Pastor’s Weekly Message: 12.24.14

Grace Waves

Friends:

And Mary said to the angel, ‘Let it be’……….she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.

“Pure Delight!”   What an incredible Christmas Concert!  Our thanks to Elizabeth Hunter Ashley and Hyunjung Choi for their artistry, inspiration and willingness to serve as catalysts for this profound experience of the gospel made vibrant in music.  In addition baritone Joo Won Kang moved many and the duet ‘The Prayer’ that Elizabeth and Joo Won sang melted our hearts most lovingly.  The Coelis Ensemble lifted us, Special Blend eased us and the Pacific Youth Choir made us happy for the gifts of the next generation.  The sing along “Hallelujah Chorus” with Gary, Sue/trumpet and Cynthia/timpani was a joy filled culmination.  God willing this will become an annual tradition for many years to come.

Our thanks to:  Elana and Bill, Jasmine and Elise, Ed Rethers, the Pacific Choir moms and teens, Libby and Margaret for the reception, ushering, ticket taking and clean up!

Giving Tree Gifts:  Special thanks to our whole congregation for the Giving Tree Gifts prepared for families in need.  More than 60 people received gifts due to your generosity this year.  Gratitude to Diane Kurtz and Libby for organizing the gifts for delivery; and to Nancy, Ceil, Ken and Libby for their delivery.

How rich it was to share the Treasures of Mary on Mary Sunday.  Thanks to Martha and Ceil for their gifts of song!

Christmas Caroling – what a joyful tradition!  Numerous Carolers (Nancy, Gun,  Lynn, Catherine, Libby, Ken, Dwane, Anthony, Gary) shared their Caroling Love with Edith and Charlene – where we were joined by an additional dozen children and singers;  enjoyed and sang for the Light Show on Love Lane, savored tasty night-sky treats with Marlene and Fred, sang at Gen’s home for daughter Candy, and topped off the evening at John and Toni Baker’s home.  Of course we sang through the streets wherever we went and accolades of praise were cast upon us for sharing the joy of Christmas!

Christmas Eve:

Children and Family Service at 5:00 pm:  You will meet pious shepherds, seasoned Wise Ones, see Angels waft to the Heights and get to welcome Mary and Joseph and the Baby – all of this through the eyes and hearts of our children.

Candlelight and Communion at 10:00 pm:  Enjoy the beauty of the night, the stillness and the candlelight.

Christmas Day – 10:00 am:  Moments to glorious to convey will be showered upon you!

Blessed Christmas,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 12.18.14

Grace Waves

Friends:

A Daily Prayer:  Be with all beings—help us find love and nourishment; overwhelm our hearts and minds with compassion so it may be the meter by which our world is built; and allow none to use violence as a means to their ends.  Grant us community vision and follow through.  Thank you for mountains, rivers, sky, plants, animals, trees, relationships, drama, laughter, love and joy.   Let friends, family and loved ones walk in your light and do your good works. —Elias Harms

Blessed News:  Today St. Stephens Lutheran Church in Hicksville, NY (Long Island) voted to call me as their pastor! I have been in the interview process with them since October (shortly after finishing my internship/seminary studies in August), so this final step is a joyful one that has been a long time coming. Dan and I are both thrilled to be a part of this warm and welcoming community! My first services with them will be on Christmas Eve, though I won’t start full time work there until the new year. Shortly after Christmas, we plan to move into their parsonage in Hicksville, and then after visiting some family my work will officially begin the first or second week in January. The date of my ordination is still pending, but will likely be in late January or early February in Ohio. My official installation will be at a similar time at St. Stephens.

Thanks to each and every one of you for the love and support you have shown along the way! I hope that the coming Christmas season will be a time to reconnect with many of you, and to hear what life has brought you in these past few months.  Much love!  Emily Trubey-Weller

“Pure Delight” Christmas Concert.  This will be an outstanding experience of great artistry, spiritual depth and the joy of Christmas.  Our own Elizabeth Hunter Ashley and Hyunjung Choi have invested tremendous energy and love in creating this event for our Valley Community.  Gary Sponholtz and friends will lead us in concluding this occasion with the sing along “Hallelujah Chorus”!  Spread the word – invite your friends.  (If you can assist as an usher, with the ticket desk, the reception or clean up please let me know.)

Please return your Giving Tree Gifts this Sunday, Dec. 21.  Make sure the Ornament is attached and the Room # is written on the outside of the gift.

A group of singers are joining our Christmas Eve Choir.    You too can be part of this exceptional group by letting Gary know – soon!

Christmas Caroling:  You are invited to join a group of Carolers from Peace this next Monday, Dec. 22 at 7:00 pm.  Gary will lead the way with his accordion.  You can bring percussion, crazy hats and whatever else heightens your Christmas Joy!  We had great fun last year.  Keep this ancient tradition alive.

