Good News, 04.28.2011


I beg you… patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves….the search going on within your inmost being is worthy of your whole love….the point is to live everything you experience.  Live your questions now.  Do not seek “answers” which cannot be attained because you would not be able to live into them anyway. -Ranier Maria Rilke

Gratitude to all who participated in our Palm Sunday, Seder, Good Friday and Easter Celebrations.  Noah Ashley certainly blessed us with his calm spirit and gaze during his Baptism; the Seder Liberation Story becomes more pertinent (and tasty) every year;  the contemplations of Good Friday stirred profound connections and stillness; and the music and drumming of Easter brought much joy.  The Lenten Fast of Unplugging from Technology is now over.  You may replug with new wisdom gained during Lent and omit technological frenzy from your life.

May 1 – this Sunday we have much to offer you:

  • Lori England who participated in our Pet Festival will offer a half-hour session for children on Pet Handling and Care after worship.
  • Soul Food Connections/CSA invites you to Meet your Farmer at Terra Bella Family Farm.  A carpool leaves from Peace at 12:30.  Enjoy a picnic lunch on the farm with I-SRV friends.
  • Our former Seminarian Cindy Carroll invites you to her Ordination at 3:00 pm in Sacramento.  A group is carpooling from Peace
  • Our Book StudyDestiny Disrupted:  A History of the World though Islamic Eyes begins at 6:00 pm on Sunday evening at Peace.  It continues for 4 Sunday evenings.  Friends from the Islamic Center will join us.  Deacon Gil Jardine will lead the sessions.  Copies are available at Peace.  Imam Amer Araim will join us on May 22.

May 8:  Our next Small and Tall Family Service will be celebrated on Mother’s Day.  It will be another great occasion for children and parents.

Keep in your prayers: DeeAnn, Anita and Dana on the death of Randy, Gun Johnston, Nancy Carlston, Rich Larson,  Sheila, Lisa, our Confirmands and Cindy Carroll.

Are you in need of Acupressure?  Kaleo and Elise Ching are offering this gift to members of Peace after worship on May 15.  They will each offer 5 sessions of 20 minutes in length.  This is a wonderful Healing Gift they are offering us.  You will need to sign up in advance to reserve a time slot.

Ben Foley of Homecoming will attend a Memorial Garden/Columbarium at Peace on Friday, April 29 at 10 am.  Interested members are invited to attend.

Two incredible Jazz Events are coming your way:   Clifford Brown III and the Brewing Company will play this Saturday night at 7:30 pm for the culmination of our April JAM Series.  These outstanding musicians will share the cutting edge of Spirit-Jazz and Nu-Jazz with you.  Eight winners have already gotten free tickets through KCSM radio.  Invite friends to join you for this remarkable event.  And the ideal Mother’s Day gift awaits you on May 8 at 5:00 pm.  Vocalist Kat Parra will entertain you with Latin Jazz Delights. You can finally prove to your mother that you love her!

Earth Day Celebration: Governor Jerry Brown signed a much-awaited piece of legislation which increases the amount of renewable energy in our electricity from 20% by 2010 to 33% by 2020. This bill, which failed in previous attempts to pass, was revised in the last two years and enjoyed bipartisan support in both the California Senate and Assembly. “CIPL (California Interfaith Power and Light) members and clergy have been advocating for this legislation for almost three years,” said Susan Stephenson, Executive Director of CIPL. “This puts California back in the lead for the clean energy future, and we congratulate the governor and the legislature for passing it.”

Fasting for the Poor: 28 members of Congress joined in the Fast to protect the poorest of our nation from having essential services cut.   Strange isn’t it that some legislators think that by cutting educational programs, health care, and human services to the least among us that this will save our nation from disaster and halt the debt.  And meanwhile there are no current attempts to stop corporate tax dodgers.   Pray that we come into our right mind.

The Race to Nowhere is a film about destructive educational priorities and the consequences our children are experiencing in their lives.  It is playing Thursday evening at 7:00 pm at the SRV United Methodist Church in Alamo.

A Pair of Jeans is preparing a Benefit Concert of Meditation and Hope for the people of Japan on Sunday May 22 at 4:30 pm.  Please invite friends to join you.  A Reception will follow (…..and then the final Book Study session with Amer Araim begins at 6:00 pm).  See the fliers posted on the Kiosk.  More details to come.

Easter Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Good News, 04.14.2011


Biblical study should have one primary aim and view: confrontation of all of us by the living God….with fear and trembling, we can dare to hope that God would address us through the biblical words….no serious question is out of place. No pious phrases will take the place of honest and determined examination of the Bible. – Walter Harrelson

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday on April 17 with the baptism of Noah Hunter-Ashley; our Seder is Maundy Thursday at 6:30 – please sign up after worship or notify the church office this week; Good Friday worship will be at 7:30 pm. Easter will be celebrated at 10 on April 24.

