Grace Waves 01.17.18

Friends:

“I never intend to become adjusted to bigotry.  I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few.  I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism or to the self-defeating effects of physical violence.  In other words, I’m convinced now that there is a need for a new organization in our world:  The International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment.  – Martin Luther King

Thanks to the Peace Singers and Teresa Stroin for special music this past MLK Sunday.  It’s amazing how open our hearts can become when they are touched.

Immigration Story – Forum:  This Sunday we will get to hear the lived experience of a person who has been living inside of immigrant realities for a while.  Please honor our special guest with your presence as we continue to discern the meaning of Sanctuary for our time.

The Memorial Service for Christina Berg was a powerful event.  So many friends from different circles of life, the 17 member Sycamore Chamber Orchestra was incredible, the presence of the Swedish Community was delightful and leadership by Rev. Louise and Rev. Margareta so graceful.  We are blessed in life and death.

** Please keep in your prayers: Goran and family, Linda and Don, Heidi, Danny, Dennis, Sue, Ed, Rich and Rose on the death of Lee, Mike’s dad, Spoon, Gun, Marshall, Michael – Kathy’s brother, Pr. John,  Eric and Julia Nieman, the families of the newly baptized, children in need, those left out in the cold.

“Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne;

Yet that scaffold sways the future and behind the dim unknown,

Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch over God’s own.”

 

Blessed Epiphany – may this be a season of wisdom and light for us all,

Pr. Steve

Grace Waves 01.10.2018

Friends:

“Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statues are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages personhood. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority, and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. So racism is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, but it is morally wrong and sinful.” Martin Luther King

** We believe in the separation of church and hate!

** We remember the vision and work of Dr. King this Sunday as we discern its meaning for our times. You may wish to read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book “Between the World and Me” in preparation for worship.

** The Memorial Service for Christina Berg will be this Sunday, January 14th,  at 2:30 pm.

** Shifting our Perspective: A classic study has suggested that the constant use of personal pronouns leads to a greater risk of heart attack. In a multicenter prospective study of coronary heart disease, health researcher Larry Scherwitz found that people who more frequently said, I, Me or Mine had a higher risk of having a heart attack and had a higher risk of their heart attack being fatal. Scherwitz found that this so-called “self-involvement” was a better predictor of death than smoking, high cholesterol levels, or high blood pressure. A more recent study conducted by research Johannes Zimmerman found that people who more often use first-person singular words — I and me — are more likely to be depressed than people who more often use first-person plural — we and us. This is interesting evidence that being too self-regarding really does make us unhappy. (The Book of Joy – Dalai Lama & Bishop Tutu)

** Please keep in your prayers: Goran and family on the death of Christina, Linda and Don, Heidi, Danny, Dennis, Sue, Ed, Rich and Rose on the death of Lee, Mike’s dad, Spoon, Gun, Marshall, Michael – Kathy’s brother, Pr. John, Mom Nieman, the families of the newly baptized, children in need, those left out in the cold.

“We must be still and still moving, into another intensity, a further union and a deeper communion with life.” TS Elliot

Epiphany blessings as we journey into God’s Wisdom,
Pr. Steve

2018 Grace Waves – Pastor’s Blog 01.03.2018

Friends:

“They tried to bury us.  They forgot we are seeds.”  Mexican Proverb from Pr. Lucy’s sermon

“Sweet Little Jesus Boy……we didn’t know who you was.”  Spiritual sung last Sunday.

 

** In need of Wisdom….you are in luck!  The Wise Ones arrive this Sunday for Epiphany.  More precious than gold, sweeter than honey, source of the ages and yet wisdom is so often overlooked and dismissed.  We just didn’t know who you was.

** Baptism Congratulations to Lauren and Alex on the baptism of Asher; to Erin and Jeff on the baptism of Tanner; and to Alexis and Amir on the baptism of Eaden!  What an exquisite first week of Christmas we celebrated with Baby Jesus.

Christmas Riches overflowed! 

Our Family Service brought a special choir, Noah solo drumming then joined by numerous drummers, Angel Julia flying, Mother Mary/Alex and Joseph/Luke wandering searching for a home in our hearts, Shepherd Evan herding all the animals, Angels Sydney and Ridley delighting the heavens, Wise Ones Patrick and Madison seeking, children blessing and leading communion, Elizabeth singing.

