Good News, 05.30.2012


 “The day will come when, after harnessing the winds, the tides and gravitation we shall harness for the energies of love.  And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, humans will have discovered fire.”  (Teilhard de Chardin)


Holy Smoke – What a Pentecost Celebration we experienced!   Multi-languages, Elise’s Poem (which is found below), bells, the Chi Flame Prayer and Veni Sanctus Spiritus, prayers and intentions offered in the fire, incredible music and singing, the Eucharist with Pacem Totem torn and fragments shared.  Yes, the smoke became too much but as Pr. Elizabeth noted when she opened the doors – “passersby could now experience our worship” – so the Spirit simply used the smoke to expand and invite our connections with the neighborhood!  Painful as it was to bid farewell to Brenda and Janis, we are most grateful that Brenda got to share a year with us.  They promise to stay in touch with all their friends at Peace.

Our thanks to the members of Brenda’s Teaching Parish Committee:  Margaret Beeler, Chair, Linda Benatar, Barb Ghinazzi, Pam and Chuck Fisher, and Greg Grebe.  Well done!

On June 10 Trish Watts, an Australian singer with marvelous voice and spirit, will join us as our guest music leader for the day.  She sporadically gets to be with us at Peace and you will not want to miss this.

On that day Rev. Mary Ann Fiene, who will be the Sabbatical Pastor in the Fall, will also join us.  This is your first chance to get acquainted with her.  Please come to welcome her – and for some of you to welcome her return.

Foreverism – The Role of the Social Media in our Lives:  This presentation by our own Julie Arnone happens after worship this Sunday, June 3.  Fresh perspectives and an intriguing conversation are guaranteed!  Plan to be  a part of this.

21 years ago on June 2, 1991 we became an RIC (Reconciled in Christ) congregation which welcomed and affirmed gay and lesbian members, seminarians and clergy at Peace.  I believe we were the first suburban congregation in the country to do so.   Nearly two years ago the ELCA national Lutheran Church Body officially decided to ordain gay and lesbian clergy as well.   Pentecost – the Spirit revealing gifts and truths which don’t exist yet!

In the Spirit – Sacred Journeys:  The I-SRV sponsored Art Exhibit we are hosting is being well received by numerous guests.  On June 10 at 5:00 pm you will get to Meet the Artists!  Please invite your friends to join you for this occasion and enjoy Jazz at Peace with Gerry Grosz and his Jazz KitchenThe Spirit preaches in so many languages!

Abba/Imma Chi Prayer – now on youtube:   As you practice, may this prayer shower your inner divine with much joy and love — share it with others!   Mahalo Brenda Bos for the videotaping and the editing!  Kaleo

Setting the Table – Earth, Faith, Food:  The next gathering is an organic Dinner at Beth Chaim this Sunday, June from 5 – 7 pm.  This is a wonderful opportunity to explore and taste what participation in this marvelous interfaith project will be like.  Please speak with Carol Barake, Libby Flynn or myself if you would like to participate in the dinner.

Got a hidden high school graduate in your family?  Let me know so they can be honored on June 10.

Seminarian John Brett will also be gone for the summer.  He’ll be enjoying a variety of classes, workshops, and time with family.  Keep him in your prayers.

An updated Directory is in the works.  If your contact info has changed please notify the Church Office.  We hope to put this in your hands by Father’s Day, June 17.

Contact Deacon Jeanie Locklear if you want to be a part of the Peace Band which will begin in the Fall.  If you play washboard, cello, koto flute, or mouth harp you qualify!

Hear the SF Gay and Lesbian Band perform this Sunday, June 3 at 3:00 pm at Lake Merritt Bandstand (near Children’s Fairyland).   Gary invites you to bring a picnic and share a great afternoon.

Here is Elise’s Poem.   Pentecost Blessings,  Pr. Steve


by Elise Dirlam Ching

They spoke in languages not strange but

shared by all who came to witness

the wild windsong

the crowns of fire that did not burn flesh

but turned it to a temple

That all may understand God

moving within, among

A flame continuing

like an ember carried from the first hearth

not always known as conflagration but sometimes

as a dream visitor sliding through the night

a tingling along the skin

a whisper through the cavern of the heart

A promise fulfilled,

kindled, tended,

to be for the world vessels

from which still pours

the ceaseless flow of great love

Good News, 05.24.2012


The new spirit of Christianity:  A New Dawn is needed after 2000 years of Christianity – we are just beginning.  Today’s scholarship reveals profound insights about the mystic and prophetic truth of Jesus; and there is a renewed interest in contemplation and social action.  With constructive dialogue happening among many of the world’s spiritual traditions, and with the common pressures of eco-justice and social justice demanding our mutual attention – we have an opportunity to enact the much-needed freedom of the Gospel.  There is such grace and wisdom that a clear and distilled experience of Jesus’ compassionate revolution can offer today.


