Pastor’s Weekly Message: 06.26.14

Grace Waves

Friends:

Either you look at the universe as a very poor creation out of which no one can make anything or you look at your own life and your own part in the universe as infinitely rich, full of  inexhaustible interest, opening out into infinite further possibilities for study and contemplation and interest and praise.  Beyond all and in all is God. Perhaps the book of life, in the end, is the book of what one has lived and if one has lived nothing, he is not in the book of life. —Merton

Solstice Celebration:  What a wonderful/summerfull party we had last Saturday.  The BBQ was delicious, the straw bales provided ambience, the steel drum and percussion brought joy, the conversations with new friends gave happiness, the solstice ritual was calming and hilarious, the DJs delivered excellent world music, the Fire Pit Fans initiated an exclusive Marshmellow Club, and friends from CCIH helped prepare and clean up.  We raised $1100!  Our thanks to Chuck and Pam, Bruce, Kaleo and Bill, Gary and many others who contributed to this glorious evening.  Already those in attendance began demanding that this become an annual tradition. Be sure and watch Gary’s video of this event!

This Sunday will be Seminarian Brock Klobe’s final Sunday with us.  Our worship will celebrate his presence among us during the past year and the initiation of our Prison Ministry.  Brock’s parents also sent this note to the members of Peace.  “Thank you all so much for your kind hospitality in sharing with us your church, the wonderful potluck meal, and for making us feel at home in your home.  Our special thanks for taking such good care of Brock this past year during his internship.  It was a blessing to us to know that he had such good friends so far away from our home.  We truly hope that our paths may cross again.  Until then, God’s Peace to you all.  Takk skal duha!  Lisa and Steve Klobe

“I am so grateful for the Peace family!  During my recovery from full knee replacement surgery, I was nurtured by gifts of meals, visits and emotional support.  I want to thank Pr. Steve, Charlene, Nette, Gun, Libby, Gen, Arlene, Nancy, Gary, Maryellen and John Nowell, Bill and Elana, and Ken and Michael.   I do believe that the support that I received greatly contributed to my record recovery time.  Thank You So Much!”  Jeanie Locklear

Happy News from Brenda Bos:  I have been called as solo pastor to Christ Lutheran San Clemente. Pacifica Synod, south Orange County.  It’s really quite stunning. I would be grateful if you would share the news with the Peace Congregation. I start July 1 and my ordination is August 16. Thanks be to God!

White Pony Express:  I want to thank you for the shining hospitality served up to John and Ellen this past Sunday. They felt truly embraced by the people of Peace. What an amazing community this is!  Loel Miller

Gary invites/reminds us that there are still Plenty of Seats available for “Dazzle  Broadway…Our Way” by the SF Gay Men’s Chorus at the Nourse Theatre Thursday (June 26) and  Friday (June 27) at 8pm!  Check out:  sfgmc.org

Regarding Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic Worker.  “Peter made you feel a sense of his mission as soon as you met him.  He did not begin by tearing down, or by painting so intense a picture of misery and injustice that you burned to change the world.  Instead, he aroused in you a sense of your own capacities for work, for accomplishment.  He made you feel that you and all people had great and generous hearts with which to love God.  If you once recognized this fact in yourself you would expect it and find it in others.  “The art of human contacts,”  Peter called it happily.  But it meant seeing Christ in others and loving the Christ you saw in others.  Greater than this:  It was having faith in the Christ in others, without being able to see Christ.  Blessed is the one who believes without seeing.”  (Dorothy Day)

Summer blessings, Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 06.18.14

Grace Waves

Friends:

Those who do not open their eyes to Mystery will go through life seeing nothing. —Einstein

Solstice Celebration – Hot Fun in the Summertime!  It’s almost here – time to kick back and welcome summer this Saturday starting at 5:00 pm.  This will be the best BBQ you have all summer.  Look at this Menu:  Grilled Potato Salad, BBQ Chicken or Brisket, BBQ Veggie Burger, Brentwood Corn on the Cob, New England Baked Beans, Watermelon, Beer, Wine, Sodas, Assorted Desserts.  BRING YOUR Appetite and Friends!  (Didn’t Chuck promise you the best Crab Feed ever – and he delivered!)

Plus the steel drums, music and dancing, solstice ritual and Labyrinth Walking – what could be more fun with old and new friends and all the kids.  See you Saturday night!

