Grace Waves/Pastor’s Blog 12.21.18

Friends:

“Joy to he World” is a popular, beloved and perhaps the most published Christmas Carol. Its author Isaac Watts did not write it with Jesus’ birth in mind – it’s not even mentioned.  It was published in a collection of hymns inspired by the Book of Psalms and interpreted through Christian eyes as an affirmation of the whole creation filled with new life:  Fields and floods, rocks-hills-plains repeating the ‘sounding joy’ refers to Ps. 98 where heaven and nature sing.  Watts conveyed crucial insights in the Judeo-Christian tradition:  That our Creator ‘rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness and the wonders of God’s love'”.  As Mother Mary learned…we have much joy, mystery and love to ponder here.  If the sweetness and grace of the Christmas Story does not reach our hearts it is as mere ocean spray – a blast on the surface that never touches the deep nor calms the heart.

 

Christmas Eve Schedule

  • Family Service at 5:00 pm —  Guest singers/musicians/actors – pure joy!
  • Candlelight and Communion at 10:00 pm — contemplative and soul-stirring.

Christmas Day Worship at 10 am — another celebration filled with joyful carols!

Our Secret Santa Gifts and Gift Cards were delivered on Tuesday.  Thanks for sharing so much love with those in need!

Christmas Caroling Gary and accordion will lead the way on Sunday, December 23.  We leave Peace at 5:30 to serenade members and arrive at San Damiano by 6:45 to sing for the Camp Fire families.

Blue Christmas Services and Holiday Candle Ceremony:  Martha has sent us Christmas Resources for those facing grief and loss in this season of darkness.  See attachments below.

Our Christmas Tree has been voted Best Christmas Tree Ever!  Runner-ups include the Christmas Trees from 2011, 2007 and 2013.

The Song “Silent Night” celebrates its 200th anniversary this Christmas!

Our Monastery Honey has nearly disappeared.  Great gifts and so tasty!

Christmas opportunities for Service:   San Damiano Retreat Center has opened their facility for Paradise Fire Victims.   If you wish to Volunteer to assist the days most needed are:  December 24 and 25.  You can also wander up the hill at any other time these next few days and see where they need help.

“It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends.  But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion.  The other is mere business.” Gandhi

Entre Culturas News/Partnership On the firs half of October they get a lot of rain on Laurel Galan but then the rains stop all together and therefore it was not enough. There will be no harvest of corn but there will be plenty of food for the animals. The harvest of sorghum will be good. There is plenty of water on the wells. One well was dug to start the water project for the community…they are still waiting on the rest of the project. The women are going to have enough food to cover all of December.The cutting and selling of firewood is still slow.

Regular Giving!  By end of year, please change your automatic giving from Vanco to your own bank using the Monthly Bill-pay program.  Questions?  Please contact Pam Lane

YEAR END CONTRIBUTIONSPlease have all year end contributions into the office by, December 31st.

The Fourth Sunday of Advent celebrates the Gift and Faith of Mary and her Magnificat.  “God feeds the whole world through a Babe nursing at Mary’s breast.”  Luther

Peace Office will be closed Dec 25 – Jan 2.  We will see you in the New Year!  2019 office hours will begin a new schedule:  Tues, Wed, Friday:  10a – 6p.  Most Thursdays with Pastor Steve, and by appointment.

Blessed Advent and Joyful Christmas!

Pr. Steve

 

Grace Waves / Pastor’s Blog

Friends:

“We most need to pray when we least feel like praying.  Even when we seem unable to pray as we ought, we can trust the Spirit prays within us with ‘sighs too deep for words’, for the prayer of the heart depends not on our temperament or natural capacity for quiet but on the Spirit’s presence and gifts meant for each of us.”  Catherine of Siena

Christmas Schedule

  • Christmas Eve:  Family Service at 5:00 pm …. Who will be the Baby Jesus this year?  Guest singers/musicians/actors will fill the evening’s Story with delight!
  • Christmas Eve:Candlelight and Communion at 10:00 pm
  • Christmas Day: Worship at 10:00 am

Secret Santa Gifts and Gift Cards: Please bring your Gifts/Gift Cards to Worship this Sunday, December 16. The families live in Antioch, Pittsburg, Bay Point, Oakley and Concord. Please wrap your gifts and mark them with Family Name, Gender and Age of Child.  (For example, BAY Family.  Girl 7 years.)   A small group will drive to Martinez on Monday or Tuesday to deliver the gifts.

