Pastor’s Weekly Message: 01.26.17

Grace Waves

Friends:

Epiphany – the Season of Wisdom“The person who is in love with their vision of community will destroy community.  But the person who loves the people around them will create community everywhere they go.”   Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Such Joy we experience in the celebrations of our Family Service.  The little ones laughing, dancing and playing remind us of the very heart of God.  Thanks to our Confirmands who helped teach us the Qi Abba/Imma!

The Council had an engaging Retreat this past Sunday. Our Annual Report will be available to you this Sunday, January 29.  Our thanks to Treasurer Diane Kurtz for preparing our 2017 Proposed Budget!

Committee Meetings – All members of Peace are invited to join these committees.

Education Team – January 31 at 3:15 pm

Annual Congregational Meeting – immediately following worship on February 5

Healing Prayer Team – February 7 at 3:15

Peace Council Meeting – February 14, 7:00 pm

Justice Advocacy – February 18, Noon – 2:30

Tyme for Tea:  Come enjoy a wonderful tea with friends from Peace on Saturday, February 11 at 11:00 am in Niles.  Only one seat remains!  The cost is $39.  Please contact Diane Kurtz to make your reservation.

In two weeks Elizabeth Hunter Ashley will perform as a soloist for 2 Concerts with The Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra.  They are on:  February 4, 2:00 pm @ El Campanile Theatre in Antioch; and February 5, 2:00 pm in the Hoffman Theater @ the Lesher Regional Center in Walnut Creek.  For more information

http://contracostachamberorchestra.org/concerts-events/.

Church Women United invites you to Pray for Peace, Reconciliation and Compassion during the next 100 Days.  The biblical inspiration for this practice is Matthew 19: 27 – 20: 16.  Speak with Lois McGee about details.

January 21, 2017, will go down in history as a turning point in human consciousness.  Women, men, children, babies, and peoples from every sector and over fifty different countries (including 600 marches in the US) marched in the streets of the World to protest hate, fear, and prejudice.  These marchers had many different points of view about many different issues.  Some marched for Women and Human Rights, others walked to protect religious and ethnic minorities, many marched in the Pro-Life Movement, and others for an array of concerns and issues.  What they had in common was mutual respect, deep dialogue and a willingness to model in fact the peace our World so deeply longs for in times of conflict and confusion.  The marchers provided an example of how people with different points of view can walk together not merely in protest but profoundly in solidarity as they seek to forge peace by striving for justice.” Fr. Tom Bonacci

If you would like to join the Peace Prayer Circle who is notified by email of prayers requested for the needs of people in our families, congregation and community, please contact Lois McGee at:  loisjmcgee@aol.com.

Global Partnerships:  If you are looking for inspiration, if you want to hear stories of faith and transformation, if you’ve been wondering what is happening in Rwanda these days, come to the Adult Forum on Sunday, February 12 and meet Fr. Innocent Rugaragu, S.J., Ron Snyder of PICO International, and Dr. Karl Smith of the Rwanda School Project.  They will share stories and pictures of faith communities doing amazing things to bring good things to their people — hospitals, clean water, schools, economic development.  You’ll also hear how ordinary people have learned to confront and engage their governments — local and national — and make them active partners…just the sort of things to give US courage and motivation for our own time. This is another way for us to stay in touch with the realities of our Partners in Lwamondo Parish, South Africa.   For more information, talk with Pastor Lucy Kolin.

Please keep in your prayers:  Marlene and Fred Garrity, Anne on the death of Keith,  Ruth on the death of  Bob, Maili and Kersti on the death of Astrid, Rae on the death of Dave, Brian Turner, Renee’s mother, Nancy, Gun, Brian McGee, Margaret Bender, Kari Schoening’s father, Peter, Ed Klitsch, those living in fear of hard times.

“The Federal Correctional Institution at Dublin (FCI Dublin) will be holding a mock job fair for inmates on Wednesday, April 26.   There is a morning session in one facility from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and an afternoon session from noon to 1:30 p.m. in an adjacent facility.  Volunteers can participate in either the morning or the afternoon session or in both sessions.  The purpose of the event is to:

  • Give inmates realistic experience where they can learn and improve their job seeking skills.
  • Assist FCI Dublin develop valuable contacts with employers, and enhance the credibility of FCI Dublin programs with inmates and the community.  This will help employers change their viewpoint about inmates and inmate programs, and look more favorably on hiring ex-offenders, after being exposed to the prison and the inmates during the job fair event.  This can contribute directly to the ability of inmates to get and retain jobs and be successful in the community.

