Good News, 02.23.12

Friends:

“I am done with great things and big things; great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny, invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monuments of human pride.” William James

Thanks to our Art and Spirituality team for creating and leading us into our Lenten and Easter Mask Making project.  Of course it was the children who opened the way for us.  It is such a powerful means for exploring our spiritual transfiguration.   Pam Lane also shared that a number of folks said she really did appear to be’ inside a cloud’ on Mt. Sinai when she read the lesson this past Sunday!

Our favorite annual Crab Feed on Saturday, March 3 at 5:00 pm is nearly here!   An exquisite feast is being prepared.  All we need is you and your friends!!  25 folks have signed up and we can easily host 80 – 90.   Please notify the office at:   office@peacejourney.org or Sign Up this Sunday.  Silent Auction items would still be welcomed….they don’t have to be rare or expensive….a pair of movie tickets, your favorite cookie recipe….would be fine.  We have about 8 volunteers working the evening.  Another 4 or 5 more would make Julie and Robert Arnone so happy!  Put smiles on their faces!!  Spread the word – come and enjoy this Tasty Tradition!

Our Taize Contemplative Service is this Friday evening at 7:00 pm.  Give yourself some Lenten calm and focus.

Understanding Baha’i: Adult Education Forum: Three Sessions: 6:00 – 7:30 PM, March 4, March 11 & March 18 at Peace Lutheran Church.

The Baha’i Community is a close partner of the Peace Lutheran community. Baha’i is an inclusive system of beliefs that incorporates many of the great teachings of the world’s religions. In part it represents a belief in the necessity of establishing a universal system of justice that creates a unified spiritual fellowship of the entire world’s people… embracing cultural diversity in the worship of God. For their universal, peaceful belief the Baha’i have suffered greatly. In Iran Baha’is are denied the right to education and seven of the Community’s most respected leaders are imprisoned indefinitely without trial and tortured regularly.

This 3 part series begins on Sunday, March 4The Baha’i Community is investing major research and energy in preparation for this series.  Your participation and the encouragement of others is requested.   Mutual understanding is no longer optional on our planet!   We have much to learn and share.   Thanks to Deacon Gil Jardine for these Educational Arrangements!

Lenten Soup and Sacrament SeriesExodus with Dr. Phil Stanley – Wednesdays, February 29 – March 28 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm.  Make the most of Leap Year Day! This will be a fascinating, enlightening and joyful Lenten gift to Peace.  Many of you remember the previous Lenten Series that Phil led… you know you won’t want to miss this.

The Congregation as Choir – join us for our Adult Education session in the Sanctuary this Sunday with Gary Sponholtz.  “Those who sing pray twice”…Martin Luther.  Gary hopes to create a choir for Easter too.

On Sunday, March 18 at 4:00 Peace Lutheran will be hosting a special performance of the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band for their first appearance this side of “the tunnel.” Click here to download and view the flier.

The Spirit is certainly stirring things with Partnership! It was a blessing to have Mudzunga Farisani with us this past Sunday.  During the Adult Education time she gave us insights into the essential Gospel Gifts of Partnership.  It appears she inspired 2 more people to consider being participants in our October Delegation to Lwamondo Parish in South Africa this October – which means 8 – 10 people will make the journey!   Then Newell Hendricks who just returned from Nicaragua was able to meet with a group of friends for dinner on Tuesday and then our Church Council to update us with what’s happening in Laurel Galan, Kairos and Entre Culturas.  Thanks to our Partnership Committee (Karl Pfeiffer, Arlene Reed, Ceil McCloy, Christy Winter, Libby Flynn and Pr. Margareta) for nurturing our global communion of faith.

Our thanks to Mark Miller for his excellent presentation on the US Economic Crisis.  It is helpful – and disturbing – to receive a coherent view of what is happening in the American economy.

This Sunday we get to celebrate the Baptism of Margo El Mogazi.  Be prepared for lots of joy!

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Good News, 02.16.12

Friends:

7 Ways to help Small and Tall People Grow: Make time for prayer and pray the Lord’s Prayer; Learn to forgive and be forgiven; Celebrate the Eucharist often; Treat all people with dignity;  Help the poor and work for justice;  Love and care for your family; Learn about our faith in Sunday School and Adult Education.

Small and Tall Worship – What a joy we shared last Sunday.  Thanks to Kaelyn and Megan for their prayers, to Sloan for being born and baptized, to Marko for the Gospel, to Revs. Margareta and Anita for Children’s Time and prayers, and to Gary for the happy music.