The Catechumenate (Adult Faith Deepening/Clarity of Calling) has begun.  A few other members may join in.  Keep Fei in your prayers and those who are contemplating participating in this time of discernment.

Sing-Along Messiah with the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra and our own Elizabeth Hunter Ashley!  Sunday, December 16, 7:00 pm at the San Ramon Community Center, 12501 Alcosta.  www.San RamonArts.org for tickets.

Blue Christmas Services and Holiday Candle Ceremony:  Martha has sent us Christmas Resources for those facing grief and loss in this season of darkness.  See attachments below.

Christmas Caroling:  Gary will once again lead the way with his accordion as we sing cheer at the homes of members of Peace.  We are hoping to conclude the evening with Caroling for the Camp Fire families residing at San Damiano.  All are welcome to join in – singers and non-singers!!

Thanks to the Women of Peace and Ken who have decorated our Tree and the Gathering Hall!

Sretan Bozic! –  Christmas Tree Decoration:  As a child “Sretan Bozic” was spoken in my Croat family more than Merry Christmas. It reminds me of our being an immigrant family.  I would like to prepare ribbons or paper strips with Merry Christmas written down in languages from all of our diverse family backgrounds.  From Arabic Maltese to Finish.  We can prepare these on Dec. 16 and 23 and use them as additional Christmas decorations.  Sretan Bozic!    Ken

Christmas opportunities for Service

San Damiano Retreat Center is opening their facility for Paradise Fire Victims.  78 people can be housed.  If you know anyone who needs a place for the holidays please notify Lisa at San Damiano promptly.  Her number is: 837-9141.  If you wish to Volunteer to assist the days most needed are:  December 20 and 21 when people arrive and December 24 and 25.  Contact me if you want help.

“The Lord has so identified himself with us that our love for one another truly binds us to him as well:  I have put you among your neighbors so that you can do for them what you cannot do for me.  And whatever you do for them I will consider done for me.”  Catherine of Siena

Winter Nights Shelter:  in late January or early February we will provide hospitality (a meal, homework assistance, being present) with friends from Beth Chaim at St. Timothy’s Church.  More details to come.

Entre Culturas News/Partnership Eduardo and the women did the trip to a place call EL SALTO – which is a river that has waterfalls and some swimming holes. 22 women and 6 children came on the trip. They had lunch in El Salto ( fish filet and juice – according to the women it was very good.)  The women had a blast especially because they do not have the chance to leave the community to go on trips like this. Micaela and  Emelina came on the trip. Emerita seemed to most enjoy the trip…on the way back to Laurel Galan, since they had to go trough Managua, the bus take them to the main avenue in the city for the women to see all of the Christmas Lights and the Altars that are especially prepared for the celebration of the Concepcion of Mary.

The Third Sunday of Advent arrives this Sunday when we light the pink candle – a symbol of joy for all the people who cannot wait for Christmas!

Advent blessings,

Pr. Steve

Grace Waves/Pastor’s Blog 12.07.18

Friends:

“We rarely find people who achieve great things without first going astray.”  On Saints and Sages by Meister Eckhart

San Damiano Retreat Center will host Paradise Fire Family victims from December 20 – 26.  Several people from Peace already want to volunteer to help.  (*Please see the details below.)  If you wish to assist please notify Kari in our Office.  These ornaments are being made/sold with all proceeds benefitting fire victims.

Dear Pastor Steve:

Prayers please for all my sister Elin and her husband Harry had to endure.  They lost their home and all of their belongings in the Paradise inferno.  My 85 year old brother in law drove through walls of fire and blinding smoke, the morning of the uncontrollable conflagration of super-heated air, moving  fast with the wind, setting one house after another on fire, leveling everything in its path.  Elin and Harry reached her daughter’s home in Berkeley late that horrible Thursday.  The sights of Paradise are far worse than what we saw in Europe during  the war.  At least the bombs spared some houses, leaving behind ruins that could be rebuilt. There is nothing in Paradise like that.