FCI Dublin is seeking both individuals to assist in interview coaching and resume reviews, and also hiring organizations to participate in the event.  They have a particular need for Spanish speaking volunteers, in addition to English speaking volunteers.  If you would like to volunteer to provide interview coaching/resume review (or if you are aware of an organization that may wish to participate) please contact Remegio Tibunsay at FCI Dublin, at rtibunsay@bop.gov who can provide you with the necessary information to complete.  It is a good idea to respond quickly if this is of interest in case volunteer opportunities fill up.  If you would like to know about past experience volunteering at FCI Dublin please contact Ron Elsdon at renewal@elsdon.com .”

“Legislation may not change the heart but it will restrain the heartless.”  Dr. Martin Luther King

Epiphany blessings,

Pr. Steve

 

 

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 01.19.17

Grace Waves

Friends:

Holy One of Compassion, in this world wounded by injustice and ignorance give our religious and political leaders of courage and vision.  Dedicate them to the common good.  May we as global peacemakers partner with them in creating a world built on respect, reverence, humility and responsibility—a culture of peace that reflects your presence.

 Our Family Service this Sunday will be a celebration of children and prayer.  Please invite friends and new families to join you.  Looks like rain….count on it raining grace in the sanctuary!

The Peace Council will have our Quarterly Retreat after worship this Sunday too.  Our Annual Congregational Meeting will follow worship on February 5.

Several women from Peace plan to attend the Women’s March in Walnut Creek this Saturday.  We plan to gather between 10:00-10:30 at Civic Park.  The website states: The Women’s March is a national movement for women, men, and children who stand for human rights, civil liberties, diversity, and compassion for our shared humanity.  We march to support and inspire each other and the nation to celebrate, honor and protect our diversity, freedom and human rights.  We gather in community to find healing and strength through tolerance, civility, and compassion.  This is a non-partisan march.  We welcome all people to join us as we unite locally and nationally, on January 21, 2017, to stand together in justice, respect and inclusion for all.  (For further info:  Women’s March-Walnut Creek/Contra Costa Facebook page.  (Speak with Arlene or Linda.)

Ceil Mccloy (Ceilmccloy@aol.com) invites those who wish to participate in the Oakland March to carpool with her.

Our own Elizabeth Hunter Ashley will be the Soloist for 2 upcoming concerts with The Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra: February 4, 2:00 pm @ El Campanile Theatre in Antioch; and February 5, 2:00 pm in the Hoffman Theater @ the Lesher Regional Center in Walnut Creek. Check out this link for details – http://contracostachamberorchestra.org/concerts-events/

The Wound of Racism:  “Mother Emanuel” African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, SC was the site of the murder of nine members of that congregation in 2015 at the hands of Dylan Roof, who is a member of an ELCA congregation in Charleston.  Two of the pastors of that church who were murdered, The Rev. Clementa Pinckney and The Rev. Daniel Simmons, who were graduates of the ELCA’s Lutheran Southern Seminary. As Presiding Bishop Eaton so movingly pointed out at the time, “One of our own is alleged to have shot and killed two who adopted us as their own.” Mercy, mercy, mercy.  (To better understand the dynamics of racism today read “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.)

Please keep in your prayers: Anne on the death of husband Keith, Paige on the death of her husband,  Ruth on the death of father Bob Lesher, Maili and Kersti on the death of Astrid, my sister Rae on the death of husband Dave, Brian Turner, Renee’s mother, Nancy, Gun, Brian McGee, Margaret Bender, Kari Schoening’s father, Peter, Fred Garrity, Ed Klitsch, those looking for shelter, those who have been blessed by Dr. King, the children and families of Aleppo, our Confirmands (who meet this Sunday), to live lives of grace upon grace upon grace.

Our thanks to Karin and John Shepanek for their donation of fine office desks and furniture!

Psalm 15

Lord, who can  be trusted with power,
and who may act in your place?
Those with a passion for justice,
who speak the truth from their hearts;
who have let go of selfish interests
and grown beyond their own lives;
who see the wretched of the earth as their family
and the poor as their own flesh and blood.

They alone are impartial
and worthy of the people’s trust.

Their compassion lights up the whole earth!
And their kindness endures forever.

Epiphany Wisdom Blessings to you!

Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 01.12.17

Grace Waves

Friends:

Who you are is God’s gift to you.  Who you become is your gift to God.— Happy Epiphany!

 Family Service – our next celebration will be on January 20 at 10 am!

 2nd Friday (January 13) – Film:  Join us for a screening of The Giver starring Jeff BridgesMeryl StreepAlexander SkarsgardKatie Holmes and Taylor Swift. The book this film is based on won the 1994 Newberry Medal and has sold more than 10 M copies worldwide and is on many middle school reading lists. A 2012 survey based in the US designated it as the fourth-best children’s novel of all time. In a seemingly perfect community without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a 16-year-old boy is chosen to earn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world. Run time 97 min., rated PG-13.