Transfiguration – the conclusion of Epiphany and the preparation for Lent will be celebrated this Sunday.  Our Art and Spirituality team and members of the Youth Group have prepared a unique Mask Making and design project for our Lenten and Easter Seasons.  It will be an artistic means for engaging the whole congregation in our exploration of the Pascal Mystery.  You can anticipate moments of wonder and intrigue as we journey to and through the Cross into Easter.

Mudzunga and Ndamu Farisani will hopefully be with us this Sunday.  Mudzunga will lead our Adult Education time at 11:10.

US Economic Crisis:  Facts, Fallacies and Fixes with Mark Miller – this Sunday at 4:00 pm at Peace.We have met the enemy and he is us.” What have we and what can we learn from our current crisis?  Affixing blame and ideological solutions have not worked.  We need the capacity to critique ourselves (the Achilles heel of great nations) and the willingness to engage fresh perspectives if we are to learn anything from this and grow into a wiser,  more just society.  Our own Mark Miller has the experience and competence to provide us with key insights.  This Presentation has been publicized with our I-SRV (Interfaith) Community.  Feel free to invite others to join you.

Ash Wednesday is February 22.  Our worship will be at 7:30 pm.  Our Lenten Soup and Sacrament Series will focus on Exodus:  Liberating Identity of Israel and Christianity. It will be led by our own intrepid Dr. Phil Stanley!  You will not want to miss this Wednesday evening series! Join us for a simple and delicious meal, enriching scholarship and informal communion.  6:30 – 8:15 starting on Leap Year Day, February 29.

It’s coming!   Our annual Crab Feast and Silent Auction is happening on Saturday, March 3 at 5:00 pm.  Julie and Robert Arnone will coordinate it once again.  You know how good it is.  Spread the word.  You can Sign Up on Sunday or through the Church Office.  If you are willing to assist Julie and Robert that is appreciated too!

Understanding Baha’i: Adult Education Forum: Three Sessions: 6:00 – 7:30 PM, February 26th, March 4th & March 11th at Peace Lutheran Church.

The Baha’i Community is a close partner of the Peace Lutheran community. Baha’i is an inclusive system of beliefs that incorporates many of the great teachings of the world’s religions. In part it represents a belief in the necessity of establishing a universal system of justice that creates a unified spiritual fellowship of the entire world’s people… embracing cultural diversity in the worship of God. For their universal, peaceful belief the Baha’i have suffered greatly. In Iran Baha’is are denied the right to education and seven of the Community’s most respected leaders are imprisoned indefinitely without trial and tortured regularly.

Please join Education Deacon Gil Jardine and Chris Palmer a member of the East Bay Baha’i Assembly in this vital and contemporary study.

Session 1: Historical Context of Baha’i

Session 2: The Teachings of the Baha’i Faith

Session 3: The Influence of Baha’i

Keep in your prayers: Joe, Kersti, Joseph, Lisa, Rick, the unemployed, those without health care for their families, the people of Syria, Yemen and Bahrain.

A Thank You from Anita:

Dear Peace Friends, my goal for the past few weeks has been to reach 10,000 dollars raised for the ALS Association from between Valentines 2011 when I began Sweet Hope Cookies and this Valentines Day. On Sunday morning I had raised all but the last 1000.00 dollars but by Sunday afternoon when I went home to tally up the money from the cookies you bought after worship, I discovered with incredible excitement and gratitude that the grand total raised was 1004.00 dollars!

Since the first days of my brother’s illness your compassionate and enthusiastic support has been an indescribable source of comfort for me. I know how much it meant to Randy to know that people who had never met him were asking about him and praying for him, and that you continue to support my endeavors with Sweet Hope Cookies continues to be a living expression of your care and commitment to others living with ALS. For those who have wondered, I will be continuing in my commitment in raising funds and spreading awareness of ALS through Sweet Hope Cookies,  so when your sweet tooth gets the best of you, don’t forget, I’m only a phone call away.

Keep practicing our Abba/Imma Chi Prayer.   The link is:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE59xtyGds8

The Jazz Church West with the Marcus Shelby Trio and vocalist Kenny Washington was incredible….a very sweet Valentine’s gift!  118 people showed up for an exciting night of music which was simply transcendent.  People told me they thought the sound was better in our sanctuary than at Yoshi’s Jazz Club.  High praise…and we are blessed.