Candlelight and Communion was lead by John and Mary Ellen, Drew shared his special composition Prayer, stillness, quiet and peace.

Christmas Day began with bells, the Peace Quartet, the Choi Family guests from around the world and a delicious brunch.

It was a blessing to be at Peace.

** Please keep in your prayers:  Goran and family on the death of Christina, Linda and Don, Heidi, Danny, Dennis, Sue, Ed, Rich and Rose on the death of Lee, Mike’s dad, Spoon, Gun, Marshall, Michael – Kathy’s brother, Pr. John, the families of the newly baptized, Mark as he journeys to Spain for a semester, children in need, those left out in the cold.

** The Jazz Church West welcomes the Erik Jekabsen Quintet this Sunday.  This will be an extra dose of wisdom and clarity to launch your New Year.

Epiphany Blessings,

Pr. Steve

 

Grace Waves 12.20.17

Friends:

“Everlasting joy shall fill their hearts and minds.’ (Isaiah 35).  How are we supposed to be able to help those who are without joy and courage, if we ourselves are not borne by courage and joy?  Happiness is often relief from pain, distress and anxiety but it doesn’t last.  The joy of God has gone through the poverty of the manger and the distress of the cross; therefore it is invincible and irrefutable.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

** Advent Taize at San Damiano:  Our Final Contemplative Prayer Gathering Wednesday, Dec 20th – 7:00p.  Drop in, have your soul refreshed and prepared for Christmas.

** 4th Sunday Advent: We celebrate the Love of Mary and the Magnificat this 4th Sunday of Advent at 10:00am

**Giving Tree gifts –  Many thanks to all who presented their Giving Tree Gifts last Sunday.

** Baptisms:  Three children will be baptized during our Christmas Season – Asher Pierovich, Tanner Moran (McCann) and Eaden Fallahi.  Rejoice!

** Christmas Service Schedule: 

  • Sunday  Dec 24, 10:00a – Advent 4: Mary Sunday with Baptism!
  • Sunday  Dec 24,   5:00p – Christmas Eve Family Service
  • Sunday  Dec 24, 10:00p – Christmas Eve with Candles and Communion
  • Monday  Dec 25, 10:00a – Christmas Day Carols and Eucharist

** Children’s Service: “Pageant” Rehearsal 4:00 Saturday 12/23 – We are looking for a baby Jesus!

** Keep in Your Prayers: Linda, Christina, Drew, Carol, Olavi, Heidi, Danny, Gun, Margaret, Sue, Rich and Rosemary on the death of Lee, Michael and Kathy Riordan, the family of Yusef, Ed K and Ed R., Michael’s father, Dennis, Marshall, Johnny’s mother, Spoon, Seminarian Louis, Crystal, those who are without homes, those without health care, those whose health care doesn’t cover their needs, those who live with addictions, those who are alone, the children of the world.

** Weaving Our Stories: 8 – 10 conversations took place during Forum this past Sunday.  Be sure to enjoy the weaving tapestry visual representation of the conversations, on display in the Gathering Hall

**Longest Night / Blue Christmas 2017:  Bay Area Services listed HERE  What is a Blue Christmas or Longest Night Service?  Brightly wrapped packages, Christmas trees, holiday parties, holly and the scent of pine, unending upbeat carols in shops and malls, visits from friends and family, baking and cooking, food everywhere –these are the images and memories of Christmas most of us celebrate and treasure. But each year some people–the grieving, the lonely, the hopeless–dread the approach of the holiday season. They have no heart for the cheer and the bustle, the anticipation and the excitement. Across the country congregations recognize the struggles grieving people often face during the holidays. In the weeks before Christmas they focus ministry efforts on special worship services that speak to the needs of the downhearted.

I celebrated my 40th Ordination Anniversary on December 18.  I was initially called to a Worker-Priest Ministry in San Francisco by Holy Comforter Church in St. Louis.  This was the Dedication Scripture for the day:  “Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and joy!”

Joyous Advent and Blessed Christmas!

Pr. Steve

 

Grace Waves 12.13.17

Friends:

Behold, I bring you tidings of Great Joy!  

** Advent Taize at San Damiano:  Our Peace Musicians (Gary, Elizabeth, John, Drew) will again lead these Contemplative Prayer Gatherings Wednesday,  December 13 and 20 – 7:00p.  Drop in, have your soul refreshed and prepared for Christmas.

