Pastor’s Weekly Message: 04.28.16

Grace Waves


We most need to pray when we least feel like praying.  Even when we seem unable to pray, we can trust the Spirit who prays within us with sighs too deep for words.  Our prayer depends not on our temperament or sense of quiet but on the Spirit’s presence within each one of us. —Catherine of Siena’s Way

The Early Communion Class will celebrate the culmination of their Communion Learning this Sunday.  It has been a wonderful 3 months of learning together!

Our Earth Day Family Service was quite marvelous!  Gratitude to Pr. Margareta for her creative design of this service, to Christina Berg for the animal action songs, to Master Duck Caller Jake Kurtz, to our Sunday School staff Charlene, Arlene and Pat, and to all our children for the beauty of who they are and for planting our Luther Pomegranate Tree….with Ken’s help!  We are blessed by rich depth and breadth in our Family Services because our pastoral leader clearly understands children’s spiritual formation and the joyful playfulness of the Gospel that we all need to experience.

Forum, May 1 – The Peace Survey:  The Peace Council invites you to join them for a conversation on the priorities discerned by examining the Survey at our April Retreat.  Your presence and wisdom are desired!

Wisdom Seekers – Christian and Interfaith Dialogue at Peace:  This Tuesday, May 3 Seminarian Crystal Larsen will lead this fascinating discussion.  Her presentation has been designed as part of an Education Class she has been taking at PLTS Seminary.  We meet at Peace from  1  – 2:30 pm.  All are welcome to participate!

New Creation Mantra/ A Love Story:  Over 100 World Religious Leaders signed the Interfaith Climate Statementon Earth Day, April 22 committing themselves to implement the Paris COP Decisions and urging the United Nations to globally enact the Eco-Summit Commitments.  We are mindful of those who already suffer the consequences of climate change – in Nicaragua, in the countries of Africa, the Arctic Region and the Pacific Islanders.  For the sake of our children we will Care for our Common Home!

Please keep in your prayers:  Joan Strawn, Linda, Gun, Michael, Bonnie Nelson, Mark Howard, Fred, Pr. Bob,  our Early Communion Class, Youth Group, elders, those living with addictions, for Collin and Brady who will be baptized on Sunday; in gratitude for all the concerts, recitals, worship and cultural celebrations at Peace; that we may be aware of and live in solidarity with who suffer the consequences of climate change now.

Mother’s Day is May 8.  Jewelry designed by Kersti Malvre will be available for your purchase.  The Sycamore Strings Academy will offer a Mother’s Day Concert at 5:00 pm.

SAVE THE DATE-October 2nd, 2016, from Noon to 3PM:  Pet Festival and St Francis Blessing of the Animals.  Our theme this year is from Canticle of the Sun by Marty Haugen….5th verse The creatures you made to let your life show”.   Last year we simply offered blessings.  This year we resume the full experience of music, silent auction, food sales, exhibitors and general merriment. We usually have several hundred pet and people visitors – so don’t miss it.  Donations of animal care items, dog and cat store coupons, restaurant coupons, yachts, mansions and vineyards gratefully accepted.   Want to get involved – contact me.   Kind Regards, Greg Grebe

Jazz Church West – May 1 “From Brasil to Bacharach” with Mary D’Orazi.  All the smooth sounds of Brazil will be yours this Sunday at 5 pm.  Thais is inviting the whole Brazilian Bay Area community to attend with her!  (Plus her art will be available for purchase.)You won’t want to miss this.

Come gather ‘round the table, come gather ‘round the Word
All children come together to let God’s love be heard.
We come from many places, to many we will go. We take God’s message with us, the Word of Love to show!

Easter Blessings,  Pr. Steve


Pastor’s Weekly Message: 04.20.16

Grace Waves

Friends and Fellow Geologians:

The current difficulty is that the natural world is seen primarily for human use, not as a mode of sacred presence primarily to be communed with in wonder and beauty and intimacy.  The natural world remains a commodity to be bought and sold, not a sacred reality to be venerated.
—Thomas Berry

Earth Day/Family Service:  This Sunday we get to celebrate our Children, all the Animals and the beauty of Creation!  Christina Berg will be our Guest Musician.  We will experience only delight!  Bring your children, grandchildren and friends.  The Youth Group meets at Peace after worship.

“An absence of a sense of the sacred is the basic flaw in many of our efforts at ecologically or environmentally adjusting our human presence to the natural world.  It has been said, “We will not save what we do not love.”  It is also true that we will neither love nor save what we do not experience as sacred.”

Last Weekend at Peace

Saturday:  Korean Language School in the morning;  Council Retreat at the Interfaith Peace Center in Antioch; then an Honors Recital/Advanced Students – California Music Teachers’ Association, CCC Branch (9 Teachers and 25 Students – stunning performances); Community Jazz Series with the Leon Joyce Quartet (organ, vibes, drums and sax – a taste of heaven).

