Pastor’s Weekly Message: 10.29.15

Grace Waves


This Sunday we celebrate All Saints Day honoring those saints who have loved us and gone before us.

From Rilke’s “Duino Eliegies

Of course, it is strange to inhabit the earth no longer,
to give up customs one barely had time to learn,
not to see roses and other promising things
in terms of a human future; no longer to be
what one was in infinitely anxious hands; to leave
even one’s own first name behind, forgetting it
as easily as a child abandons a broken toy.
It is strange to no longer desire one’s desire.

Strange to see meanings that once clung together floating away in every direction.
And being dead is hard work and full of retrieval
before one can gradually feel a trace of eternity –
Though the living are wrong to believe in the too sharp distinctions
they themselves have created.

 Angels (they say) don’t know whether it is the living
They are moving among or the dead.  The eternal torrent
whirls all ages along in it, through both realms
forever, and their voices are drowned out in its thunderous roar.

In the end those who are carried off no longer need us:
they are weaned from earth’s sorrows and joys as gently as children
Outgrow the soft breasts of their mothers.
But we who do need such great mysteries,
we for whom grief so often is the source of our spirit’s growth –
could we exist without them?

Forum for All Saints Sunday:  Hospice and Palliative Care presented by Bev Harms.

Ending Extreme Poverty:  Experts in this field now say it is possible to end extreme poverty.  Economic growth by itself is not enough – growth must be aimed at ending poverty.  As World Bank President Jim Kim said in his video address to the Parliament of World Religions:   We and the UN (through the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals) now have “evidence” of what does and doesn’t work to end extreme poverty, but we don’t have the moral authorityor constituencies to generate the political will to make this crucial and moral goal happen – but the faith communities do!  We are asking religious communities to issue a call to commitment and act with us.

Quilt Exhibit at Peace:  Two people have volunteered to assist Bill in preparing/hanging Margaret’s quilts.  If you wish to assist that will be appreciated.  Talk to Bill.

Xanthi and Brock’s Wedding – Saturday, November 7 at 3:00 pm.  Come celebrate their love and see the beautiful Wedding Bands which Peace Members helped to create.

Family Worship – November 15!  Peace Parents asked at the Pizza Party that one Sunday a month be designated a “Family Service” which may incorporate or be designed for children.  The cool element – all the kids will know  their friends will be present too!

Drought and Hunger in Laurel Galan, Nicaragua:  Our partnership friends in Nicaragua are suffering.  If you wish to donate toward meeting their Food Needs, please write a check to Peace with a notation LAUREL GALAN.  (The yellow fliers will have additional information.)

Donate Backpacks for the Homeless:  Trinity Center in Walnut Creek will gather and distribute backpacks for homeless friends in our area.  We at Peace are invited to participate.   Standard backpacks in neutral colors, e.g. black, gray, or brown are ideal. (Colors can be problematic.)   Please bring backpacks to Peace any time between November 15 and December 6.  We will collect the backpacks at Peace and take them to the Trinity Center.  Speak with Ron and Linda about details.

Please keep in your prayers:  Jody Larson, Karl on the death of his father, Fran, Debassa Guyo, Xanthia and Brock, Ken’s mom, Kathy’s dad, Julia, refugees, those who are trafficked, those living with addictions, the Saints who we love and miss.

In Faith Community Foundation – A Thrivent Workshop:  Saturday, November 14 from 10:30 – 12:30 Barb Kline and Greg Jahnke will present a workshop on Expanding Resources for Peace Ministries.

The Sabbath Class continues on Tuesdays at 7:30 at Beth Chaim.  Learn how to rest, relax and pamper your soul.

Thanksgiving Eve Interfaith Service:  Welcoming the Stranger – This wonderful annual tradition is hosted by Beth Chaim this year.  The service will be on Nov. 25 at 7:30 pm.  Care to bring cookies or goodies?  Let the office know.