Choral Gems of Baroque Italy:  Enjoy the 25 Singers from the American Baroque Festival Chorus in Connecticut perform Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’ and de Rossi’s ‘Songs of Solomon’ this Sunday, January 25 at 7:30 pm at Peace.  Tickets are only $10 online:  www.americanbaroqueorchestra.com.   Our thanks to Elizabeth Hunter Ashley for making this concert possible!

Our Annual Congregational Meeting will be on Sunday, February 5 immediately after worship.  This is Super Bowl Sunday but have no fear – you will easily be home in time for the game.

From Calvin Neswiswi and Lwamondo Partners:  We were blessed by a grandchild on New Year’s eve She is a lovely and cute baby. We love her so much. We now have a total of 9 grandchildren, four boys and five girls. Four are attending school and are in different grades.  We had a wonderful festive season with lots of Christmas gifts from our children. It is nice to be on pension though Caroline is still working with the Election Commission and is stationed in Polokwane (Pietersburg) during the week but comes home for the week-end.

Lwamondo Parish is growing though many of the people like Patrick Sithubi, Alfred Ndou and many more have retired and are on pension now. The Parish has 9 congregations.

We have started with preparations to celebrate 500 year of the establishment of the Lutheran Church. Lutheran Church members from different parts of the world will be converging in Namibia in May this year for the celebration. Lwamondo Parish will not be able to send representatives to this function. We could not find accommodation as all hotels are already fully booked. We will only watch from TV screens at home.

How are our friends at Nicaragua? I hope they are doing well.  Our regards to all at PEACE and Nicaragua!

Dr. Martin Luther King Celebrations!

  • Monday, January 16: Noon – Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, 1801 Lacassie Ave., Walnut Creek.  Hear St. Benedict’s Gospel Choir and Fr. Kwane Assenyou preach on Dr. King:  Tough Mind and Tender Heart.
  • 2:00 pm -Standing in Solidarity – On the corner of Civic and N. Broadway.  Let your presence and prayers be visible as we support our Syrian, Iraqi, Latino immigrant and refugee siblings.  Love your Neighbor!
  • 4:00 pm:  The 10th Annual Celebration of MLK – SRV United Methodist Church, 902 Danville Blvd., Alamo, CA
  • The Martin Luther King Peace and Justice Committee and Interfaith Council of the San Ramon Valley invite you to an Interfaith Celebration of Dr. King’s Dream of Nonviolence and Peace.  The service will be followed at 5:45 by a Candlelight Peace Walk at the Iron Horse Trail at Prospect Avenue in Downtown Danville to celebrate the unity of our faiths.

He became a small babe so that you could be fully grown, a mature human being; he was wrapped in swaddling clothes so that you might be freed from the bonds of death; he came to the manger to bring us to the altar (our senses); he was on earth so that we might bring heaven to earth with him. —Ambrose of Milan

Please keep in your prayers: Anne on the death of husband Keith, Paige on the death of her husband,  Ruth on the death of father Bob Lesher, Maili and Kersti on the death of Astrid, my sister Rae on the death of husband Dave, Brian Turner, Renee’s mother, Brian McGee, Margaret Bender, Kari Schoening’s father, Peter, Fred Garrity, Ed Klitsch, those looking for shelter, the children and families of Aleppo, Unicef and all who work on behalf of the world’s children.

Solar Halos – Further negotiations reduced the total cost of our 80 Panels from $90,000 to $86,000; last week’s total – $62,000, this week’s – $65,000 raised; 35 members and friends of Peace have been able to contribute in honor of loved ones – thank you!  Thanks to our Solar Committee for their diligent work.

Be sure to check out Bill Carmel’s Art Exhibit at the Orinda Library Art Gallery.  Last Saturday a dozen Peace Members attended the Opening!  It is beautifully done!

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action.  And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.  And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium….the world will not have it.  It is not you business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions.  It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open, and to live it.”  Martha Graham, choreographer – (Thanks to Ron Elsdon for this quote and his Prison Ministry Forum last Sunday.)

Epiphany blessings,

Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 01.05.17

Grace Waves

Friends:

Axial Age – the Qualities that birthed Human Potential.  (Xavier Le Pichon is puzzled why we only talk about the skills and tools of ancestors when Neanderthals and early humans cared, at great effort and sacrifice, for people who were injured and disabled.)  The early ones organized themselves around the small ones, the babies, because otherwise no life was possible.  That we share with all the mammals.  But they also organized around people in great difficulty, those suffering or sick, because of handicap, or because life was coming to an end.  And that’s really very new and special.  It became a society which we call human or humane in French.  There is a new touch, a new kindness, a new softness, a new way of living , which is completely focused by the fact that you put the weakest at the center of the community. 

