Pastor’s Weekly Message: 11.24.15

Grace Waves


To be brave is to behave

Bravely when your heart is faint.

So you can be really brave

Only when  you really ain’t.

—Piet Hein

Welcoming the Stranger” – Thanksgiving Eve Interfaith Service, Beth Chaim at 7:30 pm, November 25.   Please join us for this wonderful annual tradition on Wednesday night – an opportunity to offer gratitude for the gift of life, friends, wisdom and grace.  You can bring tasty treats if you wish, canned goods for the Food Bank and help support the work of Shelter, Inc.  I hope you will get to meet the Syrian Refugees we are supporting through San Damiano and with the professional assistance of Jewish Family Services.  Gary, Elon and Paul are the music leaders for this occasion –and they want the support of all their friends!

 Our thanks to Margaret for her beautiful Quilt Exhibit and to Bill for curating this presentation!

Thanks to Peri and Ali for their special Thanksgiving Lamb Hospitality Hour this past Sunday.  What an honoring of their friends at Peace!

Our thanks to all who have submitted their Giving Cards.  Pamela and Dennis our Stewarding Deacons encourage the remaining families of Peace to submit your Cards by December 6 so our Treasurer can establish our budget for 2016.

New Year – Quiet Prayer Time / An Advent Invitation:  Would you appreciate time to center and focus before worship?  Beginning this Sunday the Healing Prayer Team invites you to join them in the Counseling Center at 9:40 for 15 minutes of quiet prayer time.   You will value how this deepens your worship and Eucharist celebration.

Sunday, November 29 will be the first Youth Group gathering for Middle and High School youth with 1 or both parents participating.  Thais and Greg will host the group from 6:00 – 7:30 pm.  John Ashley is bringing a variety of drums so we can enjoy a Percussion Circle!

21 families will be receiving provisions from the food that is purchased with the $800 raised by members of Peace.  The friends of Laurel Galan are most thankful for our generosity.  During Entre Culturas/ Between Cultures last visit, Dona Ligia said that they have no corn crops because of the lack of rain and a worm that attacked the plants.  It has recently rained, so they are hoping to harvest some wheat, since it requires less rain. They can use the wheat to feed their animals and make a different kind of tortilla for themselves. There are some women in the community who are sick with a fever and flu, which is typical for this time of year.  Keep our partners in your prayers as they keep us in theirs.

Backpacks – A Dozen have arrived!  Thanks to all who have contributed Backpacks for the Homeless during these last 2 weeks.  We will conclude this gathering of crucial winter gifts on December 6.  New or good condition, used packs are appreciated!

Keep in your prayers:   Kim and Cam – soon to give birth; Fred, Ralph, refugees, those seeking faith and a spiritual home, members and families of our youth group, and Bill and Pr. Bob Lesher on their birthdays.

Sunday, November 29 after worship:  Charlene is providing the materials with which to create Advent Wreaths – since this is the 1st Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the New Church Year.   A wonderful family activity!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pr. Steve




Pastor’s Weekly Message: 11.19.15

Grace Waves



It doesn’t have to be the blue iris, it could be

weeds in a vacant lot, or a few 

small stones; just

pay attention, then patch

 a few words together and don’t try

to make them elaborate, this isn’t

a contest but a doorway

 into thanks, and a silence in which 

another voice may speak.

—Mary Oliver


The Family Service was well received by all who participated.  How joyful to have the little ones…and older ones…with us in worship.  Great to have all the families getting connected and watching the children enjoy each other.  The kids Activity Bags (thanks to Charlene) are hanging on the hooks in the back of the sanctuary.  Our next Family Service will be on December 13.  Of course Sunday School, Children’s Time and Child Care are available every Sunday.

Youth Group:  Middle School and High Schoolers will meet on Sunday, November 29 from 6 – 7:30 pm at Thais and Greg’s home.  John Ashley will be teaching percussion so you know it will be a fun night!  The Youth Group meetings which incorporate one or both parents, will also meet monthly.

This Sunday is our Commitment Sunday – please submit your Pledge Cards at worship.  It is also Christ the Vulnerable Sunday which is the final Sunday of this Church Year.

