Pastor’s Weekly Message: 01.31.14

Grace Waves

Friends:

Prayer for Creative Self Love

Lord, keep me friendly to myself;

Keep me gentle in disappointment.

May I welcome the Stranger

May I welcome the newness of the future.

Bring innocence to my eyes so that I may see what is already here but un-noticed.

Open my ears to hear the other speak their truth.

Open me to be aware and delight in my body-being,
for you have created the mystery of me;

Give me the wisdom to pause, inhale and sense the sweetness of your creation.

Lord, may we be your Body in the world;

breathing  your Spirit, flowing freely, healing all with your compassion.

Peace/Prison Internship:  I am delighted to announce a Matching Fund Gift of $5,000 in support of Brock’s internship among us!  This gift prompts Matching Funds to be gathered during February and it will conclude on March 1.  Rev. Donna Duensing is also requesting contributions from friends beyond Peace and around the country, asking them to donate now.  Checks can be made to Peace with the notation “Intern/Matching Funds” on them.  Online contributions can soon be made on our web page.

Brock is initiating his Internship Project for the year which will involve members of Peace in a Visitation Ministry and sharing worship on site at the Federal Corrections Prison in Dublin.  Our thanks to Brock’s Internship Committee for their wise guidance during this year:  Ron Elsdon, Chair; Ken Budesa, Nancy Carlston, Tom Hall and Gun Johnston.

Forum this Sunday:  The Sermon on the Mount.  It is said if all we had of the New Testament was just the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus would still have transformed the world.  Come find out why.

Crab Feed—March 1 at 5:00 pm.  Arrangements have begun for our Crab Feed.  Six volunteers have already signed up to assist.  We hope to have another 6 people volunteer to share the organizing and arrangements for this delicious event. Sign up on Sunday.  Encourage friends to join you!

The Veil Tapestry:  Last Sunday Bill Carmel introduced the Veil Tapestry Project which will gather words and phrases from the sacred texts of all the spiritual communities in our Valley.  The Council has approved this project and Bill Carmel is requesting your financial support to help raise the $400 needed.  Speak with Bill to learn more.

This week Artist John Barry (with Bill Carmel’s assistance) has mounted his B’ainting (created with bicycle wheels) on our Veil Wall.  It’s an intriguing piece you will enjoy this Sunday.

Souper Bowl:  Our thanks to Linda Elsdon for her report on the meals our Food Bank Barrel has provided these last few months.  You are encouraged—in light of the Super Bowl—to bring additional cans of food to worship this Sunday.

Valentine’s Jazz at Peace:  On Sunday, February 9 at 5:00 pm Marcus Shelby’s Trio will join us with singer Tiffany Austin for a Valentine’s Celebration.  There will be an Artist’s Reception for John Barry the creator of our B’ainting.  Plus Noci Bella Chocolate (organic ingredients in luscious chocolate) will be served with wine and other beverages at the Reception.  Bring someone you love—it will be divine!

Keep in your prayers—those who inhabit Peace throughout the Week:  The people who walk our Labyrinth—with dogs, strollers and on bicycles; those who receive counseling and spiritual direction; the kids who climb on our boulders; those learning to drive in our parking lot; those learning from and loving our Native Garden; those in attendance at our AA and NA meetings; those who enter our sanctuary for the first time and stand in awe and sigh; those who pause to marvel at our Peace Mosaic; the neighborhood kids who play in our play ground; the recitalists who fill our sanctuary with music;  people who pray and meditate here; those who care for and clean our facility and grounds; Stratford children, families and teachers; the Pacific Choir who rehearses here; members of KCOV Korean Congregation; the Archives Committee; interfaith groups who meet here to encourage one another; and artists who create music, art and dance here.  And pray for Rain!

First Friday Films—The Happy Movie on February 7 at 6:30 pm.  Come enjoy this film which shares experiences and stories from Happy People all around the planet.  It’s wonderful to keep your options open!

The Early Communion Class is such a blessing.  Please keep Regan, Reese, Natalie, Ava and Ronald and their parents in your prayers.

