Good News, 11.18.2011

“This life, therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise.  We are not yet what we shall be, but we are on the way.  The process is not yet finished but it is actively going on.  This is not the goal but it is a true path. At present everything does not gleam and sparkle but everything is being cleansed.” (Luther)

The Baha’i Assembly of Danville and I-SRV invite you to our annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Celebration at Peace on Wednesday, November 23 at 7:00 pmYou may bring canned good for our county Food Bank and Shelter, Inc. will receive our offering for the evening.  The music and prayers of the evening always mark how special it is that we can share our gratitude with friends of other faith traditions.  All are welcome!

Our Church Council will share a special report at worship this Sunday.

Kaleo and Elise Ching invite you to join them at 9:15 on Sunday for a brief practice and grounding for our Abba Chi Prayer which we will pray again in worship.

Your Giving Cards can be submitted this Sunday during worship.

Please keep in your prayers:  Kersti Malvre, Diana Keller, Lisa, Sheila, Stacey Morris, Bronwyn, Fidel and Heidi, those grieving, the hungry, the homeless and the least among us.

About a dozen women came together for our first Quarterly Women and Moms of Peace Gathering.  After tasty desserts Pr. Margareta shared reflections on Loved by God….but – Struggling to keep my own Strength.  The real life context of the conversation made it a powerful contribution for all who attended.  Another 6 – 8 people sent regrets.  My favorite was:  ‘I’d love to come but can’t because –that’s why I need this…..I am overextended!’

Hospice of the East Bay and Bev Harms invite you to brighten the Contra Costa sky during the holiday season by honoring the life of someone you know with a gift for a light on the hospice Tree of Light. Information pamphlets are available in our Gathering Hall.   The ceremony at Blackhawk is on December 2 at 5:00 pm.

Blessings, Pr. Steve

Good News, 11.09.2011

Friends:

“Anyone who thinks he (or she) is too small to make a difference has never been in bed with a mosquito.” (Gandhi)

This Sunday we will celebrate Stewarding the Mysteries of God.  If you think you are too small to make a difference, you have never read the Bible!

Congratulations to April and Matt Rasmussen on the birth of Isadora Juliet! Everyone is doing fine.  What a joyful blessing from God!

A marvelous event for the Women and Mom’s of Peace is happening next week:  Loved by God – but…Struggling to Keep my own  Strength. As women of faith we believe we are loved by God – but….the demands of life often drain us of our energy and happiness.  At the first of our Women/Mom’s of Peace Quarterly Gatherings, Pr. Margareta will teach us specific spiritual and psychological ways to keep and nurture our strength.  She will also share stories and examples of how we can take good care of ourselves.  Learn :  How to say No; How to Work to Live and not live to work;  How to be as Kind to Yourself as you are to others….and more. Enjoy the company of friends, simple desserts and the refreshment of your spirit.  Child care will be available if requested.  You are a temple of the Holy Spirit…. let the Spirit renew you with the grace and peace you need.  Feel free to invite friends who aren’t members of Peace. Wednesday, November 16,  7:00 pm at Peace.

Please keep in your prayers:  Diana Keller, Martha Mantei, Lois McGee, Kersti, the Hepner Family as they move eastward, those without food, shelter or employment.

This Sunday the Jazz Church West presents master pianist Glen Pearson at 5:00 pm.  It promises to be a soulful serenade of the autumn spirit.

And on the subject of Jazz Church West, please take a few minutes to listen To “Sing Out” a Jazz Vespers original composition written by Clairdee and Ken French for Peace Lutheran Church. Beautiful.

As we look ahead toward Advent, here’s a word from Pr. Anita:

The annual Gingerbread House Decorating Party for Peace Kids and Families has become a much anticipated Advent tradition at Peace over the past five years. Over this time our kids have decorated between 140-160 gingerbread houses with at least a ton of candy (more or less!) and the walls of our gathering hall have rattled with laughter, creativity and wild wonderful mayhem. Good times! This year however we’re going to take a break from tradition so that instead of focusing so much time and effort in preparing for one day of fun for our children, we’ll be directing all our efforts into making children’s Sunday School extra special for the children during the three Sundays of December leading up to Christmas Day. Each Sunday during the regular Sunday School hour from 11:10-11:50 there will be activities, crafts, and special guests sure to be enjoyed by each of the little ones, ages 3 through 5th grade. I’ll be letting you know more as the time approaches but I just wanted to give everyone a heads up so that if your children aren’t already attending Sunday School, you can begin now to make plans to have them join us for these three special Sunday mornings.

Peace will host our annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Service on Wednesday, November 23 at 7:00 pm.  The Baha’i Assembly will be creating and leading the service.  This is a wonderful opportunity to meet friends from among a variety of congregations, to pray and offer gratitude together.  It will breathe life and joy into your Thanksgiving Day celebrations.

