Good News, 05.27.10

Friends:

God, come with the wind of your Holy Spirit and stir up all your people throughout the world.
Protect us from the sin of limiting You, diminishing you and making you small.
Help we who pray – to make sure we devote our attention to what really unites your humanity…and not squander our faith on differences and divisions.
Teach us to respect and honor all spiritual expressions of what is truly Uncontainable!
May your Holy Spirit constantly urge us to work for justice, equality and dignity of every human being.
Give us courage to protest and protect people who are demeaned, degraded and despised.
God, you are always Larger than our imaginations; you are so far beyond our interpretations of you; your compassion is endlessly vast.
Wake us up to consider all we have been given; lead us deeper into your love and the secret of reconciliation. –Pentecost Prayer

We celebrate Trinity Sunday this Memorial Weekend – the Mystery of the God who is Love, whose compassion has become real in flesh and blood that we might become real, alive sons and daughters of God. Destiny Muhammed and Tarika of Nubian Strings will join us for worship and contribute their unique harp and violin gifts.

This note from Pr. Anita :

This will also be our last week of Children’s Sunday School until the fall. Following worship the children will be hosting a very special hospitality hour so please plan to stay for a few minutes to enjoy homemade ice cream sandwich cookies, and special treats made by the children. Parents, please bring your children to the church kitchen this Sunday at 9:00 a.m. with their hands washed, ready to begin their morning role as hospitality hosts and caterers!

For those whose children have participated in Sunday School over the Spring I’ll be sending out a questionnaire soon that I’d ask you to return which will help us in preparing for the fall. I would also like to schedule an after church meeting sometime soon for us to look at how we might make Sunday School the best experience possible and how we to get more children in our church and in our community involved.

Our Pentecost worship was alight with fire thanks to the Godfriends, the flame of the 13th candle from the Council for Mary Magdalene, lectors with a dozen languages from all over the world, the energy of our children, the duets of Richard and Sue, the Blessing of the Catechumens – Jeanie, Libby, Susanna and Gil, the sound of chimes and the presence of a still, small voice. “What do you love?”

Our Bocce Ball Picnic was a joyful and relaxed afternoon together. Over 60 people came to enjoy a great BBQ, abundant conversation, our children, napping and bocce ball. Our thanks to Deacons Christine Johansson and Everett Sylwanowicz for organizing this beautiful day….even the weather cooperated and couldn’t have been more lovely.

Annie Haines sends greetings to all of her friends. Her physical therapist is stunned by how rapidly her recovery from knee surgery is progressing. She assured him she is surrounded by a community of constant prayer. Don’t stop!

Please keep in your prayers: Joyce, Curt, Elizabeth and Abigail on the death of Charley, Randy and DeeAnn, Pat, Richard, Ed, Taylor, Sheila, Micky, Jonathan, and Jules (Sue’s daughter) who is soon to give birth.

Our St. Francis Animal Blessing and Pet Festival is October 3. Tom Grossman invites all who are willing to serve on the Committee to meet with him after worship on June 13.

Can you believe it? One year ago this week Kista Choir from Stockholm sang at Peace, New Folsom Prison and at San Quentin. Tempus fugit – time flies. Keep Spoon Jackson, the incarcerated and innocent prisoners in your prayers.

“There is no excuse for not taking delight in something. Each of us is called to breathe life into matter. We have been given the Spirit to breathe life and love and liberation into all creation.” Richard Caemmerer

Blessings, Pr. Steve

Good News, 05.20.10

Friends:

Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evening, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything. – Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost – the Third High Feast Day of the church year – wear red!. Pentecost unleashes the Descent of the Spirit who enlightened the minds of the disciples in order that they might understand the work and gift of Christ. Though they had been with Jesus for 3 years the disciples didn’t get who he was or what he was offering. The Spirit illuminates us with the essential wisdom we need to live humanly and gracefully. The Catechumens will be blessed. Expect great delight!

Living in a Liberated World was a marvelous interfaith gathering of Hope Bearers, Wisdom Gatherers and Earth Stewards. 50 people were present (one woman drove 2 and ½ hours from the foothills of the Sierras to join us)! The day was rich in intellectual contributions, experiential exercises, a Labyrinth/Peace Mosaic Walk, prayerful inspirations, steel pan-drumming-dancing, Native Garden appreciation and a splendid lunch prepared by Libby Flynn and April Rasmussen. Real hope cannot be faked and many participants shared they were charged with hope and energy by the day. As Fr. Tom Bonacci named the interfaith question: there is a huge abyss between ‘I no longer reject you’ and ‘I cherish you for who you are’. All present expressed gratitude for the beauty of Peace and our willingness to host this event with Wisdom University. Thanks also to Parisa and Ro LoBianco, Pr. Margareta and Karen Brent for their contributions to the day.

