Good News, 03.17.2011

Friends:

I am the one whose praise echoes on high.
I adorn all the earth.
I am the breeze that nurtures all things green.
I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits.
I am led by the spirit to feed the purest streams.
I am the rain coming from the dew
That causes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life.
I am the yearning for good.  (The Greening God,  Hildegard von Bingen)

Lent means Spring and to encourage our Greening like the Spring our Soup and Sacrament Series (6:30 on Wednesdays) will focus on Jonah:  The Comedy of Forgiveness.  With the overwhelming news in Japan, northern Africa, Haiti and the US Midwest it is clear “our little systems have their day….and cease to be” (see the poem at the end of the Good News).  The centering and confidence of our lives must be anchored in the One to whom time and space, life and death belong.  Feel like you’re trapped in the belly of a whale?   Join us for some refreshing hilarity and insights on the next 5 Wednesdays.

A Healing Prayer Conference held this past weekend was initiated by our friend and mentor Rev. Francis Geddes.  At last his book Contemplative Healing has been published.  We will have a healing prayer service at Peace on March 27th.   We will have a Book Signing Party with Fran at Peace sometime in the not too distant future.

Mudzunga Farisani and daughters Nzumbu and Ndamu have arrived home safely.  Mudzunga sent word of her appreciation for all the love and prayers they received at Peace.   She looks forward to the Peace Delegation who will travel to Beuster Parish for the Dedication of their new church in October of 2012.  Our thanks to the Partnership Committee, Karl Pfieffer, Chair for their continued support of this ministry at Peace.

The Sound Board has been revamped and is now working perfectly thanks to Josh Camacho.  New devices for the hearing impaired will arrive soon.  Please let me know if you sit in a spot where amplified sound is not heard well.

Please keep in your prayers: Emily (Linda Hall’s mother), Randy and DeeAnn, Annie, Ralph, John Dahlin, Richard Howell, Bob, Sheila, the tsunami and nuclear reactor victims of Japan, all those advocating for democracy in the Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria; for the people of Haiti that they might have elections and a government of their choosing; for the people of Wisconsin and the 16 Midwest States advocating for their livelihoods, the 7 imprisoned Baha’i leaders in Tehran, and our Confirmation Class.

A proposal to create a rotating Spiritual Art Exhibit among several Interfaith Congregations of I-SRV is being examined.  If you want to be an advocate for more of the visual arts at Peace please contact me.

Soul / Food:  Earth, Faith and Food – the next meeting with Rebecca Calahan Klein regarding our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) project will be at Peace on Thursday, March 31 at 7:00 pm.  All interested members are invited to attend.

A disturbing statistical Note: In 2009 U.S. health care spending grew by 4%;  yet health insurance premiums in California are set to increase in 2011 by 39% – 59%.

International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8th – marking its 100th Anniversary.  Here are two reasons the celebration and work must continue:  1)  In Egypt – not one woman was named to the national committee writing the new Egyptian Constitution, despite the essential role women played in the protests that led to President Mubarak’s resignation.

And 2)  Rev. Dr. Elaine Neuenfeldt, the secretary of the LWF Women in Church and Society Program delivered a statement at a UN Member States expert panel discussion on science and technology. She expressed the need for, “women and girls to fulfill the needs that they identify at all levels of science and technology research and development.”  Neuenfeldt shared a story of illiterate Mauritanian women from poor communities. Through the support of the LWF’s Department for World Service, the women received training to be women engineers and set up a solar electric system for their rural communities. The new access to solar technology has since provided power for lighting, mobile technology and other electronic devices. This unique “best practice” of empowering the women from rural areas is an example of how opportunities can be created for women and girls to access science and technology that transforms communities.

Our thanks to Sue Field for the gift of a new piano to Peace!

Jazz at Peace will have 3 Special Events  in April for JAM (Jazz Appreciation Month).  On Saturday,  April 2 at 7:30 pm:  The Social Evolution of Jazz with EW Wainwright and African Roots. You will get to hear the entire musical history of jazz.  April 10 at 5 pm the Jazz Church West will host Pete Yellin.  On Saturday, April 30 at 7:30 pm Clifford Brown, III and his Brewing Company will perform their magic.  Tickets for April 2 and 30 are $10/person or $25/family.  These are all incredible opportunities for inspiration.  Please invite friends to join you.  (No one present this past Sunday will ever forget the Paul Scheffert jazz of this past Sunday!!)

Please complete the Memorial Garden/Columbarium Surveys of Interest and bring them to church this Sunday.

“Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be;
They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they.

We have but faith:  we cannot know;
For knowledge is of things we see;
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness:  let it grow.

Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,

But vaster.”

( from Tennyson’s “In Memoriam”)

Lenten Blessings,  Pr. Steve

—–

The homily from this past Sunday, March 13, is now available online for your listening and soul’s pleasure. You may listen or download the this and past sermons by going to the audio sermons online section.