Grace Waves 11.10.17

Friends:

“This being human is a Guest House — every morning a new arrival:  A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor – Welcome them All!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who sweep your house clean of all its furniture – still, treat each guest honorably.  God may be clearing you out for some new delight!”  Rumi

Weaving our Stories Crystal introduced to this simple and delightful process that will nurture the appreciation, understanding and friendships within our congregation.  Each conversation is about a half hour in length.  These conversations promise to make you happy!   We will continue this process through the Advent Season /December.

  • Here are the 4 Questions used to focus your conversations (copies are available at Peace too).  With each conversation you get to contribute to our Community Weaving too!
  • Where were you born and raised?  In what faith tradition did you grow up – if any?  what was most significant about or what shaped you within your tradition? What brought you to Peace?

Interested in helping Support Collin on his amazing educational opportunity to Costa Rica and Nicaragua?  During this trip (put on by Worldstrides), Collin will learn about the local cultures, hike volcanoes, see firsthand the rainforest plants and animals that live there. He will also get to practice his Spanish, and earn a high school elective credit!  While trip looks amazing, it is also quite spendy at $3300.00. The fee covers all transportation to and from, food, lodging, and education.  If you are led to help support, we would love to know who you are in order to be able to say “Thank You”.  In case you are interested, the final payment is due by 12/12/2017.  Other forms of support would be prayer!  https://olr.worldstrides.net/scripts/cgiip.exe/registeronline/paymentlogin.htm. Many thanks Collin and Julie!  (Further details in Sunday’s bulletin.)

Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Service – “Celebrating Gratitude with Faithful Friends!”  Peace hosts this Annual Celebration on Wednesday, November 22; 7:30pm.  Always a rich occasion to pray with the diversity of God’s people and our humanity.  Invite friends to join you.  If you can assist with the Evening responsibilities and/or Reception, please let the Office know (office@peacejourney.org 925.648.7000)

Stewarding Sunday will be on November 19.  Materials have been sent to you via Notes of Peace, email.  Pledge cards available on Sunday.  The Council and I appreciate your support of Peace.

Sycamore Strings Academy Fall Concert:  This Sunday, November 12, 6:00pm – Young performers ages 6 – 18 play music from songs to concertos on violin and cello.  The famous Sycamore Chamber Orchestra will perform and presenting first time performance of the new Sycamore Junior Chamber Orchestra!  (The combined orchestras of twenty-nine members will play together!)

On Sunday in Sutherland Springs, Texas, 26 people were murdered while they were worshiping and praying. The victims spanned three generations, from an 18-month-old to a 72-year-old, a pregnant woman and her child, and more than a dozen children.  Who benefits from this horrific slaughter of violence and carnage?  Those who want gun massacres to continue. Those who profit from gun sales. Those who justify the mass murder of innocent children and adults with the bizarre distortion of a constitutional right.  Who benefits?  Those who deny any responsibility for the well-being of their neighbors – “Am I my brother’s keeper?” 

This is not merely about mental illness, pretending the violence is always the act of a lone, damaged person.  From Columbine to Sandy Hook Elementary School to Las Vegas – this is about our refusal as a society to act as mature, responsible adults in order to protect our children and communities.  Where is the outrage?  Do we not feel the bitter poison in our own blood stream?  “Lord, when did we see you gunned down by senseless violence?”  When all else has been tried and failed (which means practically nothing has been tried) we begin to accept murder as ordinary.  What do the children of our world learn through our failure to act?

We consider ourselves so sophisticated and yet despite these primitive acts and our pathetic paralysis to change it, we cannot recognize the loss of our humanity.   It is not enough to ask:  Why are humans evil?  Why are humans inhuman?  No, we must ask the real question (which we seek to avoid at all cost):  How may we become human again in a bestial time?