Sunday:  Worship/Homily – “Entering the Ecozoic Age – Care for our Common Home”/Forum; Early Communion Class; Chromatica Concert (Salieri, Dello Joio, Mascagni, Mancini, Bocelli)

Each event lifted up beauty and joy; both days…300 – 400 participants; may all Peace Friends feel pride in the profound quality and variety of spiritual and cultural events we provide!

  “If, as geologian Fr. Thomas Berry says, we have entered the ‘ecozoic age,’ it is important that global spirituality reflects and fosters a new sense of the sacrality of the natural world and of human identity within it.”

 Over 100 World Religious Leaders will sign the Interfaith Climate Change Statement on April 22 encouraging the United Nations to enact the decisions made at the Paris Eco-Summit.

 Keep in your prayers:  Joan Strawn, Fred, Pr. Bob, Linda, Jim, Ruth, Gun, Roy, Paul, our Early Communion Class; Sunday School Teachers, Family Service Celebrations; the people of Ecuador and Japan; those already suffering the consequences of climate change; refugees.

Looking Ahead:  The Council invites you to our May 1 Forum when they will present “Highlights and Priorities from our Congregational Survey”.  Analyzing the content of our February Survey was the focus of our recent Council Retreat.  Please join in the discussion.  Also:  St. Francis Blessing of the Animals – October 2.  Inform Greg Grebe of your willingness to assist.

The Largest Humanitarian Crisis since WWII:  Sunday, April 24th from  5:30 to 7:30pm at Danville Congregational Church we will have an opportunity to learn more about the crisis in Syria that has caused so many people to flee for their lives. Three national leaders of the Syrian American Council will be speaking at this important gathering.  Free and refreshments will follow.

Last Sunday I referenced Dave and Ceil’s encouragement to think of the Earth as “oatmeal” rather than solid.  After worship Mark Miller suggested we think of the cosmos as a “spider web” – lacey but utterly interconnected.

“Let nature ‘bring you to your senses’ – experience the naked vitality of life emerging all around you.  Each particular thing is an incarnate word, each a vibrant koan expressing its presence and ‘suchness’ as it is.  It is most important and urgent that we that we see, become fully aware, and experience what is actually here:  not what is presented by people and society, but what has been given by God.”

Easter Blessings,

Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Weekly Message: 04.13.16

Grace Waves


Artists treat facts as stimuli for imagination whereas scientists use imagination to coordinate facts.”

—Arthur Koestler


Real social impact comes when the two – art and science – merge into one awareness, into one great impulse toward a newer, more conscious way of being.  —Joan Chittister

Care for our Common Home/We Praise You – Laudato Si!  Continue using our ‘Creation Mantra’ on the Days of Creation throughout your week.  Please share your insights or experiences with me as it evolves for you.  You prayers will also be inspired by Psalm 104 on The Glories of Creation.  Our Forum Series on Pope Francis’ Encyclical continues these next 2 Sundays as well.

Family Service – Earth Day – April 24!  A joyful celebration is being planned for all the families of Peace.  Pr. Margareta promises our happy focus will be all the Animals of God’s Creation!  Guest musician Christina Berg will join us.  Invite your friends!  (“The Original Scripture is creation itself in its infinite unfolding of divine creativity.  Each creature is a word of God.”  Thomas Berry)

The Lord has written the promise of the resurrection in every leaf of springtime.  —Martin Luther

The Early Communion Class meets this Sunday, April 17 at 3:30 at the Ziegenfus’ home.  The Youth Group meets on April 24 at Peace after our worship.

Our thanks to Boris for the gift of his song “God is in the Silence”.  Such a beautiful gift to Peace.  We will get to sing it again this Sunday.

Our Peace Council will share a day’s Retreat this Saturday at the Interfaith Peace Center in Antioch.  Please keep us in your prayers.

Labyrinth Guru Lars Howlett was present this past Sunday and 20 people joined him on the Labyrinth for an introductory conversation about new ways (GraniteTite) to maintain the fine quality of our Labyrinth.  Many community people walk our labyrinth during the week because it is an inviting First Step/ initiation for people who want to explore spiritual life.  Of course it is also a great deal of fun for kids and their parents.  In the future Lars will present a Forum about the variety of labyrinths, their history, and global significance.  Did you know….Our Peace Labyrinth was the first labyrinth in Contra Costa County!

“Humanity has no real  future and cannot evolve without returning to love at the core of our being.”  — Merton

The Broadway Chorus presents “More of your Favorites!” this weekend  April 15, 8pm/ 16, 8 pm/ and 17th , 2 pm at the Livermore High School Theater, 600 Maple St. in Livermore.  Check out the link, purchase tickets at 925-462-2121 or speak with Martha Mantei for details.