What a marvelous Mozart Concert we experienced last Saturday night with the Pacific Youth Choir and Coelis Ensemble.  The musical choices were dynamic (the Swedish was impeccable), the 8 piece orchestra who accompanied the “Coronation Mass” was excellent, the lighting lit up the choir and Christine’s art work, a senior representative from the Korean Consulate attended—and it is always wonderful to sing to a full house.  The choir thanks the members of Peace for our willingness to host community cultural events and we thank Ms. Hyunjung Choi for her magnificent direction of the choirs!

Our Youth Group will be doing a variety of Service Projects during.  If you would like to assist with any of the following please let me know.

Loaves and Fishes,

CCIH/Contra Costa Interfaith Housing – helping lead a ‘Summer Camp’ on site with homeless kids who now have housing in Pleasant Hill.  (This could be fun stuff like swimming, art, basketball and more; we aren’t limited to academic material.)

Elder Care – work as volunteers with elders in a nursing care facility.

Night Ministry – walk the streets of the Tenderloin in San Francisco from 10 pm – till Midnight.  (I did this ministry for 10 years)

Urban Farmers – glean fruit from trees in local families yards.  The fruit is then given to our county Food Bank.

Our Clothing Free-Cycle happens this Sunday following worship.  Either brings clothes and items for exchange or just bring your good taste to choose items you really like!

Congratulations to Shannon Valenti who will be married this Saturday!

Gun, Nancy and Jeanne are off to Sweden, Ro to Puerto Rico, Thais and family to Brazil – whoever is left, know that I will be here on Sundays throughout the summer!

Please keep in your prayers:  Gen, Greg, Jasmine, Lisa, David, those seeking employment, immigrant children who are fleeing to the US in search of parents and hope, the people of Syria.

Hard to believe but Brock will conclude his time among us at the end of June.  Comments of appreciation from his Committee (Ron Elsdon, Chair, Tom Hall, Ken Budesa, Nancy Carlston, Gun Johnston and Linda Elsdon) were shared this past Sunday (see below).  Brock also received the gift of a Tree of Life Stole.  Peace has participated in the spiritual formation of more than 20 seminarians through Teaching Parish and Internship supervision.  Thank you friends of Peace for your encouragement of Brock, for insights shared and for keeping him in your prayers.

from Ron:

It has been a pleasure spending time with Brock over the last nine months.   It was also a pleasure being with our committee, so first a big thanks to Gun, Ken, Linda, Nancy, and Tom for all they brought to our committee and to Steve for bringing us together.  (Gun and Nancy are away)

  • And now to our reluctant hero, Brock.  Who has managed with grace and good humor to embrace our monthly meetings, and to divide his time between our congregation and the Federal prison in Dublin.
  • This has included being kitted out, a bit reluctantly, with a new wardrobe courtesy of our committee under the watchful and kind eye of Ken and Brock’s partner Xanthia.  This is not to suggest that a baseball cap, sneakers are amiss, though they may not fit quite so well in a service in Minnesota where Brock is from.  We’re working on a three piece suit for Brock’s next visit.
  • Since our first encounter I have been struck by Brock’s natural ability to listen well.  This comes through so clearly at the prison where his kind and gentle touch is a source of light to those in troubled times.
  • This is one of many talents that Brock will take into his future ministry, and many will be better for his presence.

As you know Brock is a keen fan of Tolkien, of all things in Middle Earth and in Lord of the Rings. So in addition to all the blessings that we give him from our faith tradition let me quote these closing words from Lord of the Rings to wish Brock well on a safe and happy journey forward.

From Linda:

I joined Brock’s committee after a couple of months of its beginning and I am glad I did.  Not only did I get to know Brock and Xanthia better but also the other members of the group as we met and shared in each others’ homes.  During this time I have seen Brock grow in the hard work of looking inside himself and reflecting on strengths and weaknesses – an important striving for all of us.

Through Brock I have had the opportunity to glimpse the world of women’s prison ministry.  Brock has a special gift to sit with others’ pain and therefore he brings the possibility of healing to the women in prison.

This poem by John Fox speaks to Brock’s inspiring potential with prison ministry.

When Someone Deeply Listens to You

When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you’ve had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold,  fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved. When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind’s eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!