Bocce Picnic – This Sunday, May 23 at Sycamore Valley Park, 2101 Holbrook Drive Danville, CA 94526. 50 PEOPLE HAVE SIGNED UP!! Our Picnic starts after the Church service, Bocce games start at 1:00 p.m. Hot Dogs, hamburgers and drinks will be provided! We ask each family to bring a side dish, salad, or dessert to share. To sign up or for additional information contact Christine Johansson at mcjohansson@yahoo.com

DVC is holding their next world-famous Plant Sale on May 22nd, 9-1pm at their horticulture department. All of the native & very drought tolerant plants will be on sale there. A link for further information may be found here. Ro is willing to carpool with interested folk too.

Ki Altemus sends her loving greetings to all her friends at Peace.

Trinity Sunday is May 30 (Memorial weekend) and our harpist friend Destiny Muhammed will return with the Nubian Strings.

Please keep in your prayers: Randy, DeeAnn, Pat, Richard, Ed, Curt and Elizabeth’s fathers, Sheila, Jerry Slater, Taylor, Georgia, Doug, Jasmine’s father, Linda and those living with addictions.

Our St. Francis Animal Blessing and Pet Festival will be on October 3rd. Tom Grossman has consented to Chair the Committee again. Thank you, Tom. Look for a meeting in early June with those who are willing to help organize this extraordinary event.

We are glad that Annie Haines is home safe and sound and happy for all the good friends who have been taking care of her! Thank you for your prayers.

Remember the Berlin Wall is only chips now and Ascension celebrates the impermanence of every barrier preventing reconciliation!

Blessings, Pr. Steve

Good News, 05.14.2010

Friends:

Inside the huge Roman Cathedral the tourists were confined in the mystery of twilight.
Vaults – mouths gaping wide open – beyond vaults, gave no gaze of the vastness.
The flickering of candle flames.
There, the voice of an angel without face embraced me,
Whispering into my body-being:
“Do not feel ashamed of being human, be proud!
Breathe and bear the dignity.
Inside of you, vault upon vault is opening up – into eternity.
You will never be ready – and that is as it should be.
Blinded by my tears I was jostled by the crowd of tourists into the sun-drenched piazza
Together with Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Mr. Tanaka and Signora Sabatini
…and within them vaults upon vaults beyond vaults were opening – endlessly.
Tomas Transtromer

Our gratitude to the Sunday School Teachers and Staff – Pr. Anita, Bob Winter and Tammy Valenta – for all their work this Spring.  And thanks to Deacon Christine Johansson for coordinating a fine Teacher Appreciation presentation last Sunday.  Pr. Anita adds these words:

I was completely surprised (and delighted!) over the kindness expressed to myself, Tammy and Bob last Sunday. The flowers and handwritten notes from the children were wonderful and I was so excited to discover that a donation was made toward Charity Water in my name. Ethiopia was the country I chose when asked where I would like my donation to go. Thanks to every parent who individually and together showed such generosity to us and to the children who are always so generous in sharing themselves with us. Every boy and girl is an absolute delight (even the most wiggly ones!) and the hour we spend with them in Sunday School is perhaps the hour each week that we as their teachers grow the most in our own faith from the faith lived out in the children. Speaking for myself but guessing that I’m speaking as well for Tammy and Bob, I love you as parents, I love your children, and I love Peace! What an honor to be a part of what God is doing in such a gracious place.

The Seminarian Committee has been formed to support Emily Weller in her pastoral and theological training at Peace.  The Teaching Parish Committee consists of:  Karl Pfeiffer, Chair; Bobbi Jardine, Juleen Ricci, Amy Garzon, Gun Johnston, Alessandra Kath, Jonathan Rodrigues and Michael Valenta.  Emily will be doing her Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) this summer in Chicago.  She will return in the Fall and work with us throughout all of next year.

Congratulations to Katherine Beeler who graduates from college this weekend.   Way to go, Katherine!

