and text story for a great magazine “Le Monde des Religions” about the christian surfeur community on California.”

Recently we received this PDF article from Eugénie, of her completed piece and had to share!

Click here!

Unfortunately, we do not speak French, so we are hoping that someone on our mailing list can translate and share with us all what was said concerning Hope at the Beach and especially the Good News!

Nice pictures though, aren’t they – they speak a thousand words.

God’s peace,

Pastor Chuck and Lin

Lent Newsletter – March 2017


Hope at the Beach Lenten Newsletter – March 2017

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:1-7

In the midst of Lent, we find ourselves wondering whether or not this Christian life is worth all the pain, hassle, and at times, sorrow. I believe that Jesus had these times too. As he drew nearer to his death, those who followed him also felt that things were going sideways, but didn’t know why.

It is here in this very moment that Jesus comes to us and brings us hope. Calling us not to be troubled in the very moment of catastrophe. Calling us to look not backward, not forward, not even in the “now”. But calling us to look to him; ‘the way, the truth and the life’. It is IN him we will find healing, calm, and joy. It is in HIM we find purpose and calling. It is in him WE find rest!

This is what I have been preaching at Hope at the Beach for the past eight years. Hope is a commodity sorely needed in this time. It is because of your prayers and financial sacrifice that we can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, continue to help people know Jesus. And in knowing Jesus, know the Father and have people see God in and through us.

As always, go in peace and surf the Lord!

Pastor Chuck and Lin

We Are Church

We are church on the beachWe voted on and passed our constitution today, February 19, 2017. After eight years on the sand of Seal Beach, a seed planted, sprouted, and is growing!
Thanks be to God!

We meet every Sunday for two services.
One at 7:15 AM, (affectionately called the Surfer’s Special.) Then at 8:00 AM we have a full worship with music.

Join us anytime!

Advent – Christmas Letter


The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:6-9 NRSV

This is one of my favorite verses during this time of the year. Advent –the coming of Christ. But why couldn’t it say an old man would lead them? Well, for one thing he probably was unable to walk with all those animals around him. I have a hard-enough time with children running all around me. Good call God!Christmas morning in Martinez

It is also hard not to say Christmas letter and just forget about Advent. But that would be as bad as an old man trying to lead a group of anything. Advent is very important, though it doesn’t get the respect that some of the other church calendar focuses such as Christmas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost. Advent is a ‘preparation’, an ‘expectation,’ two things that don’t always resonate with the human character. While raising children in our home it was always a battle to wait for Christmas morning to open gifts, what with all the services a pastor’s kid must attend. It was also hard to read the Christmas story before we opened the gifts. But we did it. I have always believed it was the waiting and the giving that has made my Christmas the best.

This year, again, we find ourselves waiting to fully celebrate the birth of the Christ child with a portion of our family after Christmas, and again, I find myself excited for the wait, excited for the ones who are to come – our family.

This year let us remember that we are waiting for THE ONE who will come again, once and for all.

Merry Christmas to you all and may this New Year bring you great and wondrous blessings.

Pastor Chuck and Lin


November 2016 Update


This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true;  but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:5-10

How often have we heard these words, “We are children of the light?” Look at the second part of verse seven, (“and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”) Nowhere does it say in this that my righteous judgement and my adherence to the Law saves me, does it? No, it says that is the action and the right of Jesus the Christ to save all from sin.

And what gets in the way of this salvation? From the words of Jesus,
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them” Matt. 23:13 (NRSV)
to the words of Paul,
“Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.” Romans 2:1
We get in the way of Christ salvation for the world.

Why do I share this with you this month? This month many of us will gather together with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. We will pray, eat, give thanks, laugh, cry, and then go about our lives (which is all good, by the way). Some of us during this time of focus on gratitude will think of friends and many who are far away from God and the good news of Christ’s salvation and want to do something about it. Here at Hope at the Beach, by your generous gifts and most needed prayers you can do something.

We have seen a big increase of seekers finding this joy in Christ – returning to their love of God. Each week for the past few months we have been enjoying many new faces, when asked their stories tell a very familiar truth. For the most part it’s something like this, “My church, family, friends, whatever, did not agree with the way I live my life, the way I look, the person I am, etc. and have hurt me so deeply that I thought I would never come back. But today I heard a message about a loving and forgiving God, thank you for that.”

Now that is something to be very thankful for! So I encourage you to add Hope At the Beach to your thanksgiving prayer and let the light of God’s mercy shine in your hearts and out to all so that they may know the saving grace of Christ.

September/October 2016 Update


Go in Peace…Surf the Lord

Let Us Dance in the Rain and Let Christ Lead

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.And they went and woke him up, saying, Lord, save us! We are perishing!And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”   Matthew 8:23-27

It appears that we are going from storm to storm; that in fact, life becomes a waiting game for the next storm to come. We batten down our lives and things slow down. We don’t want to be caught unawares. But life is not about waiting for the next storm to pass. Rather, it is about learning to dance in the rai! (and as many of you know I am a dancer). I have found that one needs faith to dance in the rain when one can barely walk.