** Christmas Service Schedule: 

  • Sunday  Dec 24, 10:00a – Advent 4: Mary Sunday with Baptism!
  • Sunday  Dec 24,   5:00p – Christmas Eve Family Service
  • Sunday  Dec 24, 10:00p – Christmas Eve with Candles and Communion
  • Monday  Dec 25, 10:00a – Christmas Day Carols and Eucharist

**Please bring your Giving Tree gifts this Sunday, December 17th.  We will deliver the gifts next Tuesday, Dec 19th – if you’d like to participate in the delivery of the gifts please contact the office.

** Keep in Your Prayers:  Lee, Drew, Mike and his father, Carol and the death of her father, Linda, those seeking shelter, all of the children preparing for Christmas, the people of San Francisco, and the people of Puerto Rico.

** December Forums: Our final Forum will be this week with Weaving our Stories.  The treasures to be discovered are endless.  And watch our Weaving Tapestry begin to emerge!

**Thanks to our Youth Group for decorating our Christmas Tree!

**Thanks to Pat & Charlene for the joyful Family Service!

** Please bring Photos of your Extended Family on Sundays and post them on our Bulletin Boards in the Breezeway.  This is a beautiful way to experience the circles of loved ones beyond our own congregation.

**Longest Night / Blue Christmas 2017:  Bay Area Services listed below

**Peace Singers Elizabeth has already secured  7 – 13 non-Peace members to sing in a Christmas Eve Choir.  If you would like to join this group at either service please contact the office.  Beautiful Christmas celebrations are coming your way!

** Interfaith Art Exhibit at the Oakland Islamic Center.  Our own Veil Tapestry is on display!  The remains up through February.  In the New Year we’ll organize a carpool to visit the exhibit.

** Hanukkah Celebration – with Interfaith Friends:  We are outside at Blackhawk Plaza on Saturday, December 16 at 6:30 pm.  Rabbi Dan invites all interfaith friends to attend!

** Rwandan Christmas Gifts:  Thanks to Pastor Lucy who provided these unique gifts.  There are a few items remaining.

Advent Questions:  What do I actually need this Christmas? What gift do I want to give this Christmas?

Advent Blessings,

Pr. Steve

Longest Night/Blue Christmas 2017 / San Francisco Bay Area

What is a Blue Christmas or Longest Night Service?

Brightly wrapped packages, Christmas trees, holiday parties, holly and the scent of pine, unending upbeat carols in shops and malls, visits from friends and family, baking and cooking, food everywhere –these are the images and memories of Christmas most of us celebrate and treasure. But each year some people–the grieving, the lonely, the hopeless–dread the approach of the holiday season. They have no heart for the cheer and the bustle, the anticipation and the excitement. Across the country congregations recognize the struggles grieving people often face during the holidays. In the weeks before Christmas they focus ministry efforts on special worship services that speak to the needs of the downhearted.

Dec 17, 5:05p – Chapel

Trinity Church in Menlo Park (Episcopal)                                              http://www.trinitymenlopark.org/

330 Ravenswood Ave, Menlo Park 94025            650-326-2083

The Blue Christmas Service is an opportunity to acknowledge how difficult the holiday season is for many people. This is a quiet evening service of reflection and healing with communion.

Dec 18, 7:30p – Sanctuary

Los Altos United Methodist Church  https://laumc.org/news/

655 Magdalena Ave. Los Altos, CA 94024           650-948-1083

The Longest Night, a Service of Solace  –  Those who are suffering in their hearts during this season are invited to join us for The Longest Night, a special service for those who need a place where they can be welcomed into the season exactly as they are, without having to put on a holiday face. It is also a service for anyone who would appreciate a little calm, reflective time of peace and worship in the midst of the hectic pace of the season. God comes to us wherever we are – even in our grief, even in our pain – and there is a place for you in this season, too.  Childcare will be available during the service, and refreshments will be served afterwards. For more information, contact the church office.

