Grace Waves/Pastor’s Blog 02.22.18

Friends:

I am prayer. (Ps. 109: 4) There are three rungs to this ladder:  Third best is to talk about prayer.  Second best is to pray. Best is to be prayer.”

“How Did We Get Here?”  We begin celebrating our 60th Anniversary as a Congregation on February 25 in worship and at the Forum.  You will get to hear stories and memories about Immanuel Church (merged in 1988 with All Saints to create Peace). Throughout 2018 we will be learning about our history and discerning our future.

Re-imagining Exodus – A Freedom Story:  The story of Exodus is pivotal in Jewish and Christian communities.  Rabbi Dan Goldblatt and Pastor Steve will teach this class over four Wednesday evenings beginning Feb 28, 7:30p at Peace.   Simple Soup Supper 6:45p  Continuing 3/7, 3/14, AND, at our last class, on 3/21,  author Rabbi David Zaslow will be with us!   Purchase your copy of the book today – $10.  The book is important, even if you cannot attend – it is the core of the Lenten experience.

For more insight, an interview with the author, Rabbi David Zaslow:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74A58GZ_VoI

Last Friday Films:  Wonder Woman!  Fantastic Food, Fun, and Film!!!   Why do teenage girls and boys around the country love this movie? Maybe it’s because of director Patty Jenkins’ (Monsters) role as the first woman to direct a superhero film. When Chris Pine lands near the Amazon’s island, he tells them of WWI raging across Europe. Diana says, “I am willing to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.” She believes her calling – to help stop the war and end humankind’s suffering. Will she discover her powers and her fulfill destiny?

Run time 2 hrs. 21 min.; rated PG-13 – Parents Strongly Cautioned – Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Common Sense Media Rating: 12+, kids say 11+. If you wish to be removed from this list, please let me know.

Please keep in your prayers:  Eric and Julia Nieman whose mother Ritas Memorial gathering is this weekend. Don Britt on the death of Linda, Brian, Bob, David, Gun, Naftali, Drew, Sue, Dennis, Ed, Danny, Mike, Zach, Michael’s father, Goran, Spoon and Liz, Pastor Lucy, disabled people, and the students, staff, and families who were killed or survived the recent Florida mass shooting.

Mask Making Workshop with Kaleo and Elise was incredible!!  You will see the fruits of their labor this Sunday.

Peace Dance with Open Floor International Saturday, March 3 from 4 – 6 pm.  Come Sweat your Prayers and move to the joy of music and movement.

 

Peace as Sanctuary: The LIRS / Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Services report on the ELCA Sanctuary Movement was presented this past Sunday.  Visit the LIRS link – https://www.lirs.org/blog. We are intending to speak with LIRS staff by Skype on a Sunday Morning in March.

Happy Hour for Hunger with the Jazz Church West – Hosted by Melanie and Frank Hobden:  On Sunday, March 4 following the Kristen Strom Quartet performance at 5:00pm, a Fundraiser for the ELCA World Hunger program will present Speaker Sharon Magnuson from our national church office in Chicago.  Our church has done outstanding work for decades to alleviate hunger in the US and abroad.  In addition we will have a Craft Beer Tasting with a local expert to highlight the latest trends in this industry.  Invite friends to join you in this evening dedicated to superb music and essential support for hungry families.

Did you know??  The Peace Calendar is now fully online?  Any time you want to be ‘in the know’, go to our website!  AND, if you want your event added to the calendar, send an email to Office@PeaceJourney.org with ‘Calendar’ in the subject line

Aging in Place – The Facts behind Senior Hunger:  Nearly one in every six seniors in America faces the threat of hunger and not being properly nourished. This applies to those who aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from and those who don’t have access to the healthiest possible food options. The issue is severe enough that the AARP reports that seniors face a healthcare bill of more than $130 billion every year due to medical issues stemming from senior hunger.  The full article is posted on our website.

Reclaiming the Heart of Humanity: At the final judgment we are asked:  Were you honest in business and life?  Did you set aside times for learning?  Did you look beneath the surface?  Did you ponder the inner meaning of what you saw?  Did you live with hope?

Delegation to Nicaragua:  We are exploring the possibility of a delegation to Nicaragua in September or December.  If you are interested please send your date availability to the office at Office@PeaceJourney.org with Delegation in the subject line.

Lenten Blessings,

Pr. Steve

Annual Congregational Meeting:  The Annual Report itself is quite an endeavor. Therefore links to each of the Reports are provided below (end of blog).  I hope you will give read, absorb all that is happening through our ministries within and beyond Peace. I hope the Report will make you proud and prompt insights and questions about our ministries.