Jazz Church West -All Nite Soul:  Hear the Gerry Grosz Jazz Kitchen at 5 pm and the A Train (Athenian High School Jazz Band) at 6:45 pm Sunday November 1!

Honey, honey?  Yes, your favorite honey on the planet has arrived.  So tasty and so good for you.

Time Change this Sunday – Fall Back!

Blessings, Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 10.24.15

Grace Waves


The world is for God.  It is not an illusion or an accident or a place of trial for people.  It is a work of art, and it is for God – for the fulfillment of God’s creative intention with us.
—Rabbi Gurary

Reformation Sunday:  We celebrate the Reforming Church this Sunday.  What longings of transformation do you have for us?  Our Forum will be on “Luther and How the Spirit is Reforming the Church in our Times”.  And you will get Bratwurst for Hospitality Hour!!

Peace Parents Pizza Party -This Sunday, October 25 from 4:30 – 6:00 pm -bring the kids!!  All of our families with kids are enjoying pizza and conversation this Sunday afternoon as we discern how best to serve the families and children of Peace.   Monica is coordinating this event for us.

The Witches Brew Halloween Tea is this Sunday at 5:30.  It’s wonderful that we have a full complement of Peace participants already!

Brock and Xanthia invite you to their Wedding on Saturday, November 7 at 3:00 pm at Peace.  It will be a joy to celebrate their love with them!  Special Request: Their Reception will be on the Labyrinth under a big tent.  We have gotten some new mulch to cover the grass.  If you can help spread the mulch that would be appreciated.  Bring a rake if you can.  Many thanks!

Our condolences to Karl Pfeiffer on the death of his father.  May all that Friedrich loved find fulfillment in the presence of God.

Aging Gracefully:  Please read chapter 9 – 10 in “The Book of Forgiving” by Bishop and Mpho Tutu.

Donate Backpacks for the Homeless:  Trinity Center in Walnut Creek will gather and distribute backpacks for homeless friends in our area.  We at Peace are invited to participate.   Standard backpacks in neutral colors, e.g. black or brown are ideal. (Colors can be problematic.)   We will collect these at Peace around Thanksgiving and take them to the Center.  Speak with Ron and Linda about details.

If you’ve got shoe boxes please bring them to church for our Shoe Box Ministry.

Sabbath Class – Tuesdays from 7:30 – 9:00 pm at Beth Chaim.  Read the next 2 chapters – Rhythm and Time.

All the goods of this world are finite and limited and incapable of satisfying the longing that perpetually burns within us for the infinite, for love and for the good.
—Simone Weil

Give yourself a life of wisdom and joy – right where you are, God wants that for all of us.

This weekend also marks the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the United Nations in New York.

All Nite Soul:  On November 1 /All Saints Day the Jazz Church West hosts 2 groups – the Gerry Grosz Jazz Kitchen (Gerry plays the vibes and piano); and for the second set we will host ‘The A Train’ – the Athenian High School jazz band.  Should be a great night and it’s free.

All Saints Forum – Hospice and Palliative Care, presenter Bev Harms.

The Parliament of World Religions was incredible experience.  8,000 people from 80 countries with 40 – 50 of the world’s religions represented.  Come learn about it this Sunday.

I the Lord, search the mind and try the heart,

to give to everyone according to their ways,

according to the fruit of their doings.  (Jeremiah 17:10)

“Thanks for being you – it appears everyone else is taken!”

Reforming blessings,

Pr. Steve


Pastor’s Weekly Message: 10.14.15

Grace Waves


The power of intercessory prayer surpasses every work we might undertake for God’s glory, since it joins our desire for the world’s healing to the mercy of the Holy Spirit.  Intercession directs us in generous love to the needs of our brothers and sisters; the more we hunger for the world’s blessing, the more we gain intimacy with the triune God.
—Catherine of Siena

Our condolences to Joan, David and Kathy, Carol and Tim Strawn on the death of Jim, a beloved and long time member of Peace. Please keep the family in your prayers that they may receive the strength and peace they need.  Our hearts are filled with gratitude for Jim’s life among us.