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Good News, February 10, 2010

Friends:

“…and so on his final day St. Valens passed a note through his cell door to the jailer’s family who had been so good to him.  The note said,  ‘I love you.’  The family never forgot him and a great tradition began.” (The Origen of Valentine’s Day)

A beautiful Small and Tall Family worship awaits you this Sunday with a special  celebration of Valentine’s.  This service is for all our children and grandchildren…and the young at heart.  Come share the love.

Wasn’t Vukani Mawethu outstanding!  They brought the delight of our Partnership to life while Ceil and Karl gave us the joyful meaning of this important ministry.  The Delegation being planned for October has expanded now by one.  7 people are planning to make the journey to Lwamondo Parish in Venda, South Africa!  If you wish to become a part of this delegation please speak with myself or Karl.

The blessings don’t stop:  Mudzunga Farisani sent word that she and daughter Ndamu will be arriving this weekend for a 10 day visit in the Bay Area.  Hopefully they will be with us this Sunday or next.  This will be another opportunity to learn in depth about our Partnership at the Adult Education Hour.

Please keep in your prayers:  Joe Hester, William Hunter, Kersti, Diana, Lisa, Rick, the unemployed, our partners in Nicaragua and South Africa, all of our children.

Keep practicing our Abba/Imma Chi Prayer.   The link is:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE59xtyGds8

The US Deficit:  Fact, Fallacies and Fixes with Mark Miller will be presented for the Interfaith Community at Peace on Sunday, February 19 at 4:00 pm.  Urge friends to join you for this cogent presentation.

Our Lenten Season begins with Ash Wednesday on February 22 with worship at 7:30 pm.  Our Lenten Soup and Sacrament Series will focus on Exodus:  Liberating Identity of Israel and Christianity. It will be led by our own intrepid Dr. Phil Stanley!  You will not want to miss this Wednesday evening series!  Details to come.

Mask Making:  Members of our Art and Spirituality Team and the Youth Group participated in a head and torso mask making process this past Sunday.  This mask will become part of our Lenten Journey into the Pascal Mystery and all of the members of Peace will get to assist in the creative process.  Expect surprises on Transfiguration – February 19!

The Jazz Church West hosts the Marcus Shelby Trio with vocalist Kenny Washington this Sunday at 5:00 pm.  It promises to be a sweet Valentine’s gift too!

A word of Introduction and Background from our new Seminarian John Brett.  You will enjoy getting acquainted with John who is with us for the next year and a half.

Greetings, Peace Lutheran.  Thank you for inviting me to accompany and grow along with you as I embark on the next chapter of my pastoral formation journey.  It would be an understatement to say I am excited to take this walk along with Peace.  Giddiness might be the right word.  From my first Sunday with you when I found art on your walls that I myself had once almost purchased, to your graceful welcome and my participation with you in the Tai Chi Prayer of Jesus, imagining the opportunities and potential growth and healing Peace offers astounds me.  As a pastoral mentor of mine once preached as he was accepting a new call, much discernment in life is about finding the right fit, and I feel Peace is the right fit for me in this time.

I’ve contemplated beginning seminary since my junior high and high school years in Wenatchee, Washington, which is located not all that far from the residence and retreat center where the designer of your worship space resides.  Walking into Peace was like walking into a second home, familiar.  Early in life I grew up on a wheat farm, a half-hour outside town, an only child frolicking in and upon creeks, natural tree forts, and hills.  Later, after moving to town, I found an interest in theatre and choir, student government and community service, as well as participation and leadership in my home church.  After high school, excited to take over the world, I left the U.S. to spend a year on exchange in Chile, where I learned Spanish and my awareness of the world deepened.  Returning to the states I enrolled at Dartmouth College where I spent a few tumultuous years finding my way as I engaged in any number of justice-inspired extracurriculars, from LGBT activism to political and ecological causes of local and national scope.  Through this time I continued to occasionally ponder a future at seminary, amongst all the other ways I felt called into the world.

The first time around I didn’t quite finish college, and returned to my hometown of Wenatchee where I sought balance and slowly worked my way into the non-profit world.  After serving a year as a VISTA*AmeriCorps member and after various non-profit positions including work at Holden Village, I became the Executive Director of a small civil legal services start-up, coordinating pro-bono legal assistance for low income people.  However, after three years there I knew that my right fit in the world still called me elsewhere.  I decided to leave Wenatchee and journey toward completion of my college degree.  This path took me through Seattle and Evergreen State College, as well as a seven month ELCA volunteer mission service term in Mexico City before I completed my studies at Dartmouth last spring.  After completing my undergraduate degree, having applied to PLTS thinking that I would enter seminary in the fall of 2012, a series of events, and a lack of excuses which would have allowed me to further postpone my vocational exploration, led me to enroll this past fall.

