Pastor’s Weekly Message: 02.24.17

Grace Waves

Friends:

Love your enemies, bless those who curse you.”  Jesus, Sermon on the Mount.  (This was our Epiphany Wisdom text for last Sunday.)  Therefore —Jesus has promised us the Holy Spirit:  it is the Spirit who teaches us from within, from our hearts how to pray ‘Abba/Imma’ and how to say ‘our’.  Today we ask the Holy Spirit to teach us to pray ‘Abba/Imma’ and to be able to say ‘our’ — and thus make peace with all our enemies.  —Pope Francis

The Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew chapters 5 – 7.  It is immediately after teaching his disciples to love our enemies that Jesus teaches us how to pray the Lord’s Prayer the strength we need for grounding and to become humane people transformed by compassion.  Grace upon grace and wisdom upon wisdom.
This Sunday we celebrate the Transfiguration as the focus of our Family Service.  We also celebrate the Baptism of Lillian who starred as Baby Jesus in our Christmas Story!  An experience of pure joy awaits you.
Astrid Malvre’s Memorial Service will be this Saturday at 11 am.  Maili and Kersti invite the members of Peace to attend.
Ash Wednesday, the initiation of Lent, begins with worship on Wednesday, March 1 with worship from 7 – 8 pm.  Join in this liturgy which births the Springtime of Transformation within and among us.
Please keep in your prayers:  Alan and Monica Laurlund on the death of his mother Sonia, Nik, Nette, Teresa, George Perko on the death of his mother, Brian Turner, Maili and Kersti, Brian McGee, Gun, Nancy, Renee’s mother, Sue Shuffield, Marshall, Bob, Rob, Marlene and Fred, Ralph, David, Ed Klitsch, Ann who mourns the death of Keith, the families and children who live under threats of intimidation and deportation.
See if you notice anything new in our Gathering Hall this Sunday.
Taize Meditation Services:  Our Lenten Wednesday evening gatherings will be at San Damiano Retreat Center this year where Gary and other musicians and singers from Peace will be leading Taize chants an prayers.  These are utterly beautiful liturgies of simple chant, scripture, stillness, and time for centering prayer.  Carpool arrangements from Peace will be organized.
FFF March 3, 2017 6:30 pm – Finding Dory (2016)
A Regal blue-tang named Dory is separated from her parents as a child. While growing up she tries to find them but gradually forgets them due to her short-term memory loss disability. She accidentally runs into Marlin, a clownfish who is looking for his missing son and joins him on his journey. The underwater world they explore is fascinating. People associate short-term memory loss with aging, but it can happen at any age. Run time 97 min.; rated PG.
Jazz Church West – The Saxophonistas a Woman’s Sax Quartet lead by Mad Duranon will play as part of an All Woman Band performing All Women’s Compositions in honor of International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 5 at 5 pm!   Save the date NOW – do not miss this!  The idea for the Saxophonistas was inspired by our own Ed Klitsch!
The SF Gay and Lesbian Band performs at Peace on Sunday, March 26 at 4 pm. Spread the word – invite your friends to this cool concert.  Your presence will another way to let Gary know you love him….because this wouldn’t be happening without his loving efforts!
Peace will host the Bishop’s Chrism Mass for our local Conference Clergy on March 9.
Are not the Blossoms and Daffodils delicate reminders of the preciousness of all life!
Transfiguration Blessings,
Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 02.17.17

Grace Waves

Friends:

There are no Ordinary People.  You have never talked to a mere mortal.  Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, temporary, ordinary in their purposefulness.  But there are no Ordinary People.  Reverence the true temples of life!  —CS Lewis

The Justice Advocacy Committee meets this Saturday from Noon – 2:30 a the Elsdon’s home.  All members of Peace are invited.
Our next Family Service is on Sunday, February 26 at 10 am.  We get to celebrate Lillian Meynier’s Baptism that day too!
Our gratitude to Fr. Innocent, John Baumann founder of PICO, and Karl Smith of the Rwanda School Project for joining us in worship and leading our Forum last Sunday.  It is always encouraging to learn of the ways our Global Partnerships make a difference in our lives and the lives of our Partners.  And thanks to Pr. Lucy Kolin for coordinating this opportunity.
Our thanks to Linda Elsdon and Thais for their ‘Let there be Light’ Exhibit which has now concluded.  Your beautiful photography and art has stirred our spirits!
Please keep in your prayers:  Nik, Nette, Teresa, George Perko on the death of his mother, Renee’s mother, Peter, Bob, Gun, Nancy, Margaret, Maili and Kersti, loved ones who struggle, our Confirmands.
Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent is March 1.  Our worship will be at 7:00 pm that evening.
Solar Project Update:  Since we are now only about $7,000 short of the $86,000 cost, we are hopeful that we might be able to raise that amount before the project is concluded.  Nancy Carlston’s recent gift is meant to encourage gifts of any size so that the Council need utilize only the smallest amount from our reserve fund.  Already an additional amount of more that $1,000 has been received.