Yet Elin and Harry consider themselves fortunate, because they have some resources and a place to stay, unlike many unfortunates who huddle in tents on store parking lots.  I do hope that help arrives fast for the victims of the catastrophe. Love to my friends at Peace.  Maili Malvre

Our Advent Wreath was designed by Ken and it is fabulous.  What an inspiration to prayer as we mark this season of preparation for unconditional mercy.

This Sunday we will put the Lights on our Christmas Tree and next Tuesday the Women of Peace will decorate the Tree and Gathering Hall.  Any and all are invited to join in!  (The Women’s Group meets every Tuesday from 1 – 2:30 pm.  Women are always invited to join this group which shares mutual support and opportunities for reflection on our lives.)

Pure Delight Concert Appreciation:  Performing in the Pure Delight Concert is the perfect way to celebrate the spirit of Christmas.  For the past four years, I have always looked forward to making and sharing music with our wonderful audience. I am grateful for another opportunity to participate in what has become a Christmas tradition for me!   Jiwon Evelyn Kwark, violinist

Jazz Church West Anton Schwartz and Mike Scott were stunning.  The gospel is ‘preached’ in so many ways.  (Be sure to tell me the day you grow weary of classical and jazz artists performing at Peace who have played the great concert halls of New York, SF Symphony, Vienna, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Tokyo, Berlin, Stockholm, DC and LA.)  We are so blessed!

Giving Tree Gifts are asked to be brought to Peace on December 16.  Gifts for two 9 year old boys are the only remaining gift requests.

The Catechumenate is an opportunity for Adults to deepen their faith through study, reflective conversations, prayer, godfriends and blessings.  It begins in Advent and continues through Easter (April 21).  We meet twice a month and the participants determine together our meeting times.  Speak with me if you would like to learn more.

Letter from the Women of Laurel Galan: We received the letter that you sent us with Luis and Eduardo. We are happy to know that you were celebrating one more anniversary of your church. We hope you remain united in the love of God. We thank you for always thinking of us and praying for our families. We want to tell you that we are receiving a lot of rain. In our country there is disorder in nature. The crisis increases due to the lack of employment. During the
first half of the rainy season we lost the harvest due to lack of rain and right now we are losing our crops due to excessive rain.  We hope that you will be successful in your elections and that you choose the best candidate for you.  We pray that you will always be well and that you can achieve your goals.

Keep in your prayers:  June, Spoon, Margaret, Gun, Nette, the people of Paradise and Thousand Oaks, the Seminarian Committee, Brenda, Kathy and Adel, Bernie, Jeanne, children who are at risk, Pr. Margareta, people living with AIDS, those in addiction recovery, artists and all who are with child.

 

Chanukkah  Celebration this Sunday:  Beth Chaim invites you to an interfaith Chanukkah Party with Menorah Lighting, singing, dancing, hot chocolate and goodies at the Rotunda in Blackhawk Shopping Center this Sunday, December 9 at 6:30 pm.  Always a great time!

 

 

 

 

From the New Life Band:  Friends at Peace we offer a sincere thank you for welcoming us last September to Peace during our California Tour.  Your support, warm hospitality and the opportunity to share our ministry with you was greatly appreciated and valued.  Mungu awabariki!

Fire Victims – A Place for the Holidays! San Damiano Retreat is opening 78 guest rooms to host fire victims over the holidays!  Rooms, meals, laundry, wifi, beautiful grounds, and a warm Franciscan welcome.   How YOU can help:  Contact Lisa Briones  lisab@sandamiano.org   or 925.837.9141 – or contact Kari in the office to schedule a group to assist in any way!

  • o Reach out to San Damiano if you know someone that can benefit
  • o Be a volunteer! Assist with cooking, kitchen and food service, be present to visit
  • o Donate bulk items of food, laundry supplies
  • o Bring your musical talents to entertain the guests!

