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/

 

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 05.03.17

Grace Waves

Once upon a time I took in Mystery as a sensation best left unexamined.  Now I experience it as welcomed.  I’m strangely comforted when I hear from scientists that human beings are the most complex creatures we know of in the universe – by far!   Black holes are in their way explainable; the simplest living human being is not.  I lean a bit more confidently into the experience that life is so endlessly perplexing.  I love that word.  Spiritual life is a way of Dwelling with Perplexity–taking it seriously, searching for its purpose and perils, its beauty and ravages.  Spiritual life is dwelling with perplexity.
—Robert Coles

Defusing Hatred Workshop:  Hosted at Peace,  Wednesday, May 10th, 7:00p.  Co-sponsored by Interfaith Council, Peace, and Together We Will. Learn non-violent communication skills, watch informative videos, share conversation and hands on experience.  Develop practical skills for responding to hate speech and public occasions of intimidation.  
Good Shepherd Sunday – Living an Abundant Life, May 7!
Forum: Laura Magnani of AFSC/American Friends Service Committee leads our Forum this Sunday at 11:30 – 12:30, then further in depth for those who wish to stay until 1:30.  She will speak about the core values that formed the Quaker’s historical commitment to justice (Underground Railroad, women’s suffrage, Japanese internment) and how these values shape their discernment and participation in the Sanctuary Movement today.
Keep in your prayers:  Margaret Beeler on the death of her mother Betty; the family of Pete Thomsen on his death,  Fred and Marlene Garrity, Marshall, Nette, Brian, Gun, Sue, Ed, Shiva, Cliff, Peter, Jerry, Nik, Brian, Enriqueta; the congregation of Korean Church of the Valley as they seek new spiritual homes; and prayers of gratitude for Mashudu Neswiswi) and Masome Makobe who were married in Lwamondo Parish this past Sunday!
Healthcare Community Meeting: Saturday, May 20th, 10:30a – 12:00p  Join concerned citizens and allied organizations for an educational forum– Health care is a human right in all industrial countries except the United States.  Come watch the 35 minute documentary “Now Is The Time” and learn how the US can join the rest of the world and provide its residents with universal health care.  CA is currently taking steps to go beyond the ACA and guarantee affordable health care to all for life.  Learn how you can be a part of this movement.  Question and answer period will follow screening. Event facilitated by Gerri Field. Health Care Activist, CaPA. 
Our next Family Service is on Mother’s Day, May 14!
Tyme for TeaWe meet again for Tea on Saturday, May 13th, 2:30p  Cost $40 per person.  We’ll meet at 1:30p at Peace to carpool.
 
Embodying Prayer Retreat:  San Damiano, May 13th, 10 – 4:00p with Kaleo & Elise Ching and Pr. Steve as leaders. Come learn and enjoy the whole-bodiness of prayer through the gift of incarnational qiqong.
First Friday Films presents The Brand New Testamentthis Friday at 6:30 pm:  A playful, dark satire in the style of Monty Python meets Moliére. The film takes us on a farcical romp straight through current religious thought to something completely different. If you can suspend your disbelief and poke some fun at religion you will see what one little girl can do with some help from her mother and famous brother (J.C.).  Shortlisted at the 2016 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film, written and directed by Jaco Van Doramael.
The Pacific Choir performs Bach’s Cantata 80 (Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott) on Saturday, May 20 at 7:00 pm at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek.  Tickets are free but you must sign up with Peace to receive your ticket in advance.  (Call/email the Office or Sign Up on Sunday.) Donations for the evening will support the Cleft Palate Foundation.  You may invite friends to join you.
Jazz Church West presents Clairdee and the Ken French Trio this Sunday, May 7 at 5:00 pm.  An elegant and lovely evening awaits you.  You have never been to Jazz before?  Now is the time to begin.
 
SOLAR CELEBRATION – Save the Date!  Come celebrate our solar installation and the sunny ministries of Peace.  With a Community Dinner on Sunday, May 28 at 5:00p.  Stay tuned for details!
 
Sign of the Times (radio comedy)  – “You can count on us because we tell the truth more or less nearly 100% of the time!”

Easter blessings!
Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 04.26.17

Grace Waves

Friends:

“Tov” is the Hebrew word usually translated as ‘good’ but it’s core meaning is actually ‘life generating’.  Enjoy this definition when you read the Creation Story or pray/meditate on the Creation Mantra you received Sunday.  This translation invigorates everything!  The purpose and joy of our evolving Creation (like the daily choices we face) is that everything we engage becomes life generating!

Earth Day – “I used to think the top environmental problems were Biodiversity Loss, Ecosystem Collapse and Climate Change.  I thought that with 30 years of good science we could address those problems.  But I was wrong.  The top environmental problems are Selfishness, Greed and Apathy.  To deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation – and we scientist don’t know how to do that.”  Gus Speth

(As I said on Sunday, we in spiritual communities do know how to do this, not because we have solutions but because we know how to begin again, how to turn and return, how to respectfully nurture consciousness.  Isn’t it exciting to build this creative partnership with the scientific community now!)

