Good News, 10.31.2008

Friends:

One compassionate word, action or thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring them joy.  One word can give comfort and confidence, destroy doubt, help someone avoid a mistake, reconcile a conflict, or open the door to liberation.  Once action can save a person’s life or help him/her to take advantage of a rare opportunity.  One thought can do the same because thoughts always lead to words and actions.  With compassion in our heart, every thought, word and deed can bring about a miracle. Thich Nhat Hanh
(Nominated by Dr. Martin Luther King for the Nobel Peace Prize)

Our thanks to Tom Popp and Everett Sylwanowicz for constructing our Doorway to Heaven.  Such rich material appeared on our Reformation Door – check it out this Sunday. Thanks also to our Youth Group for hammering the protest and to the Clergy Crew for creating the Door idea.  Watch it evolve!

The Enneagram Class continues on Tuesday evenings.  Very fine material and you are still welcomed to drop in for an evening.

For All Saints this Sunday we will remember loved ones who have passed during this past year.  Trish Watts from Australia will be our guest artist.

We may not all be in the same place but I will report that our new bishop has publicly come out in opposition to Prop. 8.

Honey, honey?  Yes, your honey has arrived from the Monastery.  It will be available Sunday.

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From Pr. Anita:

This is to remind everyone that this weekend is the deadline to sign up you and your child, grandchild, niece, nephew or the family next door to attend the Extreme Gingerbread House Make-Over at Peace Lutheran on Saturday, December 6, from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Thanks to those who have already RSVP’ed! This will be a super fun way to begin the holiday season with your favorite kiddos in slinging icing and sprinkling candy, in massive quantities of both, over custom-designed gingerbread houses. While there is no registration fee there will be a donation jar at the event to help with the costs of construction costs and lunch. Please let me know by email at anita1956@mac.com or at church on Sunday if you’ll be attending!

Adult volunteers are also needed to help assemble the houses and prepare the candies on Friday, December 5, from about 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., so let me know if you want to join in on the sugary mess fun.

Our Junior High group is planning a Car Wash for this Sunday after worship.  If it’s raining you’ll receive an Organic Car Wash!

Remember the time change this Sunday.  Fall Back – which means you get an extra hour of sleep!

Blessings, Pr. Steve

Good News, 10.16.2008

Friends,

Instruct those who are rich in this world’s goods that they should not be proud and should set their hopes not on money, which is untrustworthy, but on God who gives us richly all that we need for our happiness.  They are to do good and be rich in good works, generous in giving and always ready to share — this is the way they can amass a good capital sum for the future if they want to possess they only life that is real.”  1 Timothy 6:17-19

The Enneagram Class begins this Saturday from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. with Diana and Mark Howard.  They are excellent presenters and if you’ve every wondered why other people are so strange compared to you, this is your opportunity to find out why.  The class will continue on Tuesday evenings. Check it out this Saturday and then decide for yourself. Questions? Call Diana and Mark at 838-7710.

Capt. Bob Haines Memorial Service is at 2:00 p.m. this Saturday. Arlene Reed invites those who would be willing to assist to bring refreshments for the reception that follows.

Keep Annie and family and Eloise McVicar and family in your prayers.

This Sunday our worship celebrates Healing Prayer.  You will enjoy this service which the Healing Prayer Team has prepared.

The Prayer Shawl Ministry group will meet after worship for 20 minutes in the Gathering Hall this Sunday.  If you’d like to learn about this ministry or even how to knit, please join in.

Our Youth Group raised $398 dollars in the Crop Walk this past Sunday. This money will be going to support Shelter, Inc.  Way to go!

Jazz at Peace began last Sunday with our largest crowd for an Opening in 4 years with 75+ people in attendance. Kat Parra was mellow and magnificent. Brazilian and Sephardic Jazz to fill your heart’s delight.

The Hospitality Team been coming through with wonderful goodies after worship!  Thank you, thank you.  If you wish to join this amazing Team they may allow new members.

Blessings, Pr. Steve

Good News, 10.08.2008

Friends:

O God, help me to be half the person my dog thinks I am and half the person my cat wishes I were.

The Animal Blessing/Pet Festival was amazing.  Such energy, joy and gratefulness.  An incredible turn out of people.  Well over 125 pets were blessed and nearly all received a St. Francis Medallion contributed by Molly’s Pup-Purr-Ee in Danville. The smallest a rat and the largest a horse. Prayers for animals who couldn’t be present were also requested. ARF along with other Animal/Cat Support Groups were present.  One dog, Sherbet, was adopted and found a new home. Therapy dogs who are doing wonderful work in hospitals, schools and nursing care facilities also came for blessings.  A greyhound who came from the race track the day before was blessed. The Kids Crafts and Games were really appreciated.  The Art Exhibit was superb.  Money was raised.  Ava Grant was asked by grandmother Linda Benatar what Pr. Steve said for the blessing.  She replied, “Oh nothing.  He said my dog didn’t need to be blessed.” Caroline Grossman was thrilled to win a raffle basket.  One dog escaped and ran through street traffic for a while but was eventually rescued.  Everyone thought his life was spared because he’d been blessed that day. Thanks to Kersti and Susanna, the Confirmands, Junior High, Council and all who created such a marvelous day! It will become an Annual Event.