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.  Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”  Tao te Ching

Advent blessings,

Pr. Steve

Grace Waves/Pastor’s Blog 11.30.18

Friends:

Let us Release All  the Love in our Hearts in All Directions for Those in Need

There are always borders some people are not afraid to cross

There are always doors some people are not afraid to open

 

There are always walls some people are not afraid to tear down

There are always fears some people are not afraid to transcend

 

There are always hopes some people are not afraid to have

 There are always loves some people are not afraid to embrace

 

There are always people some people are not afraid to respect

There are always dreams some people are not afraid to dream

 

Help us O Holy One of a thousand names that no one name can capture

 to realize the courage within us that is longing to be born in times of need.

Fr. Tom Bonacci

~ We begin Advent and the New Church Year this Sunday.  Taize Services will again be offered on Wednesday evening at San Damiano from 7- 8pm with our own Gary Sponholtz and friends providing the music leadership.

~ Catechumenate Want to study in depth our faith, the teachings and learn spiritual resources?  The Catechumenate is for you!  It is an ancient faith formation program which applies its wisdom to our times and context.  The program begins in Advent and continues through Easter with classes, godfriends, blessings and more.  Speak with me to learn more.

~ Our Pure Delight Christmas Concert is this Saturday, December 1 at 5:00 pm It is a benefit for CCIH (Contra Costa Interfaith Housing).  Here is a beautiful 5 minute video about their work. https://vimeo.com/265639388  Guest artists include Evelyn Kwark, Igor Vieira and the Cellis Brass Ensemble.  Come and joyfully initiate the Christmas Season!

 

~ From the Women of Laurel Galan:
Thank you for the generosity of many of you who contributed towards the much needed food for our partner community in Nicaragua.  Entre Culturas staff members, Eduardo and Luis, delivered it to the families on
Saturday, November 20th.  The community was so very grateful!

~ Stewarding – EFT and Peace:  We are asking all our EFT Contributors to change your Automatic Giving from Vanco to your own bank using the Monthly Bill-pay program.  Of course those who would like to financially support Peace through EFT and have not done so before are encouraged to become EFT Contributors too.

~ “Won’t You be my Neighbor”Friday Films: Dinner and a Movie with Kenny’s Roast Chicken and Roast Pork at 7:00 pm (note our later start!).  2018 is the 50th Anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.  Come and enjoy this delightful film about the man who cared about all children.

~ The Jazz Church West welcomes Anton Schwartz and guitarist Mike Scott this Sunday, December 2 at 5:00 pm.

~ Gratitude for Grace Waves“Thank you for this lifeline that provides inspired and inspiring messages for the indwelling spirit and is a vital news link about a congregation that I miss.  Love to my friends and pastor at Peace who I miss.”  Lynne Goodman

 

~ Chanukkah Sunday, December 9 at 6:30 at the Blackhawk Rotunda:  Beth Chaim invites us to join them for Menorah Lighting, singing and dancing, hot chocolate and latkes at this annual celebration.

~ The Monastery Honey is wafting out the doors!  It was especially appreciated and purchased at the Thanksgiving Eve Celebration last week.  Get yours soon!

This holiday season do your regular Amazon shopping at smile.amazon.com/ch/94-1664977 and Amazon Smile donates to Peace Lutheran Church!

“Our destiny is to live out what we think, because unless we live what we know, we do not even know it.  It is only by making our knowledge part of ourselves, through action, that we enter into the reality that is signified by our concepts.”  Thomas Merton

Blessed Advent,  Pr. Steve

 

 

Grace Waves/Pastor’s Blog 11.29.18

Friends:

Let us Release All  the Love in our Hearts in All Directions for Those in Need

There are always borders some people are not afraid to cross

There are always doors some people are not afraid to open

 

There are always walls some people are not afraid to tear down

There are always fears some people are not afraid to transcend

 

There are always hopes some people are not afraid to have

 There are always loves some people are not afraid to embrace

 

There are always people some people are not afraid to respect

There are always dreams some people are not afraid to dream

 

Help us O Holy One of a thousand names that no one name can capture

 to realize the courage within us that is longing to be born in times of need.

Fr. Tom Bonacci

 ~ We begin Advent and the New Church Year this SundayTaize Services will again be offered on Wednesday evening at San Damiano from 7- 8pm with our own Gary Sponholtz and friends providing the music leadership.

