Grace Waves 9.21.17

Friends:

“There is no future without forgiveness…..a napalmed little girl saying to the pilot 25 years later “I forgive, I forgive”……the former Dragon of the kkk now friends with a Black Muslim…..’Anna, I’m taking you home’…..mercy, mercy, mercy – ever abounding, always astounding….the confounding life of grace.”

 

Happy news for our Youth Group:  Crystal Larsen and Seminarian Louis Moehlman will be working with our Youth Group this year!  They are excited and way cool things will be happening.  On October 8 kids, parents and leaders will gather at 12:30 at Peace for conversation and then at Beth Chaim for an Interfaith Youth Group gathering from 2 – 4 pm.

Peace Singers:  11 Singers desire to create beautiful choral music for Peace and Elizabeth Hunter-Ashley is willing to lead and nourish singers voices!  The first gathering will be on Friday, September 29 from 10:45 – 12:30 pm at Elizabeth’s home.  45 minutes for vocalists and 60 minutes for developing repertoire.  Coffee and such provided.  Additional singers are welcomed.  It’s understood that not everyone can attend every week but we can now have ongoing choral contributions.   What a joyful and creative opportunity this will be for all of us!

October 1 – St. Francis Animal Blessing at Peace Worship!  Bring all your animals at 10 am to this joyful worship occasion.  Feel free to invite other human and animal friends as well.

Jazz Church West:  Our 13th Season open on October 1 at 5:00 pm with drummer Sylvia Cuenca who hails from New York City!  Will be great for your soul!

Did you hear Stephen Colbert’s “TV Industry Prayer” at the Emmy’s?  “Thank you God for our talent and for the empty void inside so many people who have to fill it with something.  Amen”   In that spirit……

The 23rd Channel – In Honor of the Emmy’s

The Home Entertainment System is my shepherd.  My spiritual growth shall want. It makes me sit down and do nothing for nobody’s sake.  It requireth my spare time. It keepeth me from my responsibilities because it presenteth so many good shows that I must see.

It restoreth my knowledge of the things of the world and keepeth me from God’s word and wisdom.  It leadeth me in the path of nonsense (except for the science channel) by failing to attend to things that matter.

Yea, though I live to be a hundred, I shall keep on viewing my TV (and hand held devices) as long as they work, for they babysit me and are my closest companions. It’s sounds and images comfort me.

It presenteth entertainment before me and keepeth me from doing important things with my family.  It fills my head with ideas which distract me from the love of God.

Surely, no good thing will come of my life, because my TV offereth me no good time to enjoy the presence of God; thus I will dwell in the land of make believe forever.

OctoberReformation Themes and Highlights during the whole month!

Animal Blessings Oct. 1 — during worship

Family Service Oct 8 :  Planting daffodils and Youth Group Interfaith Event at Beth Chaim 2 – 4pm

500th Reformation Celebration 

10 am with Oktoberfest Festive Lunch

Grace Cathedral Celebration at 2pm with Bach’s Cantata #80 and Festive Eucharist Liturgy at 3:00 pm

(Louis is getting us a Van which will transport 15 people.  Sign ups begin on October 1.)

Also – Thyme for Tea on Oct. 29  — 3 seats remain.

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

 

Grace Waves 9.15.17

Friends:

“Praying:  Just pay attention, then patch a few words together and don’t try to make them elaborate; this isn’t a contest but the doorway into thanks…and a silence in which another voice may speak.”                             ~Mary Oliver

 

Homecoming It was the Twins Julia and Violet who brought us all home last Sunday.  Jesus put a child in the disciples midst when they inquired “who was the greatest“?  The twins beaming, quiet presence revealed the answer to us!

Singers Welcomed!  We now have 11 Singers willing to work with Gary and Elizabeth in creating a variety of music settings for worship at Peace.  Quite exciting!  More men are invited too.  Details will emerge as our organizing progresses.

Forum – Reforming our Songs and Hymns: This Sunday we gather to reflect on the themes of our times which singing could address.  This is brainstorming – we need your ideas.  Luther took the songs of his day and added contemporary lyrics — we are doing the same thing.  Luther also said, “She who sings, prays twice!”

First Friday Films – what a night!  As attendees shared last Sunday – “The BBQ , movie, s’mores and marvelous company were so wonderful!  Great film – and half a dozen new folks attended.  Thanks to Austin and Gary for the BBQ and Big Screen and to Elana for coordinating the evening and film series!  Come the end of October you can anticipate nothing but Scary Movies for Halloween!!

Council Retreat:  The Council retreated this past Sunday for several hours.  It’s a blessing to give ourselves the time to reconnect and refresh.  The flow of a whole year’s events began to come together by the conclusion of our session.  These details will be published soon.