Dec 20, 5:00p – 6:00p

Calvary Presbyterian Church                          https://calvarypresbyterian.org/event/the-longest-night-2/

2515 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94551

 Dec 21, 5:30p – 6:30p

Blue Christmas Service — Oakland Diocese https://www.oakdiocese.org/ministries-pastoral/worship/events/blue-christmas-service

The Cathedral of Christ the Light  2121 Harrison St., Oakland    (510) 832-5057

Dec 21, 6:00p – Loper Chapel

First Congregational Church of Berkeley           http://www.fccb.org/events

United Church of Christ              2345 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA                   (510) 848-3696

“Blue Christmas” Healing Service  Are you dealing with grief, loss, disappointment or transition? Could you use support, prayer and companionship, especially during the holiday season? In December, the church carries on an annual practice of offering a “Blue Christmas” service for those who are experiencing loss or grief. It will include prayers (silent, written, spoken), Scripture, music and healing rituals.

Dec 21,  7:00p

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Blue Christmas service-Benicia                  http://www.stpaulsbenicia.org/

The Longest Night Contemplative Service

120 East J Street, Benicia, CA 94510                             (707) 745-0307

Dec 21, 7:30p

Niles Discovery Church                                                                                     http://www.nilesdiscoverychurch.org/

36600 Niles Blvd., Fremont, CA, 94536                       (510) 797-0895

Longest Night Service

A Service Of Light In The Midst Of Darkness: on the longest night of the year Niles Discovery Church offers a special, meditative worship service that offers time for remembering and sharing our hurting places with God. Join us for a time of special music, scripture, stories, silent reflection, and healing prayer. The service will be followed by a simple time of fellowship for those who wish to participate. Attendees will be invited to light candles during the observance as a quiet response and act of prayer. We hope that the service will provide a space for people “to release their anger, face their emptiness, have a good cry (if that’s what they need), and know that God cares.”

 

Grace Waves 12.6.17

Friends:

What do you want?

Where do you abide?

Come and see, come and see.. An Advent invitation!  

** Advent Taize at San Damiano:  Our Peace Musicians (Gary, Elizabeth, John, Drew) will again lead these Contemplative Prayer Gatherings on the 3 Wednesdays of December6, 13 and 20 – 7:00p.  Drop in, have your soul refreshed and prepared for Christmas.

** Family Service This Sunday, Dec 10: Give your children a little pre-Christmas celebrating with 2nd Advent Sunday!

**Giving Tree gifts:  Please contact the office during the week or Libby on Sunday if you are interested

  • Special support for our partners in Nicaragua would be appreciated since they are experiencing food shortages.
  • Gifts for Lwamondo Parish are also welcomed.
  • Please return your gift-wrapped Giving Tree items on Sunday Dec 17th

** Christmas Tree Decorating:  Happens this Saturday, 10:30a.  Join the Youth Group and Seminarian Louis in making the tree Merry & Bright!

** Christmas Service Schedule: 

  • Sunday  Dec 24, 10:00a – Advent 4: Mary Sunday with Baptism!
  • Sunday  Dec 24,   5:00p – Christmas Eve Family Service
  • Sunday  Dec 24, 10:00p – Christmas Eve with Candles and Communion
  • Monday  Dec 25, 10:00a – Christmas Day Carols and Eucharist

**Peace Singers – Elizabeth has already secured  7 – 13 non-Peace members to sing in a Christmas Eve Choir.  If you would like to join this group at either service please contact the office.  Beautiful Christmas celebrations are coming your way!

** The Annual Pure Delight Christmas Concert with performances by The Pacific Choir, Coelis Vocal Ensemble, Sonnet Ensemble and Violinist Jiwon Evelyn Kwark at Peace Lutheran on Saturday, December 9 at 5 pm.  General admission $20, students $10 and 12 and under free.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit Wild Fire Relief in our North Bay Counties.  Posters coming your way this week.

** Keep in Your PrayersCarol and the death of her father, Linda, Laurie on her move to the NW, and those seeking shelter.

** December Forums:

  • Dec 10 – Peace as Sanctuary III: Come learn and reflect on an initial Sanctuary Proposal.
  • Dec 17 – Weaving our Stories

** Weaving our Stories Please continue this marvelous Interviewing Process.  The treasures to be discovered are endless.  And watch our Weaving Tapestry begin to emerge!

** Please bring Photos of your Extended Family on Sundays and post them on our Bulletin Boards in the Breezeway.  This is a beautiful way to experience the circles of loved ones beyond our own congregation.