The New Jim Crow by Michele Alexander:   This is an excellent analysis of the history and current realities of racism in America.  It also addresses the issue of the mass incarceration of African Americans in an age of ‘color blindness’.

Blue Christmas:  Though joyous for many, some people find they have no heart for the cheer and the bustle, the anticipation and the excitement and Christmas. Across the country congregations recognize the struggles grieving people often face during the holidays. In the weeks before Christmas they focus ministry efforts on special worship services that speak to the needs of the downhearted. A list of Blue Christmas Services around the Bay Area is posted on our Kiosk.  Or contact Martha if you want to assist a friend prior to Sunday.

We pray:  for an end to torture and our belief in torture; for an end to the madness of terrorism which cannot see the humanity of children; and for an end to the greed of the powerful which fuels such anger and despair in our world.

We celebrate Mary Sunday this 4th Sunday of Advent.

Thanks to those who helped decorate our Christmas Tree last Sunday!

The 4 Paradoxes of Advent:

Hope – where there is none;

Discover new life in the desert;

Cherish Community  and speak a critical word to community when necessary;

Prayer leads to justice and justice leads to prayer.

Christmas Eve

  • 5:00 pm  – Children and Family Service
  • 10:00 pm – Candlelight and Communion

Christmas Day 10:00 am – Carols and Communion

Blessed Advent, Pr. Steve

 

 

 

 

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 12.12.14

Grace Waves

Friends:

A more spiritual way is needed to resolve the antagonisms of our time.”  Is this not the prayer of Advent?

The “Pure Delight!” Christmas Concert presented by our own Elizabeth Hunter Ashley and Hyunjung Choi will be performed on Sunday, December 21 at 4:30 pm at Peace.  Guest Baritone Joo Won Kang (SF Opera, Carnegie, Kennedy Center) will also perform.  He and Elizabeth will share a duet!  In addition The Coelis Vocal Ensemble and Special Blend from the Blackhawk Chorus will perform.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and children under 12 are free.  Last year many people said, “This Concert truly made my Christmas!”  What a festive Annual  Tradition this is becoming!

Giving Tree Gifts:  We have a person looking to partner with another family or two from Peace.  A few other Ornaments remain and can be chosen on Sunday.  Please return your gifts on Sunday, December 21.

Forum – A Place at the Table:  Our discussion about Hunger in America was not completed before Thanksgiving.  It will continue this Sunday in the Gathering Hall.  Please join us even if you haven’t been able to view the film.

First Friday Films:  Join us THIS Friday, Dec. 12 at 6:30 pm for a screening of The Thief of Bagdad, a 1940 Technicolor classic on par with The Wizard of Oz. There is a flying horse, a goddess with six arms, a giant genie released from a bottle, a flying carpet and a battle with a gargantuan spider. It is a family adventure film which promises to uplift and fascinate even the most jaded film lover. 106 min.

Our thanks to Director Goran Berg, members of the Sycamore Strings Academy and Alice O’Sullivan for their blessed contributions to our worship this past Sunday.

Our Youth Group will meet this Sunday evening from 6 – 7:30 pm at Renee and Todd’s home.

The Veil Tapestry—Threading the Connection for All Faiths.  All members of the Interfaith Community/I-SRV are invited to express through sacred texts the insights revealed to our various prophets as sacraments from God.  The gathering of these spiritual texts will remind, encourage and teach us “How to become a Human Being”.   Peace Members get to contribute to the Veil Tapestry during the Hospitality Hour on the Sundays of Advent. Thanks for your contributions this past Sunday.

Christmas Caroling – Monday, December 22?  We are trying to find a date that can work for us.  Please speak with Gary about your availability this Sunday.

Would you like to sing for our Christmas Eve Service at 10 pm?  Please contact Gary this Sunday.

Richard Caemmerer Exhibit: These engaging works present encounters with biblical themes, mystery, and our unfolding creation.

Peace Mosaic T-shirts:   Several people have requested our popular Mosaic T-shirts because they are well designed and  prompt fascinating conversations on the street.  The t-shirts will be available for purchase on our Advent Sundays.

Lwamondo Parish sends their word of thanks for our recent gift and partnership with their ministries. Our pledge to them will help revive the Revolving Loan Program.  Parish members will receive loans with 10% interest.  Loans will be granted to those who desire to start small or micro businesses.