St. Francis Animal Blessing – October 1:  This year we invite all your furry, feathered, scaly friends to join us for worship at 10 am.  Invite your humanoid friends who love the winged and four-legged to join you as well.  We ask each family to be responsible for all the creatures they bring.  Anticipate a marvelous worship celebration!

Hope you enjoyed the Luther Special last Tuesday evening.  He was a man with great gifts and great flaws living in a time of great challenges. Thankfully his wife Katie was a woman of great strength and faith too.

International Day of Peace:  Consider practicing peace for 24 hours on September 21 – at the office or supermarket, while sitting in traffic – give yourself a day to gently examine the deeper levels of peace-making.  Practicing awareness of our thoughts and emotions is invaluable:  noting our irritations and disappointments….then just let them go (fighting with them gets us nowhere); be mindful of if or how harshly you judge yourself and others – allow kindness to replace your condemning attitude.  Remember: “those who hurt or frustrate me must already be hurting themselves” throughout the day.  And you may decide to read and reflect upon the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights as a thought-provoker for that day.

Jazz Church West – 13th Season Opens October 1 with Sylvia Cuenca, San Jose native now part of the busy New York City jazz scene!

Family Service – October 8th

500th Reformation AnniversarySunday, October 29:  2:15 Bach’s Cantata #80/ Ein Feste Burg performed with Orchestra.  3:00 pm a Festive Eucharist Liturgy with fiesta reception following.  Carpooling will be arranged.

Blessings, Pr. Steve

 

 

Grace Waves 09.06.17

Grace Waves

“Bless your persecutors; never curse them; rejoice with others when they rejoice; give the same consideration to all others; pay no regard to social standing, respect humble people on their own terms; do not congratulate yourself on your own wisdom; never pay back evil with evil, as much as is possible be at peace with everyone; never try to get revenge; master evil with good.”  (Romans 12: 14 – 21)

 

***  Homecoming Sunday is this Sunday!  Time to gather from the Four Winds of Serbia and Fiji and South Africa and Canada and to rediscover our rhythm in the praise of God, gratitude for life and the nurturing of Christ’s New Creation.  Come home – to yourself; come home – to the joy; come home to your friends!

***  First (second) Friday Films – Sept. 8!  Join us for a Peace BBQ at 6:30 pm in the  Courtyard when we will grill a variety of veggies and proteins. Please bring side dishes to share. For dessert we’ll enjoy S’mores toasted over a copper fire pit. Dinner delights followed by a screening of this Academy Award winning Harry Potter prequel on the big screen at 7:27 pm when the sun goes down. J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay.  You will meet magizoologist Newt Scamander, who studies, watches over and nurtures magical creatures. He arrives in New York City 70 years before Harry Potter reads the book Scamander will author, Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. Run time 113 min.; rated PG – 13.

***  Singers at Peace:  All are invited to meet with Gary at the Piano after worship this Sunday to decide how best we can rehearse and offer our musical gifts to worship and for special events at Peace.  Duets, quartets, chant, contemporary music are all options we will explore.  8 people are already involved.  If interested, please join in.

***  The Council will have our Fall Retreat this Sunday after the Hospitality Hour at Peace.

***  Last Sunday $450 was given by the congregation for Harvey Relief Efforts.  Thank you for your compassion.

***  Forum – Creating Reformation Hymns for our Times:  On Sunday, September 17 we will have a chance to reflect on themes for music that speak to our times.  The Affirmation of the Contemporary was one of the major contributions of the Reformation 500 years ago.  Lutherans were known as the Singing Church and all music lovers know we have to sing our way into the resurrection!  Thanks to Pr. Lucy and Boris for leading this creative endeavor.

***  Celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation: The Reformation led to many things that we hold dear and often take for granted today:  worshiping in our own languages, public education, free access to bibles and other religious literature, democracy, an insistence on personal and human rights, an emphasis on the economic well being of the community, and cultural affirmation through all the arts….with a special gratitude for the works of JS Bach!

***  October 29 at 2:15 pm at Grace Cathedral The Pacific Choir will perform Bach’s Cantata #80 Ein Feste Burg with full orchestra.  A Eucharist Liturgy will follow at 3:00p. Reserved parking is available at the Masonic Garage.  If you wish to participate and carpool please sign up on Sundays at Peace.

***  Please keep in your prayers:  Those deluged by the storm and flood waters of Harvey; the people of Bangladesh where 1/3 of the country is now submerged; Jerry, Marshall, Gun, those mourning the loss of loved ones.

***  The Veil Tapestry has been accepted into the Interfaith Art Exhibition “Collaboration and Connection”.  Bill Carmel had a conversation with Arash the curator almost two years ago which inspired the title of this Exhibit.  The submission form was visited by over 900 artists from the US and other countries including Finland, Qatar, France, Canada, UK, Pakistan, Ireland, and Germany.  There were 40 submissions which included 80 artists and 3 big projects with students ranging from 60 – 90 students.  The Exhibit will open later in the Fall.  Details to come!