** An Interfaith Art Exhibit Opened last Sunday at the Oakland Islamic Center.  Our own Veil Tapestry is on display!  The remains up through January.  In the New Year we’ll organize a carpool to visit the exhibit.

** Stewarding/Pledge Cards: Thank you to all that have pledged for 2018. Thank you for your generosity!

** Hanukkah Celebration – with Interfaith Friends:  We are outside at Blackhawk Plaza on Saturday, December 16 at 6:30 pm.  Rabbi Dan invites all interfaith friends to attend!

** Second Friday Film–  Holiday Dinner and a Movie, Dec. 8, 6:30pm Christmas Story, a 2007 film Inspired by a Finnish legend, “Joulutarina” is the story of how an orphan boy called Nikolas became Santa Claus. 83 min., rated PG.

 

 

** Tanzanian Christmas Gifts:  Thanks to Pastor Lucy who provided these unique gifts last week.  They will be available again this Sunday, Dec 10th.

Advent Blessings,

Pr. Steve

Grace Waves 11.30.17

Friends:

“Humankind has not woven the web of life.  We are but one thread within it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.  All things are bound together.  All things connect.”  Chief Seattle, 1854

** Weaving our Stories Please continue this marvelous Interviewing Process.  The treasures to be discovered are endless.  And watch our Weaving Tapestry begin to emerge!

** Please bring Photos of your Extended Family on Sundays and post them on our Bulletin Boards in the Breezeway.  This is a beautiful way to experience the circles of loved ones beyond our own congregation.

** December Forums:

  • Dec 3 – Justice Advocacy;
  • Dec 10 – Peace as Sanctuary, Proposal III;
  • Dec 17 – Weaving our Stories

** An Interfaith Art Exhibit Opens this Sunday, Dec. 3 from 1 – 4 pm at the Oakland Islamic Center.  Our own Veil Tapestry will be on display!  Bill Carmel is greatly involved in this Exhibit.  Encourage your community, friends and family to attend.  The Exhibit will be up through December.

** The Jazz Church West welcomes Anton Schwartz, sax man and Joshua Nelson, pianist this Sunday, Dec. 3 at 5 pm.  They will be playing in heaven but may be eternally sold out.  Why not enjoy these superb artists this Sunday!

** Advent Taize at San Damiano:  Our Peace Musicians (Gary, Elizabeth, John, Drew) will again lead these Contemplative Prayer Gatherings on the 3 Wednesdays of December – 6, 13 and 20.  Drop in, have your soul refreshed and prepared for Christmas.  (Also special thanks to all these musicians and singer for their outstanding Thanksgiving Eve Gifts!!)

** The Annual Pure Delight Christmas Concert with performances by The Pacific Choir, Coelis Vocal Ensemble, Sonnet Ensemble and Violinist Jiwon Evelyn Kwark at Peace Lutheran on Saturday, December 9 at 5 pm.  General admission $20, students $10 and 12 and under free.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit Wild Fire Relief in our North Bay Counties.  Posters coming your way this week.

** Stewarding/Pledge Cards can be submitted this Sunday, December 3.  Reflection – “Studies of charitable giving in the US show that people in the least religious fifth of the population give just 1.5% of their money to charity.  People in the most religious fifth give a whopping 7% of their income to charity.  They also give as much or more than secular folk to secular charities such as the American Cancer Society; and it’s the same story for volunteer work:  religious people do far more than secular folk with the bulk of that work being done for or at least through their religious organizations.”  (The Righteous Mind)   Thank you for your generosity!

** Congratulations to Islamic Center of SRV who celebrate their 25th Anniversary among us this Saturday at 10:30 am!

** Hanukkah Celebration – with Interfaith Friends:  We are outside at Blackhawk Plaza on Saturday, December 16 at 6:30 pm.  Rabbi Dan invites all interfaith friends to attend!

** Second Friday Film-  Holiday Dinner and a Movie, Dec. 8, 6:30pm Christmas Story, a 2007 film Inspired by a Finnish legend, “Joulutarina” is the story of how an orphan boy called Nikolas became Santa Claus. 83 min., rated PG.

 

 

 

May I be filled with loving-Kindness
May I be well
May I be peaceful and at ease
May I be happy and filled with deep joy

 

May I be at peace
May my heart remain open
May I awaken to the light of my own true nature
May I be healed
May I be a source of healing for all beings

Advent Blessings,

Pr. Steve

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.