This Sunday we celebrate Pentecost – the inspiration of the Spirit and the birthing of the Body of Christ among us.  It was a momentous breakthrough of insight, energy and wisdom.  It propelled lives and communities forward in paths of transformation they had never imagined.  It disturbed traditional expectations as it grounded visions of hope.  Without the Spirit’s inspiration we are doomed to merely replicate old religious forms. With the Spirit breathing within us we receive the courage to live as Hope-Bearers in a Liberated World and the illumination to live as healers in a broken world.

Join us for worship this Sunday:  if you speak a language in addition to English let me know before the service.  Bring bells and wear red!

The Peace Band:  Jeanie Locklear, our Deacon of Worship is requesting that all the musicians of Peace get in touch with her so we can create a Peace Band in the Fall.  So far we have violin, piano, flute and didgeridoo players!  (I know we have guitarists, cellists and percussionists too.)  This will be a fun complement to our music ministry! 

We want to publish a New Directory by June 17, Father’s Day.  If any of your contact information has changed please notify the office with your accurate data.

The Pacem Totem (now Ascended) – A Reflection about our Lenten/Easter Art Experience: ” The Pacem Totem was never meant to replace any image or idea of God, Jesus or Holy Spirit.  It was meant to make visible the spiritual experiences the congregation received during these Holy Seasons.  During Lent it took on a dark and foreboding look, but during Easter it became lighter and lighter.  And that was part of the evolving process we experienced, the many changes over many months.  Each week the ideas and concepts behind the Mystery of the Faith were presented and therefore new colors, marks and adornments were added to this three dimensional canvas.  It was a way for all congregants to write, color, pattern their thoughts, to convey their images and prayers of that part of the Mystery onto the Body.  Every week another layer was added, sometimes hiding some of what was expressed before, so that Pacem became a record of our feelings and thoughts;  a visual diary of the process of discovering something new about the faith, our congregation and ourselves.  It was never meant to be an object of worship, it was meant to be a new way of expressing our worship.”  (Bill Carmel)

A portion from a recent letter from Spoon Jackson:  Congratulations on the delegation to South Africa.  That will be an honor and a timeless adventure!  Sounds like the perfect trip.  We must all come together around the world to share our peace, love and realness.

Pray for Sean Wall and Erika Daly  who will be married this weekend.

Chromatica Choir – who sings classical music and rehearses at Peace on Monday evenings – gave a concert this past Monday evening.  Quite marvelous and delightful energy.  You will be hearing more of them in the future.

“God seeks Himself in us, and the aridity and sorrow of our heart is the sorrow of God who is not known in us, who cannot find Himself in us because we do not dare to believe or trust the incredible truth that He could live in us, and live there out of choice, out of preference.”  Thomas Merton


Pentecost Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Good News, 05.16.2012


Blessed is one who sees their own weakness, and blessed is one who, when seeing a flaw in someone else, takes responsibility for it.  Because, half of any person is wrong and weak and off the path.  Half!  The other half is dancing and swimming and flying in the Invisible Joy.   (Rumi)

Our thanks to the Small and Tall worship leaders this past Sunday – Dabbie and Jeanie for their music, Revs. Margareta and Anita, to Gen Estenson for the sharing of her prayer experiences (“I pray like a cook – never from the book”), and to all the children for helping in the Unveiling of our Pacem Totem.  Thanks to Steve Petersen for his excellent photos of the Unveiling too! 

This Sunday is Ascension…..”and in a little while you will no longer see me”.  Unfortunately this is coming true for us as we must bid farewell to Raddi and Susanna and family this Sunday.  Our thanks for all the love and gifts and laughter they have shared with us.

Our Annual Bocce Ball Picnic will follow worship this Sunday at Sycamore Park.  Join in this time of feasting and relaxing together.  Feel free to wear picnic clothes to church and bring a dessert or salad if you want to. 

It is so wonderful to have Mmabatho Mkhize back with us from South Africa.  You will enjoy catching up with her.  She will have information updates for our October Delegation.

Foreverism – The Role of Social Media in our Lives: There are so many ways that consumers and businesses are embracing/utilizing /(and even overwhelming us) with Conversations, Relationships & Products THAT NEVER END.  Our own Julie Arnone will give this presentation at our Adult Forum after worship on Sunday, June 3.  Come learn to appreciate and critique the many aspects of modern communications and life.