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

 

 

Grace Waves 09.01.17

Grace Waves

“Adapt yourselves no longer to the pattern of this present world but let your minds be remade (metavoia) and your nature thus transformed, and then you will be able to discern the yearning of God:  what is good/life-generating, acceptable and mature.”  (Romans 12: 2)

 

***  The Youth Group and parents met this past Sunday at the Mitchell’s.  A relaxing and inspiring evening of catching up and designing plans for this next year.  Lots of good things cooking both at that BBQ and for the near future.

***  Summer Journeys took folks in many directions.  Here are just a few:  Martha was off to Germany; Renee, Todd and family took an RV sabbatical trip around America for 7 weeks; Mark L. went swimming in Serbia with the American Water Polo team…his parents followed behind; the Schoenings enjoyed Croatia; Mark M attended the baptism of his grandson in the same church where George Washington was a member; Ron and Linda enjoyed Wisconsin; Gun went to Sweden; Teresa and Jeff enjoyed Vermont; Gracie M. did some youth project work in Fiji; and somebody went to Viet Nam – who was that?  We got to see Len and Bonnie Nelson who send greetings from Salem – the Land of Totality.

***  Homecoming Sunday – welcome back on September 10.  Time to reconnect and get back in the groove of life at Peace.

***  Hurricane Harvey Relief:  $3 million match on personal donations*
Thrivent will match up to $3 million in personal donations made online through Thrivent.com to specific disaster relief organizations responding to Hurricane Harvey. The dollar-for-dollar match is open to Thrivent members and will lead to a total combined impact of up to $6 million. For more details and to see the list of organizations included in the match, visit the Disaster Response page on Thrivent.com.

***  Simultaneously in Bangaladesh massive storms have deluged the country so that 1/3 of Bangaladesh is now submerged.  100 times the number of people who died in Houston have died there and of course they have no resources.  Portions of India and Nepal have been equally devastated.  I am awaiting word from Lutheran World Relief how we might best help in these places too.

***  Keep in your prayers:  Ro recovering from knee surgery, Brian and David McGee, Linda Britt, Brian T., Sue Shuffield, Alice O’Sullivan and those who are threatened by wild fires, those mourning the death of loved ones,the victims of Harvey.

***  Exciting News:  The Veil Tapestry has been accepted into the Interfaith Art Exhibition “Collaboration and Connection”.  Bill Carmel had a conversation with Arash, the curator, almost two years ago which inspired the title of this Exhibit.  The submission form was visited by over 900 artists from the US and other countries including Finland, Qatar, France, Canada, UK, Pakistan, Ireland, and Germany.  There were 40 submissions which included 80 artists and 3 big projects with students ranging from 60 – 90 students.  The Exhibit will open later in the Fall.  Details to come!

***  First (second) Friday Films – Sept. 8! Join us for a Peace BBQ at 6:30 pm in the  Courtyard when we will grill a variety of veggies and proteins. Please bring side dishes to share. For dessert we’ll enjoy S’mores toasted over a copper fire pit. Dinner delights followed by a screening of this Academy Award winning Harry Potter prequel on the big screen at 7:27 pm when the sun goes down. J.K. Rowling wrote the screenplay.  You will meet magizoologist Newt Scamander, who studies, watches over and nurtures magical creatures. He arrives in New York City 70 years before Harry Potter reads the book Scamander will author, Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. Run time 113 min.; rated PG – 13.

***  The Stand Against Hate event at Temple Isaiah on Tuesday night was a powerful gathering of 400 interfaith people.  Superb music from a Gospel Choir, insights shared from rabbis, a Muslim woman and myself.  Several friends from Peace got to participate.  There is hope!

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

 

Notes of Peace

*** Bright Stars of Bethlehem:  August 15th, 5:30 – 8:30pm : In conjunction with our new Palestine Unlimited Exhibit, Beth Nelson Chase, the Executive director of Bright Stars , will host and speak at a Wine and Cheese Gathering at Peace.  Come learn about the realities of this ministry in Palestine.

*** Please keep in your prayers this week:Virginia Budesa (Ken’s mom), Mary Calhoun (recovering from hip surgery), Linda & Tom Hall (mourning the death of Linda’s brother Rick).

*** Pr. Steve is co-facilitating the Compassionate Conversations Retreat at the Vajrapani Institute.  “The Wisdom of Uncertainty, the Spiritual Gifts of Challenging Times” – Faith leaders from the Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and Buddhist traditions come together to acknowledge confusion and uncertainty, and then connect with resources for healing and staying present and aware in the face of uncertainty and suffering.  Finally, moving forward with aspiration, intention and a sense of community, preparing to return to daily lives.