Peace signed the contract with SkyPower on February 8th.  They have made progress already:  The site evaluation has been completed and the building plans should be completed next week.  SkyPower estimates they will then submit the plans to the Building Department for review and the approval process which should take about one week.  Once the Building Department gives us the green light they just need to order materials and pick an installation start date when the weather permits.

Jazz Church West – Sunday, March 5 at 5:00 pm.  Don’t miss this!  Mad Duran leads the Saxophonistas – a Womans Sax Quartet with an All Woman Band ++ and Special Guest playing All  Women’s Compositions —  Honoring International Women’s Day (March 8).

Copies of our Annual Report are still available.  Please pick one up on Sunday if you have not received one yet.  It is an excellent summary of our 2016 Ministries.

Epiphany Wisdom Blessings,

Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 02.02.17

Grace Waves

Friends:

Epiphany – Season of Wisdom:  “Let your minds be filled with everything that is true, everything that is honorable, everything that is trustworthy and pure, everything that we love and admire – with whatever is good and praiseworthy.  Keep doing everything you learned from me and were told by me and have heard or seen me doing.  Then the God of Peace will be with you.”  (Paul to the Philippians)

Our Annual Congregation Meeting is this Sunday, February 5 immediately following worship.

I-SRV – Prayers of Protection:  The Walnut Creek Islamic Center has agreed to host the Ring of Solidarity this Friday afternoon at 2449 Buena Vista Ave. in Walnut Creek.  We will begin gathering from 12:30 to 1:00 pm.  If you desire to pray at 1:30 pm, feel invited and then afterwards we will sing as folks come out of prayer time for a brief word in front of the congregation and then we will be invited to come into the courtyard for an Interfaith program of solidarity.

Deliver us, O Lord,  from the fear of our enemies which makes cowards of us all.

Tyme for Tea:  Come enjoy a wonderful tea with friends from Peace on Saturday, February 11 at 11:00 am in Niles.  All  seats are booked.  However, contact Diane Kurtz if you wish to be on the waiting list.

This weekend  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/.

Blessed is one who sees their own weakness, and blessed is one who, when seeing a flaw in someone else, takes responsibility for it.

Because …. half of any person is wrong and weak and off the path.  Half!  The other half is dancing and swimming and flying in the Invisible Joy. —Rumi

First Friday Films/February 3 at 6:30pm:  You are invited to view a crowd-pleasing comedy on this year’s short list at the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film – A Man Called Ove. This is a 2015 Swedish comedy about a grumpy senior who is deposed as president of his condo association; things go downhill from there. But the improbable happens. New neighbors from Iran – Parvaneh (Bahar Pars) and her family – move in across the street. Against his will they befriend him, leading to nothing less than transformation. Rolf Lassgård, who stars in the Wallander crime series on PBS, gives a deft performance as Ove, who learns that making snap judgments about people walls us off from experiencing community.  Run time 116 min.; rated PG-13. Join us for popcorn during, discussion after.

FFF UPGRADE: Thank you to the Peace Council, Pastor Steve and Office. Manager Kari Doolittle for upgrading Peace’s WIFI. A round of applause is also due Music Director Gary Sponholtz who ran a hard wire from our Apple TV in the Youth Room to Peace’s updated 3G WIFI. We tested the Apple TV streaming on Sunday and it is clear as a bell – amazing! Look for April’s film, The Brand New Testament, scheduled to be released for streaming in March.

Back/Forward to the Basics

Hate Speech is not Free Speech.

Torture is a Sin.

The Truth will set you Free. —Jesus

Remember; we were strangers in a strange land, therefore welcome the stranger in your midst. (Passover Seder)

Even if you are only a minority of one, the truth is still the truth. (Gandhi, assassinated on January 30, 1948)

Meet the Magnificat People /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 12and 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: Lisa Gorman Miller’s family on her death, David Malowitz, Bob Worthington, 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, for clarity in times of confusion and chaos, for political prisoners; that we may practice the Beatitudes – do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.

“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 .”

Love is a harsh and dreadful thing:  “A new commandment I give, that you love others as I have loved you” – not the defending of your life but the laying down of your life.  This is a hard saying of Jesus – and the only answer to human misery.  Before God we are already One.  We must learn to love one another. —Dorothy Day

Epiphany Blessings of Wisdom,

Pr. Steve