When someone deeply listens to you
your bare feet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.

Keep musing on the inspiring Trinity Image from Richard Caemmerer on last Sunday’s bulletin cover.

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 06.13.14

Grace Waves

Friends:

The deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion.  It is wordless:  Beyond words, beyond speech, and beyond concepts.  Not that we discover a new unity.  We discover an older unity.  My dear sisters and brothers, we are already one but we imagine that we are not. What we have to recover is our original unity.  What we have to be is what we are.  —Thomas Merton, Monk

An enlightening and fiery Pentecost was shared by all this past Sunday.  Aiden’s Baptism lent special joy to this 3rd High Feast Day of the Church.  The music, our Tent of Meeting, the glorious flowers, beautiful art,  and flying champagne corks (we were called to become New Wineskins!) filled the liturgy with depth and festivity.  Thank God the Spirit continues to give birth to us and new visions!

Mozart’s ‘Coronation Mass’ will be performed this Saturday, June 14 at 7:00 pm at Peace by The Pacific Choir and Coelis Ensemble.  An 8 piece Orchestra will accompany the singers.  Only 4 of our 25 Free Tickets remain – contact me if you want to claim these.  Invite friends for this superb evening of classical and contemporary music!

The Broadway Chorus sings ‘The Colors of Broadway’:  Martha invites you to attend either Saturday, June 14 at 2pm or 8pm or Sunday June 15 at 2pm in Pleasanton at the Amador Theater.  Call 925-462-2121 for tickets.

Hot Fun in the Summertime / Solstice Celebration – Saturday, June 21 at 5:00 pm.  Time to kick back and relax with the Arrival of Summer. Kids welcomed!

Chuck is preparing the Tastiest BBQ on the Planet – he always delivers!  He is calling this our ‘Crab Feed for the Summertime’. He is expecting at least 100 people for this occasion – just Come and Enjoy!  Please invite friends who have never been to Peace before. There will be Steel Drums, Music and Dancing plus an opportunity to Walk the Labyrinth and mark the pivot point for 2014.  A joyful time to Party at Peace!

Congratulations to Ken and Michael who will be married on June 13.  Blessings on your marriage.  We are happy for you.  Truly Love makes a family!

We begin to bid farewell to Seminarian Brock Klobe this Sunday.  His Internship among us will conclude at the end of June.   What a rich year we have shared.  Make sure you get to share your words of wisdom and gratitude with Brock during these next two weeks.

Dazzle Broadway – Our Way!  Gary invites you to the SF Gay Men’s Chorus Concerts on either June 25, 26 or 27 at 8:00 pm at the Nourse Theatre in San Francisco.  Carpool arrangements can be made.  Contact the office if you are interested.

Clothing Free – Cycle  / June 22:   Have clothes you have grown tired of or grown out of?  Between now and June 22, please bring unwanted men’s and women’s clothing,shoes, jewelry, handbags, knick-knacks, etc. to Peace on Sunday and they will have a chance for a second life with someone else.  Clothing must be in good condition, clean and free of stains or tears.  Also please deliver clothes to the church on hangers when possible.  Simply bring it in when you come to services (June 15 is ideal) and we’ll take care of the rest. On June 22, a changing room and mirror will be provided as well as a chair to try on shoes.

Congratulations to all the graduates!

God is always Self-giving; the Creation is the gift of God’s Self-emptying.  God’s compassion is endless.  God is love.  Divine love is the endlessly, generous self-pouring of mercy and forgiveness upon everyone.

Pentecost Wisdom,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 06.05.14

Friends:

You did what you could until you knew better, and when you knew better, you did better. —Maya Angelou

 

Pentecost is this Sunday, June 8.  It is the Third High Feast Day of the Church Year.  Come prepared to celebrate the Spirit and the Baptism of Aiden.  WEAR RED!

First Friday Films – This Friday, June 6 at 6:30 pm  Moonrise Kingdom which promises to make you laugh and leave you with worthwhile reflections. Rated PG 13, so kids are welcome. The film focuses on middle-school aged kids, their parents and community. It is both comedic and soulful. Please invite anyone you think might enjoy it.

The Pacific Choir and Coelis Ensemble invite you to their performance of Mozart’s ‘Coronation Mass’ on Saturday, June 14 at 7:00 pm.  They are gifting Peace Members with 25 free tickets.  This joyful concert will create an outstanding evening that will enrich your soul.

