Grace Waves/Pastor’s Blog 12.21.18

Friends:

“Joy to he World” is a popular, beloved and perhaps the most published Christmas Carol. Its author Isaac Watts did not write it with Jesus’ birth in mind – it’s not even mentioned.  It was published in a collection of hymns inspired by the Book of Psalms and interpreted through Christian eyes as an affirmation of the whole creation filled with new life:  Fields and floods, rocks-hills-plains repeating the ‘sounding joy’ refers to Ps. 98 where heaven and nature sing.  Watts conveyed crucial insights in the Judeo-Christian tradition:  That our Creator ‘rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness and the wonders of God’s love'”.  As Mother Mary learned…we have much joy, mystery and love to ponder here.  If the sweetness and grace of the Christmas Story does not reach our hearts it is as mere ocean spray – a blast on the surface that never touches the deep nor calms the heart.

 

Christmas Eve Schedule

  • Family Service at 5:00 pm —  Guest singers/musicians/actors – pure joy!
  • Candlelight and Communion at 10:00 pm — contemplative and soul-stirring.

Christmas Day Worship at 10 am — another celebration filled with joyful carols!

Our Secret Santa Gifts and Gift Cards were delivered on Tuesday.  Thanks for sharing so much love with those in need!

Christmas Caroling Gary and accordion will lead the way on Sunday, December 23.  We leave Peace at 5:30 to serenade members and arrive at San Damiano by 6:45 to sing for the Camp Fire families.

Blue Christmas Services and Holiday Candle Ceremony:  Martha has sent us Christmas Resources for those facing grief and loss in this season of darkness.  See attachments below.

Our Christmas Tree has been voted Best Christmas Tree Ever!  Runner-ups include the Christmas Trees from 2011, 2007 and 2013.

The Song “Silent Night” celebrates its 200th anniversary this Christmas!

Our Monastery Honey has nearly disappeared.  Great gifts and so tasty!

Christmas opportunities for Service:   San Damiano Retreat Center has opened their facility for Paradise Fire Victims.   If you wish to Volunteer to assist the days most needed are:  December 24 and 25.  You can also wander up the hill at any other time these next few days and see where they need help.

“It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends.  But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion.  The other is mere business.” Gandhi

Entre Culturas News/Partnership On the firs half of October they get a lot of rain on Laurel Galan but then the rains stop all together and therefore it was not enough. There will be no harvest of corn but there will be plenty of food for the animals. The harvest of sorghum will be good. There is plenty of water on the wells. One well was dug to start the water project for the community…they are still waiting on the rest of the project. The women are going to have enough food to cover all of December.The cutting and selling of firewood is still slow.

Regular Giving!  By end of year, please change your automatic giving from Vanco to your own bank using the Monthly Bill-pay program.  Questions?  Please contact Pam Lane

YEAR END CONTRIBUTIONSPlease have all year end contributions into the office by, December 31st.

The Fourth Sunday of Advent celebrates the Gift and Faith of Mary and her Magnificat.  “God feeds the whole world through a Babe nursing at Mary’s breast.”  Luther

Peace Office will be closed Dec 25 – Jan 2.  We will see you in the New Year!  2019 office hours will begin a new schedule:  Tues, Wed, Friday:  10a – 6p.  Most Thursdays with Pastor Steve, and by appointment.

Blessed Advent and Joyful Christmas!

Pr. Steve

 

Grace Waves / Pastor’s Blog

Friends:

“We most need to pray when we least feel like praying.  Even when we seem unable to pray as we ought, we can trust the Spirit prays within us with ‘sighs too deep for words’, for the prayer of the heart depends not on our temperament or natural capacity for quiet but on the Spirit’s presence and gifts meant for each of us.”  Catherine of Siena

Christmas Schedule

  • Christmas Eve:  Family Service at 5:00 pm …. Who will be the Baby Jesus this year?  Guest singers/musicians/actors will fill the evening’s Story with delight!
  • Christmas Eve:Candlelight and Communion at 10:00 pm
  • Christmas Day: Worship at 10:00 am

Secret Santa Gifts and Gift Cards: Please bring your Gifts/Gift Cards to Worship this Sunday, December 16. The families live in Antioch, Pittsburg, Bay Point, Oakley and Concord. Please wrap your gifts and mark them with Family Name, Gender and Age of Child.  (For example, BAY Family.  Girl 7 years.)   A small group will drive to Martinez on Monday or Tuesday to deliver the gifts.

