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Palm Sunday: April 2 at 10am

Robin Morjikian

Abound in Hope: Food for the Soul

It is only through giving that we can receive, said St. Francis of Assisi, and so it has been for Calvary
Presbyterian Church with Erica Land.

Land, the pastry chef at Waterbar along the Embarcadero, recently appeared on “Beat Bobby Flay,” but long before her cooking showdown with the celebrity chef, she was baking for the congregation at Calvary. The church helped her in a time of need.

In 2012, Land was abducted, drugged and left in an alley. The traumatic event led her to SF Safehouse, a nurturing community founded by Presbyterian minister Rev. Glenda Hope to assist women who have experienced sexual exploitation. Calvary has supported SF Safehouse’s mission for over 22 years—financially and with volunteers.

Land spent 18 difficult months at Safehouse. Many days, she didn’t want to get out of bed. But, she
regained a sense of self
“It was a lifesaving thing for me,” said Land, who eventually moved into an apartment.

Land found a job with the newly formed Dandelion Chocolate but needed to supplement her income. At the time, Calvary was seeking ways to increase fellowship and grow connections during coffee hour. Rev. Hope recommended Calvary hire Chef Erica to bake for the congregation.

On Sundays, Land would fill Calvary’s sanctuary with sweet and savory smells from the kitchen. Sometimes it was the scent of warm blueberries and butter from muffins she left out to cool. Other times it was the melted chocolate and peanut butter from snickerdoodles rising in the oven.

Coffee hour became more popular, no surprise. Land helped turn it into a place to be, and it’s stayed that way even after she stopped baking in 2018.

Meanwhile, the money Land made
helped her regain her independence, but the connections she made went much farther. Along the way, Calvary’s pastor introduced her to Micro Business Mentors, a group that advises new entrepreneurs, and they helped her open her own bakery, which eventually led her to Waterbar. Another member of the congregation helped her with financial planning.

“It showed me that there are good people out there again,” Land said. “The upward trajectory since then has been amazing.”

Nearly two years later, Land made her debut on the Food Network. She didn’t beat Flay, but she didn’t care. The appearance allowed her to direct proceeds from the dessert she made on the show — sticky toffee pudding — to Safehouse. She raised $5,000 for the ministry that helped her get back on her feet.

This year, Calvary’s scripture passage for its annual giving campaign comes from Matthew 25:40, Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

The cycle of giving Calvary set in motion by supporting Safehouse and directly assisting Land paid its way forward with Land supporting Calvary and Safehouse with her talents. When you make a financial commitment to Calvary, you pay it forward as well. You make it possible for the church to be a community of faith in action.


By Tripp Mickle
Co-Chair, Giving Ministry Team

More to Explore

Talking with Kids About the Order of Worship in the Bulletin.

If I visited Calvary for the first time and had not been to a Presbyterian church before, I would want someone to help me understand what I was doing throughout the order of worship. This blog provides an example of how some churches annotate their bulletins so children, youth, and adults can learn more about why we choose to read, sing, pray, and listen at certain times during the worship service. Harvey Browne Memorial Presbyterian Church ( in Louisville, Kentucky offers a model of how to explain the order of worship. Being transparent about how we worship together is in line with our reformed tradition. We can read and interpret the Bible ourselves, as well as worship and say prayers with our own bodies. Many years ago, a priest would do all of this while the congregation sat or stood. It is important for parents to share with their children that all people have the freedom to contribute to a worship service. By singing, listening, praying, and sharing, we get to know each other and witness each other’s talents and inspiring work. Fellowship and education events are only part of the ways that we form our faith together. Participating in worship is what binds us together each Sunday, so that we can support each other at or outside of church during the week.

Support Trans Kids

Calvary Presbyterian Church continues to support transgender youth and adults. March 2023 is Transgender Awareness Month. We show our continuing support through messages such as, “Trans Lives Matter,” “Believe Trans Kids,” “Support Trans Kids,” and “Protect Trans Kids.” This blog will offer some insight into Presbyterian and San Francisco organizations that actively support and advocate for LGBTQI+ people. I hope that you will take time to read through these resources. There is hope. So many inspired people of all ages are working together for freedom, safety, and love. Now that I am raising two teens I have come to more clearly understand the context and reality that LGBTQI+ youth live in every day. It is crucial to support the growth and development of transgender children and youth who sense that their “gender identity does not correspond with, or sit comfortably with, the sex they were registered at birth.” That is the definition of transgender offered by Twinkl, an education website for children ages preschool to 8th grade. See more definitions at the end of this blog. Transgender children, youth, young adults, adults, and senior adults do not want to be "othered" as they are children of God. We want to believe, support, and protect them, so that they can live safely and freely without fear and shame. When adults do not see or support children or youth as they are, the risks of gender dysphoria and youth suicide increase. God created all of us in Their image. May we have the courage to send out Jesus’ message of love and acceptance to ourselves and all people.

2022 Annual Report