~ Catechumenate:  Want to study in depth our faith, the teachings and learn spiritual resources?  The Catechumenate is for you!  It is an ancient faith formation program which applies its wisdom to our times and context.  The program begins in Advent and continues through Easter with classes, godfriends, blessings and more.  Speak with me to learn more.

~ Our Pure Delight Christmas Concert is this Saturday, December 1 at 5:00 pm.  It is a benefit for CCIH (Contra Costa Interfaith Housing).  Here is a beautiful 5 minute video about their work. https://vimeo.com/265639388  Guest artists include Evelyn Kwark, Igor Vieira and the Cellis Brass Ensemble.  Come and joyfully initiate the Christmas Season!

 

~ From the Women of Laurel Galan:  
Thank you for the generosity of many of you who contributed towards the much needed food for our partner community in Nicaragua.  Entre Culturas staff members, Eduardo and Luis, delivered it to the families on
Saturday, November 20th.  The community was so very grateful!

~ Stewarding – EFT and Peace:  We are asking all our EFT Contributors to change your Automatic Giving from Vanco to your own bank using the Monthly Bill-pay program.  Of course those who would like to financially support Peace through EFT and have not done so before are encouraged to become EFT Contributors too.

~ “Won’t You be my Neighbor”Last Friday Films: Dinner and a Movie with Kenny’s Roast Chicken at 7:00 pm (note our later start!).  2018 is the 50th Anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.  Come and enjoy this delightful film about the man who cared about all children.

~ The Jazz Church West welcomes Anton Schwartz and guitarist Mike Scott this Sunday, December 2 at 5:00 pm.

~ Gratitude for Grace Waves “Thank you for this lifeline that provides inspired and inspiring messages for the indwelling spirit and is a vital news link about a congregation that I miss.  Love to my friends and pastor at Peace who I miss.”  Lynne Goodman

 

~ Chanukkah Sunday, December 9 at 6:30 at the Blackhawk Rotunda:  Beth Chaim invites us to join them for Menorah Lighting, singing and dancing, hot chocolate and latkes at this annual celebration.

~ The Monastery Honey is wafting out the doors!  It was especially appreciated and purchased at the Thanksgiving Eve Celebration last week.  Get yours soon!

This holiday season do your regular Amazon shopping at smile.amazon.com/ch/94-1664977 and Amazon Smile donates to Peace Lutheran Church!

“Our destiny is to live out what we think, because unless we live what we know, we do not even know it.  It is only by making our knowledge part of ourselves, through action, that we enter into the reality that is signified by our concepts.”  Thomas Merton

Blessed Advent,  Pr. Steve

 

 

Grace Waves/Pastor’s Blog 11.08.18

Friends:

“The friendship of wise ones is tasteless as water.

The friendship of fools is sweet as wine.

But the tastelessness of the wise brings true affection

And the savor of fools’ company ends in hatred.”  Chang Tzu (250 BCE)

 ~ November is Stewarding Month at Peace! 

 ~ Jazz Church West was a wonderful evening of music with my trio featuring Dahveed Behroozi & Dillon Vado and inspiring words by Pr. Steve . (I always deeply appreciate his open-mindedness and how he incorporates teachings/philosophies from other faiths into his comments. This time he brought in a lesson from Taoism.)  Ed Klitsch is deeply valued by many here in the SF Bay Area Jazz scene for his love of the music and the wonderful series he created at Jazz Church West…which is 14 years old now! Thank you, Ed!  (Jeff Denson, composer, singer and bassist)

 ~ Veil Tapestry Evolving:  A woman in Australia, Sandra Wright, saw an image of the Veil in the Interfaith Gallery https://interfaithart.org/gallery-a-d-2017 and asked for a print of it for a wedding present for an interfaith couple.  I sent her a digital file to avoid printing complications.  She was grateful and wanted to compensate the “artist” (which floored me).  I requested that she make a contribution to Peace instead.  Bill Carmel

~ Rhythm & Spirit:  SAT Nov 17th, 4:00p –   Dance to World Music with Kaleo Ching!  This is a fundraiser for a refugee Afhgani family.  $10/person.  Check out the raffle!