Sabbath Class:

Rabbi Dan and I hope you will be able to participate in our Sabbath Class which begins next Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 7:30 pm at Beth Chaim.  This is a fine opportunity for spiritual nurture and strengthening interfaith relations. Scholarships are available.  Please speak with Pastor Steve if you are interested. The book itself is life giving and the class will be joyously refreshing.  Here are 2 brief stories from within the book:

“My favorite part of the Sabbath is blessing my children, says Ethan.  The candles and the wine are sweet, but when I put my hand on my daughter’s head and bless her, and offer a prayer for her strength and happiness, I can feel all the generations of parents who have blessed their children, everyone who has come before and everyone who will come after.”

 “Sharon suggests we practice guerrilla compassion – silently blessing people in line at the bank, at the supermarket or in the cars next to us in traffic.  Each blessing is a tiny Sabbath, a secret sanctuary offered to a hurried and unsuspecting world.”

Reformation Sunday:  On October 25 we will celebrate the 498th Anniversary of the Reformation.  Are you ready?

Parents of Peace Pizza Party!  The Youth and Family Committee invites all the families of Peace to gather on Sunday, October 25 from 4:30 – 6:15 for pizza and conversation about nurturing the families ministry of Peace.  Of course all the children are welcomed!

Please keep in your prayers:  Ken’s mom and brother, Hugo (soloist Andrea’s newborn), our friends in Laurel Galan who are suffering an intense drought and no harvest, Seminarian Crystal, those in need of healing, or feeling depressed, or searching for employment; for our children, for refugees fleeing for their lives.

Shoe Box Ministry:  Nette invites you to bring shoe boxes to Peace for our annual drive to provide gifts for children in need.

Rabbi Levi saw a man running in the street, and asked him, “Why do you run?” He replied, “I am running after my good fortune!”  Rabbi Levi tells him, “Silly man, your good fortune has been trying to chase you, but you are running too fast.”  Traditional Tale


Three generations back
my family had only
to light a candle
and the world parted.

Today, Friday afternoon,
I disconnect clocks and phones.
When night fills my house
with passages,
I begin saving
my life.
(Marcia Falk)

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 10.6.15

Grace Waves


The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image.

Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves
we find in them.  Merton

Always wonderful to share the blessings of St. Francis and Claire, their spirits and their joy in the whole creation.  The Blessing of the Animals was very subdued this year but filled with powerful blessings and conversations.

Keep Kim and Cam Murillo and all who are expecting in your prayers.

Keep bringing your Shoe Boxes to worship for Nette.

Aging Gracefully meets on Tuesdays at 1 pm.  New members are always welcomed.

The Youth and Family Committee will host a Peace Family Pizza Party at Peace on Sunday, October 25 from 4:30 – 6:00 pm.  Kids are welcomed!  This is a chance for the families of Peace to discuss how Peace can best serve our family needs.

Traction Painting, Saturday Oct. 10 at 10 am and Sunday, Oct.11 at 2 pm.  Join in this way cool Community Art Project!

The Jazz Church West royally celebrated Eddie Duran’s 90th Birthday!  What a gift his artistry and spirit have been to so many over the years.

The Sabbath Class begins Tuesday, October 20 at 7:30 pm at Beth Chaim.  There will be 4 sessions which Rabbi Dan and I will lead with the 5th Session lead by author Wayne Muller.  The cost for the class is $60 which includes the cost of the book.  You may invite friends to join you.  And besides Judaism and Christianity sharing the 3rd Commandment – this class may save your life in a world addicted to stress.

I close with a few comments about the necessity of sabbath rest as shared by Thomas Merton:

There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence, and that is activism and overwork.  The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence.

To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything , is to succumb to violence.

The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace.  It destroys our own inner capacity for peace.  It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes our work fruitful.

Sign up for the class!  Our world needs as many Sabbath Practitioners as we can get!

Blessings,  Pr. Steve