The Catechumenate (Adult Faith Deepening/Clarity of Calling) has begun.  A few other members may join in.  Keep Fei in your prayers and those who are contemplating participating in this time of discernment.

Sing-Along Messiah with the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra and our own Elizabeth Hunter Ashley!  Sunday, December 16, 7:00 pm at the San Ramon Community Center, 12501 Alcosta.  www.San RamonArts.org for tickets.

Blue Christmas Services and Holiday Candle Ceremony:  Martha has sent us Christmas Resources for those facing grief and loss in this season of darkness.  See attachments below.

Christmas Caroling:  Gary will once again lead the way with his accordion as we sing cheer at the homes of members of Peace.  We are hoping to conclude the evening with Caroling for the Camp Fire families residing at San Damiano.  All are welcome to join in – singers and non-singers!!

Thanks to the Women of Peace and Ken who have decorated our Tree and the Gathering Hall!

Sretan Bozic! –  Christmas Tree Decoration:  As a child “Sretan Bozic” was spoken in my Croat family more than Merry Christmas. It reminds me of our being an immigrant family.  I would like to prepare ribbons or paper strips with Merry Christmas written down in languages from all of our diverse family backgrounds.  From Arabic Maltese to Finish.  We can prepare these on Dec. 16 and 23 and use them as additional Christmas decorations.  Sretan Bozic!    Ken

Christmas opportunities for Service

San Damiano Retreat Center is opening their facility for Paradise Fire Victims.  78 people can be housed.  If you know anyone who needs a place for the holidays please notify Lisa at San Damiano promptly.  Her number is: 837-9141.  If you wish to Volunteer to assist the days most needed are:  December 20 and 21 when people arrive and December 24 and 25.  Contact me if you want help.

“The Lord has so identified himself with us that our love for one another truly binds us to him as well:  I have put you among your neighbors so that you can do for them what you cannot do for me.  And whatever you do for them I will consider done for me.”  Catherine of Siena

Winter Nights Shelter:  in late January or early February we will provide hospitality (a meal, homework assistance, being present) with friends from Beth Chaim at St. Timothy’s Church.  More details to come.

Entre Culturas News/Partnership Eduardo and the women did the trip to a place call EL SALTO – which is a river that has waterfalls and some swimming holes. 22 women and 6 children came on the trip. They had lunch in El Salto ( fish filet and juice – according to the women it was very good.)  The women had a blast especially because they do not have the chance to leave the community to go on trips like this. Micaela and  Emelina came on the trip. Emerita seemed to most enjoy the trip…on the way back to Laurel Galan, since they had to go trough Managua, the bus take them to the main avenue in the city for the women to see all of the Christmas Lights and the Altars that are especially prepared for the celebration of the Concepcion of Mary.

The Third Sunday of Advent arrives this Sunday when we light the pink candle – a symbol of joy for all the people who cannot wait for Christmas!

Advent blessings,

Pr. Steve

Grace Waves/Pastor’s Blog 12.07.18

Friends:

“We rarely find people who achieve great things without first going astray.”  On Saints and Sages by Meister Eckhart

San Damiano Retreat Center will host Paradise Fire Family victims from December 20 – 26.  Several people from Peace already want to volunteer to help.  (*Please see the details below.)  If you wish to assist please notify Kari in our Office.  These ornaments are being made/sold with all proceeds benefitting fire victims.

Dear Pastor Steve:

Prayers please for all my sister Elin and her husband Harry had to endure.  They lost their home and all of their belongings in the Paradise inferno.  My 85 year old brother in law drove through walls of fire and blinding smoke, the morning of the uncontrollable conflagration of super-heated air, moving  fast with the wind, setting one house after another on fire, leveling everything in its path.  Elin and Harry reached her daughter’s home in Berkeley late that horrible Thursday.  The sights of Paradise are far worse than what we saw in Europe during  the war.  At least the bombs spared some houses, leaving behind ruins that could be rebuilt. There is nothing in Paradise like that.

