Good News, 12.15.2010

Friends:

One must have a mind of winter…and been cold a long time…to not think of any misery in the sound of the wind… which is the sound of the land, full of the same wind blowing in the same bare place;  for the Listener who listens in the snow beholds:  Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is. – The Snow Man, Wallace Stevens

Please bring your Giving Tree Gifts to worship this Sunday.  We’ll present them around the tree during the service.  You are invited to help Decorate the Tree after worship.

Two marvelous blessings in worship this past Sunday:  the Santa Lucia marking of the Night becoming Light; and the presentation of the play ‘The First Witnesses” by our own Peace Drama Troupe.  It was an engaging performance and well directed by Seminarian Emily Weller.  Aren’t we fortunate that there will be additional plays during this year!

The ‘Kids Night In’ gathering of a week ago was appreciated by half a dozen families – whose parents got the night out!  Our thanks to Jeanne and Peter Kaplan for taking the initiative with this new ministry.   The intention is for the Kids Night In to happen on a monthly basis.

Are you enjoying the masks in the Gathering Hall?  Kaleo and Elise Ching will be leading a Workshop on Mask Making on two Saturdays in January  – the 8th and 15th.  Flyers are available in the Gathering Hall.  Please consider participating.

Our Dirty Little Secret – an Educational Invitation from Pr. Elizabeth
As children, many of us learned the “greatest hits” Bible stories like Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, the miracles of Jesus and the 23rd Psalm.  As adults, we listen to the reading of scripture every Sunday and absorb as much as we can.  But very few of us have actually read the Bible cover to cover.  Incredible as it may seem, we are basing our Christian faith on a book we have never read.

Beginning Sunday, January 23rd, Pastor Elizabeth Felts will offer a weekly class for adults, after worship.  Those courageous enough to join her will covenant together to read the Bible at home every day.  We will follow a reading plan that will take us  through the entire Bible, from start to finish, in one calendar year (about 20 minutes of reading each day).  Each Sunday during that year, we will gather as a class to lift up highlights, examine important concepts in depth and get up to speed on the authorship and historical setting of each book of the Bible.

This is not a traditional Bible study, the kind where one dwells preciously on individual passages and their significance for one’s life.  This is a rapid-fire, take-no-prisoners Bible boot camp for the intrepid, the stubborn and those determined to be rid of their dirty little secret.  Even if reading the entire Bible is just an item on your bucket list, it’s high time you checked it off.  At the end, you will feel a sense of accomplishment unlike anything else.

Will you take the challenge? Bring whatever Bible you have, and let’s get started. Friends and neighbors are welcome.  For more information, contact Elizabeth at elizabeth@peacejourney.org.

Tim O’Keefe, the Executive Director for Shelter, Inc. writes: “I can’t thank you enough for the beautiful service and generous support we received at the Thanksgiving Eve Interfaith service. We received over $1,400 in contributions to support the mission of SHELTER, Inc.!  It is especially helpful as the weather has turned and we have temporarily expanded the Mtn. View Family Shelter to accommodate even more cold and hungry families.

“The Empty Chair” – Demand that China release Liu Xiaobo:
Liu, a 54-year old author and scholar, is a prominent government critic who has repeatedly called for human rights protections, political accountability and democratization in China. In 2009 Liu was charged with “inciting subversion of state power” and given an 11-year prison sentence after an unfair trial for co-authoring a proposal for political and legal reform in China.  At the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize the Winner was not allowed to be present and an Empty Chair was placed center stage in his honor.  Governments, including our own,  which violate Human Rights must be held accountable.  The Prince of Peace has inspired this conviction for centuries.

Please keep in your prayers: Randy and DeeAnn, Sheila, Emily (Linda Hall’s mom), Dave Alexander, Ki Altemus, members of all the AA and NA groups that meet at Peace, the unemployed, the families of Friends Outside, our partners in Nicaragua and South Africa, those contemplating suicide; artists, scientists, educators, Taylor, Georgia, Jerry Slater, the Baha’i leaders, those in prison, our children, for leaders in government/business and finance that they may guide with wisdom; the homeless, our children and loved ones.

Remember:   our work is far too important to be taken seriously!  A vulnerable Child will lead us to sanity, joy and real life.

Advent Blessings, Pr. Steve

[ If you are viewing the Good News through email, please note that the content of this email and so much more can be found on the church website at peacejourney.org.]

Good News, 12.01.2010

Friends:

Fears arise from not knowing ourselves. Fear distorts knowledge of self. What we really should be afraid of is obsessing over ourselves and never getting free of ourselves. Distorted self-knowledge (the result of fear, anxiety, panic, dread) prohibits our awareness of the sun shining at our center. Teresa of Avila

This Saturday is the grand Gingerbread House Making Party. All 38 slots have been filled! Pr. Anita has invited all the members of Peace to drop by and enjoy the amazing vitality of this great Christmas preparing event. All the children… and most of the parents… will be in Seventh Heaven!  Beverages and breakfast goodies of the non-sugar variety will be provided for everyone.

This Sunday our Giving Tree Ornaments will be selected to support families in need who have been benefited by the ministry of Friends Outside. The Spoon Foundation will also receive our encouragement. You will be asked to return the gifts on December 19. Unfortunately it appears that the work of Friends Outside is not receiving essential funding and they will have to close in the beginning of January. Please keep the work of Friends Outside and the families of the incarcerated in your prayers.

Seminarian Emily Weller will be preaching for us this Sunday.

On December 12 we will get to celebrate Santa Lucia in our worship along with a play entitled ‘The First Witnesses’. The cast includes members of Peace and Emily is directing it.

That same evening Inga Swearingen and Anton Schwartz will perform for Jazz at Peace. The tone and clarity, warmth and depth of each of these musicians is astounding. Together they are a pure delight. Don’t deprive yourself by missing one of the holiday’s best gifts. Encourage friends to join you.

Our Jazz Church West Celebrates CD is also available for purchase. This has to be one of the most creative forms of outreach we have ever done. It’s already being sold in New York and Estonia! Make it a Jazzy Christmas for family and friends.

Please keep in your prayers: Keith, Ki, Tom, Randy and DeeAnn, those with HIV/AIDs, those experiencing unemployment, the incarcerated, those with cholera in Haiti, the people of Korea, our friends in Laurel Galan, Nicaragua and Lwamondo Parish in South Africa; pray for the transformation of peace in our hearts, homes, community and among the nations.

Blessed Advent, Pr. Steve

[ If you are viewing the Good News through email, please note that the content of this email and so much more can be found on the church website at peacejourney.org. Pr. Steve’s recent sermons dated November 11 and November 28 are now available for audio download or live streaming there on the Sermons Online page.]