So, here I am, looking forward to growing with you, discovering my path, seeking my right fit in the world.  Together, God will lead our journey.  Thank you for your welcome and the grace-filled embrace I already feel from Peace Lutheran.

Epiphany Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Good News, February 3, 2012

Friends:

“A person has no alternative but to respond to the real setting in which one finds oneself, with a  result that one’s prayer is necessarily fabricated from the various inner and outward components of one’s life….prayer grows out of life.  It is not an isolated  department of life, it is the realization of the God-ward potential inherent in every life.” (Michael Casey)

This Sunday is Partnership Sunday which is celebrated in Lwamondo Parish, Venda, South Africa also.  It honors the sharing of our faith around the world, the deepening of our communion through friendships, and strives to encourage justice in all our contexts – with Laurel Galan, Nicaragua too.  The choir Vukani Mawethu will join us for our Partnership Celebration.  Members of Vukani have been long time friends of Peace and worked to overcome apartheid too.   Expect outstanding music!

Dear Karl and every one at Peace:  It was pleasing to receive Christmas blessings from you. We had a blessed Christmas.  For now you will not be able to contact us telephonically. Telephone cables have been cut and stolen by thieves. We are not certain when they will be restored. We will celebrate Partnership Sunday with you on February 5. The whole Parish will gather at Tshifulanani Congregation for this event. The year 2012 is the year of election in the Church. Pray that we have free and fair election led by God’s Spirit. Election at congregational level will be in March followed by Parish ones in April and those of the Circuit in June.

Greetings to all brothers and sisters in the Lord. We wish you a prosperous 2012.

Calvin Neswiswi for the Partnership Committee of Lwamondo Parish, South Africa

Our Annual Congregational Meeting will follow worship this Sunday, February 5.  Hospitality will follow our Meeting.  Your presence and participation are desired.

A Mask Making project is beginning with members of the Art and Spirituality Committee and our Youth Group.   It will be utilized throughout our Lent and Easter seasons.  Eventually the whole congregation will get to participate in various creative ways.

If you are interested in signing a petition to place on the ballot the repeal of the death penalty in California and replace it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole, it will be available for your signature on Sunday.

Nursing Home Ministry:

Peace Lutheran Church has had a Sunday morning ministry at Danville Rehab Center for many years. Peace members visit once a month for prayers, hymns and conversation with wheelchair-bound residents. A friend of the church, Laura Barrerra, is our dedicated accompanist.

We recently donated to the nursing home a set of large print hymn books to replace worn songbooks. Seasonally, our Sunday School students make gifts for the residents and a family field trip is being planned for the near future.  If you are interested in participating in this ministry occasionally or monthly, contact Charlene McPherson at (925) 820-5167.

Our next Small and Tall Family Worship Service is scheduled for Sunday, February 12.  Be sure to encourage all of your children and grandchildren to participate!

And now a word from Anita:

Dear Cookie Lovers, It will be a year ago this Valentines that I began Sweet Hope Cookies, my small baking endeavor to raise money to support those living with ALS and the medical research that will hopefully one day find a cure for this devastating disease. By the time this Valentine’s Day is over I hope to reach my goal of 10,000 dollars for the year. To that end, on Sunday, February 12, before and after church there will be a fun variety of mini Valentine cookies available for a donation to The ALS Association. They’ll be packaged attractively in an assortment of containers perfect for gift-giving, sharing with co-workers, or eating in the car on your way home from church. The requested donations will range from 15.00 – 20.00. Stop by the cookie table because you can never tell when there might be a free sample or two to be found. I want to take this opportunity as well to tell you how much I have appreciate dthe support of the congregation over this past year, as Dana and I, along with my family confronted the death of my brother Randy from ALS and my various efforts since to raise money and awareness in his memory. Your love and support have meant more than my words could ever express. Blessings, Anita

Be sure to welcome back Seminarian Brenda Bos and welcome our new 2nd Teaching Parish Seminarian John Brett this Sunday!

Epiphany Blessings,  Pr. Steve