Good News, 01.27.2011

Pastor Steve’s homily from this past Sunday, January 23, is now available online for your listening and soul’s pleasure. You may listen or download the this and past sermons by going to the audio sermons online section.

—–

Friends:

It is necessary to work patiently with others all the time.  This is what I do with my friends and co-workers:  I never give up on them.  No matter what problems they face I still say the same thing – just keep going.  If you have patience with people they slowly change.  You do have an effect on them if you are radiating your sanity.  They will begin to take notice, although of course, often people don’t want to let anyone else know.  They might even say, ‘Nothing has changed,  I still have the same problems going on all the time.’ But don’t give up on them anyway. – Chogyam Trungpa

Bible 365 is off to a great start!  22 people attended the initial session and several more promising to join in next week.  The class begins at 11:30 on Sundays (listen for the bell) and will meet in the Art Room.  This is a rare and splendid opportunity to immerse yourself in the Scriptures.  Each week’s readings will be posted in the bulletin.

The Sunday Salon will meet this Sunday, January 30th from 4 – 6 pm at Jeanie Locklear’s home.  The focus for Sunday is:  “What does faith have to do with my life?”  This is an opportunity for small group reflection about the intersection of faith and our lives.  All are welcome to join us.  Directions are available after worship on Sunday.

The next Small and Tall Family Service will be on February 6.  Please bring all your children and grandchildren to this joyful service of encouragement for the young ones!

Spiritual Grounding: The Greening Committee invites you on Monday, February 7th at 6:30 pm at Peace –to join a community meeting of Interfaith Partners and Farmers from Sunol will share an organic dinner and conversation about creating a CSA (Community Sustained Agricultural) Project.  Rebecca Calahan Klein will be our guest speaker.  This is already stirring enthusiasm among several of the interfaith congregations.  Your RSVP to the church office is necessary.

Keep in your prayers: Fred Garrity (who broke his clavicle), Rosalie, Marianna, Kersti Malvre, Randy and DeeAnn/Anita and Dana, Ki Altemus, Sheila Mason, Ruth (Pr. Margareta’s mother), Heather (McPherson) and Dixon – soon to give birth to their second child,  Fidel Taylor – recovering from surgery, Wendy, Robert and Jada Jones, Dave and Wara Alexander, Matthew Pontious, the people Haiti, Tunisia, Egypt.

The California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT) – of which Sue Fields is President – had an incredible 8 Recitals at Peace this past Saturday.  In all, about 220 students performed throughout the day in Eight Recitals and over a 1,000 guests passed through the doors of Peace to enjoy these wonderful emerging artists.  A unique gift was given by 5 Chinese American students who played 5 marimbas as they performed Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D minor – amazing.   A letter of thanks from CAPMT for the hospitality of Peace has been posted on our Kiosk.  Our thanks to Sue for organizing and hosting this delightful event.
Encouraging News:  A few weeks ago after a bomb exploded at a Christian Coptic Church in Egypt thousands of Muslims offered their bodies as “human shields” for the evening Mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.  “We either live together or we die together”, they chanted.  “This is not about us and them,” said Dalia Mustafa, a student who attended mass at Virgin Mary Church on Maraashly Street. “We are one. This was an attack on Egypt as a whole, and I am standing with the Coptic Christians because the only way things will change in this country is if we come together.”   There is hope!

Two weeks ago “our own” Cindy Carroll met with her Candidacy Committee and was approved for ordained ministry in the ELCA. Cindy has been a member of Peace in the past and did some of her seminary training work with us at Peace.  Congratulations, Cindy!  We will be sure to celebrate with her when the appropriate day arrives!

Clairdee performs for at the Jazz Church West on February 13.  It will be a Valentine’s Celebration.  You will get to hear her sing “Jazz Vespers” which she composed for our Jazz at Peace CD.

Epiphany Blessings,  Pr. Steve

—–

To view a few photos from the recent Mask Making and Totem Animal Workshop with Kaleo and Elise Ching, please click here to visit the online photo album.

Good News, 01.13.2010

Friends:

“Arise, shine your light has come.”

Keep in your prayers: Ki Altemus,  Randy and DeeAnn, Rosalie (who will have surgery on Friday), Ruth, Edith, Bob, Sheila, Lisa, Fidel Taylor, Kersti, Liu Xiaobo and all political prisoners, those seeking employment, the community of Tucson, members of the Youth Group and Confirmation Class, and the Bible 365 Class.

Katherine Beeler with the assistance of 5 Teens has launched our Peace High School Youth Group.  They will be meeting every other Sunday.  Details about future events, connections, journeys will be published in a timely manner.

The second Kids Night In/Parents Night Out was hosted at Peace by our own Jeanne and Peter Kaplan.  What fun for the kids and what joy and relaxation for the parents of our Middle Schoolers.  These gatherings will normally take place on a monthly basis.

Grace Cavallaro sends an invite:

The National Charity League is a unique charitable organization for mothers and their daughters in grades 7 through 12. New members are admitted up to grade 9, as space is available. Grace would be glad to serve as an application sponsor and provide more information as needed.  The mission of the NCL is to foster the mother-daughter relationship in a philanthropic organization committed to community service, leadership development and cultural experiences. Grace and Elisabeth had many great experiences while being members until Elisabeth’s graduation.  For more information:  http://www.nationalcharityleague.org/AboutNCL/tabid/3621/Default.aspx

Our next Family Service with special attention on the younger ones will be on February 6.  It will be a service of pure joy!