If the church does not recapture its poetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral and spiritual authority. If the church does not participate actively in the struggle for peace and for economic and racial justice, it will forfeit the loyalty of millions and cause people everywhere to say that it has atrophied its will.  But if the church will free itself from the shackles of a deadening status quo, and, recovering its great historic mission, will speak and act fearlessly and insistently in terms of justice and peace, it will enkindle the imagination of mankind and fire the souls of men, imbuing them with a glowing and ardent love for truth, justice, and peace.  People far and near will know the church as a great fellowship of love that provides light and bread for lonely travelers at midnight.
—Dr. Martin Luther King

Epiphany Blessings,  Pr. Steve

 

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 01.24.14

Grace Waves

Friends:

If the church does not recapture its poetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral and spiritual authority. If the church does not participate actively in the struggle for peace and for economic and racial justice, it will forfeit the loyalty of millions and cause people everywhere to say that it has atrophied its will. But if the church will free itself from the shackles of a deadening status quo, and, recovering its great historic mission, will speak and act fearlessly and insistently in terms of justice and peace, it will enkindle the imagination of mankind and fire the souls of men, imbuing them with a glowing and ardent love for truth, justice, and peace.  People far and near will know the church as a great fellowship of love that provides light and bread for lonely travelers at midnight. —Dr. Martin Luther King

Upcoming Forums:

  • Sunday – The Pope, Martin Luther on Poverty and Faithful Response/Part II:  Join us for another engaging conversation in which you will learn Constructive Actions we can make to address the economic doldrums and impoverishment cycles we have been experiencing.
  • February 2 – The Sermon on the Mount:  Inspiration, Catalyst, Challenge
  • February 9 – Racism/’Many Rivers’:  Those present at last week’s Forum committed themselves to a 3 Session Dialogue examining the dynamics of racism and economic exploitation today.   All in the congregation are invited to participate as we engage how people of faith can make a healing difference.  Focus Questions or Topics you want to discuss can be sent to me in advance.

We are having a Crab Feed  on Saturday, March 1 at 5:00 pm!   6 volunteers have signed on – we need a full crew of 12 people.  Fliers will be ready for you online at our website (check highlights on our HOME page in the next few days) and at church on Sunday.  Invite your friends!!

Our congregational Annual Meeting follows worship on February 9.  Please prepare by reading the By-law changes in advance (check with the office for a copy).

CCIH/Contra Costa Interfaith Housing asks for your support in providing Kitchen Goods for 3 new families they are housing.  A list will be circulated with details and on which you can sign up.

First Friday Films presents “The Happy Movie” on Friday, February 7 at 6:30 pm.  Come enjoy and experience Happy People from all around the world!

Keep in your prayers:  Joan, Rich, Liz, Barry and Cameron, Brock, the Council, our Early Communion Class, Pr. Margareta, Ruth, Nette, Bob, Gen, Sandy, Agnes; those facing major decisions;  those in mourning;  those seeking employment, shelter and food; the people of Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen; those living with addictions.

The virtuous attend to their own duties;  the virtueless know only how to levy duties and burdens upon other people. —Tao te Ching #79

Epiphany Blessings,  Pr. Steve

01.17.14: Pastor’s Weekly Message

Grace Waves

Dear Friends:

All I’m saying is simply this, that all life is interrelated, that somehow we’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny.  Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.  For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.  You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.  —Martin Luther King

Forum this Sunday – “Many Rivers”….the Church and Racism:  We will view a portion of this recent and profound documentary about the history of segregation and racism in our country, then share reflections afterwards.  We are thankful Rhonda Turner can again assist in leading this critical conversation.  “We are tied in a single garment of destiny!”

Congratulations to Amy and Marco Garzon on the birth of Elaine Nicole!  Big brother Antonio and grandparents Melanie and Frank are delighted too!

The Early Communion Class begins this Sunday afternoon.  Four and maybe 5 families will be participating.  Please keep these children in your prayers.

Last Sunday’s Forum on the Pope, Martin Luther and Unequal Wealth proved so powerful that a Second Session is being scheduled for January 26.  Mark Miller and Bill Carmel will share several Constructive Suggestions for a struggling economy.  Don’t miss this.

Please keep in your prayers:  Gen, Wara and David, Liz, Fidel and Heidi, Lance, those longing for a church home, for clarity in discerning major life decisions; and that all of our endeavors may bear fruits of blessing for our families, those we serve, those in need, those we employ and for our God.

A Prayer for Rain:  May God open the heavens and let His mercy rain down upon our fields and mountains.  Let us especially pray for those most impacted by water shortages and for the wisdom and charity to be good stewards of this precious gift.  May our political leaders seek the common good as we learn to care and share God’s gift of water for the good of all.

Epiphany Blessings, Pr. Steve

01.09.14: Pastor’s Weekly Message

Grace Waves

Dear Sages:

The One who set the Magellinic Cloud on its course,

Now for our sake and sake of creation

Brings the cosmos to the manger.