 ~ Thanks again for the Interfaith Festival and congratulations on 6 Decades of exemplary work of the kind that transforms hearts and thereby lays the only credible foundation for a future Golden Age.”  Friends from the Baha’i Assembly

 ~ Chromatica at Peace!  Sat Nov 10th, 7:00p  $20

 

~ Peace served as a Polling Place for the Elections this week and approximately 1,000 people voted here.  There was a constant flow of voters throughout the day.

 ~ A Call for Change:  For the month of November, the Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa will be featuring “A Call For Change”, an exhibit of PhotoVoice artwork that brings together photos and messages from people experiencing homelessness in Contra Costa County. The artwork will be displayed in the lobby of the County Administration Building at 651 Pine Street in Martinez for the month of November.

 ” The constant objectification of people and organizations as enemies and outsiders must come to an end. Political, religious, and civic leaders have the responsibility to exemplify what it means to face the important issues of the day with respect and decorum. How we speak about an issue is as important as the issue we speak about. Those charged with leadership must raise the caliber of the discussion to the human and humane level.”  Fr. Tom Bonacci

Blessings, Pr. Steve

Grace Waves/Pastor’s Blog 10.17.18

Friends:

“Without courage we can never attain to true simplicity.  Cowardice keeps us “double-minded” — hesitating between the world and God.  In this hesitation, there is no true faith – faith remains an opinion.  We are never certain, because we never quite give in to the wisdom of an invisible God.  This hesitation is the death of hope.  We never let go of those visible supports which, we well know, must one day surely fail us.  And this hesitation makes true prayer impossible — it never quite dares to ask for anything.”  Merton

The Johnson Family singing and playing for worship, a theatre production performed twice during the weekend, recitals and the previous week jazz and the Blessing of the Animals.  It seems we are constantly enriched with an abundance of blessings.

Seminarian Louis will preach this Sunday.  Anticipate a great occasion!  And thanks to our Seminarian Committee that has begun to guide and shape his pastoral formation at Peace.

Peace 60th Birthday:  On October 28 we will have an abbreviated worship with 2 wonderful Surprises to honor our 60 years….and the 501st Anniversary of the Reformation. 

A delicious Oktoberfest will follow with 

 

 

 

 

all the traditional meal of bratwurst and sauerkraut and German biers!  With a little rest in the afternoon you’ll be able to return for the Interfaith Festival at 4:30.  Be sure to sign up to help with the  Celebration!   We are all Hosts for the Event so welcome everyone you can and invite others to join you!  

Community Letter From Laurel Galan From Entre Culturas Visit 9/26/18

We know that you are always thinking about our social, political and economic situation. We know that in your prayers you ask God for us and that gives us strength and increases our hope for a better life.

We thank you for the help you plan to send us because it will help us meet some of our basic needs. During this second planting we have received the blessing of the rain twice and we have faith in God that we will harvest even if it is just for the consumption for our families.

We stand in solidarity with you through our prayers so that your petitions have a response in God’s time. We want to share with you that the community meetings are being held in the homes of each of the group members.

Thank you for the candle, the photograph of our sister Enriqueta and the drawing symbol of the Holy Spirit that guides us every day.

With love, Your sisters from Laurel Galán.

Blessings, Pr. Steve

Grace Waves/Pastor’s Blog 10.03.18

Friends:

“Even if you are only a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.”  (Gandhi, whose birthday is October 2)  “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (Jesus)

St. Francis and the Blessing of the Animals:  Bring your furry, feathered, scaly friends to worship this Sunday at 10 for one of our favorite annual celebrations.  It’s okay if they don’t know what they believe….you can bring human friends, too.

Drawdown:  The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed To Reverse Global Warming (Paul Hawken, editor). Looking for 100 Substantive Solutions to reverse global warming based on research by scientists and policymakers from around the world?  This is it!  These solutions already exist, are economically viable, and communities around the world are enacting them with skill and determination.  A copy of this book will be available for your review during Hospitality Hour on Sunday.

Our 14th Season of the Jazz Church West begins this Sunday at 5:00 pm with the Erik Jekabson Sextet including internationally acclaimed Percussionist John Santos.  Whether you want to be cool or need to impress a hot date – the Jazz Church is the place for you!

