Pastor’s Weekly Message, 9.25.14


God looks on us with mercy and not blame.  In God’s sight we do not fall; in our sight, we do not stand.  Both of these are true, but the deeper insight belongs to God.

–Julian of Norwich

Homecoming was a great re-gathering of our flock, which has travelled around the globe once again.  Christine’s painting of the ‘Ocean’s Arrival’ deepened our empathy for Jonah’s story of “being taken where he didn’t want to go”.  Jake’s baptism touched and connected all our hearts.  We are blessed!

Depression – Pathways to Healing and Wholeness:  Martha will present our Forum this Sunday that will include insights about suicide warnings, risk and protective factors.  Your presence is cherished.

Our Forums on October 5 and 19 will be on Healthy Self-Care.

The New Directory is almost in your hands!

The Embodied Prayer Series at San Damiano presented by Kaleo, Elise and myself will begin next Wednesday, Oct. 1 from 6 – 7:30 pm.  It will be a 6 Session series.  You can come to one or all of them… consistency though leads to greater depth.  We will integrate prayer, meditation, qiqong, scriptures and East/West practices.  Register at:

Our St. Francis Animal Blessing and Pet Festival is happening Sunday, October 12 from 12 – 3 pm.  Organizing is flowing well.  Additional gifts for the Silent Auction are welcomed.

The Children’s Advocacy Group continues to engage vital responses for the protection and nurture of all of God’s children.

The High Holy Days begin with Rosh Hashanah this week.  Please keep our Jewish friends and all of our interfaith friends in your prayers.

This Jubilee Weekend we join with Ezekiel, Jesus and current global voices to stop predatory hedge fund behavior. We raise our voices to pray for our neighbors in West Africa where Ebola is ravaging countries saddled with enormous debt burdens.  The nation of Guinea is spending more money paying off its debt than it is on health care. Lord, have mercy.

 “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”  -FDR

“Perfect love casts out all fear.”  -John, the Beloved Disciple

Nazruddin was asked to show his ID at the Post Office.  He pulled out a small pocket mirror, gazed into it for a moment and said, ‘Yep, that’s me alright.”

Blessings, Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message 9.18.14


Homecoming is this Sunday – Jonah: Getting Home by any Means Possible will be our theme.  I encourage all the members and friends of Peace to join in the Fall Kick Off…..gracefully.  Anticipate a great day.

This Saturday (2:30 – 4:30) enjoy Bill and Kaleo painting while you dance to a wonderful Band – EBMudd.  The Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery in Lafayetter is sponsoring Bill Carmel, Kaleo Ching, John Barry, and Judy Chamberlin this weekend at the 2014 Lafayette Art & Wine Festival (September 20-21) to benefit Meals on Wheels. Painting demonstrations will happen near the main stage at one of the five biggest outdoor festivals in Contra Costa County. When completed, the paintings created will be auctioned – with proceeds going to Meals on Wheels!  The Lafayette Art & Wine Festival features art, handmade crafts, foods from top local restaurants, and wines and microbrews.  See you there.

Christine’s book “I Stand at Your Gate”(whose illustrations have created the current Art Exhibit in our Sanctuary) will be available for purchase this Sunday.  What a prayerful blessing her exhibit has been.

New Directory:  This will be the final Sunday to receive your edits and approval for our directory information.  The new Directory will then be promptly published.

Forum on September 28:  Martha will address “Depression: Pathways to Healing and Wholeness”.  She will cover information about Depressive Symptoms and Treatment for Depression and also Suicide Warning Signs, Risk Factors and Protective Factors.  She will have printed materials for handouts including local resources through the Contra Costa Crisis Center.  Questions and dialogue will be welcomed.

The Out of the Darkness Community Walk in SF on September 21st is WAY ahead of last year regarding registrants and funds raised.  We will be walking in the Mission Creek Park area below Giant’s Stadium.  Please keep us in your prayers!  Our next walk is in Oakland on October 18th, to see the sun rise over Lake Merritt.  Maybe Peace members would like to join in?