*** Youth Group meets Sunday, Aug 27th, 5:00p at the Marting—Mitchell home.

*** ESL Tutor Training Workshop:  Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Concord, together with the Diablo Valley Literacy Council, is sponsoring ESL Tutor Training Workshops for those interested in volunteering to help adults learn English. Sat Sept 30 or Sat Oct 7.  Info and registration www.dvlc4esl.org

*** Request from Martha for Hosea  – – Hosea is a 53 yr old African American Woman, who I have come to know as a friend over the last year.  Hosea has settled into Section 8 subsidized housing after suffering many years of homelessness.  Her life has been one of deprivation and ill health.  Hosea has steady income now, through the SSI program and is receiving good health care. She has a wonderful spirit and is hopeful that this opportunity to have permanent, affordable housing will give her the peaceful life she longs for.  Hosea is still in need of assistance in paying hotel debt – If you would like to contribute to help Hosea in this way, please make your check out to Peace Lutheran Church and note Hosea in the memo line.  Thank you so much for considering my request!

Grace Waves 7.6.17

Grace Waves

Friends:

“I seem to hear whispered in my soul that God is always the friend and protector of truth.”  Gandhi

*** Danville Today – July issue:  our own Thais is on the cover with an interview about her art!

*** Mary Calhoun gets to be with us for worship this Sunday.  This is her last time to worship with us.  Our thanks to her family for making this possible.  Come and share your love.

*** First Friday Films – Evening Pot Luck Picnic and S’Mores followed by  ARRIVAL Friday, July 7  6:30p Join us OUTSIDE for this special pot luck picnic with firepit for roasting marshmallows and making s’mores; followed by  Arrival, (under the stars!), a film many  say picks up where 2001: A Space Odyssey, left off. It received an Academy Award, 48 film award wins and 236 nominations worldwide. Based on Story of Your Life (1998) by Ted Chiang, it explores the spiritual practices of deep listening and free will. Confronted by a mass landing of 12 alien vessels around the globe, military leaders seek the help of brilliant linguist Louise Banks in an effort to communicate with the extraterrestrials and determine their intentions. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, It stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker and Michael Stuhlbarg. Run time 116 minutes; rated PG-13, parents strongly cautioned – some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Popcorn during, discussion after.

*** Request from Martha for Hosea  – – Hosea is a 53 yr old African American Woman, who I have come to know as a friend over the last year.  Hosea will be moving into Section 8 subsidized housing on July 15th.  She has suffered many years of homelessness.  Her life has been one of deprivation and ill health.  Hosea has steady income now, through the SSI program and is receiving good health care. She has a wonderful spirit and is hopeful that this opportunity to have permanent, affordable housing will give her the peaceful life she longs for.  Hosea needs assistance paying for her hotel room from June 30th thru July 15th.  If you would like to contribute to help Hosea in this way, please make your check out to Peace Lutheran Church and note Hosea in the memo line.  Thank you so much for considering my request!

*** Health Care Proposal: 

This boils down to a choice, a fundamental choice and the choice is this: Do you take a trillion dollars and help the poor and vulnerable and the working class in this country and their health care, subsidized by the federal government, or do you take the trillions of dollars and return it to the wealthy in the country? That’s really the fundamental choice here.”       ~Matthew Dowd former George W. Bush advisor.

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”     ~Gandhi

*** Secret to Generosity:  The more frequently people attend worship, the more generous and charitable they become – not only to religious charities but they give as much or more than secular folks to secular charities.  Researchers Robert Putnam and David Campbell analyzed a variety of data sources and concluded, “By many different measures religiously observant Americans are better neighbors and better citizens than secular Americans – they are more generous with their time and money, especially in helping the needy, and they are more active in community life.”  Why are they better neighbors and more generous?  The only thing that was reliably and powerfully associated with the benefits of religion was how connected people were in relationships with their co-religionistsFriendships and group activities, carried out within a moral matrix that emphasizes selflessness brings out the best in people.  Putnam and Campbell reject the New Atheist emphasis on religious beliefs as primary cause for motivation.  Rather — it is spiritual belonging that matters for neighborliness, not strict religious ideas.

*** Solar Energy at Peace:  Everything is running well, Sky Power has proven themselves to be excellent partners, and you can monitor our solar energy generation at any time by going to: http://www.monitoring.solaredge.com ; sign in office@peacejourney.org and 4solar@peace.  ( Select ‘Dashboard’ for monthly graph, and on ‘Layout’  for panel by panel info).  Therefore our Solar Campaign is now officially concluded and our Fundraising Solar Panel was ceremoniously brought down this past Sunday.  Our thanks to our Solar Committee:  Boris, Chair; Arlene, Libby, Ken and Kari.  Well done!

*** “Palestine Unlimited” – New Art Exhibit at Peace:  This exhibit will be presented by the Bright Stars of Bethlehem Circle and, of course, is curated by our own Bill Carmel.  There will be a Special Gathering with a wine and cheese reception on Tuesday, August 15 with the Executive Director Beth Nelson Chase from 5:30 – 8:30pm. Plan to enjoy a wonderful evening of fantastic photography, wine, and food!

*** Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS): “Remember to welcome the strangers because in so doing some have entertained angels without knowing it.”   Hebrews 13: 2

What is the Meaning of this recent Ruling on Immigration?

The Court’s ruling narrows the scope of the lower courts injunctions, and will mean individuals whom the U.S. has historically offered protection through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) may be denied that protection, at least for now – despite their having been thoroughly vetted by top security and intelligence agencies, and having a community willing to offer them safety and a new chance at life.

While the Court’s decision will allow some refugees to continue to arrive there are countless others who will be needlessly denied access to the USRAP. This decision could affect our ability to protect refugees fleeing religious persecution, survivors of war with severe medical cases, unaccompanied refugee children who lost their family due to violence or war, torture survivors, and countless others who will be left waiting, denied protection simply because they lack a “bona fide” tie to the United States.

As we know too well, our world is faced with the worst displacement crisis in recorded history with nearly 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom are children. With such need, what can we do?  We at LIRS ask you to PLEASE STAND BY THE REFUGEES !

“Satyagraha (non-violent pressing for truth) is a force that works silently and apparently slowly.  In reality, there is no force in the world that is so direct or swift in working.” Gandhi

*** Bev and I will begin our vacation at the end of next week.

 

Blessings,   Pr. Steve

Grace Waves 6.30.17

Grace Waves

Friends:

“Love alone is the only thing that can satisfy us.  Nothing else can.  And you know that.  Love always rewards the one who loves, but I will admit that sometimes Love seems to come all too slowly, at its own snail’s pace.  You can’t hurry it, though, so don’t ever let yourself give up on God, your community and Her Love.” (Hadewijch)

 

*** What a wonderful surprise to have Brock and Xanthia worship with us this past Sunday.  They are doing well and send their love to all their friends at Peace.

*** Thanks to Barb and Corrine for leading the Forum on Teen Challenge last Sunday.  If you wish to contribute you can do so this Sunday with a gift to Peace that the Thrivent Action Team grant of $250 will help match. (Barb as our Stewarding Deacon will be the catalyst for educating the whole congregation about how to use our personal $250 to encourage ministries we have a passion for within and beyond Peace.)

*** First Friday Films – Arrival   Friday, July 7  6:30p Join us in the Gathering Hall to view Arrival, a thought provoking film. Many have said it picks up where 2001: A Space Odyssey, left off. It has received an Academy Award with another 48 film award wins and 236 nominations worldwide. Based on Story of Your Life (1998) by Ted Chiang, it explores the spiritual practices of deep listening and free will. Confronted by a mass landing of 12 alien vessels around the globe, military leaders seek the help of brilliant linguist Louise Banks in an effort to communicate with the extraterrestrials and determine their intentions. It stars Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker and Michael Stuhlbarg. Run time 116 minutes; rated PG-13, parents strongly cautioned – some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Popcorn during, discussion after.

*** The New York Times recently requested stories from people around the country about the impact of the newly proposed healthcare bill upon them. Our own Kersti Malvre submitted her story which was included in the Times.  Read Kersti’s article in the N.Y.Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/24/opinion/sunday/obamacare-repeal-health-care-bill.html?ref=opinion

*** Homelessness – A Byproduct of Income Inequality:   More than 60 percent of Oakland’s homeless people lived in homes in Alameda County for more than 10 years before they landed on the streets. And nearly 60 percent said money problems, not addiction or mental health issues, were the primary cause of their homelessness.  “People are stuck. It’s very, very rare that somebody chooses to be homeless,” said Mark Shotwell, director of Alameda County Health Care for the Homeless, which sends doctors to camps to provide medical care.   “It is the accumulation of years and years of affordable-housing shortages. There is just no place for people to go.”  To learn more: Homeless camps becoming entrenched in Oakland  (thanks to Martha for this article)

*** Eating with Compassion:  Food is central to religious life – from rituals to sacraments to soup kitchens – and looking more carefully at our food choices can be a revealing exercise. CoolHarvest.org has tips and resources to walk you through this, so you can make healthier and more sustainable food choices for your congregation and community.  In the United States around 25% of food is wasted at home. Food waste that goes to the landfill produces methane; methane is 21 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. By learning simple ways to preserve our food and lowering our food waste we can care for the gift of abundance from Creation and reduce our carbon footprint.  Almost one-fifth of greenhouse gas emissions comes from the food industry and our food choices.  We can reduce the carbon footprint of our food by up to 7% by eating locally and learning how to preserve seasonal produce.  Download your “Canning for the Climate” Kit today.