Bill Carmel wrote an article on ‘Matisse into Diebenkorn  for our local paper about a current exhibit at the SF MOMA.  Over 300 views already.  Check it out at: https://www.danvillesanramon.com/blogs/p/2017/04/18/matisse-into-diebenkorn.  Way to go, Bill!

Two Forums – Peace as a Sanctuary Church:  This Sunday we will attune our Listening Skills to hear each other’s stories and learn the formative elements that have shaped our values.  On May 7 Laura Magnani of AFSC will join us to expand our understanding of Quaker historical commitments to justice (Underground Railroad, women’s suffrage, Japanese internment) and how the Sanctuary Movement is contributing to that history.

Healthcare Community Meeting  Saturday, May 20th, 10:30a – 12:00p  Join concerned citizens and allied organizations for an educational forum — Health care is a human right in all industrial countries except the United States.  Come watch the 35 minute documentary Now Is The Time and learn how the United States can join the rest of the world and provide its residents with universal health care.  California is currently taking steps to go beyond Obamacare and guarantee affordable health care to all for life.  Learn how you can be a part of this movement.  Question and answer period will follow screening. Event facilitated by Gerri Field, Health Care Activist, CaPA (California Physicians Alliance) Board of Directors.

The Four Seasons and More Concert performed by the Sycamore Strings Academy was superb.  How luscious to hear such uplifting music wafting and reverberating through our sanctuary.  The 15 young artists playing violins, violas, cellos and bass are incredibly gifted.  Our gratitude to Director (and Peace Friend) Goran Berg for eliciting their best in music and spirit.  (It was tov!)

Mother’s Day Tea at Thyme for Tea on Saturday, May 13.  Reserve your setting with Diane or Pat.

Our Confirmands met last Sunday.  We shared reflections on Holy Week: Seder, Good Friday and the Resurrecting Love of Easter (Mark 14 – 16:8); we examined the ‘spiritual teachings/environment’ of our Sanctuary; walked the Labyrinth; studied the Peace Mosaic, spoke about the dynamics that prompted the horror of the holocaust; and enjoyed earth day moments.  Keep Gracie, Jack, Reese, Nik, Julia, Mark, Kyle, Luke, Julia and Alex in your prayers.  Their Confirmation Celebration will be on Pentecost, June 4.

Defusing Hatred Program – Keep Calm and Defuse the Tension:  Learn nonviolent communication skills in a safe environment and develop tools for responding to uneasy situations and hate speech..  Enjoy and informative, visual presentation followed by conversation and hands on experience through role-play.  We host this program to build communities of care who will protect the vulnerable and targeted around us.

Sunday, April 30 at 7 pm at St. Joan of Arc in San Ramon.  Co-lead by Rev. Will McGarvey and myself.

Wednesday May 10 at 7 pm at Peace with a variety of Community Advocacy Groups.  Same leaders.

KCOV/Korean Church of the Valley:  This Sunday Pastors Daniel and Connie Chung will retire and KCOV will officially close their congregation.  Members of KCOV will disperse to join other congregations.  Of course they are being invited to join Peace as well.  We offer our gratitude for their years of ministry among us and in the San Ramon Valley.

The choral group Chromatica (who was given birth at Peace) will perform this Sunday at 6:00 pm.  Tickets are $20/person.  A beautiful evening awaits you.

The Interfaith Yom HaShoah Remembrance Service at Beth Chaim was very powerful.  The prayer below is offered in honor of the 6 million Jews who were murdered, along with the 1 million disabled people, the 1 million gay people, the 1 million intellectuals, artists and political dissidents, and 2 million Eastern Europeans who were murdered.  May we have the courage to oppose bigotry and protect all who are scapegoated in our time.

The Redemption of Saving Grace

O Lord, remember not only the men and women

of good will, but also those of ill will.

But do not remember all the suffering they inflicted

on us;

Remember the fruits we have bought, thanks to

This suffering — our comradeship,

Our loyalty, our humility, our courage,

Our generosity, the greatness of heart

Which has grown out of all this, and when

They come to judgment let all the fruits

Which we have borne be their forgiveness.