FULL ANNUAL REPORT:  2018.0201 Peace 2017 Annual Report

2018.0201 Peace 2017 Calendar of Events

2018.0201 Peace 2017 Connections Deacon Report

2018.0201 Peace 2017 Education Deacon Report

2018.0201 Peace 2017 Pastors Report

2018.0201 Peace 2017 Presidents Report

2018.0201 Peace 2017 Property Deacon Report

2018.0201 Peace 2017 Stewardship Deacon Report

2018.0201 Peace 2017 Treasurer Report

Grace Waves – Pastor’s Blog 02.13.18

Friends:

“Unless you are born of the Spirit you cannot enter the fullness of God.  That which is born of flesh is flesh, that which is born of the spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel when I say, “You must be born from above.”  Jesus

Bambalela – Never Give Up!  The Family Service was a joyful celebration.  The only critique:  It was too much fun!  The Kid’s Art was beautiful and remains on our altar; Kaleo and Elise’s masks were stunning, Nette’s cards and song for immigrant friends “What a Wonderful World” touched our hearts; and all the love from our kids and for the Danville Village elders made it a true Valentine’s and Mardi Gras event.  Thanks to Charlene and Pat for their leadership.

Ash Wednesday begins the Season of Lent tomorrow night with worship at 7:00 pm.   We will use Marty Haugen’s Vespers Service.

Please keep in your prayers:  Don Britt on the death of Linda, Brian, Bob, David, Gun, Naftali, Drew, Sue, Dennis, Ed, Danny, Mike, Zach, Michael’s father, Goran, Spoon and Liz.

Re-imagining Exodus – A Freedom StoryThe story of Exodus is pivotal in Jewish and Christian communities.  Rabbi Dan Goldblatt and Pastor Steve will teach this class over four Wednesday evenings beginning Feb 28, 7:30p at Peace.   Simple Soup Supper 6:45p  Purchase your copy of the book today – $10.  The book is important, even if you cannot attend – it is the core of the Lenten experience.

For more insight, an interview with the author, Rabbi David Zaslow:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74A58GZ_VoI

Annual Congregational Meeting:  We did pass our 2018 Budget!  A lot of work is accomplished by your Council Officers and Deacons.  The Annual Report itself is quite an endeavor. Therefore links to each of the Reports are provided below (end of blog).  I hope you will give read, absorb all that is happening through our ministries within and beyond Peace. I hope the Report will make you proud and prompt insights and questions about our ministries. To entice and encourage your reading these Reports I include these comments from Boris:  I took some time to study the full report and all that I can say to you and the Council Members is, “Wow!  Great job!”

A couple of things that jumped out at me were:

There is so much going on.  I am missing out by not being at Peace more often!

The church has a very strong foundation of accountability and solid financial stewardship. 

–  A sense of purpose and community provides very strong bonds.

–  I have been a member in several Lutheran congregations around the world where strife and infighting was the order of the day.  The forums are very valuable in resolving issues and charting the path forward.

Mask Making Workshop with Kaleo and Elise — this Saturday 9:30 – 5:30 and Sunday from Noon – 5 pm.  If you wish to participate please notify the Office promptly.

Peace Dance with Open Floor International – Saturday, March 3 from 4 – 6 pm.  Come Sweat your Prayers and move to the joy of music and movement.

ELCA Advocacy Alert This week the Senate will vote on policies that could provide protection for young Americans without legal status, also known as Dreamers. During the same voting process, Senators will also consider amendments that restrict immigration to historic lows, take away trafficking protections for unaccompanied children, make it harder for people to seek asylum, and increase border enforcement. Policies that harm children and families do not reflect our commitment to God’s call to welcome the stranger and care for our neighbor.

Forum:  Peace as Sanctuary this Sunday 2/18 — LIRS / Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Services:  A report on the ELCA Sanctuary Movement was made available this past Sunday.  To see it online and prepare for this Sunday visit the LIRS link – https://www.lirs.org/blog.

You may find information from the LIRS coalition partners useful as well-  http://www.weareallusa.org/newshttp://www.interfaithimmigration.org/

Happy Hour for Hunger with the Jazz Church West – Hosted by Melanie and Frank Hobden:  On Sunday, March 4 following the Kristen Strom Quartet performance at 5:00pm, a Fundraiser for the ELCA World Hunger program will present Speaker Sharon Magnuson from our national church office in Chicago.  Our church has done outstanding work for decades to alleviate hunger in the US and abroad.  In addition we will have a Craft Beer Tasting with a local expert to highlight the latest trends in this industry.  Invite friends to join you in this evening dedicated to superb music and essential support for hungry families.

