Pastor’s Weekly Message: 07.08.15

Grace Waves


A more spiritual way is needed to resolve the antagonisms of our time.

Greetings from Nicaragua!

We hope that you are doing well, and that there is rain in California. We have just returned from Somotillo, visiting La Danta and Dulce Nombre de Jesus and the drought situation here has us really worried for the communities. Even if it were to start raining now, there is no way for them to have a first harvest (a plague is affecting their fields for those few families who do plant in May).

As of yet, we do not have a date for our July visit to Laurel Galan, but we will let you know when we do. Because of the drought situation, obviously the families have not been able to plant or harvest, and the wells are drying up. The animals are doing OK for now, but we will see as the year progresses.

Because of the emergency situation, we wanted to consult with Peace Lutheran about using the Giving Tree funds from 2014 for purchasing food for the families in the hermanamiento. As of the last time that we were out in Laurel Galan, they said they were already buying basic grains because they harvested so little last year, and the price of corn and beans is already rising. We wanted to present the idea to you all, to see what you think. The other thing is that if we keep increasing the loan amounts, the women might not realistically be able to pay them back.

We hope that you are well, and that rain comes to California as well.

Paz y luz en Cristo,

Amanda, on behalf of Between Cultures

Keep in your prayers:  Tom, Don and Claire.

Contra Costa Interfaith Housing:

Fall 2015 Backpack Drive:  Help equip formerly homeless and very low-income students for a successful 2015-16 school year.  A list of needed school supplies can be found here:

The more the soul praises, the stronger the soul grows.  Praise and gratitude encourage and strengthen the condition of our soul not the circumstances of our days.

Welcome Ariel Rose!  On July 3rd Kirsten gave birth to a sweet baby girl named, Ariel Rose Pancoast. Ariel weighed 10 pounds 4 ounces and is 20.5 inches in length. She is a healthy and happy baby.  Congratulations to Chris and Kirsten!  We look forward to meeting Ariel Rose.

You will enjoy hearing Pr. Elizabeth’s preaching while Bev and I are gone on vacation.  Peaceful summer to all.

Blessings,  Pr. Steve




Pastor’s Weekly Message: 07.02.15

Grace Waves


When diversity and dialogue fall in love the most beautiful children of earth blossom.


(This quote appears on Thais’ painting prepared for the United Nations;  Bill Carmel suggested this gift.  It was presented to Deputy Secretary Jan Eliasson at the UN Concert as a gift from Peace Lutheran, Kloster Vocalis, and the artist.)

To Margareta, Steve and Friends at Peace:

I must write to you with a word of humongous gratitude from the bottom of my heart!

Christina and I are still in a sort of daze, thinking  “What happened to us, really?”  I’m getting thank you emails from my Sycamore Chamber Orchestra parents giving testimonials like “this weekend our family will never forget,” “you are such an amazing force in our children’s’ life,” and one of my teenagers came up to me last night after orchestra practice, saying “after the UN event, I have so much more confidence in myself!”  Everyone I meet who attended, stops and hugs me and must talk about it.

It was a life changing event indeed, individually and in a broader sense. We were absolutely touched by God and it is amazing! Thank you so much for giving my orchestra and me this chance to play our hearts out for such a higher cause.

With all my heart, Goran Berg, Director

Dear UN Co-chairs:  Wow, what an incredible celebration we had for the UN 70th! Thank you for helping to make it happen, and thank you so much for including URI in the planning. I felt so lucky to be a part of it. It was amazing looking around the sanctuary and seeing so many people working in concert for a more peaceful world – what great inspiration! Thank you for all that you do in helping moments like that to happen.  Gaea Denker, United Religions Initiative/URI

Summary of UN 70th Anniversary Events in New York, Danville and San Francisco

The audience was small but very much alive at St. Peter’s in Manhattan (the Jazz Church).  Some fine connections were made among the artists.

The UN Concert on June 23 was marvelous.  We were delighted that Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson could attend and share a word of encouragement.  He is the #2 Person at the United Nations and he was impressed by the concert!

The performance at the UN Chapel followed later that afternoon and it was received well by an enthusiastic UN audience.  The recommitment to the Preamble of the Charter was a stirring moment.  Leaders from URI are to be credited with designing this particular event.

Kloster Vocalis choir enjoyed a Contemplative Walk in Muir Woods on Thursday afternoon.  They sang at the UN Grove and I shared reflections from Dag Hammarskjold’s “Markings”.  Their music was a dynamic completion of the forest sanctuary stillness.

The next day Mayor Lee greeted Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Governor Brown at the San Francisco City Hall on Friday noon.  Malala was in the audience.

The Concert at Peace in Danville brought together 2 more choirs  -The Pacific Youth Choir and the Coelis Vocal Ensemble – along with the Sycamore Chamber Orchestra.  A stunning program!  That evening Shabbat Prayers lead by Rabbi Dan initiated the concert.  This prayerful interfaith affirmation was powerful for all present.

Saturday morning we greeted Ban Ki-moon at the Fairmont Hotel.  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke.  Bishop Swing from Grace Cathedral served as our MC for the day.

The United Religions Initiative staff led our Appreciative Conversations and the “The Way Chose You” Concert was excellent and uplifting.  The Spirit was deep at work and taking us far beyond all that we had imagined.

The week presented not only these beautiful concerts but contributed to the development of new partnerships with the United Nations, the Swedish Church, UNA, URI and the Bay Area Interfaith Communities.

Gary is playing at a Concert in the park at Yerba Buena Gardens this Saturday, July 4th from 1 – 2:30 pm.  Everyone welcome!  It’s the Center’s big anniversary.

The aim of education is the knowledge not of facts but of values.  William Inge

Blessings,  Pr. Steve