A six session Enneagram Class will be taught by Diana and Mark Howard at Peace beginning Saturday, October 18, 10 – 12 and continuing on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. This class gives you an understanding of your own spiritual giftedness and an appreciation for the uniqueness of others’ spirituality. It’s an aid in Spiritual direction and there are plenty of practical applications as well. The cost is $120 for the series.  For more information contact Diana at 838-7710.

Jazz at Peace begins its Fourth Season this Sunday at 5 pm with Kat Parra creating Sephardic Jazz.  If you would like to serve on the Jazz at Peace Team this year you are invited to join us at 3:30 p.m. for a Preparation Conversation.  Invite friends to join you for this relaxed interfaith monthly celebration.

The Prayer Shawl Ministry group will meet for 20 minutes in the Gathering Hall following worship on Oct. 19th.  If you would like to learn to knit you are invited to this conversation also.

The Memorial Service for Bob Haines will be at 2:00 pm on Saturday, October 18.  A reception follows.

Please keep in your prayers: Annie Haines and family; Eloise McVicar in her recovery from surgery, the unemployed, our global economy.

Blessings, Pr. Steve

Good News, 10.02.2008

Friends,

In honor of Saint Francis, Pete Seeger recently composed a new song – “If It Can’t Be Reduced.” It has a verse taken directly from the minutes of the City Council of Berkeley, “If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled, or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned, or removed from production.” Seeger has also recently taken to playing Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” on his banjo.

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Francis. Due to the major Pet Festival and Animal Blessing from 12 – 3 we won’t have a separate blessing for the animals in worship.

Your efforts are needed to help ensure a joyful success for this great event and lift some of the pressure from Kersti and Susanna. 1500 email flyers have gone out to publicize the event; Gary Bogue mentioned it in his column in the CC/San Ramon Times; ARF has sent out 500 emails and will be co-sponsoring this event with us; Stratford School families are in the know; calls are coming into the church requesting details. SO – invite your friends and join the Junior High and High School youth from Peace who are helping put some muscle into the afternoon. It promises to be a great occasion for the furry, feathered, scaly four-legged among us!

Our friend Bob Haines died this past Tuesday. His Memorial Service will be on Saturday, October 18 at 2 pm. Please keep Annie in your prayers.

Several of you requested a copy of the theological reflection I shared from my father during the homily last Sunday. These comments address the financial crisis facing our nation and the spiritual crisis which underlies it. Blessings, Pr. Steve

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I invite you to do some theological reflection on the current national and international “belly-up,” of the financial structure, which has been our national and international pride, now exposed for the hubris (arrogance/greed) at its core; a hubris so pervasive and yet at the same time so hidden to so many, that it continued its cannibalistic ways until it is now devouring the very ones, who gave it birth. Without embarrassment the kings and princes of high finance are now asking their victims to bail them out while at the same time trying to avoid giving an accounting (worthy of the name) to the victims who are bailing them out; thus making them victims twice over, hoping their chicanery and hubris will not be exposed in all its nakedness.

This is no time for rejoicing over the brutal comeuppance of the fiscal lords of the universe, nor should we ignore that “they were hoist on their own petard.” Their fall reminds me of the general who approached the Oracle at Delphi with a question. He was about to embark on a military campaign. He enquired as to how his expedition would turn out. You may remember that the Oracle answered, “You will destroy a great empire.” He did. It was his own empire!

Humanity in general has rejected the notion that our interrelationship is a given at birth; and for us Christians the givenness of our interrelationship is intensified through our baptism into the suffering, the crucifixion, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That brotherhood/sisterhood relationship is jammed into our lives now by the hubristic action, not of the free marketplace, but a marketplace spinning out of control and beyond control, like an automobile driven by a drunken driver. Imagine how we would respond if we could lay this disaster at the feet of one such reckless person. So interconnected are we in our time that mismanagement in a bank in San Francisco, means hardship for a family in Taiwan.

Remember the ancient question from Genesis: Am I my brother/sister’s keeper? Those devasted by this economic disaster know the answer they need to hear. Christ lived the answer into the Economy of Grace.” – Dr. Paul Harms