“How Did We Get Here?”  We begin celebrating our 60th Anniversary as a Congregation on February 25 in worship and at the Forum.  You will get to hear stories and memories that shaped the origin of our congregational life.  And you will get to learn more throughout this year.

Last Friday Films:  Wonder Woman!  Fantastic Food, Fun, and Film!!!

Lenten Blessings,

Pr. Steve

FULL ANNUAL REPORT:  2018.0201 Peace 2017 Annual Report

2018.0201 Peace 2017 Calendar of Events

2018.0201 Peace 2017 Connections Deacon Report

2018.0201 Peace 2017 Education Deacon Report

2018.0201 Peace 2017 Pastors Report

2018.0201 Peace 2017 Presidents Report

2018.0201 Peace 2017 Property Deacon Report

2018.0201 Peace 2017 Stewardship Deacon Report

2018.0201 Peace 2017 Treasurer Report

Grace Waves – Pastor’s Blog 02.08.2018

Friends:

“To be born a human being is rarer than a star that shines by day.”  Tibetan saying.

Family Service this Sunday: We will celebrate Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras and Transfiguration.  Am I missing anything?  Colors, music, masks, dancing and love – what more do you need?  Bring your kids and grandkids.

Mask Making:  Feb. 17 and 18 Kaleo and Elise are leading the Mask Making Workshop at Peace.  Members and friends of Peace are invited to join in to this wonderful, transformative process.  Speak with me about details.

Peace Dance- Saturday, March 3, 4 – 6 pm:  John and Elizabeth invite you to join them and Open Floor International for Embodied Prayer through dancing for the joy of it.  Affectionately called ‘Sweating your Prayers‘ this occasion provides music and rhythms to move within and just be.  (Up until the 14th century no liturgy was considered complete without 1 – 3 dances!)  Children are welcomed.  Suggested donation – $20.

Faith, Hope and Love:  Honoring our immigrant guests of a couple weeks ago, Nette has prepared Cards of Appreciation with which to remind our friends that they are not alone.  If you wish to include a financial gift (made out to Peace) that will be welcomed too.  Cards are available again this Sunday.

Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent is on February 14.  Our service will be at 7:00 pm and we will use Marty Haugen’s Vesper Service.  If you need transportation please let the Office know.

“The whole cosmos is in Communion:  We are stardust, literally made of the stars.  And certainly the ‘reverse’ is equally true – The Cosmos is made of our Flesh and thus we are interconnected with everything else in the cosmos!

Our Lenten Season will be a Study of the book “Exodus” which Rabbi Dan Goldblatt and I will teach at Peace beginning on Wednesday, February 28 at 7:00 pm – Soup and bread will be served at 6:45. To learn more about the Exodus Story and it’s liberating significance for Jews and Christians see this interview with author Rabbi David Zaslow:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74A58GZ_VoI.  Copies of the book will be available this Sunday.

From Seminarian Louis Moehlman:  I am on Facebook reading some pretty terrible news. A young high school student, Patrick Turner, in Newport Beach came to the conclusion that ending his life was perhaps the only way to make a statement to those who have created ever growing pressure around children to do well. Newport Beach is ranked nationally as the “4th wealthiest city”. Following San Ramon and Pleasanton, respectively. I can only imagine the immense pressure to do well, out perform and succeed, as Patrick felt in Newport Beach, is not an unfamiliar feeling with the youth we serve at Peace. Please keep our young people in your prayers.

The Jazz Church West presents the Glen Pearson Quartet this Sunday at 5:00 pm.  The gift of grandeur and deep contentment await you.

Happy Hour for Hunger for Jazz at Peace – save the date – March 4 at 5:00 pm!  Melanie and Frank Hobden are creating a Fundraiser to support the work of the ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Appeal through our national church body.  The Kristen Strom Quartet will perform for the Jazz Church West, Hors d’oeuvres and Craft Beers provided by local experts will be highlighted during the Reception after jazz, and Sharon Magnuson from the ELCA Chicago Office will share news on this life-changing work to end hunger.  Spread the word and plan to attend.

Sermons for All Seasons:  Through the kindness of friends, a book of Pr. Lucy’s sermons has been published and is now available on Amazon.  It costs $10.95.  A portion of the proceeds benefits Peace.  You can preview a copy at Hospitality on Sunday.  Any royalties will be dedicated to PICO for organizing work done in Rwanda under the leadership of Rev. John Rutsindintwarane.

Please keep in your prayers:  Linda, Sue, Zack, Pr. Lucy, Liz, Johnny’s mom, Michael’s dad, Dennis, Danny, Brian and David and Bob, Drew, Ed, all the jazz musicians who perform at Peace, all of our families working so hard to raise wise, compassionate and joyful children.