To our friends in Laurel Galan:

We send you greetings from all of us at Peace Lutheran Church.  As we enter the season of Advent we pray that you all experience the joyful anticipation of the coming of our Lord’s birth and the promise of God’s love and presence in all that you do. Our deepest prayer is that all of you are in good health and experiencing the fullness of God’s blessings. You are always included in the prayers of the congregation of Peace.  May 2015 be a blessed one for each of you and your families.

Blessed Advent and Joyous Christmas!

With love from the Partnership Committee and all of your friends at Peace Lutheran Church, Danville, California

Christmas Eve Worship:

  • 5:00 pm – Children and Families Service
  • 10:00 pm – Candlelight and Communion

Christmas Day – 10:00 am

A guest at worship recently said:  The people in your church are open and generous and loving. What a place to feed on the spiritual offerings.

Advent Blessings,  Pr. Steve

 

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 12.04.14

Grace Waves

Friends:

Prayer is coming to view life through the heart of God; it is coming to see the world as God sees the world – as One.  We know that we will have come to see God when we have come to see people as sacred.  —Thomas Merton, monk

This Sunday our worship will host 5 Students from the Sycamore Strings Academy – 4 violins and a viola.  You will find this emotionally rich and spiritually uplifting.  Our thanks to Director Goran Berg for making this possible.  In addition, Alice O’Sullivan will be our guest pianist.  Come and honor our guests with your presence!

The “Pure Delight!” Christmas Concert presented by our own Elizabeth Hunter Ashley and Hyunjung Choi will be performed on Sunday, December 21 at 4:30 pm at Peace.  Guest Baritone Joo Won Kang (SF Opera, Carnegie, Kennedy Center) will also perform.  He and Elizabeth will share a duet!  In addition The Coelis Vocal Ensemble and Special Blend from the Blackhawk Chorus will perform.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and children under 12 are free.  Last year many people said, “This Concert truly made my Christmas!”  What a festive Annual  Tradition this is becoming!

The Veil Tapestry—Threading the Connection for All Faiths.  All members of the Interfaith Community/I-SRV are invited to express through sacred texts the insights revealed to our various prophets as sacraments from God.  The gathering of these spiritual texts will remind, encourage and teach us How to become a Human Being.   You will be asked to choose words and phrases from your tradition and paint them by hand on the canvas.  As these words and phrases fill the space, painted one on top of another layer by layer, they will create an intertwined tapestry of sacred words – a woven Veil.  This tapestry of calligraphy will be a testimony to our universal faith.

The Veil Tapestry was introduced at the ‘Inequality and Faith’ event at San Damiano on November 15.  It will circulate among all of the I-SRV Congregations to receive your contributions.  Over time,it is the artist’s hope that the tapestry will prompt joy and wonder as a celebration of wholeness, understanding and inclusivity.

Peace Members get to contribute to the Veil Tapestry during the Hospitality Hour on the Sundays of Advent.  Thanks to Bill Carmel for creating this.

Richard Caemmerer Exhibit:  Thanks to Bill Carmel for mounting the Caemmerer Exhibit.  Some of these works present encounters of biblical stories and mystery; others are of creation unfolding; all are spiritually engaging.

First (2nd) Friday Films:  Join us on The 2nd Friday, Dec. 12 at 6:30 pm for a screening of The Thief of Bagdad, a 1940 Technicolor classic on par with The Wizard of Oz. There is a flying horse, a goddess with six arms, a giant genie released from a bottle, a flying carpet and a battle with a gargantuan spider. It is a family adventure film which promises to uplift and fascinate even the most jaded film lover. 106 min.

Giving Trees:  We have 8 families this year and 7 of them are large.   I/we are encouraging you to partner with 2 other families to help meet the needs of our Giving Tree families.  You get to choose your Ornaments this Sunday, December 7.  It is asked that you return your gifts on Sunday, December 21.

Peace Mosaic T-shirts:   Several people have requested our popular Mosaic T-shirts because they are well designed and always prompt conversations on the street.  They have arrived just in time for Christmas and will be available for purchase on our Advent Sundays.

The Jazz Church West presents the Lorca Hart Trio this Sunday at 5:00 pm. This fine combination of organ, drums and guitar will move you into your holiday groove.

Honey, honey?  Keep life sweet:  Enjoy the tastiest honey on the planet and keep the monks praying for us!  Wonderful Christmas gifts too.

Christmas Eve Schedule:  Children and Family Service at 5:00 pm; Candlelight and Communion at 10:00 pm.

Christmas Day:  Worship at 10:00 am.

I hope you come to find that which gives life a deep meaning for you… something worth living for, maybe even worth dying for… something that energizes you, enthuses you, enables you to keep moving ahead. I can’t tell you what it might be – that’s for you to find, to choose, to love.  (Sr. Ita Ford, martyr, Dec. 2, 1980)

Blessed Advent,  Pr. Steve