Nicaragua:  “Thank you for your generosity of donating $800 to help with the food needs of our partnership community of Laurel Galan.  As you know, they are suffering from an extended drought that has affected their harvest.  Unlike us here in the States who are suffering from drought, they need their harvest to provide food for their families and animals.  The community has met to discuss their greatest needs and Entre Culturas will make the deliveries within the next month.”  (from the Partnership Committee)

Thanksgiving  Eve – Wednesday, November 25 at 7:30 pm at Beth Chaim, 1800 Holbrook:  The Interfaith of the San Ramon Valley (I-SRV) has been a leader in building relationships among people of different faiths and one of the sweetest expressions of this work is our annual Thanksgiving Interfaith Service.  In the face of the wars and chaos in the world around us, I-SRV has declared this to be the year of “Welcoming the Stranger.”  We are actively responding to the pressing world refugee crisis by sponsoring a Syrian refugee family.  Please join us for this delightful and inspiring celebration!

Support for Syrian Refugees:  San Damiano is providing housing for 2 Syrian young men (21 and 19) whom I-SRV is sponsoring.  Jewish Family Services is providing professional oversight. Catholic Charities may participate with additional assistance.  Each congregation is asked to provide a Point Person and Ron Elsdon has volunteered to do this for Peace.  The Point Person will meet with other congregational representatives and serve as the Communications Liaison person with Peace.

If you want to see yourself don’t look in a mirror; look in your neighbors eyes and see what they see.

Please continue to bring your Backpacks for the Homeless to worship on Sundays.  Already 6 have arrived – thank you!  You can keep bringing them to Peace through the Thanksgiving Season and until December 6.  Then they will be delivered to the Trinity Center in Walnut Creek.

Please keep in your prayers:  Kim and Cam Murillo – soon to give birth, Heidi and Fidel – though he has been deported to Guyana he is at last a free man; the refugees, Fred and Marlene, Joan, Tom, Ed, Diane, the children and families of our congregation, the children living and dying in extreme poverty, the people of Beirut and Paris, those living with addictions, the disabled, caregivers, political prisoners and that the voices of wisdom may be heard in our times.

The UN 70th Celebration in Eskilstuna Congregation, Sweden (Comments from composer Stefan Safsten):   We had a wonderful day on October 24 and speakers that were extraordinary.  From our program you can see Henrik Hammargren, the Chairman of Hammarskjöld Foundation.  From the local perspective we had representatives from UNESCO LUCS a project for community and diversity.  Interfaith collaboration included Elias Lomfors Carlberg, Project Leader for Sweden’s interfaith Council.  Kristina Nielsen-Jerneck is a special expert on Dag Hammarskjöld and she has worked together with Bishop K-G Hammar.  Music students from St. Eskils Gymnasium (high school) played and a  children’s dance troupe from the Bolivian Association danced. The church was packed for the concert!  Karin Winberg and Marie Davoust did a great job as volunteers. The soloist Helene Lundkvist Lontos was incredibly well received, especially considering that she had such short preparation time.  So I’m very pleased!!!

And it appears we will probably get a concert in Uppsala connected with the Hammarskjöld Foundation.  (Would be an honor!)

Soloist Andrea Hagman and newborn son Hugo are doing great! Thanks for all your prayers!

The Swedish Family Outreach Ministry met last Saturday at Peace.  They had over 30 people attend!  It was a good success for parents and families.  They will continue to meet at Peace on a monthly basis.

Seminarian Crystal Larsen will share her report on Reading Congregations with the members of Peace for our Forum on December 6.  It is a fine opportunity to ‘get a read’ on who and how we are as a congregation.  Please join in.

The Sabbath:  Class participants shared a fine evening with author Wayne Muller at Beth Chaim this week.  So many insights to learn from rest itself and knowing how much time it takes to become human.  Thanks to Beth Chaim for hosting our classes.

Christmas Gifts:  A variety of books that have been utilized for Classes at Peace will be available for purchase on Sunday, December 6.  Inspirational and thought provoking, these can be wonderful gifts for people you love.

“I want the truth”, said the seeker;  “I will give you something higher than truth,” said the wise one.  “And what could be higher than truth?”  “ Reconciliation”, said the wise one.

Blessings,  Pr. Steve



Pastor’s Weekly Message: 11.12.15

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

Our Family Service is this Sunday – bring all the children and grandchildren along with your open and playful hearts.  Elise and Kaleo will share the Abba/Imma Lord’s Prayer with us and lead our Forum on “Qi and Grace” – a fascinating intertwining of Taoist practice and Christian prayer.

From Brock and Xanthia:  Thank you friends at Peace for your love, golden gifts and prayers!  We love to be loved at Peace!  Our special thanks to many who worked hard to host the X and B wedding especially:  Ken, Elana and Bill, Aaron, Chuck and Pam, Gary, John and Mary Ellen and undoubtedly more of you!

