Pastor’s Blog/Grace Waves 01.15.2020


“When I can be the truth it becomes clearer when it is necessary to tell the truth.  When I have access to the place within me that is lighted, I don’t have to speak heatedly…..I can just give way to the warmth.  And when I am still enough to brush quietly with eternity I don’t have to speak of God.  I can just offer peace to those around me.”  Mark Nepo

The Skype Call with our Partners in Laurel Galan, Nicaragua was a true blessing last Sunday.  Such a joy to meet our Prayer Partners face to face.  Much more to come.

The New Member Dinner on Sunday had a wonderful warmth of spirit.  Quite a blessing to begin to learn each other’s stories and share passions of the heart.  Thanks to Ken, Diana, Howard, Bill and Elana for preparing such a delicious evening.

Forum this Sunday – Providing Water in Case of Disaster:  Philippa will present the best means to provide for our families and friends should a time of crisis come upon us.  The Number 1 need will be Water!  The Disaster Preparedness Team met last Saturday and they are beginning a Year Long Campaign of education, training and resources to organize and protect us so we and our local community receives the best care possible.

Advent/Christmas Celebrations:  What a rich Christmas Season we experienced – Pure Delight, Jazz, Singalong Messiah and the children/angels and stillness of Christmas itself.  Gary has prepared a marvelous video of these highlights.  Here is the link    Please share it with your friends!

The Women’s March is this Saturday in Walnut Creek, meeting Civic Center Park.  The Martin Luther King Celebration is on Monday, January 20 at Noon at the Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, 1801Lacassie Avenue in Walnut Creek.

Our Annual Congregational Meeting will be after worship on February 2.  Yes that is Super Bowl Sunday.  You will be home in time for the Game and yes, the 49ers will win.

A healing response to the fires in Australia ~ Catherine Bell is inviting us to join in making Joey (baby kangaroo) pouches to provide care for those animals without a parent due to the fires. Instructions to make the pouches will be available on Sunday, and posted to the website.  A collection box will be set up in Peace Gathering Hall to collect and the distribute finished pieces.

Don’t sew but want to participate? You can donate materials (100% cotton or bamboo fibers only please) or donate funds to purchase fabrics.  Thank you for your care!

30 Years Ago Bay Area Lutheran Clergy ordained the first gay pastor and a lesbian couple without the sanctioning of the ELCA/national Lutheran Church Body.  For this Anniversary I was asked to write an article for the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries which continues to advocate for LGBTQ pastoral candidates. Here it is:

A Remembrance: 30th Anniveary of the First Extraordinary Ordinations

These are highlights from the joyous liturgy ordaining Ruth, Phyllis and Jeff many years ago.

Context: The ELCA was two years old; 10,000 men had died in San Francisco from AIDS in the previous decade; and SF Lutheran Clergy claimed our theological heritage to follow the inspiration and authority of the Holy Spirit to call and ordain God’s candidates. St. Paulus hosted us, nearly 1,000 people attended. I worked with a Liturgy Team to design the ordination.

30 Drummers from the Sons of Orpheus (founder Bruce Silverman) lined the entrance steps.  As people arrived they passed through this ‘Loving Gauntlet’ charged with a primal energy that nothing will be the same once you enter here. The drummers led the Processional with approximately 80 clergy participating, 65 of them Lutherans.   A Litany of Defrocked Clergy preceded the Processional naming 30 clergy defrocked or prevented from serving the church for being gay. A powerful moment of grieving.

We had asked Bishop Krister Stendahl to preach because of his international reputation as a forward thinking theological scholar.  Unfortunately, his schedule did not permit. Therefore Jeff and I asked that he send a Reflection about the Meaning of this Ordination and that served as our New Testament Epistle. This epistle became the document that outraged the 65 bishops of the ELCA and it brought contention for years. They publicly demanded by what authority do you speak for our church – since Stendahl was a Swedish Bishop who had taught at Harvard.

A Gospel Processional proceeded down the center aisle of this Gothic Church where Rev. Jack Schiemann proclaimed the Gospel. As he began, the fog of San Francisco broke for a moment and the sun shone brilliantly through the stain glass windows on Jack, crucifer and acolytes. This classic sunlit illumination of the Gospel was happily savored by many. Drummers enthusiastically took the procession back to their places as I danced Rev. Carter Heyward to the pulpit. Having climbed the steps she arrived in the elevated pulpit and the drummers dramatically stopped. She let out a gasped shriek and said,“I’ve never begun preaching like this before!‘   The Ordination Rite began with Jim Lawson dancing a Fire Dance. Grasping flames from the Fire Stick he was carrying he cast flames upon each of the candidates sitting in the front row. We continued with the traditional Ordination Rite lead by Rev. John Frykman of First United and Rev. Jim DeLange of St. Francis whose congregations were both expelled from the ELCA for issuing their calls to ministry. Many years later they were reinstated.   The culminating Greeting of Peace was a moment of pure ecstasy with the whole congregation blessing and dancing to the drumming. A richness of Spirit that could never be contained.   The Eucharist Prayer included this memorable line, “You have made us giddy with the freedom of laughter and joy”.  Ruth, Phyllis and Jeff shared the Benediction.   For our Recession the Thurifer (incense bearer) had tied long rainbow ribbons to the thurible. He was a member of Grace Cathedral (Episcopal high church) who was shocked and delighted by the joy and depth of the liturgy. I gave him the nod to begin the Recession and as he passed by me he said, “This occasion warrants Queen Anne’s”.  Swinging the thurible in circles over his head with rainbow ribbons flying in all directions he led everyone down the center aisle.

And with immense joy the whole congregation came out.






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