This Saturday at San Damiano Retreat Center:  Aloha Qiqong and the Legacy of St. Francis.  I am co-leading this retreat with Kaleo and Elise Ching from 9:30 – 3:30.  If you would enjoy learning an earthy Qiqong practice and wisdom about our Patron Saint of Ecology, join us.  837-9141 to register or sandamiano.org.

Earthy, animal blessings in the spirit of St. Francis!

Pr. Steve

Grace Waves/Pastor’s Blog 09.12.18

Friends:

“There was something formless and perfect

before the universe was born.

It is serene.  Empty.  Solitary.  Unchanging.

Infinite.  Eternally present.

It is the mother of the universe.

For lack of a better name,

I call it the Tao/ the Way.”  (Lao-tzu)

Marvelous and transcendent moments this past Sunday with our Psalm, “Taste and See” and Eucharist.  God is good.

Communion of Solitudes:  Our Forum revealed how essential silence and solitude are to the members of Peace.  Without contemplative stillness our clarity disappears, decision-making gets foggy and commitment to act on our values flags.  Henri Nouwen said,  “The church is a communion of solitudes.”  We bring our inner stillness to one another and this creates the wisdom and peace of the spiritual community.

“Pure prayer begins at the threshold of silence.  It says nothing, asks for nothing.  It is a kind of listening.  The deeper the listening, the less we listen for, until silence itself becomes the voice of God.”  Stephen Mitchell

Meditation at Peace (from 6 – 6:45 pm) begins again on Thursdays, September 20.  It includes 10 minutes of Kinhin/Walking Meditation.  If you cannot participate but would like to learn the basics and intention of Meditation practice, please contact me and I will gladly teach you.

Save the Date;  Peace 60th Birthday Party – October 28:  Worship in the morning and an Interfaith Festival – Salaam/Shalom/Shanti Sangha Celebration – at 4:30 in the afternoon!

Rhythm and Spirit: — Bruce Silverman leads our next Embodied Prayer Event with a Drumming Circle on Saturday, September 22 from 4 – 6 pm.  When ancient Israel collapsed and went into Exile, the Babylonians refused permission for the Jewish people to bring their drums with them because the drums would give them hope, energy and courage.  Are you ready for some joyful energy?!  And you are invited to bring your children and grandchildren who will never stop thanking you.

The High Holy Days conclude with  Yom Kippur on September 18. Anti-Semitic fliers were posted at or near five Bay Area synagogues ahead of Rosh Hashanah. The fliers with vile caricatures and comments were from the far-right website Daily Stormer.

We remember the martyr Stephen Biko who was murdered 41 years ago this week by the South African apartheid regime.  Biko was the founder of the Black Consciousness Movement and the author of “Frank Talk” a profound collection of reflections on restoring dignity and consciousness to oppressed peoples.  Stephen Biko was also a close friend and inspiration for Tshenu and Mudzunga Farisani.

Keep in your prayers June, Margaret, Bernie, Shivani’s father, the 90 countries participating in Eco-Summit Gatherings around the world; Denise, Laura Patterson on the death of her mother Phyllis, Samantha and John who will be married this weekend.

Homecoming Sunday – September 23!  The New Life Band from Tanzania will lead our worship that day. Friends from Tanzania, Rwanda and hopefully South Africa will join us for worship.  A tasty Luncheon of Tanzanian and American foods will follow with a selection of African crafts available for purchase, too.  Anticipate a joyful day!  Invite friends to join you.

Tai Chi Chuan Classes (a 12 week series) begins on Thursday, September 20 at 7:00 pm.  An open mind and loose clothing are all you need.  Tai Chi combines physical exercise, martial arts and meditation in movement.  Tai Chi means The Great Uncontainable in Form.  Check it out, spread the word.

Wed  Oct 3:  National Day of Korea Concert at Herbst Theater, 7:00 pm featuring our own Pacific Youth Choir.  Tickets are FREE – Reserve your seat with the office (925.648.7000 or Office@PeaceJourney.org) Reserve by Sun 9/23

If you forget to be grateful for your life – read the Psalms.   They will renew you with deep, exuberant praise for the gift of now!