Yet Elin and Harry consider themselves fortunate, because they have some resources and a place to stay, unlike many unfortunates who huddle in tents on store parking lots.  I do hope that help arrives fast for the victims of the catastrophe. Love to my friends at Peace.  Maili Malvre

Our Advent Wreath was designed by Ken and it is fabulous.  What an inspiration to prayer as we mark this season of preparation for unconditional mercy.

This Sunday we will put the Lights on our Christmas Tree and next Tuesday the Women of Peace will decorate the Tree and Gathering Hall.  Any and all are invited to join in!  (The Women’s Group meets every Tuesday from 1 – 2:30 pm.  Women are always invited to join this group which shares mutual support and opportunities for reflection on our lives.)

Pure Delight Concert Appreciation:  Performing in the Pure Delight Concert is the perfect way to celebrate the spirit of Christmas.  For the past four years, I have always looked forward to making and sharing music with our wonderful audience. I am grateful for another opportunity to participate in what has become a Christmas tradition for me!   Jiwon Evelyn Kwark, violinist

Jazz Church West Anton Schwartz and Mike Scott were stunning.  The gospel is ‘preached’ in so many ways.  (Be sure to tell me the day you grow weary of classical and jazz artists performing at Peace who have played the great concert halls of New York, SF Symphony, Vienna, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Tokyo, Berlin, Stockholm, DC and LA.)  We are so blessed!

Giving Tree Gifts are asked to be brought to Peace on December 16.  Gifts for two 9 year old boys are the only remaining gift requests.

The Catechumenate is an opportunity for Adults to deepen their faith through study, reflective conversations, prayer, godfriends and blessings.  It begins in Advent and continues through Easter (April 21).  We meet twice a month and the participants determine together our meeting times.  Speak with me if you would like to learn more.

Letter from the Women of Laurel Galan: We received the letter that you sent us with Luis and Eduardo. We are happy to know that you were celebrating one more anniversary of your church. We hope you remain united in the love of God. We thank you for always thinking of us and praying for our families. We want to tell you that we are receiving a lot of rain. In our country there is disorder in nature. The crisis increases due to the lack of employment. During the
first half of the rainy season we lost the harvest due to lack of rain and right now we are losing our crops due to excessive rain.  We hope that you will be successful in your elections and that you choose the best candidate for you.  We pray that you will always be well and that you can achieve your goals.

Keep in your prayers:  June, Spoon, Margaret, Gun, Nette, the people of Paradise and Thousand Oaks, the Seminarian Committee, Brenda, Kathy and Adel, Bernie, Jeanne, children who are at risk, Pr. Margareta, people living with AIDS, those in addiction recovery, artists and all who are with child.

 

Chanukkah  Celebration this Sunday:  Beth Chaim invites you to an interfaith Chanukkah Party with Menorah Lighting, singing, dancing, hot chocolate and goodies at the Rotunda in Blackhawk Shopping Center this Sunday, December 9 at 6:30 pm.  Always a great time!

 

 

 

 

From the New Life Band:  Friends at Peace we offer a sincere thank you for welcoming us last September to Peace during our California Tour.  Your support, warm hospitality and the opportunity to share our ministry with you was greatly appreciated and valued.  Mungu awabariki!

Fire Victims – A Place for the Holidays! San Damiano Retreat is opening 78 guest rooms to host fire victims over the holidays!  Rooms, meals, laundry, wifi, beautiful grounds, and a warm Franciscan welcome.   How YOU can help:  Contact Lisa Briones  lisab@sandamiano.org   or 925.837.9141 – or contact Kari in the office to schedule a group to assist in any way!

  • o Reach out to San Damiano if you know someone that can benefit
  • o Be a volunteer! Assist with cooking, kitchen and food service, be present to visit
  • o Donate bulk items of food, laundry supplies
  • o Bring your musical talents to entertain the guests!

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.  Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”  Tao te Ching

Advent blessings,

Pr. Steve