*** The UN 70th Anniversary celebrated 2 Years Ago – Dear Friends:  These days of the year remind us of our tour to the United Nations in NY and Grace Cathedral in SF!  A lot of memories come up on Facebook all the time these days.  These events were so amazing. One of the favorite memories on Facebook was our visit and ‘concert’ in Muir Woods, the UN birthplace. A holy moment! But all this is not just memories now, I know it has inspired many of us to proceed working for peace and building bridges between religions, people and different groups.  Regards, Stefan Safsten

Great that the summer time weather has arrived.

Blessings,

Pr. Steve

 

 

 

Grace Waves 06.24.17

Grace Waves

Friends:

“If the church does not recapture its poetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral and spiritual authority. If the church does not participate actively in the struggle for peace and for economic and racial justice, it will forfeit the loyalty of millions and cause people everywhere to say that it has atrophied its will.  But if the church will free itself from the shackles of a deadening status quo, and, recovering its great historic mission, will speak and act fearlessly and insistently in terms of justice and peace, it will enkindle the imagination of mankind and fire the souls of men, imbuing them with a glowing and ardent love for truth, justice, and peace.  People far and near will know the church as a great fellowship of love that provides light and bread for lonely travelers at midnight.”         ~Martin Luther King

¨HONKYJune 24th & 25th at Peace!  Director Eric Hayes, a son of the congregation, invites all of you to attend this provocative and hilarious play.  (* At the conclusion of Grace Waves is A Letter to my Nephew, written by poet James Baldwin 5 decades ago, and published in his book “The Fire Next Time.”  Hopefully it will inspire you to see Honky!)

A pair of sneakers triggers a tragedy…  and a unique conversation about race relations in America.  Honky is a very provocative and funny look on the very serious subject of race and racism in America. Political correctness goes out the window as five people, both black and white, muddle through one of the most difficult discussions of our time.  Each performance will be followed by a dialogue with the cast, guest speakers, and you!  Tickets half price for Peace – email your request for tickets to office@peacejourney.org for will call at the door.

SOLAR AT PEACE:  Our new solar panels are providing maximum energy for us at Peace and keeping us cool in the process.  Want to have a look at our solar energy generation?  For your convenience, from any computer with internet access:

  1. http://www.monitoring.solaredge.com
  2. email = office@peacejourney.org
  3. password = 4solar@peace

Family/Father’s Day– I trust you enjoyed our Father’s/Family Day service with Shimmering, Chating, Drumming, the Tuning of the Chimes, Hand Dancing and beach balls leaping!  Our thanks to Charlene and Pat.

This life is God’s gift to you; may who you become be your gift to God.

ELCA Health Care Statement:  Our enduring commitment to support health care for all people comes in grateful response to God’s saving love in Jesus Christ that frees us to love and seek the well-being of our neighbor.” 

UPDATE: Senate leaders finally released draft legislation that would make it harder for millions of Americans to access affordable health care. This legislation cuts Medicaid for low-income working families and rolls back important improvements recently made for women and people living with disabilities, mental health challenges or pre-existing conditions. Please tell your Senators to improve access to health care; don’t tear it apart. Your voice makes a difference!

ELCA leaders pray and urge the Senate to act in this way:

  • Expand Medicaid into all 50 states with adequate funding;
  • Maintain the ability of young adults under the age of 26 to receive health insurance under the parents;
  • Stand with women in maintaining reproductive health mandates; and
  • Protect coverage for people living with disabilities, mental health challenges, or pre-existing conditions.

PRAYERS:  Keep in your prayers:  Jerry, David, Brian, Marlene, Sue, Marshall, Nette, Gun, Nancy, Renee’s mom, Ed K., Peter, Clifford, Kathy, Johnny’s mom, Brian T., Joyce and Ann; those seeking homes, employment and healthcare, those persons (young and old) contemplating death by suicide and their families.

Oak Tree:  The Oak Tree in honor of Fred Garrity was Ken’s inspiration.  A fitting tribute for Fred.  It is taking root at the corner of Camino and Old Blackhawk Rd.

Teen Challenge:  Barb Ghinazzi invites you to support a new Teen Challenge Center through Thrivent Action Teams this Sunday

Slavyanka Russian Chorus  was incredible!  They want to return – let’s hope they do!

Facebook!  All of our events and ministry activities are now being directly posted to Facebook so you can spread the word quite easily to your friends.

Our Jazz Church West applied to the Hewlett Foundation for a $200,000 Grant but we were denied.  However, the process has helped us to focus on new arenas of development for our Jazz Ministry.

“Woe to those who enact unjust decrees, who compose oppressive legislation to deny justice to the weak and to cheat the humblest of my people of fair judgment.”  Isaiah 10: 1

* “Letter to my Nephew”

This is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen, and for which neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive them, that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it…..It is their “innocence” which constitutes the crime.