Summertime Celebration – Midsommer Solstice Party!  It’s time to enjoy summer’s arrival on Saturday, June 21 at 5:00 pm.  Kick back and relax with a tasty BBQ prepared by Chuck Fisher, steel drums, great music and lots of friends.  Invite whomever you want to join us.

June 4 marks the 25th Anniversary of Tiananmen Square when 19 year old Wang Weilin stopped the tanks while millions of people around the world watched.  Some of us are still watching.

Justice Advocacy Forum this Sunday.  Our Justice Deacons Ron and Linda Elsdon will share the results of our Justice Survey.  I hope you can participate in the conversation.

Pope Francis has invited Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to a day of Prayer for Peace in the Middle East on Sunday, June 8, 2014.   In prayer we elevate our thoughts and minds to a higher consciousness as we become aware that we are all children of the Divine Presence.  Could this become a model for confronting the issues of our day?

We will offer our prayers for the Middle East this Sunday too.    You may also decide to bless and light candles or arrange some flowers as a centerpiece of peace in your home.  Such a lovely display will bless all who visit you and remind you and your friends to strive for peace in all the affairs of life.  Or you may choose to gather around our Peace Pole and offer a prayer for peace.

As Pope Francis said in his invitation, “I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer.  All of us want peace.  Many people build it day by day through small gestures and acts; many of them are suffering, yet patiently persevere in their efforts to be peacemakers.   Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a constant torment. The men and women of these lands and of the entire world ask us to bring before God their fervent hopes for peace.”

Keep in your prayers:  Gen, Greg, Jeanie, Layla, Mateo, William, Ryder, for peace in our time, and for  all those who pay the price for crying out for justice.

Gary invites you to “DAZZLE Broadway OUR WAY” by the SF Gay Men’s Chorus on June 25, 26, and 27 at 8:00 pm at the Nourse Theatre in San Francisco.  Want to carpool?

Thanks to our Sunday School Teachers Charlene McPherson, Pat Leong and Arlene Reed for their dedication to our children and the teaching of our faith!

Jack’s Eagle Scout Soccer Project:  Last Spring Jack O’Neil sent a variety of soccer equipment to our Partners at Lwamondo Parish in South Africa.  We recently received word from our friend Ndou Muthuphei that the sports equipment is attracting children in the neighborhood of Tshifulanani Congregation and working some wonders in increasing children’s attendance at worship.  Soccer matches are played every Saturday at 2 pm and it is getting kids off of the streets.  Photos to be sent soon.  How the Spirit works!  Way to go, Jack.

Clothing Free – Cycle!  Have clothes you have grown tired of or grown out of?  Between now and June 22, please bring unwanted men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, jewelry, handbags, knick-knacks, etc. to Peace on Sunday and they will have a chance for a second life with someone else.  Clothing must be in good condition, clean and free of stains or tears.  Also please deliver clothes to the church on hangers when possible.  Simply bring it in when you come to services (June 15 is ideal) and we’ll take care of the rest. On June 22, a changing room and mirror will be provided as well as a chair to try on shoes.

The conclusion of our 9th Season of Jazz at Peace was remarkable.  Clairdee sang her heart out, Dmitri Matheny’s flugelhorn was mellifluous, the Pacific Youth Choir delighted the crowd, thanks to Gun Johnston for teaching Swedish to the Coelis Ensemble so they could sing “Håll mig kvar” by Malin Gavelin, and the finale with our Jazz at Peace Theme Song “Sing Out!” (composed by Clairdee and Ken French) rocked the house!  We also got to celebrate Ed the JazzCat and Libby Klitsch’s 30 years of coordinating Jazz Vespers around the country.  Thank you, Ed!

“There are unbearable things all around us – you have to look at them and for them; search carefully. Open your eyes and you will see. This is what I tell young people: If you spend a little time searching, you will find your reasons to engage in life. The worst attitude is indifference: ‘There’s nothing I can do; I will just get by’ — adopting this mindset will deprive you of one of the fundamental qualities of being human: outrage.  Our capacity for protest is indispensable, as is our freedom to engage.”  (Stephane Hessel,  WWII French Resistance Member)

Ascension Blessings,  Pr. Steve