Good News, 11/21/2012

Now thank we all our God with hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in whom this world rejoices:
Who, from our mothers’ arms, has blest us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

 Oh, may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us,
And keep us all in grace, and guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all harm in this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given,
The Son, and Spirit blest, who reign in highest heaven,
The one eternal God, whom earth and heav’n adore;
 For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore. (ELW 840)

Such a beautiful, heartfelt poem!  It was written by Martin Rinkhart who lived (1586-1649) and served as a Lutheran pastor in the small town of Eilenburg in Germany.  He began his ministry just before the Thirty Years War – a war that decimated the population of Germany and Eilenburg in particular.  Because Eilenburg was a walled city and offered some sense of security, nearby people flocked there for refuge until it was overflowing with people.  Then the plague came, killing 8,000 including Rinkhart’s wife.  On some days Pastor Rinkhart conducted 40-50 funerals for those killed by the plague.

In the midst of all these trials, Pastor Rinkhart wrote the above hymn of thanks to God, not for public worship but as a table grace for his family!  At the end of the war, this hymn was sung at the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia – the treaty that ended the war.

When I read or sing this hymn, I cannot help but give thanks to my Lord and Savior… and give thanks that there are people, both alive and those who have died, who are models of a deep and abiding faith in our God of abundance and grace.

Have a blessed and grateful Thanksgiving! 

 Ps. Mary Ann

From Treasurer Diane Kurtz

     When Pastor Steve asked me if I was interested in being Treasurer, I was excited to give it a try.  With a lot of help from Libby, I am learning what the job entails.  I was told to try to keep the expenses within the budget.  That was not possible because of the painting and maintenance of the building plus some other expenses that were not anticipated. 
     Soon I will be working on the 2013 Budget and will be meeting with the Council Members and  Deacons to ascertain what their needs will be for next year.  If you would like any input in the Budget, please e-mail me at dianekz@aol.com and type “Peace Budget” in the subject line. 

From Connections Deacon  Dabbie Bowron

“The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information,
but to face sacred moments.”  —
Abraham Heschel

     Maybe it’s part of being American, this want to build on things instead of facing them. After all, our ancestors believed it their manifest destiny to keep moving on until they ran out of land. But now that there’s nowhere left to go, a different sense of exploration, that has waited centuries, is calling.
     Instead of building a road to somewhere other than where we are, the life of the spirit requires us to open doors that wait before us and within us. This is what Abraham Heschel calls “facing sacred moments”: the opening of doors into the life we already have.
     The effort to build our way elsewhere can be admirable and even heroic, but it often distracts us from inhabiting the life we are given.
      Certainly, there is nothing wrong with bettering our outer circumstances, but these constructions mean nothing if we never face the very pulse of life that waits like a kind mother at the edge of our exhaustion.1                                                                       *          *

     For years, I found myself wanting more, but I wasn’t sure what was missing? I knew there was a “pulse of life” but I wasn’t sure how to find it. For me, church had a negative meaning attached.  I was uninterested in a God that had a lot of rules and constraints to achieve the everlasting.  That God to me was small and too judgmental.  So, church was not an option until my then significant-other invited me to a function at Peace Lutheran. 
      What I found was a place that thrives on diversity, encourages dialogue, and embraces the evolution of scientific discovery and its interconnectivity with faith and spirituality.  Over time, I learned that the individuals at Peace are broad-minded and eager to learn new things. Change is viewed as an opportunity to grow.
     As Deacon of Connections, I invite you to join us if you too are searching for something outside of yourself.
     Stop and listen for a moment to that voice deep within that calls for something greater.  Open the door to your own sacred moments.
     I look forward to seeing you this Sunday!

    1Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening:  Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have,  Heschel, A., “Facing Sacred Moments,” pp. 311–12, Conari Press, 2000. 

Honey from the Monastery has arrived! It will be available for sale in the Gathering Hall and at the Interfaith Service at Beth Chaim.  Same prices as last year!

Catechumenate Class beginning soon!  An opportunity to deepen our faith through reflection, conversation, prayer and blessings.  We will explore the questions that matter to you and seek to discern how the Spirit is leading you.  We begin in Advent (December16?) and conclude on Pentecost in May of 2013.   The gatherings and schedule will be decided by the participants.   Pr. Steve and Margareta will lead this series. Speak with them for details.

November 8, 2012 letter from San Francisco Libre, Laurel Galan, Nicaragua

For all of our loved ones in the North at Peace Lutheran Church,

We hope that you are in good health, surrounded by your families.  The reason we are writing this letter is to tell you haw grateful we feel for the solidarity that you had with us, giving economic support to help us with some things that we needed.  This will help us solve some of the needs that each family has, which are many and varied.  For example, medication, food, help paying off debot, repairing their house, or for a small business they have, or buying a pig, and others offered it as an offering to their church.
We also feel very grateful to God in blessing us so that our crops were not damaged and that there was no flooding this rainy season.  God has favored us and given us an abundant harvest, which will just cover what we consume as families.

We are always praying for you and your families.

Kisses and hugs,
Laurel Galan
Your sisters in Christ

 November/December Calendar

  •   Nov 18–Consecration/Stewardship Sunday Service; Justice Advocacy during Adult Education; outreach to Danville Rehab at 11 am
  •   Nov 21–Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at Beth Chaim at 7 pm 
  •   Nov 22–Thanksgiving Day (no service)
  •   Nov 25–Christ the King Sunday Service; drama by Youth Group; Baptized We Live discussion concludes
  •   Dec    2– First Sunday of Advent; Pr Steve returns; Welcome Back at 5 pm
  •   Dec    9– Second Sunday of Advent
  •   Dec  16– Third Sunday of Advent
  •   Dec  23–Fourth Sunday of Advent; Jazz @ Peace at 5 pm special holiday show:Taylor Eigsti on piano with Gary Johnson on bass
  •   Dec 24–Children and Family worship at 5 pm; Candlelight and Communion at 10 pm
  •   Dec 25–Christmas Day worship at 9:30 am
  •   Dec 30–First Sunday after Christmas

May we who have been blessed be a blessing to others!