This innocent country set you down in a ghetto in which, in fact, it intended that you should perish.  The limits of your ambition were thus expected to be set forever.  You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity, and in as many ways as possible, that you were a worthless human being.  You were not expected to aspire to excellence:  you were expected to make peace with mediocrity.  You have defeated this intention!  And by a terrible law, a terrible paradox, those “innocents” who believed that your imprisonment made them safe are losing their grasp on reality.

But these men and women are your brothers and sisters — your lost, younger brothers and sisters. And if the word Integration means anything, this is what it means:  That we, with love, shall compel our brothers and sisters to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and to begin to change it.

For this is your home, my friend, do not be driven from it; great people have done great things here, and will again, and we can make America what it must become.  It will be hard, but you come from sturdy, peasant stock, ancestors who picked cotton and dammed rivers and built railroads, and in the teeth of the most terrifying odds, achieved an unassailable and monumental dignity!

You come from a long line of poets since Homer. 

One of them said,  “The very time I thought I was lost, My dungeon shook and my chains fell off.”

We cannot be free until they are free.  God bless you and Godspeed.   ~James Baldwin

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

 

Vacation Bible School 2017:  Jul 24-28!  PEACE youth and teens are invited to partner with St. Timothy’s and Mt. Cross Vacation Bible School: The Water of Life. Visit http://sainttimothysdanville.org/grow/vacation-bible-school/ for forms,registration & information.

 

Pastor’s Weekly Message 06.08.17

Grace Waves

Friends:

“Where the Church is Alive there is always Surprise!”

“Only in humans has the evolution of the creation reached the point where reality encounters itself in decision and choice.  Outside of humanity, the creation is neither good nor evil.

Only when you descend into yourself and encounter the Other, do you then experience goodness as the ultimate reality — united and living — in God and through you.”

~Dag Hammarskjold

Congregation/Community Events Below (FFF, VBS, Concert, Honky)

Pentecost – Confirmands:  Impossible to convey the experience of Pentecost this past Sunday.  That’s why we worship – to participate in the wisdom and grace which make communion with life possible.  Our Confirmands – precious, thoughtful, works of art themselves – loved by their families and treasured by the community of Peace.  Often the best we can offer is ‘Thank you, God.’

The 3 Determinants of Happiness – Ancient Spiritual Teaching (confirmed by science) for Confirmands and Adults:

  1. Doing good to/with/for Others;
  2. Nurturing Strong and Supportive Networks of Relations (beyond our own families); and
  3. Having a sense that one’s life is worthwhile, meaningful, and matters – to one’s self and others.

Trinity Sunday:  Join us for this exquisite Sunday when we explore the great and godly Dance of Love.

Forum on Sunday – Peace as a Sanctuary Church:  Come learn and discuss the 4 Ways in which Sanctuary Churches can provide care and protection for those living under intimidation and threat of deportation.

Keep in your prayers:  Jerry, recovering from surgery; Ed, Brian T, Marshall, Peter, Brian M., Gun, Nancy, Sue, Johnny’s mom, Mary, those held captive by poverty, discrimination or intimidation.

“Brothers and sisters, we wish you joy; try to grow in maturity; encourage one another; have a common mind and live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.  Greet one another with the holy kiss of peace.” 

2 Corinthians 13: 11 – 12

Big Questions Forum“How Does your Faith Path provide guidance in understanding and dealing with Suffering?”  I have been invited by the Rossmoor Interfaith Council to participate in a panel presentation/discussion on the topic of suffering next Monday, June 12 from 1:30 – 4 pm at the Club Room of the Creekside Restaurant.  It is open to the public.

Family Service – Father’s Day, June 18 at 10 am.

If you are lucky we will schedule a Work Day yet this June.

“He turned all his time into a holy leisure in which to engrave wisdom on his heart; so that, if he did not always advance in awareness and compassion, he would still not give up.”  (A comment on the life of St. Francis.)

Pentecost Blessings,  Pr. Steve

FIRST FRIDAY FILM:  FRI JUN 9  6:30p  Join us for a rescheduled  screening of this award winning film based on the book, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race.  In the race to space between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, three black female mathematicians play a key role in launching astronaut John Glenn into outer space, making him the first American to orbit Earth.  Run time 127 min.; rated PG – Parents Strongly Cautioned – Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Popcorn during, discussion after.