It’s almost here…the Bible 365 Class with Pr. Elizabeth Chandler Felts begins after worship on January 23rd.   Don’t miss out!

Spiritual Grounding:  On Monday, February 7 at 6:30 Peace will host a dinner for representatives from several interfaith congregations and farmers from the Sunol area to discuss creating a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) project.  The Greening Committee invites interested members of Peace to join them for an Organic Meal (provided by the farmers) and a conversation with Rebecca Calahan Klein about the opportunities for honoring health, farmers and the earth through Spiritual Grounding.  RSVP to the office.

Martha Mantei asks you to join her in supporting AFSP (American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide):  AFPS would not function if not for the efforts of its volunteers. This is truly an organization that was created and managed by people who want to make a difference in the way we all look at suicide and mental health.   We’d like the opportunity to show you how you can help AFSP grow and help us take our events and message to the next level. We’re ramping up our volunteer efforts in the coming year and we’d love to have more hands involved! Come join us on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at the University of Phoenix in Oakland to find out how you can contribute your talents to AFSP!

The Lectors had another fine training session this past Sunday.  Creative contributions will continue to emerge through this ministry.  If you would like to join the Lector Group please speak with Libby Flynn or myself.

Sunday Salon: On a monthly basis members of Peace will gather for reflections/conversations on Spiritual Themes in a small group setting.  The next one will be on Sunday, January 30th from 4 – 6 pm at Jeanie Locklear’s home.  You are invited.

From the Interfaith Council:

Our modern world occupies both sides of the divide between sectarian hatreds and mutual appreciation.  We struggle with the pre-diluvian situation of “all against all.”  And we are also familiar with the temporary solution of “all against one.”  What is aching to emerge within the cosmos, and which we pray must be involved in any concept of Intelligent Design or evolution or God’s will, is an era of “all for all.”

When incidents such as the church killings in Ethiopia or murders in Tucson occur, we must not revert to accusations or suspicion, but keep moving toward reconciliation and trust, else we become hostage to the most violent among us.  We must also be careful about our own language, and be honest about our own fears.  And we must not be delinquent about meeting with one another, or listening to each other’s perspectives.  For some of us, that might mean changing our television station or news source every once in a while.  Not a bad resolution for the new year.  Rev. Brian Stein-Webber

The Mask Making and Totem Animal Workshop with Kaleo and Elise Ching is quite amazing.  They are so well organized, grounded in their leadership, and creative with their artistic and poetic resources.  The Archives Committee is providing Current History Images (this Sunday from the Mask Making Workshop) during the Hospitality Hour.  Look for the looping lap top near all the good food.  Hopefully Elise and Kaleo will be able to offer us this workshop again in the future!

The Gerry Grosz Jazz Kitchen was utterly amazing.   Such creative compositions (two of them premiered for the first time for Jazz at Peace)!  In such a tough world we need the healing wisdom and flowing music of these Jazz Church West evenings.

The Wise Ones became wise because they were willing to re-Orient themselves toward surprise, the unexpected Mystery and God.  Please do the same.

Epiphany Blessings, Pr. Steve

Good News, 01.07.2011

Epiphany – the Journey of the Wise Ones: A time for new light, new connections and new awakenings. As Psalm 19 reveals, “The heavens declare the glory of God, the vault of heaven proclaims God’s handiwork…No utterance at all, no speech, no sound that anyone can hear – yet the glorious, still voice goes out through all the earth, and the message to the ends of the world.”

Bible 365

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 questions. 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.

Please keep in your prayers: Ki Altemus, Ruth (Pr. Margareta’s mom), Layla (Parisa’s daughter), Matthew Pontious, Sheila, Kersti Malvre, Randy and DeeAnn, Milt and Judy.

Thanks to our Mother/Sister in the Faith Gen Estenson who received $8,000 in “discarded food” from Trader Joe’s (during the holiday break) and was able to distribute all of it through the Contra Costa County Food Bank!

Drama at Peace Update:
Looking for more actors, writers and enthusiasts to participate in Peace’s Drama Troupe! In February-May we will hopefully be preparing two more plays to present in worship, BUT we need to recruit some more actors first to make this possible (especially guys)! We rehearse Wednesday nights from 7-9PM, and you are free to choose if you’d like to try one or both plays this spring. In addition, if enough people are interested, 6:30-7PM will be an optional time for a writers workshop. This time will be used to develop our own play to present in May or June. The writing will need to be done outside of the group, but we will gather to share ideas and develop the play. If you are interested in acting or writing, please email or call me (419-234-0589) by January 16. Also let me know if you have any questions or reservations. The first cast did such a wonderful job and I know we have more talented folks out there. Peace and Blessings, Emily

Katherine Beeler is starting a Youth Group for High Schoolers at Peace this Sunday. All teens at Peace and their friends are invited to join in!

The Women of Peace will meet next Wednesday, January 12 from 10 – 12. Join in the circle of friends, conversation, occasional projects and good coffee.

The Mask Making and Dream Workshop happens the next two Saturdays with Kaleo and Elise Ching. You can still sign up. It’s a perfect Epiphany Exploration.

Jazz at Peace welcome the Gerry Grosz Jazz Kitchen this Sunday at 5 pm. The Jazz Church West encourages you to invite friends who will appreciate extraordinary improvisations on the vibes and piano with Gerry’s delightful quartet.

Epiphanic Blessings, Pr. Steve