We celebrate Epiphany – The Arrival of the Wise Ones this Sunday.  Please bring photos of your children or grandchildren to place in the Manger!

Forum -Volunteer Career Services at FCI Dublin with Ron Elsdon –  Sunday, January 8 after worship:

“Volunteer career services in a prison can offer a valuable benefit given the substantial career support needs of people approaching re-entry to society after incarceration. Having been privileged to deliver more than 50 career classes at FCI Dublin over the past two years this forum provides an overview of the form this has taken, how it has evolved, and the benefits and challenges.”  Please join us!

Christmas Tree Decorations – during Hospitality this Sunday you are invited to bring down our decorations. Many thanks to Ken for creating a beautiful tree this year!

Please keep in your prayers:  Ruth Lesher on the death of her father Pr. Bob Lesher, Maili and Kersti Malvre on the death of daughter/sister Astrid, my sister Rae Neunaber and family on the death of her husband Dave, Brian Turner, Renee’s mother, Brian McGee, Margaret Bender, Kari Schoening’s father, Peter, Fred Garrity, Ed Klitsch, those looking for shelter, the children and families of Aleppo.

From Bill Carmel:  It is my great pleasure to announce my upcoming Show at the Orinda Library Art Gallery. I will be showing 28 works including cast bronze, epoxy resin and pewter works as well as paintings with three themes: Wild Animals, Calligraphy and Landscapes.  The show, curated by the Lamorinda Arts Council, runs from Jan. 3 to 31, 2017. See http://lamorindaarts.org/orinda-library-art-gallery.  I hope you can join me at the artists’ reception on Saturday, January 7, from 3-5 PM and will include light refreshments.  Contact info:  Visit the gallery at 26 Orinda Way during normal library hours – Mon. through Thurs., 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fri. and Sat., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sun., 1 p.m. to 5 p.m /  925-254-2184 or visit http://ccclib.org/.

Solar Halos – Three Highlights to report:   After further negotiations the total cost for our 80 Panels has been reduced from $90,000 to $86,000; we have raised $62,000 (with $60,000 already in hand); 30 people have contributed to our project; and Linda Elsdon’s photography has raised $830!  We are getting there.

Jazz Church West welcomes the Lorca Hart Trio with Brian Ho on the Hammond Organ, Mike Clark, guitar and Lorca on the drums.  Makes you feel so good to be in church with the Three Wise Ones!

Tai Chi Chuan:  this 12 week series classes begins again on Thursday, January 5 at 7:00 pm.  All that is required is loose, comfortable clothing and an open mind.   Sitting Meditation / Zazen also resumes on Thursdays from 6 – 6:45 pm.  It includes  10 minutes of Walking Meditation during this 45 minute period.  Get centered, grounded in prayer and wise!

2nd Friday (January 13) – Film:  Join us for a screening of The Giver starring Jeff BridgesMeryl StreepAlexander SkarsgardKatie Holmes and Taylor Swift. The book this film is based on won the 1994 Newberry Medal and has sold more than 10 M copies worldwide and is on many middle school reading lists. A 2012 survey based in the US designated it as the fourth-best children’s novel of all time. In a seemingly perfect community without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a 16-year-old boy is chosen to earn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world. Run time 97 min., rated PG-13.

Three Dr. Martin Luther King Celebrations!

Monday, January 16: Noon – Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, 1801 Lacassie Ave., Walnut Creek.  Hear St. Benedict’s Gospel Choir and Fr. Kwane Assenyou preach on Dr. King:  Tough Mind and Tender Heart.

2:00 pm -Standing in Solidarity – On the corner of Civic and N. Broadway.  Let your presence and prayers be visible as we support our Syrian, Iraqi, Latino immigrant and refugee siblings.  Love your Neighbor!

4:00 pm:  The 10th Annual Celebration of MLK – SRV United Methodist Church, 902 Danville Blvd., Alamo, CA

The Martin Luther King Peace and Justice Committee and Interfaith Council of the San Ramon Valley invite you to an Interfaith Celebration of Dr. King’s Dream of Nonviolence and Peace.  The service will be followed at 5:45 by a Candlelight Peace Walk at the Iron Horse Trail at Prospect Avenue in Downtown Danville to celebrate the unity of our faiths.

Family Service – our next celebration will be on January 20 at 10 am!

We will become fully human the day we design our Foreign Policy around the needs of the children of the world.
— AJ Muste

Epiphany Blessings,

Pr. Steve