The congregation called Peace Lutheran Church is a gift to the world! At least that’s what I’ve been thinking ever since I was an intern at Peace in 1995. Since then, I’ve been praying for you… keeping in touch a bit through friends… and giving thanks for your ministries that emphasize peace and justice, healing prayer, Christian education and so much more. In fact, now that I am back among you for twelve weeks, I very much look forward to learning about all your ministries and encouraging/supporting wherever possible!
As I said in my homily last week, God opens our ears, eyes, minds and hearts to new possibilities, new ways of thinking, new perspectives when we encounter God’s Word. It can happen by oneself, but more frequently happens in community, through others as we are challenged to examine our assumptions about the reality before us. It happened to me while on a Peace Lutheran trip to Laurel Galan, Nicaragua. That trip forever changed who I am. So, I look forward to the reports of the group going to Lwamondo Parish in South Africa. Maybe we could ask them on their return: “What experiences on this trip opened your heart to new realities? How do you see the world differently now? And, what will you do to share this?”
God’s world is different from ours. It’s a place where God reigns in peoples’ hearts… where peace and justice prevail… where people cooperate to bring blessings to all, including animals, plants and our earth… But, we don’t need to travel to be challenged to accept God’s reality. That happens every time we hear the Good News – when we read the Bible, attend worship, or engage in Sunday School or Adult Forum. This year at Peace, Sunday School will begin on September 23, Homecoming Sunday, during worship. The children will leave right after the children’s sermon and return before Holy Communion. Beginning September 30, the Adult Forum will meet after worship and engage in a discussion of “Manna and Mercy.” I hope you are able to take advantage of these opportunities to be challenged by God’s plan for our lives, our communities and our earth.
May the presence of our Lord Jesus in our lives and in our midst open us to God’s plan for us… for Peace Lutheran… and, for our world!
Blessings, Pastor Mary Ann
Office Note: While Pr Steve is on Sabbatical, members of the Council have volunteered to help with the Good News. Thanks to Jeanne Kaplan, for volunteering this week!
Reflection From Jeanne Kaplan, Council Vice-president
As we embrace the warm winds at the end of the summer and watch the leaves flutter to the ground marking the end of their life cycle, it is a logical time to take a mental inventory of the things that will sustain us in the months to come. Of course, fall nourishment from pumpkin, pear, and potatoes will be welcome on our tables, but as the sunlight in our day wanes and our outdoor activities slow, I am thinking of turning inside to take a spiritual inventory—is my spirit nourished?
What things will sustain me on darker days? It takes almost superhuman mindfulness to leave superfluous tasks alone and trade them for sleep or quietude. When am I still and just breathing? When can I hold my posture and just be? Is there value in doing so, and how would I find that out?
In Psalm 46:10, we are told, “Be still, and know that I am God.” This kernel of eternal wisdom, thousands of years old, is a command – and perhaps even more valuable than in the time of David, considering our stressors.
At Peace Lutheran, we are blessed to have such a space to “be still” and many opportunities to do so. Through worship and meditation services, labyrinth and garden spaces to contemplate, counseling & educational groups, and even yoga & Tai Chi classes that allow us to still our minds into focus: we can find the space where we can truly grasp that God is in us and all around us. Let us count this as a blessing, and note the “happenings” listed below. Peace be with you!
From Yoga at Peace (www.yogaatpeace.org):
New class schedule for Fall:
Tuesdays: Level 1, 9:15-10:15 AM starting Tuesday, 9/18
Thursdays: Chair Yoga, 4:45-5:30 PM starting Thursday, 9/20
From Peace Counseling Center. The Counseling Center is starting several new groups:
The Authenticity Group focuses on bringing your outer behavior in line with your inner being.
The Addictions Group focuses on the underlying causes of various addictions.
The Couples Group focuses on relationships and marriage.
The Men’s Group and the Women’s Group will focus on all issues, but especially those specific to men and women.
Contact the Counseling Center at 925-648-7003.
The Counseling Center is also interested in donations of unwanted Legos for use in child therapy.
The Church Council will have their September meeting next Tuesday Sept. 18 at 7 pm.
Beuster Church, Lwamondo Parish, SA— Building Gifts: our Delegation will carry a generous check to the Beuster Church Fire Fund. Thanks to all who have contributed! Elizabeth Hunter Ashley, her son, Jack O’Neil and Libby Flynn will be our delegation. They will be leaving for South Africa on the evening of Sept. 26 to renew and continue our friendship with Lwamondo Parish.
St. Francis Pet Blessing Festival on Oct. 7 from noon-3 pm. Pastors Mary Ann and Margareta will be blessing pets. Greg Grebe has lined up 13 exhibitors! There will be hotdogs, cookies and soft drinks available for purchase. Let Charlene McPherson know if you can donate a gift basket or service for the Silent Auction. Invite your friends!
7 folks will be attending the retreat at San Damiano on Sept. 29 called “Engaging Spirituality—Live deeply, Love broadly” . Thanks to Cindy Townsend for coordinating the registrations!
John Brett needs a car for commuting from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary to Peace for Sundays and other meetings. Email John firstname.lastname@example.org or Teaching Parish Chair Cindy Townsend if you can help.
St. Joan of Arc (San Ramon) is presenting a 3-part series to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vatican II starting this Tuesday Sept. 18 at 7PM with Fr. Tom Bonacci from the Interfaith Peace Project. See the flier on the kiosk in the Gathering Hall or talk to Linda Benatar for more information.
Founders’ Day at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary on Wed., Sept. 26 at from 9-3 will have the theme “Bonhoeffer’s (and our) Postracial Blues“. You can register online http://www.plts.edu/founders_day.html. Pre-registration fee is $20, which includes lunch. John Brett is on the program committee!
Fall Jazz is coming to the San Ramon Valley! “More Jazz at the Library” starts Sept. 21 at the San Ramon Library with our friend Clairdee. [Clairdee will be singing for Jazz @ Peace on March 3, 2013!] Tickets can be purchased by mail or by ordering them at the San Ramon Library. More information online: http://www.SanRamonJazz.org
Jazz @ Peace has our 8th season opener on Oct. 14 at 5 pm with Gerry Grosz & the Jazz Kitchen. We will have All Nite Soul–an expanded program from 5-7:30 pm–on Oct. 28 with the Fred Randolph Quintet. Some of his students will be joining him. Jazz @ Peace performances are free and open to all.
HOMECOMING is Sept. 23 and Sunday School during 9:30 worship will begin that day. Sunday School will start with Children’s Time in the service (early in the service) followed by Activity Time in the classroom, which will last about 25 minutes. Later when the ‘Gifts are Brought Forward’ (after the Offering in our liturgy), the children will return to join their families for the Eucharist. Sunday School Teachers: We now have 4 teachers–and would like to have 4 more. There will be an Orientation and lesson plans. Are you prepared to join this special group? Contact Pat Leong or the Office if you are willing to help.
Pray for our country and our world– our students returning to class and our seniors as they deal with health issues and the loss of loved ones.
From God Has A Dream
All over this magnificent world God calls us to extend His kingdom of shalom–peace and wholeness–of justice, of goodness, of compassion, of caring, of sharing, of laughter, of joy, and of reconciliation. God is transfiguring the world right this very moment through us because God believes in us and because God loves us.
Bp. Desmond Tutu