About Our Pastor
Rev. Vinod Immanuel Gnanaraj is the installed pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Caledonia. He perceives his pastoral ministry as a calling to build communities of faith in Jesus Christ and help Christians of all age groups to live out the gospel of Christ in the community.
Prior to becoming the pastor of this church, Vinod served for over two decades in several ministerial settings including Hospital Chaplaincy, Youth and Children’s ministry, Administration of Christian Mission Organization, Teaching Faculty of Theological Seminary, and Pastoral Ministry in India and the USA.
During his free time, Vinod loves to meet people, learn about history and culture, visit historical places, enjoy great food, listen to contemporary Christian music, and spend time with his family. He has a Master’s degree in Accountancy, Bachelor of Divinity, Master of Theology (specializing in pastoral counseling), and is pursuing a PhD in Pastoral Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary.
Rev. Vinod would love to hear from you. Please reach out with any questions or concerns via email or phone.
Pastor's Corner - May 2023
Compassion as Mindful use of Language
Dear FPC family and friends,
Happy Eastertide greetings! I hope you and your loved ones are enjoying the long-awaited, beautiful Spring. I wish and pray that during this month of May, you will also rejoice in the hope that we have in the risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
May is observed as Mental Health Awareness month. A month is set aside to create awareness about mental health because according to the World Health Organization, mental health problems are the leading cause of disability worldwide. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) reports that 1 in 5 US adults experience mental illness each year, and 1 in 6 youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year. Some of the conditions among US adults that are most prevalent are: anxiety disorder (48 million people), major depressive disorder (21 million people), post-traumatic stress disorder (9 million people) and bipolar disorder (7 million people). These people come from all racial, social, and economic backgrounds. It is not only important to know that mental illness is widely prevalent, but also that those with mental health problems have poorer health care, diminished human rights, and higher mortality. Unfortunately, the society still stigmatizes people with mental illness. Mentally ill people are judged as spiritually deficient, neglected, and abused physically and sexually. As members of the Body of Christ, we need to be mindful of this reality and be compassionate to those who go through mental illness. One way of expressing our compassion is through the mindful use of language to refer to people going through mental health conditions. We should be intentional that our language is non-stigmatizing and stigma breaking. We can also care for people with mental health conditions by extending welcome, offering support, and advocacy.
Prophet Isaiah foretold that part of the mission of the Messiah would be ‘to bind up the brokenhearted’ (Isaiah 61:1). Jesus, the Messiah, ‘went through all towns and villages, teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.’ (Matthew 9:35) In this month of May, let us pray for those with mental health conditions and their care-givers, and do whatever we can, no matter how small that act of compassion may be, to continue the mission of Christ.
May is also celebrated as the Asian / Pacific American Heritage month. As a person of Asian Indian descent, I am glad that the contributions of the immigrants from Asia and Pacific Islands to the building of this nation are being acknowledged and appreciated in this month. It is my hope and prayer that Christians will be at the forefront in the community and workplace to end hate against Asian / Pacific Americans and immigrants, and build bridges between people of other races. I hope you will prayerfully consider how you can be a bridge-builder between people of other races. Whatever little you do to end hate, break stereotypes, and celebrate diversity, will go a long way. Celebration of diversity is a holy act because it acknowledges the wisdom, will, and workmanship of the Creator.
I wish God’s blessings upon the Eastertide / Pentecost team as they continue to lead the missions of our church during this season. May the Spirt of God guide us into greater understanding of God and God's people, and give us courage and strength to carry out God’s will in our personal and community lives.
In Christ’s love,
Rev. Vinod I. Gnanaraj