A number of Sue Field’s music students will be joining with Sue in providing our music for Easter worship. Among them will be Cleo Kozlowski, piano; Maria Rao, mezzo; Diane Sangster, flute; Emily Weller, trombone; and Dan Trubey with John Ashley on drums. They will be performing arias, duets from the Bach St. John Passion, Vivaldi Gloria, Mozart’s Grand Mass and the Per Harling Sanctus. The musicians will also be joining the Peace choir for a celebratory anthem.

Every Sunday you are welcomed to join the Bible 365 study group. This class raises tough questions and faces your tough questions. Thanks to Pr. Elizabeth for her leadership.

Do you know who your Farmer is? Check out the new Soul/Food: Earth, Faith and Food website at:

Our thanks to the Youth Group and Confirmands for expanding our California Native Garden! Your love and hard work increases the beauty of Peace.

John F. Kennedy University Arts and Consciousness Faculty Art Exhibition: Kaleo and Elise Ching are exhibiting their art and poetry in this Exhibit. Kaleo writes:

Beginning in 1999 I was passionate about doing healing energy work, acupressure, and bodywork. Instead of sculpting masks or painting on canvas, I massaged muscles and tendons, felt energy flows, accompanied others on their journeys into subconscious realms. Ten years late a close friend died and her spirit inspired me to paint again. Elise and I are exhibiting paintings and poems which are offspring of this ongoing process of inquiry and discovery.”

Please visit and enjoy the Exhibit when you can.

Bread for the World Covenant Church: Peace is a Covenant BfW church. The Justice Advocacy ministry offers our thanks to those who participated in our annual Offering of Letters to Congress last Sunday when we wrote on behalf of the hungry in our nation and the world. Imagine if Congress decided, “From now on we will only vote for military funding measures when they have an equal amount of funding dedicated to the ending of global poverty, homelessness, hunger, inadequate education, and inadequate health care as proposed in the Global Marshall Plan.” How would our lives, values, and society change? You are encouraged to fast from Monday lunches during April and use this time for prayer and/or to urge Congress not to “balance” the budget on the backs of the poor by stripping them of essential resources.

Our thanks to Susanna and Raddi for the Clothing Drive on behalf of the people of Japan. They packed and shipped a total of 136 boxes! What a labor of love! Gratitude to all who helped in a variety of ways. Also – a Pair of Jeans is intending to present a Benefit Concert for Japanese Relief on Sunday, May 22. Details to come.

Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Muslim Eyes – Sundays May 1, 8, 15, and 22 from 6 – 7 pm. All of us experience but few of us understand the world view of by Islamic history and theology. This 4 Sunday Forum will help us understand Islam – its expectations, perspectives and challenges in the modern world. We will learn why many Muslims are discouraged by the preeminence of Western culture and the presence of US and coalition forces in the Middle East; the original intention of the Prophet Mohammed in founding Islam and the basis for the Shiite/Sunni split that resulted following the Prophet’s death. Gil Jardine will be leading the sessions. At the final session, Sunday, May 22nd Iraqi-born, Sunni Imam Dr. Amer Araim, author of “Understanding Islam: Fifty Questions will join us as an additional resource. Copies of “Destiny Disrupted” are available from the Church office prior May 1st.

Bev and I were invited to a Mashal Celebration of Pakistani culture and heritage hosted by the Islamic Center this last weekend. Our friend Zeba made us aware of a public event promoting Hate Speech against Muslims happening this week in our Valley Community. Zeba spoke from her heart and shared her fears with us at worship this past Sunday. We will accompany her to this event and let the members of Peace know what happens. Your prayers are appreciated.

Rev. Fran Geddes, our mentor for Healing Prayer, has completed his book entitled Contemplative Healing. We hope to host Fran for a Book Signing Party in the Fall.

The Social Evolution of Jazz was an incredible evening’s performance. Jazz you may know is the only art form created in America. It is also unique because its roots and formation has been a journey of such suffering and yet …always an adamant turning toward hope. It was compelling to hear the history in one evening. And the Reception…..o my, you’ve never had such fine Fried Chicken and sweet potato chips in your life! Our thanks to EW Wainwright and the African Roots for their profound gift!

Jazz Church West hosted alto saxman/composer Pete Yellin and his Quartet – Glen Pearson, Peter Barshay & Ron Marabuto – for JAM (Jazz Appreciation Month) this past Sunday in a Tribute to jazz icon Charlie Parker! Isn’t it amazing that musicians who have played at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall are now playing at Peace!!