How to Build a Nontraditional Career Path: Embracing Economic Disruption  The paradigm of the successful career has shifted. No longer is working for a single company or even within a single career field throughout one’s lifetime the norm. Today, many people are considering nontraditional paths to achieving success.  Author Ron Elsdon identifies the types of individuals who will likely find nontraditional careers attractive and examines critical strategic issues, thereby enabling the reader to assess whether and how such a path might fit their personality, life goals, and career objectives. The information presented will benefit those considering “something different” at their entry to the workforce, individuals in middle or later career stages re-assessing their direction, people re-engaging with a career at an encore stage, or those whose previous career paths have been disrupted by an external event such as job loss.  Congratulations, Ron!  We’ll have a Book Signing Party at Peace soon…and check out the Dedication.

Dance for Joy – was pure joy.  20+ people shared an evening of great World Music which lifted our spirits and lightened our bodies.  We hope to have similar celebrations in the future….maybe attached to solstice and equinox occasions.

Sagrada Invitation -The Writing & Reading of Faith:  How do the traditions of faith become a living spirituality in our world? You’re invited to hear Richard Rodrigues and Kaya Oakes share a timely, lively and illuminating discussion about writing, faith and their recently published spiritual autobiographies. Saturday, September 27, 3:00-5:00.  Event at Faith Presbyterian Church, two short blocks away (corner of 49th & Webster) followed by book signing and reception back at Sagrada in Oakland.

The American Heart Magazine has an article on the value of Tai Chi Chuan.  A new class begins on September 18 at 7:00 pm at Peace.  Spread the word.

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message, 9.11.14


“We do not know enough about the future to be totally pessimistic.”

Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery in Lafayette is sponsoring Bill Carmel, Kaleo Ching, John Barry, and Judy Chamberlin this weekend at the 2014 Lafayette Art & Wine Festival (September 20-21) to benefit Meals on Wheels. Painting demonstrations will happen near the main stage at one of the five biggest outdoor festivals in Contra Costa County. When completed, the paintings created will be auctioned – with proceeds going to Meals on Wheels!  The Lafayette Art & Wine Festival features art, handmade crafts, foods from top local restaurants, and wines and microbrews.  See you there.

Dance for Joy!  This Saturday from 6:30 – 8:30.  Just come and move for the joy of it.  We will all feel better, lighter and happier!  Great World Music happening.  Refreshments served too.

Jonah – Getting Home by any Means Possible:  will be the Theme for our Homecoming Celebration on Sunday, September 21. I hope we can get all the members and friends of Peace together to kick off the Fall gracefully.  Anticipate a great day catching up with old and new friends after all of our summer activities and journeys!

Hospitality Hour:  Thanks to those who have signed up to host a Sunday Hospitality occasion.  We will need to have a few more folks sign up this Sunday to complete our Fall Season.

Last year Seminarian Brock Klobe’s expenses totaled $20,773.  This past week we received our final gift of $2,500 which allowed us to cover all of his expenses!  One year ago we were asked to proved an internship for Brock with FCI.  We had no money budgeted for this purpose.  Stand in awe:  because of your generosity, with the assistance of partners from around the country and the graciousness of the Spirit the financial requirements have been met.  In addition, 10 people from Peace are now ready to continue serving with our Prison Ministry and Peace has helped to equip another candidate for ministry.  This is how the Church works – always expect surprises!  Gratitude again to Brock’s Committee and to the whole congregation for sharing and shaping Brock’s pastoral formation with grace and wisdom.

Congratulations to Ron Elsdon who has a another book newly published!  It is entitled:  How to Build a Nontraditional Career Path: Embracing Economic Disruption.  Details about this new volume will be published next week.  We will have a Book Signing Party in the near future too.

The East Bay Stand Down, a 4 day event for homeless, needy and displaced veterans occurs in Pleasanton Thursday – Sunday.  Peace was instrumental in launching this effort several years ago.  During the Stand Down, vets live in a military-style “tent city” and receive various services on site:  health, medical and dental, legal, housing and employment options, as well as rehabilitation programs.  Please keep the vets and the organizers in your prayers.