And the One who travelled past the Pleides,

Through Orion, Andromeda and the Milky Way

Desires now to live in the small house of our hearts.

Welcome him! —Richard Caemmerer

Forum – January 12:  The Pope and Martin Luther on Unequal Wealth and Ministry to the Poor – you will find this dialogue fascinating!

January 19 – Dr. King’s Holiday:  A portion of the film “Many Rivers” and reflection on Racism and the Church today.

Epiphany Gifts/Classes:  How delightful to experience our Holy Family/Holy Trinity (Joseph/Abba – Greg; Mary/Spirit – Elizabeth; and Son/Baby Jesus – Ryan) on Epiphany Sunday.  The Gift of Abigail’s Song completed our joy!  To continue our participation in the Wondrous Perichoresis – the Great Dance Around the Trinity, I will offer these classes during the course of 2014:  The Sermon on the Mount in February; the Lord’s Prayer during Lent; “The Courage to be Happy” in late Spring; and Training in Compassion in the Fall.  As our Ephesians text said, “How many-faceted aspects exist in the wisdom of God!”

Eagle Scout Ceremony:  Jack O’Neil and proud parents Elizabeth and John Hunter Ashley invite you to celebrate Jack’s accomplishment with them this Sunday at 4:00 pm at Peace. Join in this joyous occasion.  A reception will follow.

Early Communion Class:  On Sunday, January 19 our next Early Communion Class will be taught.  It is ideal for children in 2nd – 5th grades.  Four families are participating already.  If you have children or grandchildren to include please let me know.  This is always a marvelous learning experience for children and their families.

Christmas Highlights:  What a joyous season we shared!  Caroling – a dozen people accompanied Gary and his accordion as we visited several members homes and strolled their neighborhood (this instantly became an Annual Tradition!).  All the beautiful children at the Family Service with Angels Elizabeth and Ava, Baby Jesus Ryan, Wise Ones Regan, Reese and Andrew, Mary/Xanthea and Joseph/Brock, Narrator – Jack, Flute Soloist Regan and Little Drummer Boy Noah.  All the lovely music at our Candlelight Service….the Hunter Ashley family played and sang for all our Christmas Services! No one will ever forget Applauding the Hosts of Heaven!

Christmas Day Hyunjung Choi and Elizabeth Hunter gave us a special musical gift along with Bev and Elizabeth singing a sweet duet.   Gary designed  warm, heart touching services and gave us precious music throughout.  We cannot forget how the Pure Delight Concert on December 8th  launched this wonderful season.  Thanks to all who played and prayed and participated! On Christmas Day – No one will ever forget Chuck and Pam Fisher’s Cinnamon Rolls baking as we prayed and blessing us with the taste of Christmas for hospitality hour!

Dear Friends at Peace:  I forgot to tell you that on the 8th of December the government declared a Day of Prayer, in remembrance of Nelson Mandela and to pray that God should guide us to follow his legacy and what he went to prison for. Churches throughout the country were involved in prayer and some activities were televised.

I do not remember everything I wrote in my previous email; but if I did not mention the involvement of Peace in our struggle for freedom, then it was a mistake and I would like to apologize for doing that. Peace Lutheran has no idea of the big contribution they made.  During our time of exile, Peace among few congregations provided us with a home away from home. Friends at Peace with their listening ears and their prayers sustained us during those trying times. Christians friends in need are friends indeed. Your support has not gone unnoticed. The existing partnership with Lwamondo is also a living example of true friendship in Christ. Your visit to Lwamondo then and even now is a living example of Christ who goes beyond the color line. Not all sermons are delivered from the pulpit; there are many sermons which are preached by our own lives. Love is an action word and indeed what you have been demonstrating is love and peace in action.

Much love,  Mudzunga Farisani

Please keep in your prayers:  Gen, Mary, Margaret, Taddy, Sandy, Joan, those with the flu, our children, the people of the Philippines, those living without shelter, food or employment in our country, our partners in Laurel Galan and Lwamondo Parish, for the grace to live in the wisdom of God.

New Tai Chi Class Series:  The next 12 week series begins this Thursday, January 9 at 7:00 pm at Peace.  Learn to enjoy and integrate the body-mind-spirit/ martial arts/ and ‘meditation in movement’ dimensions harmoniously.

Enjoy a Docent Tour of the Veil Wall with Bill Carmel during Hospitality Hour this Sunday and next.

Claim your Sage; nurture an Affectionate Relationship with your Imperfect Self; and welcome Lofty Aspirations for 2014 – Arise, Shine, our Light has come!

Epiphany Blessings,  Pr. Steve