We received this message last week: I am Seetha Ananthasivan, from Bhoomi Network, NGO based in Bangalore, India. We are bringing out a quarterly magazine called Eternal Bhoomi for Food, Community and Sustainable. We are distributing this magazine to almost four thousand schools and colleges in India. We would like to know if we can use these pictures of your Peace Mosaic for one our articles which we had found from your website. I said Yes! Do you see how sowing spiritual seeds in the universe produces unimaginable results?

Congratulations to Karl and Grace Pfeiffer on their 100th Birthday….each contributing half of the equation!

A new Tai Chi Class has begun on Thursdays at 7:00 pm at Peace. All who wish are invited to join in.

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter, when you see the naked to clothe them, and not turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear. (Isaiah 58)

Lenten Blessings, Pr. Steve

Good News, 04.01.2011


From the Belly of the Beast

Seated upon the convex mound
Of one vast kidney, Jonah prays

And sings his canticles and hymns,
Making the hollow vault resound

God’s greatness and mysterious ways
Till the great whale spouts music as he swims.  (Aldous Huxley)

Join us for Soup and Sacrament on Wednesdays at 6:30.  Jonah is wilder than you think.  (This is a great way to practice your Lenten Unplugging from Technology.)

Our thanks to the Healing Prayer Team for the beautiful and comforting Healing Prayer Service this past Sunday.   And gratitude to Julie Arnone for designing the altar.

We will begin a book study of Destiny Disrupted by Tamim Ansary on Sunday evenings at 6:00 pm in May.   This is a wonderful way to understand the historical context of Islam.  An Imam will join us for our final session.  Gil Jardine will be sharing more details with us.

April is JAM (Jazz Appreciation Month).  We have now linked ourselves with St. Peter’s Lutheran, the Jazz Church of NY where the Jazz Vespers began.  There will be 3 Special Events in April.

1) This Saturday EW Wainwright and African Roots present ‘The Social Evolution of Jazz’. Destiny Muhammed our favorite jazz harpist will be performing with this group.  This event is educational and inspirational as it convey the historical development of jazz from the continent of Africa, through the formation decades of development, into its current exuberant expression.  Keith Hines from KCSM radio (91.1 FM) will be hosting the event.  The station is advertising Peace and this event throughout the week.  You may even win free tickets if you call in. (How’s that for creative outreach!)  A reception will follow.  Tickets are $10/person or $25/family.  This is a benefit for children and artists involved in the Arts Programs of the Oakland Schools.

2)  Pete Yellin’s Quartet will offer a Tribute to jazz icon Charlie Parker on Sunday, April 10th at 5:00 pm.  Can you believe this!!  This event is free.

3)  Clifford Brown, III and his Brewing Company will be present on Saturday, April 30th at 7:30 pm.  Same ticket prices.  More details to come.

We also want to let you know we’ve added a new link in our Friends section in the far right hand column of our website to the incredible jazz happenings taking place at  St. Peter’s Church in New York. They seem just about as jazz-crazy as we are!

The Youth Group and Confirmands will be performing a Service Project for Peace this Sunday after worship which is the expansion of our Native Garden.  If you can’t resist and want to join them you will not be prohibited.

The Sound Board Team will receive instruction from Josh Camacho who has recently returned our sound board to its excellent quality.  If you are willing to assist this team by monitoring the sound and recording homilies, you are invited to join in at 11:30 on Sunday.

Bruce Silverman will be interviewed on this Friday, April 1 at 11 am about the Dream Work Classes he has taught and facilitated at Peace and other college campuses.  If you need technical assistance so you can get connected to hear him, please email me.

“Because of your great work and support, wonderful progress has been made in providing for the welcome of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and allowing for the fuller participation of all in the life of the ELCA.  The Reconciling in Christ program has grown to nearly 500 settings. (Peace was the 70th congregation to become RIC 20 years ago in 1991.)  The policy of the ELCA concerning ministers in committed, same-gender relationships has changed because of your efforts and prayers. Together, we have even influenced the public discourse concerning LGBT people of faith, and through that, the discourse in secular society.”   With gratitude, Lutherans Concerned.

Please keep in your prayers: the people of Japan, Haiti, the Midwest, the Arab nations and all loved ones in need of healing.

Congratulations to Cindy Carroll who will be ordained at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Sacramento on Sunday, May 1 at 3:00 pm.  As one of “our own” we are delighted for Cindy and she invites all the members of Peace to join her for this occasion.  Carpooling arrangements will be made.  Congrats, Cindy!

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday on April 17 and culminates with our Easter Celebration on April 24th!

Lenten Blessings,  Pr. Steve