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Involved pastor moves on

From Planned Parenthood to Chapman University, recent president of interfaith council spent three decades helping others.

July 13, 2010|By Tom Ragan, tom.ragan@latimes.com
  • Rev. Dr. Dennis W. Short receives an award from Imam Sayed Moustafa Qazwini of the Islamic Education Center of Orange County.
Rev. Dr. Dennis W. Short receives an award from Imam Sayed…

NEWPORT BEACH — He was never short on patience or time, but the Rev. Dennis Short knows when it's time to say goodbye.

On Tuesday, the minister at Harbor Christian Church in Newport Beach announced that he plans to retire after devoting 35 years of ministry in Orange County.

His last service will be 10 a.m. July 25, a departure, no doubt, that will move the small congregation of almost 150 to tears.

A recognition dinner for Short will be in the evening on July 24.

Short is a known advocate for the homeless in Costa Mesa, as well as a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood.

"We were all a family, and it's going to be sad to leave," said Short, 68. "We've accomplished a lot together. We've been committed to outreach and to helping the homeless in Costa Mesa, and it's important that we still keep reaching out to them. There are so many homeless here and so few shelters."

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Short, a Newport Beach resident who says he will now work part time for the Downey Memorial Christian Church, also served as a chaplain of Chapman University in Orange from 1975-91.

It was there that he became one of the founders of the Peace Studies Program in the last 1970s and co-founded the Interfaith Peace Ministry in 1980.

After leaving Chapman, he worked for two ministries in the interim: First Christian Church Garden Grove from 1991-92 and Community Church, Congregational in Corona del Mar from 1993-95. In 1995, he began his 15-year tenure as a senior pastor of Harbor Christian Church.

Active in the Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council since 1995, he is the immediate past president, having served two consecutive terms. He has also served on the board of Planned Parenthood in Orange and San Bernardino counties.

During his elected tenure there, Planned Parenthood grew from a $6 million annual budget to a $32 million annual budget, and it has become a major health-care agency, providing screening and preventative health care services and family planning to one out of four Orange County women over their lifetime.

Short, who was born in Long Beach and grew up in San Dimas, is serving as moderator of the 142 churches of the Christian Church Disciples of Christ in the Pacific Southwest Region. He has presided more than 1,500 Christian and interfaith weddings since 1975.

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