Good News, 06.13.2012

Friends:

 “Faith is a  bird that feels the light and sings while the dawn is still dark.” 
 (Rabindranath Tagore, Poet of India who was also the first person to recognize and designate Gandhi as the ‘Mahatma’ – The Great Soul)

So many ways to Pray:  Prayer is not about the words but about the connection with God or being in the presence of God.   In these last weeks and months we have received so many different ways of encouraging our connection with God:  Written prayers which we attached to the Pacem, chanting of the psalms, the Abba/Imma Chi Kung prayer, stillness, Healing Prayer, Pr. Anita taught us how to Sigh, breathing the ancient unspeakable name of **God ‘YHWH’, and the Toning Circle of this past Sunday with Trish Watts and Cynthia Winton-Henry.  All of these means are marvelous.  Use those which work for you.  Remember it is not the articulation of the prayers that matter to God,  it is our prayerfulness.

**The name of God was considered unspeakable for the Jewish community because any attempt to describe or comprehend God was understood to be “in vain”.   God’s identity (like mercy, grace and compassion) is unfathomable and mysterious.  Some people are convinced that YHWH is an attempt to replicate the sound of inhalation and exhalation.  The one thing we do every moment of our lives is therefore to speak the name of God.  This makes it our first and our last word as we enter and leave this world.

How can we describe the richness of Sunday’s gifts – the music and chants of Trish Watts, Cynthia’s dancing, the stillness and toning prayer; and that evening the new compositions of Gerry Grosz composed for Jazz at Peace and rippling on his vibes……whispers of endless grace?  So precious, so fine….we are blessed.

This Sunday Mad Duran (sax and flutes) will be our guest musician.  She too has played for Jazz at Peace and you may as well prepare for another wonderful worship celebration.

We officially welcome our new Church Council Members:  Diane Kurtz – Treasurer; Cindy Townsend – Justice Advocacy; and Dabbie Bowron – Deacon of Connections.  Thank you for saying Yes to serving Peace in these capacities.

Changes:  Our own Gloria Aver is moving to Vancouver, WA.  Her insights, compassion, humor and spirit will be sorely missed!   Also Rev. Brian Stein-Webber who has served as the Executive Director of our county’s Interfaith Council (I4C) has taken a position at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) where John Brett attends.  Brian’s leadership has been outstanding these past 12 years.  Gratitude to Gloria and Brian for all they have given our community.

Kaleo told me that our Abba/Imma Chi Prayer on YouTube 
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXnwxy0Kl-c&feature=youtube_gdata_player
has received 440 hits in the first 7 days.  It has been picked up by a pastor in North Carolina and he and Elise will teach it as part of a summer school class at PSR Seminary this summer.

After Jazz this past Sunday a first time guest asked me,  “What is this?  What’s going on here?”  I asked for clarification of his questions.  He said, “I know this is a Christian Church but all of the art and the incredible music and your references to a variety of the world’s religions – I haven’t experienced anything like this.  It’s so open.”  I said, “Come back.”

’In the Spirit – Sacred Journeys”  – our beautiful Art Exhibit was well received by the guests who joined us on Sunday evening to Meet the Artists.  How wonderful to see all the connections made and conversations happening.  Bill Carmel has done an outstanding job of assembling this Exhibit which will be here until July 15!  Elise and Kaleo offered a poem and prayer chant as a blessing for the exhibit.   “Preach at all times….when necessary use words.”

Arlene Reed has received new pictures from our partners in Laurel Galan
http://betweencultures.shutterfly.com/pictures/1622.  Their  letter will be inside the bulletin this Sunday.

Dear Interfaith Friends:  I am very pleased to pass along to you the announcement that the San Ramon Valley Islamic Center (SRVIC) will be conducting classes on “Islam 101” every Saturday throughout the year from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The classes will be taught by Imad Abboushi, Outreach Director for SRVIC, and will involve casual discussion about Islam, Muslims, their tenets of Faith, the Five Pillars of Islam and topics such as Women in Islam, and the meaning of terms such as “Jihad” and “Sharia,” all in order to help people make more sense of what they hear and read in the media, perhaps dispel some of the myths about Islam, and to talk with their neighbors about many of the commonalities they all share. The classes will remain informal and are organized on the principle of “just drop in” so that you can feel free to come when you are able, without needing to either confirm that you will be there or check to see if the class will be held that particular week.  Brother Abboushi taught this class at his mosque in Columbus, Ohio, where he was Outreach Director. The SRVIC is located in the office park at 2232 Camino Ramon in San Ramon, southwest of the Crow Canyon Rd. and 680 intersection.  For further information contact Imad Abboushi via iabboushi@gmail.com.

Need a Spinet piano?  One is available for free but it must be picked up by Friday.  Contact me immediately if you have a home for it.

A woman at one of the AA Meetings commented to me after the meeting concluded, “Thank you pastor for hosting all of our groups that meet at Peace.  We know your people care about us.   I’ve been coming here for 12 years and I can’t tell you how many women have found hope and God here.  Thank you.”

Blessings,  Pr. Steve