Pastor’s Weekly Message: 11.25.14

Grace Waves


You can’t out-give God.  —Gen Estenson

From the woman who tried to feed everyone she met, we receive this final quote above.  Gen was one of the finest fusions of Mary and Martha we will ever meet.  Jerry, Judy, Pat, Pam, Candy, Jim, Dawn and Bill and their families thank everyone who contributed to Gen’s Memorial Service and Reception.

Our Annual Thanksgiving Eve Interfaith Service is this Wednesday at 7:30 pm at Peace.  It will be a wonderful celebration where we get to hear the “Headlines of Hope” from our participating interfaith congregations.  Thanks to those of you who can assist as ushers and/or with the community reception.  There will be lots of great music:  Gary playing, Elizabeth singing, the Coelis Ensemble singing and more.  If you are in town this is absolutely the most joyful way to initiate this holiday of gratitude.

A gift to have heard several women from our Children’s Advocacy ministries speak this past Sunday.  Please keep all the vulnerable children in your prayers including the Christ Child.  “Lord, when did we see you hungry, trafficked, in prison…..?”  And pray for all of the Shoe Boxes that Nette and friends from Peace have prepared as they travel into the hearts and lives of children in need.   May they bless these little ones with hope and encouragement.

Thais sends her thanks to all who participated in her Thanksgiving Cake Raffle last Sunday.  $141 was raised for ‘We Are All Connected’ to support the work of Dr. Rick Hodes in providing spinal surgeries for the impoverished children of Ethiopia.  (In the interest of full disclosure:  my wife won the cake and I did the drawing but trust me….everything was in order!)

What a joy to see Raddi and Susanna, Jasper and Margo El Mogazi this past Sunday.  Life in Texas is possible but they would gladly return here.  They send their love to all their friends!

Thanks to all who have submitted their Pledge Cards.  Pam Lane, our Financial Secretary will continue to gladly receive your pledges during the next two weeks.

The Veil Tapestry has been unveiled!  Initiated at the ‘Inequality and Faith Conference’ at San Damiano, the Veil Tapestry will be present at Peace during the Advent Season before circulating among the other Interfaith Congregations. Thanks to Bill Carmel for creating this spiritual gift.

“A Place at the Table” was shown during our Forum this past Sunday and all present agreed it is a powerful film about the realities of Hunger in America.  You are encouraged to view this film (we have two copies for loan and Netflix carries it) during the next 2 weeks.  We will have a follow up discussion about hunger among the children and families of our country on December 14.

Giving Tree Ornaments can be chosen on Sunday, December 7.

And for Worship on December 7:  The Sycamore Strings Academy teaches music and has recitals at Peace.  As a Thank You gift to us they are blessing us with 5 students (4 violins and 1 viola) who will provide the music for that day.  Music for that day includes:  Movements from Partita No. 2 by Bach; concerto for 4 Violins by Telemann; Variations from Ah Vous Direz-Je by Dancla; Movement from Terzetto by Dvorak; Vocalise by Rachmaninov; and the Double Concerto 3rd Movement by Bach.  Yes, it will be another rich Sunday.  Our thanks to Director Goran Berg for making this possible .  I hope you will invite many friends to join you for this Advent Service.

A Thanksgiving Gift

i thank You God for most this amazing
day; for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and sings; and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing – human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)—e.e. cummings



Happy Thanksgiving!

Pr. Steve


Pastor’s Weekly Message: 11.20.14

Grace Waves


In love no action is lost that was ever performed
for Love’s sake
Love always repays, late or soon;
Love is always the reward of love—Hadewijch

Gen’s Memorial Service is tomorrow, Thursday at 2 pm.  If you cannot participate please keep Gen and her whole family in your prayers.

Shoe Boxes:  If you wish to assist Nette this Saturday at 11 am, please let her know.  Nancy Carlston is willing to drive for those who would like to carpool, leaving at 10:30 am.

We celebrate Christ the Vulnerable Sunday this weekend.  This is the final Sunday of this Church Year.  Members of the Children’s Advocacy group will share brief insights about their various callings to support vulnerable children here and around the world.

Forum for Nov. 23:  We will see all (or significant portions of) “A Place at the Table” – this powerful film about Hunger in America.

Incredible news:  Fidel has received authorization to schedule a date for his release.  We rejoice with him and Heidi.  Thank you for your prayers!

Please bring your Pledge Cards to worship this Sunday or mail them to the Church Office.

The Women of Peace had a wonderful gathering at Gun Johnston’s home.  Margaret Bender shared her beautiful quilts.  We will have an Exhibit in the new year.

We host the Annual I-SRV Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Service next Wednesday, November 26 at 7:30 pm.  Several folks have stepped forward to assist with ushering and the reception.  If you would like to assist, please let me know.

A Honey Huckster is still need to promote the sale of Monastery Honey at our Thanksgiving Service.  Fulfilling this job guarantees you a place in heaven.

Blessings,  Pr. Steve



Pastor’s Weekly Message: 11.13.14

Grace Waves


God has so identified with us that our love for one another truly binds us to God as well:  I have put you among your neighbors so that you can do for them what you cannot do for me – and whatever you do for them I will consider done for me.—Catherine of Siena

Gen Estenson’s Memorial Service will be on Thursday, November 20 at 2:00 pm.  Charlene will coordinate the Reception.  If you would like to contribute or assist please notify her or the church office.  If you are willing to usher for Gen’s Service please notify me as well.  It will be a blessed and marvelous occasion.  Please keep Jerry, Judy, Pat, Pam, Candy, Jim, Bill and Dawn and their families in your prayers.  (You can also bring Canned Goods in honor of Gen to her Memorial Service.)