Living in a Liberated World – an I-SRV community gathering of Hope Bearers, Wisdom Gatherers and Earth Stewards happens tomorrow/Saturday at Peace.  This is an interfaith probing of how shall we live in times of conflict and contradiction.  You are invited to join in tomorrow from 10 am  – 4pm.  It will be a fascinating experience with input from many diverse persons and groups.  The cost is $25 which includes lunch.  Steel pan, drums, chant, Labyrinth Walking, the Peace Mosaic and Native Garden will all enrich the day.

Bocce Picnic – Sunday, May 23 at Sycamore Valley Park, 2101 Holbrook Drive Danville, CA 94526
Picnic starts after Church service, Bocce games start at 1:00 p.m.  Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and drinks will be provided!  We ask each family to bring a side dish, salad, or dessert to share.  Please sign up to attend by May 21 (clipboard in the gathering hall).  For additional information contact Christine Johansson at mcjohansson@yahoo.com

DVC is holding their next world-famous Plant Sale on May 22nd, 9-1pm at their horticulture department.   All of the native & very drought tolerant plants  will be on sale there. Here is the link for further information.   Ro is willing to carpool with interested folk too.

You will be happy to know that our old tables have been donated to Stand against Domestic Violence.  Thanks to Marlene Garrity for this suggestion.

This Sunday we celebrate the Ascension of Christ.  Among other gifts of music, wisdom and grace you will get to learn about Black Holes in space from Mark Miller!

Remember, as you heard on Mother’s Day:  The moment you get children of your own, then you forgive your parents everything!

Blessings, Pr. Steve

Good News, 05.07.10

Friends:

Growing spiritually can be like a roller coaster ride:  take comfort in the knowledge that the way down is often only a preparation for the way up.

Partnership Sunday was a blessing for all of us.  Many expressed their thanks for the experience of the Liberation Theology process of reflection and praxis.  The dancing, singing, praying, and shaking energy should keep us motivated for a long time.  Our thanks to the Partnership Committee for preparing a creative worship experience.   Keep Laurel Galan and Lwamondo Parish in your prayers.

Bocce Picnic – Sunday, May 23 at Sycamore Valley Park, 2101 Holbrook Drive Danville, CA 94526.
Picnic starts after Church service, Bocce games start at 1:00 p.m.  Hot Dogs, hamburgers and drinks will be provided!  We ask each family to bring a side dish, salad, or dessert to share.  Please sign up to attend by May 21 (clipboard in the gathering hall).  For additional information contact Christine Johansson at mcjohansson@yahoo.com.

Greg and Tioni Collins with sons Aden and Lukas are on their way to Nairobi, Kenya for the next two years.  Greg has a position with USAID covering the Horn of Africa.  Keep them in your prayers.

Our own Wendy (Atkinson) Siegel does broadcasts on NPR.  She sends this note:  “Here’s the link to one of my most recent stories. It was really fun to do and I think you’ll enjoy it. Please hit the play button (don’t just read it; that’s cheating!). It is much better with the sound… it sets the scene :)”  Check it out here!

Thankfully Annie Haines has come through her knee surgery well.  Thanks to all who have volunteered to help her during her recovery process.   More details to come.

Living in a Liberated World – Saturday, May 15, 10 – 4 at Peace: To honor and care for our world in crisis requires that we gather communities together to share wisdom traditions and revisit our beliefs about what must be done at this pivotal moment in human history.  Building on our Holy Convergence interfaith gatherings from the last several years, Bruce Silverman and I are hoping to invigorate that effort by bringing together teachings and rituals from the interfaith community and Wisdom University for a day of ceremony, discussion, investigation, music, food, and community building.  Our intention is to encourage Wisdom Circles that prompt participants to act on their highest aspirations together. We have envisioned three segments: “Hope Bearers, Wisdom Gatherers, and Earth Stewards.” Clearly we are all called to all three tasks, but we will ask those in attendance to choose one area in which to become more involved. During the course of the day we will speak from those perspectives, invoke song, dance, and meditation to embody them, and facilitate a transformational arts hour for each of the three groups to create a group sharing.  Register through our church office.

A wonderful New Member Dinner was shared by 15 people this past Wednesday evening.  Our thanks to Deacon Maili Malvre for coordinating and cooking for the evening.

This Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day.  You may wish to purchase a new Hymnal in honor of your mother.  A surprise guest will teach you all about Lydia too!

Thanks to the sharp eyes of Property Deacon Everett Sylwanowicz Peace has acquired a gas BBQ grill.  It will get used to the maX!

And now for something completely different!