Setting the Table – copies of this year long program (made possible by a Grant of $7500)- which utilizes events focused on Earth, Faith and Food to literally and spiritually nourish the health of our valley interfaith community –  are available for you today.  This is a wonderful means for establishing vital connections among interfaith partners by experiencing the various ways in which earth, faith and food have been regarded in our traditions.  Time for you to grow?  We need two more participants from Peace.  Speak with Pr. Steve or Libby if you are interested.

In the Spirit – Sacred Journeys:  The Art Exhibit is phenomenal!  What a gift that we get to have it until mid July.  Please invite your friends to come and engage the profound works which fill our Sanctuary and Gathering Hall. 

Congratulations to Mark Miller for being recognized by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top 3 Master Stock Pickers in the Electronic and Electrical Equipment field

Keep in your prayers:  John Sarracino recovering from knee surgery, Karl’s father, Micki, Jonathan, Catherine Bell, those with Parkinson’s, and Fred Garrity.

Here’s a cool find:  Carol Pierovich found a Swedish letter among her family papers.  She is having Gun translate it and we will all get to be beneficiaries when it is ready to share!

The Waiting Period – Laughter in the Darkness, a one-man show with Brian Copeland, will be performed at the Lesher Theater in Walnut Creek this Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:15. (It’s regularly at the Marsh in SF.)  Martha Mantei strongly urges all of us to see it!

“Didn’t Jesus know nothing lasts without rules, laws and order?  Yes, but he also knows the only measure and criteria for spiritual matters is God’s infinite compassion – otherwise the prodigals and older siblings would never find their way home.”  Richard Rohr

Easter Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Good News, 5.12.2012

“Wisdom inspires us not retreat from pain and suffering but to ask ourselves how can we participate in the healing of our friends, ourselves, our community, world and earth.  We often discover the greatest healing can lie within the smallest gestures:  a caring word, a loving touch, the gift of a compassionate heart.  These allow us to extend beyond our personal pain and boundaries to connect with the well being of others and ourselves.  Listening inwardly (without judgment or resistance) allows the Spirit to speak; listening to others invites the presence of grace.” (Christina Feldman)

Friends —  SDG (Soli Deo Gloria!):

It is Mother’s Day this Sunday and we will celebrate with a wonderful Small and Tall Family worship that Pastors Margareta and Anita are designing.   There will be guest musicians and other surprises. Bring all the children and grandchildren you can!

The Pacific Youth and Children’s Choirs were simply outstanding!  I will never forget the little ones singing “JeRUsalem”.  What a remarkable gift from the Spirit.  Another one of the blessings of staying connected like branches in the Vine.   (Who was that man with the henna tattoos – Beloved and Fear Not??)

This Sunday two great opportunities are coming your way in the afternoon – the perfect gift for moms!   In the Spirit – Sacred Journeys is the official Opening of an Art Exhibit sponsored by I-SRV and being hosted by Peace.  Bill Carmel is a prime mover in this venture and Bob Worthington has been a source of much encouragement.  The Opening coincides with our Jazz Church West presentation of the Fred Randolph Quintet.  Your eye, heart and spirit will be delighted by the magnificence of these incredible gifts.  Please come with friends to enjoy the art and dialogue with interfaith friends.

Our Peace Council had a constructive Quarterly Retreat this past Sunday.  You will be hearing the highlights in the near future.

Please keep in your prayers:  Jonathan, Karl’s father, Catherine Bell, Barb, Joseph, Jack, Sarah and Micki, Gun,  Ruth, Robert, Wara and David, those soon to give birth, those who are grieving, political prisoners, and the people of Syria, Bahrain and Yemen.

Yoga at Peace got off to a wonderful start.  There is good participation from the larger community.  Please spread the word.  For more info:

Kaleo reports:  Just came back from Guelph, Ontario. The workshop I lead was on Death and Dying and Rebirth and was exceptional.  4 of the students were ministers (UCC and Episcopalian) who do pastoral counseling or work with Hospice. They LOVED the “Abba/Imma” chi kung we showed them and want to share it with their congregations!

Our Annual Bocce Ball Picnic is happening on Sunday, May 20 after worship.  Save the date and enjoy the beauty of Spring with all your friends at Peace.

“It is when we insist most firmly on everyone else being “reasonable” that we become ourselves, unreasonable.” (Thomas Merton)

Easter Blessings,  Pr. Steve