Blessings, Pr. Steve

Good News, 11.03.2011

Friends:

“What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?  This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless but disastrous.  We spend millions every minute on training people to kill and destroy and on bombs and missiles.  But we spend hardly anything in comparison on teaching human beings the nature of life and death nor on helping them, when they come to die, to face and understand what is happening to them.  What a sad situation, how revealing of our ignorance and lack of true love for ourselves and each other!” (Thomas Merton, Monk)

November 6 is All Saints Sunday at which time we remember those who have died during this past year.  Our faith embraces every moment of life and beyond or as Dana Squire likes to say, “The church is here for those who are hatched, matched, patched and dispatched.” We pray for those who grieve; we rejoice in resurrecting promises.

This is the Time when Walls are Falling Down! What a Reformation! Aren’t we blessed by the richness and depth of our Clergy!  Pr. Anita – “If there was a Straight Pill, I would not take it”; Pr. Margareta – no female clergy existed when she received her calling…despite rejection by male clergy she discovered a path to ordination; Seminarian Brenda Bos – “as people of faith we need to risk living beyond the pretense of a color-blind world”….and Pr. Elizabeth has a strong and large class reading the whole Bible!  In addition our thanks to Jim Griesemer and Sue Field  for the wonderful dulcimer music and song.  Keep your eyes open – don’t look for things you’ve seen before.  From the Arab Spring to the American Autumn – this is the time when walls are falling down.

For Reformation Kaleo choreographed an “Abba Chi Kung” – a chi movement sequence that embodies the Lord’s Prayer in sacred movement. The ease and flow of these movements within the stillness of the whole congregation graced us with a quiet, centering power.  We will continue to use and learn our new “Abba Chi Kung” with Elise and Kaleo on Nov 20, Dec 18, and Jan 8.  You are encouraged to practice it in your garden, at the beach or among the Redwood trees.  When we are comfortable with this prayer we may do a short video of the congregation on a Sunday morning during service and put it on the internet.  Aren’t you glad to be reforming!

2017 will mark the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.  Special plans have already begun in Europe.  Germany began a 10 year count down four years ago with Special Themes marking each of the years.  Karl Pfeiffer is keeping us aware of a variety of ways to celebrate, educate and enact the Reforming Movement.

The results of the secret ballot following our Hospitality Hour arrived and it was decided…  Pr. Anita has been elected our Halloween Queen!

The Women of Peace and the Mom’s Group (now coordinated by Grace Cavallaro and Sheila Chiarelli) will share an evening together on Wednesday, November 16 at Peace.  More details to come.

The Partnership Committee has sent $500 to our friends in Nicaragua to help alleviate the suffering there after the flooding catastrophe.

Spoon Jackson sent a letter thanking us for our prayers, encouraging our healing prayer work (“of which love is the chief component”), and informing us that he has completed a Libretto for Stefan Safsten.   We now have a copy of his book “By Heart” in our library.

Please keep in your prayers:  Kersti, Mary (Linda’s sister), Lisa, those who are grieving, the unemployed, Nicaraguan friends, those in prison, those who pray for us.

All Nite Soul: John Calloway’s incredible band on Sunday evening gave us entrance to Latin Music Nirvana.  What a profound and delightful celebration.  One guest said, “I am 68,  I grew up in Manhattan,  I’ve been going to jazz clubs since I was 14 – including Birdland.  I have lived in Europe and Cuba and heard the best jazz but tonight was the finest night of jazz in my lifetime!” Master Guitarist Eddie Duran (at the mere age of 86) commented how we need music and dance to counter the difficult times we are in.  We enjoyed a feast and face-painting as well.  Thanks to our Jazz Team for their continued preparations and hosting.  Too much joy, too much joy – if you have too much joy in your life you had best avoid the Jazz Church West.

World Community Day:  Lois McGee invites you to “Living our Faith, Unlocking Action” which is sponsored by Church Women United and held at Peace this Saturday, November 5.  Registration and coffee is at 9:30.  The free program goes from 10 – 11:15 am.  A Diabetes-related presentation by Virginia Smaelser, RN Health Educator at John Muir Hospital will also be presented.  Join in!

BJ invites you to From Good to Great a workshop utilizing yoga and acupressure to build personal resilience…at Peace on November 12 from 10 – Noon.  Click here to see the flier.

Someone asked:  Why do you like jazz? The finest things in life have no reason or explanation.  They penetrate, pulsate and reverberate from the inside out.  Art, a child playing absent-mindedly, a madrone tree, a creek flowing, friends laughing, the incomprehensibility of this vast universe are all grace and pure bounty.  God – especially God – has no why or wherefore or reason.  The immensity of these blessings overwhelm our grasping minds but the joy they stir liberates the heart and births our souls alive.  If you only want what ‘makes sense’ in life you will soon be shrunken by pettiness and despair.  The best things in life are ‘unfounded’ – they cannot be comprehended only tasted and experienced.  Like the space in between the stars – empty?  Hardly…that dark space lets us see that nothing is ordinary.   See the world through the Beloved’s eyes and you will see the Beloved’s face everywhere.

Blessings, Pr. Steve