Vacation Bible School 2017:  Jul 24-28PEACE youth and teens are invited to partner with St. Timothy’s and Mt. Cross Vacation Bible School: The Water of Life.  This VBS week is a Day Camp 9:00 – 3:00, staffed by Mt. Cross College and Adult volunteers working with teen CIT’s and youth as young and Pre-k.  A week of fun, song, crafts and learning for the week; campers and staff will bring lunch each day, concluding with a celebration on   Friday 9:00—1:00.  Visit http://sainttimothysdanville.org/grow/vacation-bible-school/ for forms,registration & information.   Contact the office 925.648.7000 for questions/more information.  REGISTRATION DEADLINE – JUNE 15

Slavyanka Chorus: On Sunday, June 11th at 5PM, Slavyanka Chorus will present a concert of rarely heard Russian and Serbian choral music at Peace Lutheran.  The program will include sacred and secular music by two of Russia’s greatest choral composers, Pavel Chesnokov and Sergei Taneyev (often called “the Russian Bach” in his homeland, but almost unknown here) — and a cycle of charming and lively folk songs about simple village life by Serbia’s most beloved composer, Stefan Mokranjac.  Iskra Etno, a wonderfully talented Serbian and Balkan ensemble of eight women singers, will also perform.  Tickets are $17 online at www.slavyankachorus.org, or $20 at the door — children under 12 admitted free. For more information, please visit the chorus website, or call Paul Andrews, 510-798-7966.

¨HONKYJune 24th & 25th at Peace!  A pair of sneakers triggers a tragedy…  and a unique conversation about race relations in America.  Honky is a very provacative and funny look on the very serious subject of race and racism in America. Political correctness goes out the window as five people, both black and white, muddle through one of the most difficult discussions of our time.  Each performance will e followed by a dialogue with the cast, guest speakers, and you!  Tickets through Role Players Ensemble  http://www.roleplayersensemble.com/

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 06.01.17

Grace Waves

Friends:

“The day will come when, after harnessing  the ether, the winds, the tides, and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love.  And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, humans will have discovered fire.”  Teilhard de Chardin

We celebrate Pentecost, the Third High Feast Day of the Church Year this Sunday at 10 am.  The Descent of the Spirit and the Birthday of the Church!  We also celebrate the Confirmation of our 10 Confirmands.  What a joyous, creative and fiery occasion this will be.  Invite friends to join you.

¨ Many thanks to all involved in organizing and proving food for Fred’s memorial reception.  In gratitude a donation has been made to the Solar Halos project.  I’m forever grateful.      ~ Marlene

FIRST FRIDAY FILM:  FRI JUN 2  6:30p  Join us for a screening of this award winning film based on the book, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race.  In the race to space between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, three black female mathematicians play a key role in launching astronaut John Glenn into outer space, making him the first American to orbit Earth.  Directed by Theodore Melfi, it stars Taraji Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge and Glen Powell. The main spiritual practice this film focuses on is Justice.

Run time 127 min.; rated PG – Parents Strongly Cautioned – Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Popcorn during, discussion after.

Jazz Church West – Delicious!  Gerry Grosz & The Jazz Kitchen

Gerry will do his magic (les  entrees -le plat principal) mainly on the vibes. Mixing in a few bites of very tasty piano- ( la pate) No reservation needed come as you are – hungry for Great Jazz! Bon appetite! 5pm  SUN  Jun 4th

Gerry and his jazz sous chefs will make their spicy jazz menu soar for this  12th Season Finale!   As the season closer-  Le desserts will be served at the reception which follows.   Do not miss this extra special free jazz treat.

 Vacation Bible School 2017:  Jul 24-28!  PEACE youth and teens are invited to partner with St. Timothy’s and Mt. Cross Vacation Bible School, The Water of Life.  This VBS week is a Day Camp 9:00—3:00, staffed by Mt. Cross College and Adult volunteers working with teen CIT’s and youth as young and Pre-k.  A week of fun, song, crafts and learning for the week; campers and staff will bring lunch each day, concluding with a celebration on   Friday 9:00—1:00.  Visit http://sainttimothysdanville.org/grow/vacation-bible-school/ for forms,registration & information.   Contact the office 925.648.7000 for questions/more information.  Register this week to guarantee your t-shirt size!

¨ Slavyanka Chorus: On Sunday, June 11th at 5PM, Slavyanka Chorus will present a concert of rarely heard Russian and Serbian choral music at Peace Lutheran.  The program will include sacred and secular music by two of Russia’s greatest choral composers, Pavel Chesnokov and Sergei Taneyev (often called “the Russian Bach” in his homeland, but almost unknown here) — and a cycle of charming and lively folk songs about simple village life by Serbia’s most beloved composer, Stefan Mokranjac.  Iskra Etno, a wonderfully talented Serbian and Balkan ensemble of eight women singers, will also perform.  Tickets are $17 online at www.slavyankachorus.org, or $20 at the door — children under 12 admitted free. For more information, please visit the chorus website, or call Paul Andrews, 510-798-7966.

¨ HONKYJune 24th & 25th at Peace: Save the date!!  A pair of sneakers triggers a tragedy…  and a unique conversation about race relations in America.  Honky is an absurd and hilarious take on the language of race and racism.  Political correctness goes out the window as five people, both black and white, muddle through one of the most difficult discussions of our time.  Tickets through Role Players Ensemble http://www.roleplayersensemble.com/