Our Inequality and Faith Workshop occurs this Saturday, Nov. 15 from 9:30 – 3:30 pm at San Damiano.  The cost is $35 and it is not too late to sign up.  A powerful and transformative day is being offered to you as a gift from I-SRV and the compassionate efforts of Ron and Linda Elsdon.  Hear an Interfaith Panel address the spiritual foundations which motivate our creative response to inequality in our world; enjoy the music of our Sikh friend Amar Khalsa and the art of Bill Carmel and Christine Hartmann; a tasty lunch and the beauty of the Franciscan grounds of San Damiano.

If you wish to attend the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Night Ministry at Grace Cathedral this Sunday at 3 pm and want to carpool with friends from Peace please notify our church office.  Anne Lamott will speak, the Volti Choir will sing and Wing It will perform.  The people of the streets and nights of San Francisco will permeate the Cathedral.  You will experience nothing else like this in your lifetime!

Our Youth Group met this past Sunday and had a wonderful launching.  Our thanks to Christine, Greg and Max for hosting us.  The Youth Group will meet on a monthly basis on Sunday evenings from 6 – 7:30 pm.  We will rotate through members homes.

The Children’s Advocacy group will meet during our Forum time this Sunday at 11:15.  Everyone from Peace is invited to learn about the various ways in which we are impacting children’s lives here and around the world.

Jesus, First Century Rabbi:  Our final class will happen next Tuesday with Rabbi David Zaslow the author.  Your are invited to enjoy this evening (even if you have not been able to participate in the class) at which Rabbi Dan and I will interview Rabbi Zaslow with questions that have emerged through our class reflections.  Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 7:30 pm.  I believe it is important for all the members of Peace to read this book so the remaining books from our class will be sold on the next 3 Sundays.  Help establish understanding  and shalom in our world.  Buy one for a friend.

The Women of Peace will meet at Gun Johnston’s home on Tuesday, November 18 at 1 pm.  All are invited to join in!  Carpooling from Peace can be provided.

Peace hosts our annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Service this year on Wednesday, Nov. 26 at 7:30 pm.  Canned goods are welcomed and donations will be received to support the work of Shelter, Inc.  I need ushers for this event and a couple folks to coordinate the Reception.  Participating congregations will bring cookies and goodies for the reception.  Let me know if you can assist.  Would someone take on the Special Role of Honey Host for the evening….to push the sales of our delicious Monastery Honey!

Please watch ‘A Place at the Table’ about Hunger in America before Thanksgiving.

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 11.07.14

Grace Waves


The fruit of humility is naturalness; being at home with ourselves, being ourselves. —Michael Casey

Gen Estenson died Thursday morning.  She was surrounded by her family…..all 8 Children, spouses and grandchildren…..and the prayers of her church family at Peace.  We mourn her death and celebrate the gifts she shared especially her spirit.  The date for her Memorial Service has not been finalized.  It will be around November 20.  She is now with her God and for her life, love and faith we are grateful.

Shoe Box Ministry:  Volunteers are welcome to join Nette at her home in Concord this Wednesday, Nov. 12 from 10 am – Noon to assist in Wrapping Boxes.  Please bring your own scissors.  Notify the Office if you want to carpool.  Packing the Boxes will happen on Saturday, Nov. 22 at 11 am at her home.  2 – 6 people are needed.  Youth Group members may assist.

Inequality and Faith” – a Workshop sponsored by I-SRV happens on Saturday, Nov. 15 from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm at San Damiano.

Identify core values held in common among our interfaith communities; Examine their impact on our individual responsibility and public choices; Face the facts of inequality in the United States, Motivate our common focus and new vision.

An Interfaith Panel will present the “Spiritual Foundations” for our reflections on the realities of inequality.

The day is composed of: small groups, storytelling, joyous music provided by our Sikh friends Amar and Sahib-Amar Khalsa,  film excerpts, prayer and celebration and free time to enjoy the beauty of San Damiano. Cost is $35 including lunch.

Register by Monday at: or call 925-837-9141.

The Women of Peace will meet on Tuesday, November 18 at 1:00 pm at Peace.

We Are All Connected – a word from Thais:

I’m delighted to share with all of you that our group has deposited another $550. into Dr. Hodes’ account.  Dr. Hodes he has been extremely busy performing four spine surgeries per day in Ethiopia for impoverished children, so we are very thankful to be able to continue supporting his work. This was the result of a new and successful idea to raise money for Dr. Hodes through cake raffles!  The first one took place at Vista Grande Elementary School last Thursday (during the Halloween Parade) and the second cake raffle took place yesterday at Peace Lutheran Church in Danville during a beautiful Jazz Concert.  During these two events we could spread the word about the magnificent work of Dr. Hodes and also make the two cake winner’s lives a little sweeter!  I am also very thankful to be surrounded by people like you, who share the same values as our group and who have helped us to make all this possible.

Please watch the movie “A Place at the Table” which is about Hunger in America.  View it with friends before Thanksgiving.  The Justice Advocacy committee hopes all the members and friends of Peace can participate in heightening our awareness of the lived dynamics of hunger in our country.  (Copies are available at Peace or through Netflix.)

First Friday Films – HUGO:  If you are a film lover you will delight in the story line, set in 1930s Paris, where history was being made with a new invention – filmmaking. Take a minute and watch the trailer and be amazed! Hugo Cabret is a 12-year-old orphan who takes up residence behind the walls of a Parisian train station, where he meets a girl who holds the key to his destiny. He keeps the clocks in the Gare Montparnasse ticking while trying to fix the automaton his father left him. Superb cast, PG rated, runs 126 min. Popcorn with truffle oil – who could want more?!  Directed by Martin Scorsese and produced by Johnny Depp!

Blessings, Pr. Steve