Pastor’s Weekly Message: 02.25.16

Grace Waves

Friends:

All I have is a Voice to undo the folded Lie….

We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night our world in stupor lies;

Yet, dotted everywhere, ironic points of light
Flash Out wherever

The Just exchange their messages of hope:

May I, composed like them of eros and dust,

beleaguered by the same negation and despair,

Show an Affirming Flame!  —W.H. Auden

Our Peace Men’s Breakfast is happening on Saturday, March 5 from 9 – 10:45 am.  All the guys are welcomed to join in.

The next Family Service is on Sunday, March 6.  We get to celebrate Ariel Rose’s baptism and more!

Laurel Galan, Nicaragua Update:

Dear Friends at Peace:  Yesterday we have a great visit with the group from Laurel Galan. Still there is water in the wells but they had no harvest so that is one difficulty they are facing right now. In general the women are in good health and excited for the beginning of the new school year. We delivered the letters and Emelina and Micaela wrote to you. Please forgive me for any mistakes in this letter. I am really bad at writing in English.

Hugs, Memo (on behalf of Between Cultures)

Please keep in your prayers:  Ed, Tom, Fred, Liz, Lois’ brothers, Ruth, Paul, all caregivers, those who have lost loved ones, political prisoners, refugees; poets, prophets and peacemakers who expose lies in order for there to be healing.

“Fables and Fantasy” a Community Concert by the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Band will be performed at Peace on Sunday, March 20 at 4:00 pm.  This is an exciting concert for which we thank Gary for making all the arrangements.  Invite your family and friends to a joyous and energizing performance!

Jazz Church West – a Note from Bass Player John Donnelly:  “What a pleasure to perform in your sanctuary on February 14.  As for how I feel, I can quote my mentor Red Mitchell in one of his songs, ‘…This is heaven, heaven’s here; in this world and in this year… ‘  You have a lovely congregation.  I enjoyed speaking to a number of those that attended — all very informed and supportive of jazz and the arts.  It was also personally very special to find the presence of the spirit of John Garcia Gensel (founder of Jazz Vespers in NY) as well!  Steve, thank you for the hospitality of you and your congregation.

Lenten Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 02.18.16

Grace Waves

Friends:

And what are our ancestors praying for us this Lenten Season?

Lenten Forum Series – “The Sabbath”:  Join us for reflections and exercises on how to live from the essential nutrients of rest, wisdom and delight.  We meet in the Youth Room at 11:30.

The Youth Group meets this Sunday, February 21 from 6 – 7:30 pm at Thai and Greg’s home.

Book of Blessings – Lenten Discipline:  During the Lenten Season keep a journal by your bed and each night record 2 or 3 blessings that you experienced during the day.  In time you will enjoy a priceless spiritual gift!

Our thanks to Pr. Margareta and the Sunday School Staff for our Valentine Family Service!  The next Family Service is on March 6.

 How wonderful to celebrate Tom and Joan Eychner’s 55th Wedding Anniversary!  A joyous kiss and a perfectly arched champagne cork!

Early Communion Class:  Parents of 2nd – 5th Graders – please let Pr. Steve know of your questions and availability for this class.

Keep in your prayers:  Fred Garrity, Ralph, Pr. Bob Lesher, the Peace Council, Richard Caemmerer and family, all the refugees, and those seeking employment.

Men’s Group:  The Men of Peace will enjoy Breakfast together on Saturday, March 5 from 9 – 10:45 am at Peace.  An occasion to relax, reflect and get further connected.

SR Library Jazz Series at Peace begins this Saturday:  On the  3rd Saturdays of the next 4 months – starting  Feb. 20 at 8 pm with Manny Moka’s Latin Band – Peace will host the Library Jazz Series.  Check it out.

By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and trust your strength lies. —Isaiah 30: 15

Lenten blessings,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 02.11.16

Grace Waves

Friends:

The Sabbath:  “If you refrain from breaking the Sabbath, from taking your own pleasure on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath ‘Delightful’ and the day sacred to God ‘Honorable’, if you rest where you are, and abstain from seeking only pleasure and too much talk, then you will find true happiness in G!d.”  (Isaiah 58)

Family Service/Valentine’s Sunday:  Come and join in the love of life, our children and God this Sunday.  Our worship will be filled with nothing but blessings for all present.  How we love our children at Peace!  What a gift that we get to nurture them in spiritual wisdom and joy as they nourish us with love and laughter.  Anticipate a lovely Valentine’s Celebration.