From Shelter, Inc. Testimony “My case manager asked questions about my personal life very carefully and without embarrassing me.  He gave me hope and was supportive.  As a widow under medical treatment for recent leg surgery, I have been treated every day like my disability did not matter, and therefore it made me think that I don’t matter.  But my case manager had great training.  This is the best thing to every happen to us and we will always remember SHELTER, Inc. in our prayers.

Speak with Jim Gunshinan about his father’s work on the Hubble Telescope to learn amazing stories.

“Your Love speaks in all people, in the silence of every heart.

Epiphany blessings,

Pr. Steve

 

Grace Waves – Pastor’s Blog 01.31.2018

Friends:

“The virtues of suffering:

Due to the shock suffering causes us, our arrogance falls away – we see life more clearly;

Suffering also gives rise to compassion for all others who are suffering; and

Because of our suffering, we avoid actions that will bring suffering to others.”

Shantideva

Our next Family Service will be on February 11.  Our  Annual Congregational Meeting will follow worship on that day.  It appears it will be a brief meeting.

Last Friday Films viewing of “Happy” last weekend garnered an audience of 20+ people.  Good film, good cooking by Ken, good friends, good times.  Thanks, Elana!

Fields of Blood:  Religion and the History of Violence by Karen Armstrong.  This in-depth historical study of the world’s 5 Major Religions reveals that religions are not the source of violence and wars.  I mentioned this in last Sunday’s homily and Armstrong’s work is a fine piece of truth telling.  While this is hard for many of us to believe, this platitude has caused enough damage. (Name the religious cause for our American Revolution, 1812, Civil War, WWI and WWII, Viet Nam and Iraq.)  Read the book and then we’ll talk.

Mask Making Workshop at Peace lead by Kaleo and Elise on February 17 and 18.  Youth and parents from Peace and Beth Chaim will be participating.  Would others of you like to join in?

Laurie England sends her love from Longview, Washington.  She is glad for her move but misses her Peace friends.

The Jazz Church West hosts pianist Glen Pearson on Sunday, February 11 at 5 pm.  This is on the 2nd Sunday of the month due to Super Bowl.

The Church Year which is based on a lunar calendar has all of our Feast Days as early as they can possibly be this year.  Ash Wednesday falls on February 14/ Valentine’s Day and Easter will be celebrated on April 1 the Fool’s Day.

The Lenten Class on Exodus that Rabbi Dan Goldblatt and I will teach will begin on February 28 and go for an additional 3 Wednesday evenings.  Copies of the book by David Zaslow will soon be available for you.

Epiphany Wisdom,

Pr. Steve

Grace Waves – Pastor’s Blog 01.25.18

Friends:

Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.

Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.

Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench.

Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.

 

Do your work, then stop.

The only path to serenity.

Tao te Ching

Our Sanctuary Forum – Conversation with an Immigrant Family was profound and well attended.  We keep in our prayers those families impacted and torn apart, our decision making process at Peace, and those who are responsible for creating just policies.

We believe in the separation of church and hate!

** Last Friday Films – ‘Happy” this Friday:  Join us in the Gathering Hall for a full-on roast chicken dinner (roast potatoes, onions, green salad, dessert) from Chef Kenny at 6:30, film at 7:30. The documentary “Happy” was commissioned after a NY Times article rated the US as 23rd on the list of happiest places on the planet. How do you define happiness?  We will travel around the world discovering how people in 14 countries answer that question. The Huffington Post says, “It brings … a wealth of scientific, empirical, and national research on happiness and delivers it in a documentary-type format so mesmerizing you’ll be recommending it before you get halfway through.” Run time 73 minutes; unrated.

Our next Family Service will be on February 11.  Immediately following the service we will have our Annual Meeting.  The agenda appears quite brief.

During the Spring Months of 2018 we will begin to celebrate the 60th Anniversary Year of Peace!  Lots to learn and enjoy from our history to the present.

Please keep in your prayers Mary Calhoun, Brian, Linda Britt, Goran and family, Leema’s family on the death of her sister, Ed’s father, Ruth and family on the death of Bill Lesher, Naftali, Sue, Spoon, Johnny’s mom, Mike’s dad, Danny, Ed, Dennis, Liz, Marshall.

Our poet/prisoner friend Spoon Jackson has been moved to the Solano Prison in Vacaville.  Surprising circumstances have made his release a possibility.  Please keep his release process in your prayers.

“Human beings are members of a whole; in creation of one essence and soul.

If one member is afflicted with pain, other members uneasy will remain.

If you have no sympathy for human pain, the name of human you cannot retain.”

(Farsi poet Saadi, 1210 – 1291)

Epiphany Blessings,

Pr. Steve

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.”