” Let the heaves and the earth rejoice,

     let the waves of the ocean roar,

   let the rivers clap their hands, 

     let the mountains rumble with joy,

   let the meadows sing out together,

     let the trees of the forest exult.”

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Grace Waves / Pastor’s Blog 07.11.18

Friends:

The Lord cares for the righteous and watches over the merciful, is near when our hearts are broken; and when our spirits are crushed, God is with us.  And though we may undergo hardships God fills us with blessings in the end.     ~Psalm 34

  • My deep gratitude for the uplifting prayers!  Knowing the Peace Congregation, Healing Team, Tai Chi class, and the full community of spiritual friends has been with me has been very special.  My thanks to you all!

Plans are for hospital release some time on Thursday.  A “Meals & More for Steve n Bev” sign up has been put together so the community can now lend their physical support along with their spiritual.  Go to :   https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0448AAA72DABFA7-meals

Please contact Kari at Peace with questions:  Office@PeaceJourney.org  925.648.7000

  • Summer Hours

July 9 – July 20     Tues / Wed /  Fri     2:00 – 5:00p

July 23 – Aug 3     Tues / Wed / Thur     8:30 – 11:30a

  • Our Thanks to Night Ministry Lyle Beckman for sharing last Sunday with us, and to the Nowell’s for their musical gifts.  We will see more the John and MaryEllen while Pr. Steve and Gary are away this summer.
  • Welcome Pr. Lucy to the pulpit this week!  She will be guiding us a few weeks this summer, along with Louis Mohelman, and perhaps another visit from Pr. Lyle.

Failure is an opportunity.     If you blame someone else

there is no end to the blame.

Therefore, the Master fulfills her own obligations and corrects her own mistakes.  She does what she needs to do and demands nothing of others. 

From the Tao te Ching

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

The writing below is a letter from a former Peace member, currently living in Maine and deeply connected to the immigration issue.

Dear Friends at Peace:

There are now three lawyer-level positions in my office besides my own position, plus a full-time admin and we just brought in two part-time interns.  We are swamped.

My office has represented and is representing many, many Central Americans who are victims of gang violence.  I cannot impress on people enough that these gangs are ruthless in ways that would have made SS soldiers blush.  A 15 year old Guatemalan boy selected for recruitment by a gang (MS-13, MS-18) might be given three days to decide.  Join or die.  A lot of these boys leave the country during that three day period.  The probability of death is very high if they stay.  A store owner in Honduras is told to pay $800/month.  If she doesn’t make a monthly payment, she’ll more likely than not be shot.  Dead.   No hesitation.  No guilt.  No willingness to listen to pleas for mercy.  This is what’s going on.

And don’t even get me started on what goes on in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa).  Or Gabon, where political opponents are targeted for ritual occult murders, involving organ harvesting, BEFORE the victims die, as the harvested organs supposedly need to come from live bodies in order to be effective (per the witches/shamans/) for use in occult (i.e. satanic) practices.  You can’t make this stuff up.  We have two Gabonese cases with this kind of occult horror.

The Congolese cases tend to be political opponents of the Kabila regime.  Joseph Kabila has no problem ordering the killing of opponents, though I suspect a lot of the killings are done by his underlings without any consultation with Kabila.

SO, my point–some people do come to the US with completely fraudulent stories.  Most of the Sub-Saharan Africans come because torture and often death are their only options.  At least the nationalities we see–Congolese (Kinshasa and Brazzaville), Angola, Gabon, Cameroon, Burundi (horrible place) and Rwanda.  And the Central Americans (Guatemalans, Hondurans & Salvadorans) are leaving countries controlled in part by gangs that make the Italian mafia look genteel, if not charming, by comparison.  In these countries there are really no ‘safe’ places to live once the gangs are after you.  Their tentacles can reach anywhere.

The President has no clue about these things.  He is just using the undocumented as a device to instill even more fear into his base, which is understandably afraid of the future.  Who isn’t to some degree?  Being afraid is not, however, an excuse to go after people who don’t look or act just like you.

Keep the immigrants in your prayers.

Best Regards,

George D. Hepner, III  (former member and President of Peace Congregation)

Law Office of George D. Hepner III  –   850 Main Street, Westbrook, Maine