(Prayer found by the body of a dead child at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp)

On Resurrection: 

Each day in our world beauty is born anew, it rises transformed through the storms of history.  —Pope Francis

Easter Blessings,

Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 04.20.17

Grace Waves

Friends:
Impending Resurrection:  We pay more attention to dying than to death.  We’re more concerned to get over the act of dying than to overcome death.  Socrates mastered the art of dying; Christ overcame death as the last enemy.  There is a real difference:  the one is within the scope of human possibilities, the other means resurrection.  It’s not from the art of dying but from the resurrection of Christ that a new and purifying wind can blow through our present world.  Here is the answer to Archimedes’ challenge: ‘Give me somewhere to stand, and I will move the earth.’  If only a few people really believed that and acted on it in their daily lives, a great deal would be changed.  To live in the light of resurrection – that is what Easter means.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer, executed April 09. 1945
Gratitude for Easter and for all who contributed to the joy!  Thanks to Elizabeth and Teresa for their vocal leadership, to Ginnie and Gary, to Charlene for Children’s Time, to the Altar Guild, John for drumming with the assistance of all the little boy drummers, to Martha and Libby for the Easter Brunch, Elana and Margit for the decorated Gathering Hall and to All of You who Contributed to the Delicious Brunch, and to Seminarians Louis and Ella….and Austin who helped Hide the Eggs –  weren’t the children beautiful!  And to Gary for the Lenten Season video he prepared.  This Sunday you’ll get to see his Easter Video!
Equal Gratitude to Diana Howard for coordinating our Passover Seder and to all who contributed to that incredible evening through story, song, personal reflections shared….. and truly fine dining!
  Taize on My Mind by Susan Gest (poetic gratitude for Lenten Taize at San Damiano)
Veneration of the Cross
Up there at San Dam
Blood and cross and thorns feel real
Smells like Holy Ghost 
Sounds like God the Most
Spring Cleaning – POSTPONED…too many people are unavailable this Saturday so we will reschedule.
Earth Day Worship this Sunday!
“Thanks to our bodies God has joined us so closely to the world around us that we can feel the desertification of the soil almost as a physical ailment, and extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement.” (This comment by Pope Francis was placed on a plaque in Rome’s Biopark)
April 23
Interfaith Shoah Remembrance, 3 – 4:30 at Beth Chaim.  Commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and those whose lives are on the line today.
Confirmation: 5 – 7 pm at Peace.
Four Seasons and More – A Concert by the Sycamore Chamber Orchestra at 7:00 pm — under the direction of Goran Berg.  Superb quality from fine young artists!
“We shall rise again…..and find an open door….until then our life lies hidden with Christ in God.”
Easter Blessings,
Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 04.11.17

Grace Waves

Friends:
Prayer for Holy Week:
Just as your Final Week begins – everything collides together:
The glib attitudes of ‘life on the surface’ with your moment of sublime submission.
You are afraid, anxious, wary of betrayal, tasting despair and anguish.
Here and now is held everything human and all human beings.
Here are you and me.
It is when you have been tested that you know who you are;
You know it, Lord, not me……because my final test hasn’t happened yet.
Lord, we would like to follow you all the way…..all the way to the Cross.
Seder this Thursday at 6:30:  We gather to commemorate our roots, identity and the Lord’s Supper.  We recognize that imperfect people can usher in liberation.  There’s no sense waiting until we are totally pure, psychologically and spiritually healthy.  The healing of the world continues now and it will be accomplished by imperfect people/wounded healers who will transform our lives and world through wisdom, compassion and grace.
Good Friday:  Peace will be open from Noon – 3 pm for prayer.  Contemplative worship begins that evening at 7:00 pm.  “Stay with me, remain with me, watch and pray.”
Easter Day at 10:00 am.  A joyous celebration of new life and new creation!  Our Brunch begins at 9:15 and the Egg Hunt will follow worship.
Keep in your prayers:  Shiva, Nik, Nette, Teresa, Brian McGee, Gun, Nancy, Brian Turner, Sue, Marshall, David, Bob, Ralph, Marlene and Fred, those who have lost parents/loved ones – Alan, George, Ann, Dwane, Maili and Kersti; Ed K. Liz, Peter, Kathy, Jerry, the Confirmation Class; those living with addictions, the people of Syria and the Coptic Church of Egypt.
Spring Cleaning at Peace – Saturday, April 22:  We begin with Pancakes at 9:30 and work from 10 – Noon.  Make your mother proud that she taught you how to use elbow grease!
Culinary Herbs for Warm Weather with Elana: At the Orinda Library, Garden Room, Friday from 1 – 2 pm.
Sunday, April 23
  • Earth Day worship at 10 am.
  • Interaith Shoah Remembrance at Beth Chaim from 3 – 4:30 pm.
  • Confirmation – 5:00 pm
  • Four Seasons and More – a Concert by the Sycamore Chamber Orchestra under the direction of our own Goran Berg at 7:00 pm!
How can we sing praise songs in a world so full of hunger, hatred and war?
How can we praise God when surrounded by negativity and deception?
How can we say ‘thank you’ when suffering is so present and betrayal so near?
We are living in a Dark Time but the Light is here – who can stop us!
Therefore we can live like it is day despite the dark night.
In the midst of so much need and darkness
We are not allowed to be Silent.
Therefore we must sing:  Hosanna in the Highest, Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!
(Bishop Karoline Krook)
Holy Week Blessings,
Pr. Steve