‘I responded to God’s call’

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Rev. Dr. Bau Dang is the new senior pastor of the Garden Grove United Methodist Church, 12741 Main St. in Garden Grove.

He is Vietnamese-American, having grown up in central Vietnam in the Qui Nhon, Binh Dinh area.

Dang came to the United States in 1975 when he was 24 years old, while serving as part of the South Vietnamese Armed Forces and was stationed at Camp Pendleton.

Rev. Dr. Bau Dang is the new senior pastor of the Garden Grove United Methodist Church, 12741 Main St. in Garden Grove.

He is Vietnamese-American, having grown up in central Vietnam in the Qui Nhon, Binh Dinh area.

Dang came to the United States in 1975 when he was 24 years old, while serving as part of the South Vietnamese Armed Forces and was stationed at Camp Pendleton.

"During my early years in the U.S., I served as a student pastor in the Christian and Missionary Alliance Churches in Long Beach from 1975 to 1977 and Hawthorne and Los Angeles from 1978 to 1988, while working and pursuing my theological education," said Dang.

Before coming to Garden Grove as a pastor, Dang was the pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church in San Diego from 1988 to 2008 and from  2008 to2012,  he was district superintendent of the Riverside District of California-Pacific Annual Conference.

From 2012 to 2014, he was district superintendent, East District of California-Pacific Annual Conference.

His appointment as pastor of the Garden Grove United Methodist Church took place just last month.

"I began studying theology in Vietnam at Nha Trang Bible Institute from 1968 to1970 and received my BA and Masters at Biola University and my Doctorate of Ministries at Fuller Theological Seminary," he said.

Dang also took additional graduate courses at the Claremont School of Theology.

"I became a pastor because I knew that God had called me into the ordained ministry when I graduated from high school in Vietnam," Dang said.

Dang explained that while here in the United States, he began working for the Xerox Corporation in the Microelectronics Center in El Segundo,  but when the opportunity came, he resigned from the "lucrative position" to become a pastor.

"I have never regretted that decision," he said. "For I know that this is what God has called me to do and I'm very happy I responded to God’s call."

Dang said his hope for the church is that it will become a church that welcomes all people from the community.

"Presently, Asian-Americans are few in our church," he said. "And I would like to see the children do well in school, with the youth involved in positive projects and the senior citizens enjoying their retirement."

Dang's hobbies and interests outside of church include reading, gardening, and walking on the beach when he can find time.

He's married to Binh and together they are about to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary; they are the parents of three grown children who live in Southern California and have one schnauzer named Munkee. "Munkee is a member of our family," Dang shares with a smile.

The United Methodist Church has a wonderful hand-bell choir and chancel choir, which perform in the altar and sanctuary area of the church.

"I hear we have these choirs but because it's summer vacation, I have not seen their performance yet," he said.

Sunday worship time is 9:30 a.m.

 For more information about the church, visit www.ggumc.net or call 714-534-1070.

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