Our Stewarding mailing has gone into the mail.  Please prayerfully consider your ongoing support of Peace, financially and through your gifts and skills.  November 22 will be our Commitment Sunday when you can return Pledge Cards to Peace during worship.  Our thanks to Dennis and Pamela Baum, our Stewarding Deacons.

The Council will meet for a Fall Retreat after worship at Peace this Sunday.

“The Sabbath” author Wayne Muller will join us for  the final class at Beth Chaim this next Tuesday, November 17 at 7:30 pm.  Members and friends of Peace are invited to join in this special event – even if you haven’t gotten to read the book.  Enjoy wisdom, rest and joy can never hurt you!

Second Friday Films shows Inside Out this month on Nov. 13 @ 6:30 pm in the Youth Room. Ever wonder what goes on in a child’s brain? Pixar’s latest and greatest explores the world of emotions in an 11 year old girl’s head. It shows how she learns to allow sadness to have its rightful place (along with joy, anger, disgust and fear) which allows wholeness to begin.

Honey, honey?  It is that wonderful time of year when honey from the Monastery becomes available to grace your tables, meals and palates for the holiday season.  It can be purchased whenever you are at Peace in the Gathering Hall.

The Swedes are coming!  This Saturday morning Peace hosts the monthly Swedish Family Outreach Gathering.  A blessing that we get to host this important family opportunity.

“Welcoming the Stranger” – Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 25 at 7:30 pm at Beth Chaim.  Please join us for this one hour, family friendly celebration, where we will join together as partner faith communities to pray, offer gratitude and sing.  San Damiano is hosting a Refugee Family from Syria and I-SRV our Interfaith Community will sponsor this family.  Hopefully they will get to celebrate and pray with us that evening too.

Blessings,  Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 11.05.15

Grace Waves


You are cordially invited to Xanthia and Brock’s Wedding this Saturday at 3:00 pm.  To fall in love in a community that has been so nourishing to our faith in one another, honors us and fills us with praise! Thank you Peace, for all of your many gifts and blessings.  May you all continue to live in the love that is provided freely and that you have so freely shared!  

Xanthia and Brock

(Come Celebrate and see the Wedding Bands created through the Golden Gifts and Love of Peace!)

Stewarding Sunday – November 8:  The opportunity to reflect on and offer gratitude for our gifts.

Forum – Death with Dignity:   Bev will share information about this new legislation.  She is also willing to address any further questions as a follow up to last Sunday’s forum on Hospice and Palliative Care.

Family Worship – November 15:  One Sunday a month will be designated as our “Family Service”.   It will be designed with the kids leading, participating and celebrating.  Especially fun since they will get to see all their friends on these Sundays.  Bring your grandchildren!

Forum – Qi and Grace/Embodied Prayer:  Kaleo and Elise will lead our Forum on November 15.  This embodied prayer experience will be appreciated by adults and kids alike!

Welcoming the Stranger – Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Celebration:  Our annual interfaith worship will take place on Wednesday, November 25 at 7:30 pm at Beth Chaim.  Save the date for this remarkable celebration.

Donate Backpacks for the Homeless:  Please bring new or good quality used backpacks to Peace between Nov. 15 and December 6.  The Trinity Center in Walnut Creek will distribute these special gifts to homeless friends in the following weeks.

Please keep in your prayers:  Fred Garrity, Jody Larson, Fran, Debassa Guyo, Xanthia and Brock, Ken’s mom, Kathy’s dad, Joan, Tom, Rose, Kaleo, Nancy, refugees, the people who pray for us.

Sabbath Class – November 17:  Our final class will host Wayne Muller, author of The Sabbath at Beth Chaim on Tuesday, November 17 at 7:30 pm.  Members of Peace are invited to purchase a copy of The Sabbath this Sunday and (even if you don’t get to read any of the book in advance)  attend this special evening.  This book is a wise guide to increasing Rest, Renewal and Delight in Life!  Who couldn’t enjoy more of this?

First Friday Films – Inside Out:  This will be on the 2nd Friday of November 13 at 6:30.  A remarkable film exploring “Ever wonder what is going on in the mind of a child?” Don’t miss this!

All Saints Reminder:  To be governed by that which comes alive when we have ceased to live… be able to see, hear, and attend to that within us which is always there in the still, dark center of our being.  Dag Hammarskjold

Blessings,  Pr.  Steve