Grace Waves 10.27.17

Friends:

“All you ask of me is truth, then in the secret of my heart teach me wisdom.”  ~Ps. 51

Reformation and Oktoberfest are celebrated this Sunday!  Rich music, an opportunity to reflect on our spiritual inheritance and welcome visions of the future.  Followed by Beer and Brats – ancient health food.
Bach’s Cantata “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott” /A Might Fortress will be performed at 2:15 with the Pacific Choir and Orchestra at Grace Cathedral in SF.  The Concert is Dedicated to:  Fr. John Lee Tae-seok – 이태석 신부, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Lwamondo Parish, Venda, South Africa where the Church sang, preached and prayed its way to freedom!
Just another weekend at Peace…….
  • Last Saturday:  The Wedding of Maja Miletich and Jeremiah Watkins.  Sanctuary and Gathering Hall were transformed into Dinner and Dance areas after the wedding.  180 guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres on the Labyrinth.  Jeremiah is a stand up comedian from LA so a dozen+ comics, comedy industry execs and Hollywood screenwriters attended the celebration.  The after dinner party was a pure LA Dance scene with music from disco to hip hop pulsing away.  So much joy!
  • Sunday morning:  We were blessed with numerous works of Bach and Luther through the good gifts of Alice O’Sullivan and Amy McKenzie and our Peace Singers.  The Forum deepened our experience and appreciation of Bach through the context and singing of several of Bach’s hymns and Alice’s presenting his “Fantasy and Fugue in G minor” (transcribed for the piano by Liszt).  Divine inspiration.
  • That afternoon:  The Sycamore Strings Academy under the direction of Goran Berg gave their recital with 15 young artists presenting the most glorious gifts of Mozart, Janacek and many more.  Yes, heaven does touch earth.
Tax Cuts To pay for the proposed budget cuts, critical anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), low-income tax credits, and Medicaid would be cut over the next 10 years.  Please contact your congressional representatives to say No to punishing the most vulnerable among us.
“Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne;
Yet that Scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Stands God within the shadows…..keeping watch over God’s own.”
Give yourself the pleasure of examining the 55 Volumes of Luther’s Works this Sunday.  Luther was a prolific and brilliant writer.  And take a look at our Luther Pomegranate Tree (near the Labyrinth) which our children planted as part of our Family Service a year ago.
Our next Family Service will be on November 12 at 10 am.
This Friday evening we host the Hospice Service of Remembrance at which time families throughout our county who have lost loved ones during this past year gather to remember them.  (Our Peace All Saints Service will be on November 5.)
Please keep in your prayers Linda, Heidi, Marshall, Kelley’s mom, Spoon for his release, for discernment in the choices before us, the people of Puerto Rico and Las Vegas; for ancient reformers and those reforming church and society today.
Weaving our Stories:  Crystal Larsen will initiate a process called Weaving our Stories on All Saints Sunday, Nov. 5.  As we remember the saints and ancestors who have gone before us and touched our lives so we will further connect the threads of our life together through the sharing of our own life stories in one-on-one conversations.  It’s a lovely and relaxing process we get to bask in as the community of Peace.  This process will continue through Advent.
Financial Statements regarding our Giving in 2017 year will be available at worship on Sunday.  Remaining statements will be mailed.
Tree of Life”  This beautiful metal sculpture honoring all the contributors to our Solar Panel Project was created by Haitian artists out of recycled steel drums.   As part of the Fair Trade economy, this purchase helps alleviate poverty – among the Haitian artists, their families and within their country.  Our Tree of Life symbolizing ‘Roots in the Earth and Branches reaching to the Sky’.  A gift to Peace celebrating the completion of our solar project – producing clean energy and reducing our costs.
Jazz Church West welcomes Jeff Denson and Friends on Sunday, November 5 at 5 pm!
“Let your minds and hearts be filled with everything that is true, everything that is honorable, everything that is upright and pure, everything that we love and admire — with whatever is good and praiseworthy.   Keep doing everything you have learned from me, were told by me, have heard or seen me doing.  Then the God of peace will be with you.”  (Philippians 4: 8 -9)
Reforming blessings,
Pr. Steve