We begin our Lenten Forum Series on ‘The Sabbath’ this Sunday.  This ancient 3,000 year old practice has everything to offer you.  As Rabbi Dan and I said last Fall, “This is the most revolutionary practice we can teach you.”  The Sabbath simply wants to offer you the essential nutrients of rest, wisdom  and delight.  And these gifts are offered to people who often feel they don’t have time to accept these gifts or decide they will postpone this practice until retirement.

This is the only commandment that begins ‘Remember’.   Remember the Sabbath means “remember that everything you have received is a blessing.  Remember to delight in your life, in the fruits of your labor.  Remember to stop and offer thanks for the wonder of it.”   Remember – as if we could ever forget….indeed, the assumption is that we will forget.  History and our technological world clearly demonstrate we do forget…..and then wonder why life can be so unfulfilling.

The book is filled with wonderful stories and many practical exercises which we will experiment with.  Breathe – you can do this and enjoy Sabbath moments!  (You won’t have to set a whole day aside!)  My prayer is that you choose to participate to receive the insights and blessings of mindfulness and caring that can arise only in stillness and time.  For your sake, for the sake of our children and for the sake of our world.  We meet in the Youth Room at 11:30 am.  Copies of ‘The Sabbath’ are available for $15.

Congregational Meeting Highlights:  Six new members of the Council were elected and our 2016 Budget was passed.  If you did not yet receive a copy of our 2015 Annual Report, my Pastor’s Report or our Budget, you may pick up a copy this Sunday.

Men’s Group at Peace:  Mark Miller has suggested that we get a Men’s Group going.  To that end – how about if all the guys at Peace get together for Breakfast at Peace on Saturday, March 5 from 9 – 10:45 am?   Good food will be coming and we will decide how best we can be supportive of each other.  No pressure, no agendas – just the time to get connected in ways that matter to us.  Questions – suggestions?  Let me know.

Peace Survey:  This will be our final Sunday for you to complete our congregational survey.  Over 30 people have participated.  Your input is valuable.  If you would like to take it online please do so at:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LMY2QBH

Thanks to our Council Members who shared their perspectives on their ministries during our Hospitality Hour last Sunday.  These Council Conversations will continue throughout Lent.

The Jazz Church West hosts the Leon Joyce Quartet this Sunday at 5:00 pm.  Super fine time coming our way!  Due to renovation work, the San Ramon Library Jazz Series (normally a Fall Event) will be hosted by Peace on the 3rd Saturdays of February, March, April and May.  The cost is $25/performance or $80 for the series.  Come check it out on February 21 at 8 pm.

It has been said that:  Israel did not keep the Sabbath, but the Sabbath kept Israel.

Lenten blessings,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 02.04.16

Grace Waves

Friends:

The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of God. —Gandhi

Council Conversations:  This Sunday following our Annual Meeting and during Hospitality please give yourself the opportunity to talk with our Council Deacons and Officers about their ministries within our congregation.  A fine time to learn about Worship, Education, Stewarding, Justice Advocacy, Connection, Youth and Family and Property.  If you wish to get involved it is a fine time to connect.

Peace Survey:  If you have not completed our Survey yet you can take it online:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LMY2QBH.  Or you can complete it this Sunday at church.

Family Service – Valentine’s Day/February 14 at 10 am.  We love kids at Peace!  They are joyful embodiments of God’s presence and they convey the Mystery of God’s Love with such happy delight.  Therefore everything that contributes to the little (or younger) ones feeling at home at church is welcomed.  They are free to wander about during worship, even crawl under the altar as they discover their church family and explore our sanctuary built and dedicated to love!  To play and pray are very special gifts!

Quilt Exhibit:  More than half a dozen groups have already visited Margaret Bender’s Exhibit during the weeks it has been on display.  All of the guests have marveled at her talent!  Our thanks to Bill for curating this exhibit which continues to open our eyes to the beauty that surrounds us.

We had a wonderful Recognition Ceremony this past Sunday with all the participants in last June Celebration of the United Nations’ 70th Anniversary.  We are blessed by the talents of so many young performers!  Our thanks to the Sycamore Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Choir and Coelis Vocal Ensemble for encouraging the Spirit of Peace in our world.

Cupid’s Touch at Tyme for Tea (Fremont):  Saturday, February 13 at 2:30.  Contact Pat Leong if wish to join this party of 8 for Tea!

Members of Peace who have Life Insurance Policies or Financial Investments through Thrivent Financial get to direct their Fraternal Dollars to non-profit organizations.  Last year  Thrivent Choice® Peace participants chose Peace!  Based on their recommendations, Peace Lutheran Church received $1,233 in 2015. Thrivent members positively impact their communities.

Ash Wednesday – February 10.  Our Lenten Season begins next week with Ash Wednesday worship at 7:30 pm.

Blessings,  Pr. Steve