As I was reflecting and dancing after a recent storm I looked around and realized that we at Hope at the Beach have been dancing in the rain and sunshine for nearly nine years. What brought this clearly to my mind was on a recent Sunday – as I was giving Communion to the gathered folks at the beach, a young man, his name is Zack, came over holding his surf board and dressed in his wet suit and asked for communion.

When Zack began to come to Hope, he was nine years old and a student at M&M Surf School. He was so Zach taking communionexcited about Church on the beach that the next Sunday he brought his parents. They all have been attending since that time. He has graduated from high schoo,l has been attending Long Beach State, and is soon going into the Coast Guard. We are so grateful to God for sending Zack and his parents to our fellowship and for the faith that has been maturing in their lives.

He is not the only one who has grown up in this fellowship. Austin is another young man who has been coming to our services since our first Easter service. His mother is Jill who plays the jamba at our services and his step father is none other than Big Mike of M&M. Austin, too, has graduated and is entering the Air Force on November 22.

These young men and women (that’s Amber with Austin) and so many others have been dancing with me during the stormy times and the bright blessed sunny times. God has and will continue to sustain us and fill us with great joy and peace no matter what comes our way.

Which leads me to let you all know that last Sunday I signed the papers to become an independent Church body; Hope at the Beach, California. We are still part of ARC and continue to support them and they us. This October we will be getting a new bank account. It would be best if you immediately discontinued sending your donations to Hope Community Church and instead have your checks sent to our home address (in box below):

Please continue to pray for Hope at the Beach, all those who attend, and all who may wander by…May they hear a word of hope in these stormy times.

God bless!
Chuck and Lin

All things become “NEW” – Easter Newsletter

Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness  and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

In 1974 Bishop Gaylord Falde ordained me to ‘Word and Sacrament’ in and of the ALC (American Lutheran Church). It was unusual, yet not unheard of, to ordain a person who had not gone to Easter 2016Seminary. Yet, it happened. Why, you may ask – so that I might be able to preach and officiate during communion on the sands (beaches)  of Waikiki, Hawaii. Fourteen years later I attended PLTS (Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary) and was ordained in 1988.  I thought that I would never leave the insides of a church building again, silly me. God was going to do a ‘new’ thing with me. Almost 20 years later Pastor Bob Mabry and I stood on the north side of the Seal Beach pier and prayed together that God would begin a new thing here on the beach of Seal Beach. Unbeknownst to us, Mike and Michael Pless the owners of M&M Surf school were also praying that God would begin a ministry on that same beach.

God did hear our prayers and begin the ministry known as Hope at the Beach. This will be our 8th Easter Sonrise Service and every year it is a “NEW THING,” began and based on the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Wow, what a great God we have, who does a “NEW THING” every single day!

I want to thank you for partnering with us these many years. We will be continuing for as long as our loving God wills. Please follow in the Way with us. May God bless you all…..
Because of Him!

Pastor Chuck and Lin Carlson

Go in Peace…Surf the Lord

Advent Newsletter, December 2015

Hope at the Beach - A Surfer's Chapel

We got the basics from Moses, and then this exuberant giving and receiving, this endless knowing and understanding—all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.       John 1:17 the Message

This morning as I sit and listen to “What Child Is This,” I am reminded of why we are drawn to our Lord and Savior; our Messiah, Jesus, the Christ of God.  For the first time since the fall of humanity we are given full fellowship with God the father with endless knowing and understanding through the sacrifice of his son, this “child”, Jesus Christ.

Does this happen all at once? No! It takes place year after year, growth like rings in a tree, until the day we all rest in the blessed arms of our Lord.

In 2016 I will be 70 years old. I realize that not only am I still alive, but my relationship with Christ, the living Lord of all life, is so much greater than when I was 30. What I mean by that is that my i.e. “knowing,” the works and ways of God, and the “understanding,” (how God works in my life through the  good and the bad times), spiritual life continues to grow and get stronger. I cannot imagine how much more God will bring as his final Advent comes closer.

I had a glimpse of what God can do within the Christian’s life with my relationship with Chaplain Elling Ramsey, who was well into his second 100 years when he went to stand with our Lord. This man was so wise and his understanding was so clear that each time I sat and spoke to him I felt closer to our living Lord.

And I think that is what Advent is all about, drawing closer to the Living Triune God.

May your Advent and Christmas be amazing and may our prayer together resound with “Come quickly Lord Jesus.”

Love, joy, peace, and hope in Him,

Chuck and Lin

We invite you to join us – Christmas Eve: 6:00 PM
Come as you are!



December Advent 2015

Lin and Chuck Merry Christmas

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