Keep in your prayers:  Bob, Denise, Heidi, Kelley’s mom, Denis, Marshall, Margaret, Gun, the families of All the Saints we prayed for last Sunday, the hungry

Ending Hunger:  A joint budget resolution passed in Congress last month (although just a blueprint) would add $1.5 trillion to the deficit. Legislators will need to find ways to raise money in spending bills and through tax reform, increasing the likelihood of cuts to vital anti-hunger programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) nutrition program, and lifesaving foreign aid.  Bread for the World

Global ClimateWorld leaders are in Bonn, Germany for COP 23 to discuss the details of the Paris Agreement, which brought 195 countries and parties together to work to cut greenhouse gas emissions and solve the climate crisis devastating our planet.  And now Syria, the only other country not part of the agreement, has announced its intention to sign on – leaving the US as the only country in the world not committed to global climate action

“Collaboration and Connection “- Exhibit Opening:  Sunday, Dec. 3;  1 – 4 pm:  Art brings together Muslims, Jews, Christians and other faiths!  This is the fourth interfaith art exhibition hosted by the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California (ICCNC) and brings together artists from many faiths to express their commitment to interfaith understanding, coexistence, peace, and cultural dialogue. The impetus for this powerful exhibition is the desire to build bridges and create friendships through artistic collaboration. This art exhibition is sponsored by the Faith Trio, a 16 year alliance of the ICCNC with two other congregations in the Oakland area: Kehilla Community Synagogue and Montclair Presbyterian Church. The Veil Tapestry is included as part of an Interfaith Exhibit.  Congratulations to Bill for his inspiration!  Perhaps we can arrange a carpool to view this Exhibit.

Blessings,

Pr. Steve

Grace Waves 11.02.17

Friends:

“Without memory, our existence would be barren and opaque, like a tomb which rejects the living.  For me, hope without memory is like memory without hope.  For people of faith, forgetting is never an option.  Remembering is a noble and necessary act.  The call of memory, the call to memory, reaches us from the very dawn of history.  No commandment figures so frequently, so insistently, in the Bible.  It is incumbent upon us to remember the good we have received, and the evil we have suffered.”    ~Elie Wiesel, Nobel Acceptance Speech, December, 1986

 We celebrate All Saints this Sunday, an occasion to remember the Loved Ones who have gone before us in life and death.  We remember them because they touched and shaped our lives and because the gift of our faith has been transmitted through the love they shared.  Our faith is more caught than taught and the embodied acts of love by the saints in our lives make that crystal clear for us.

Weaving our Stories – A Season of Listening — Forum this Sunday!    Beginning on All Saints Sunday and extending through Advent Crystal Larsen will lead us in a process of engaging one another in one-on-one discussions.  This will be introduced for us on Sunday.
Mindful of how the Saints have impacted our lives, while the chill and darkness increase around us we are invited  to seek to hear the warmth of one another’s life stories in ways we may not have heard before. And as a way of visualizing these happy connections, we will also create an Artistic Weaving to symbolize every conversation that takes place. These half hour conversations will gently deepen our appreciation for one another by enriching the friendships within the community of Peace.  Weaving our Stories nourishes stronger ties and delights in all the surprising gifts with which  the Spirit has surrounded us.  Crystal and I look forward to your participating.

Thanks to Nancy and Diana for our Oktoberfest; to Gary for his creativity….when’s the last time you sang hymn verses backwards?; and to Louis and Kari for the special van transportation arrangements for the 500th!

Forum Peace as Sanctuary – Draft Proposal II:  The conversation continues on Sunday, November 12.

The Youth Group will be meet on Sunday, November 12 at 12:30.

Keep in your prayers:  Dennis, Linda, Marshall, Gun, Margaret, Mara, Brian, Michael on the death of his mother, gratitude for those who have experience successful surgeries.

Jazz Church West presents the Jeff Denson Electro-Acoustic Quartet this Sunday.  Hear the fine compositions of this extraordinary bass player and the electric bassoon of Paul Hanson!  Reception will include meeting artist Mary LaCasse, our current Sanctuary gallery exhibit.

Peace will host our annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Service on Wednesday, November 22 at 7:30 pm.

Time Change this Sunday – Fall Back….an extra hour of sleep!

Blessing of the Saints!
Pr. Steve

First Friday Film   Nov. 3  6:30pm Gathering Hall 

Join us for the Hitchcock classic thriller, North by Northwest (1959) where Cary Grant plays an innocent man pursued across the country by agents of a mysterious organization. They are willing to go to any lengths to smuggle microfilm with government secrets. Eve Marie Saint helps keep him alive up to the final literal cliffhanger at Mt. Rushmore. Run time 136 min.; not rated. Common Sense Media parents’ rating is age 14+ but kids rate it at age 10+. Please bring munchies to share.