This week the United Nations General Assembly voted 124 – 11 to begin negotiations for an international bankruptcy process to end global inequality. The process can potentially stop vulture funds from preying on vulnerable countries and create a global economy that serves all of us.  A majority of the world now supports critical financial reforms that will benefit the world’s poorest people.  Unfortunately, the United States government was one of only 11 countries to vote against this treaty process. While the US government is against predatory behavior, they are against this approach. We have much work left to do because today’s UN vote will not outlaw global predatory activity in the United States, one of the most important financial jurisdictions.

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message 9.4.14


A symbol is not divine, it points to what is deeper.  We embrace them anew, because we need them in our lives.  Why?  We need the dying and rising god to help us find our way back from the thousand little deaths we endure throughout our lives.  We need that magic elixir of body and blood to grant us a taste of sweet divinity, to temper the bitterness of our humanity.  We need the god-man who could walk on water because our souls hunger for the playfulness of improbability and paradox.  We once rejected symbols because they contradicted reason but now we take up and dance with symbols precisely because they contradict reason.  At last we understand:  Paradox and contradiction and improbability –  these are the only worthy authority.

                                                                                                        -Rev. Elizabeth Felts


Bev and I are back from a Glorious Wedding celebration in Montana.  Elias and Kelly make us so happy!  Thanks for all of your prayers and congratulations.  The Wedding Slide Show will be playing after worship this Sunday.

Official congratulations to Chris and Kirsten Pancoast on their Wonderful Wedding too!  A joyous day for all their families and friends.

This is Grandparents Sunday this weekend!  Bring your grandkids to celebrate with you if you wish.

Homecoming Theme for September 21:   Jonah – Getting Home by any Means Possible!  It’s time for us to regroup after our summer vacations and scamperings around the planet.  Can you imagine what it would look and feel like if we all showed up on one Sunday!  Make it a priority to Come Home on the 21st so can catch up with all your Peace friends.

Give Peace a Dance – Dance for Joy!  The Fall Kick Off Dance is celebrated on Saturday, September 13 from 6:30 – 8:30.  This is so good for body and soul.  Even the trees shake and bend to remind them they are free.  Tasty refreshments, wonderful music, beautiful people.  Won’t be half as much fun without you!

First Friday Films – this Friday!  Just a reminder if you are available to save Friday at 6:30 pm for a different format – 5 shorts with discussion time in between – popcorn and light refreshments too. Check out Tiny Miny Magic by Danielle Lurie where a young woman connects with her postal carrier in an unexpected way (9 min.); Revenge, Inc. by Matthew Moore where a man learns to give up his wish for revenge (23 min.); West Bank Story  by Ari Sandel blends musical comedy and farce in its description of one crazy scenario for peace in the Middle East; Second Life of a Sugar Bowl by Didier Canaux follows a man wandering through the Parisian flea market collecting an odd assortment of junk he turns to treasures for one he loves; and The Choice by Evan Kaufmann about a man who miraculously recovers from cancer and goes on a trip to meet an inspiring internet connection and picks up an interesting hitchhiker along the way. See you there!  –Elana

St. Francis Pet Festival will happen on October 12:   Invite friends, donate Silent Auction items, volunteer to assist, howl at the moon and ask for blessings for all of God’s creatures!


Tai Chi is like the Four Seasons  (A New Class Series begins on Thursday, September 18 at 7:00 pm)

Spring:  It begins by loosening and limbering, setting free the body energy to expand and grow.

Summer:  The Chi heats one up with fullness and the experience of free flowing energy.

Fall:  Then – moments, time and body seems to “fall off” as gracefully as autumn leaves.

Winter:  At last one becomes present yet empty and still with nothing to show.


Merger of Music and Painting – Here are a few comments artist John Barry posted on his blog for the Danville News after the Mistral Woodwind Ensemble Concert: On August 25 I attended and participated in a combination art exhibit and concert at Peace Lutheran Church in Danville. Adorning three walls of the sanctuary are paintings and text by Christine Hartmann, both of which come from her book I Stand at Your Gate. She wrote and illustrated the book as “a love letter to all men, women, and children who have been bought or sold through human trafficking or exploitation.” Check it out.  (Way to go Christine and Bill!)

My thanks to our gifted Peace Clergy – Revs. Margareta, Elizabeth and Dwane for their worship leadership and emergency coverage during my vacation.

Blessings,  Pr. Steve