Dear Jazz Church West:  Thank you for April 3rd !  What a beautiful experience and message of openness. Warmly, Dmitri Matheny – jazz flugelhornist, composer, educator, recording artist

Please keep in your prayers:  Fred Garrity, Pr. Bob Lesher, Joan Strawn, Philippa Erlank, Gun, Roy Joan Eychner, our Peace Council, the Early Communion Class; and for our Earth, all sentient beings and especially the poor.

Our thanks to Barbara Droher Kline for her Workshop on Generosity/Make a Difference last Saturday.  The participants were appreciative and insights shared will infuse the life and possibilities of Peace.

“The Federal Correctional Institution at Dublin (FCI Dublin) will be holding Mock Job Fairs for inmates on Wednesday, April 27.  The morning mock job fair will be in the prison from 8:00 a.m. to about 11:30 a.m.  The afternoon mock job fair will be in an adjacent minimum security facility (the camp) from 11:30 a.m. to about 1:30 p.m.  You can volunteer for either one or both events.  Those volunteering for both events will have lunch at the prison after the first session and then will be escorted to the camp at about noon to join the group there for the remaining interview practice time.  Speak with Ron Elsdon for details.

Love heals. Heals and liberates. I use the word love, not meaning sentimentality, but a condition so strong that it may be that which holds the stars in their heavenly positions and that which causes the blood to flow orderly in our veins. —Maya Angelou

Earthy Easter Blessings,

Pr. Steve







Pastor’s Weekly Message: 04.06.16

Grace Waves


Not to us, not to us – but to your Name be the glory!  The heavens belong to the Lord but to us God has given the earth. —Psalm 115

Care for our Common Home – “We Praise You/Laudato Si”:  Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality.  Throughout April our Worship and Forum Series theme will focus on The Gift Entrusted to Us and our responsibility as Stewards of the Earth.  Our Family Service on April 24 will be an Earth Day Celebration with a special emphasis on Animals!

Last Sunday I introduced a new Creation Mantra which Rabbi Art Green presented at the Renewal Rabbinic Conference earlier this year.  Each day of the week you are invited to remember its origin and let the day’s creative gift inspire your awareness and gratitude for that day.  Practice this during April – share your reflections with me and friends at Peace during the month. Your thoughts/suggestions/experiences will be incorporated each week.  Here is an initial outline/catalyst you can work with.  Let it evolve freely for you!

Creation Mantra – A Love Story

Monday – ‘Let there be Light!”
“By your Light we see the light.” – psalms
Why is there something rather than nothing?

Tuesday – ‘Let there be Heavens and Earth’
(Universe Unfolding, Cosmic vastness)
The Earth – Our Only World

Wednesday – ‘Dry land and Seas’
Ocean depths; Trees, plants, vegetation.
Clean water….the magnificence of redwood trees.

Thursday – ‘Sun, Moon and Stars’
(Light to indicate festivals!)
140 billion galaxies; deep rhythms

Friday – ‘Waters/Earth Swarm with Living Creatures’
Birds on the wing; sea monsters diving
Gliding and Teeming and…

Saturday – ‘Wild Animals creeping and crawling’
Humans made in the Image of God – Female and Male
Humans made in the Imagining of God

Sabbath/Sunday – ‘God completed the Creating Process by Resting’
(Creating is not finished, life keeps emerging)
Tranquility – the Time for Rest, Gratitude, Delight and Wisdom

The whole cosmos is in communion; we are the mind of the cosmos

Enjoy the cosmic rhythm of atoms, circulation of the blood,

sap in the trees, tides of the sea, seedtime and harvest,

phases of the moon, rotation of stars and galaxies,

life and death and the liturgy.

Make a Difference Workshop – this Saturday!  Stewarding Deacons Pamela and Dennis Baum invite you to Generating Generosity/Making a Difference Workshop on Saturday, April 9 from 10:30 – 12:30 with Thrivent Representative (and Peace member) Barbara Droher Kline   How best do we align our values with our resources of time, talents and energy?  And what is possible when we as a congregation/community look at this?  Please join in as we reflect on How Best to Bless our families, congregation and larger community.  A free brunch is included!

Labyrinth Guru Lars Howlett joins us this Sunday after worship to look at new ways (Granite Tite)  to keep our Labyrinth in good shape.  I had I had a time lapse camera on our labyrinth so you could see how many community people walk our labyrinth throughout the week.  If you are curious to learn about the variety of labyrinths, their history, global significance and possibilities please join the conversation with Lars on the Labyrinth.  (Did you know….Our Peace Labyrinth was the first labyrinth in Contra Costa County!)

The Broadway Chorus presents “More of your Favorites!” on the weekend of April 15, 16 and 17.  Check out the link or speak with Martha Mantei for details.

“The Federal Correctional Institution at Dublin (FCI Dublin) will be holding Mock Job Fairs for inmates on Wednesday, April 27.  The morning mock job fair will be in the prison from 8:00 a.m. to about 11:30 a.m.  The afternoon mock job fair will be in an adjacent minimum security facility (the camp) from 11:30 a.m. to about 1:30 p.m.  You can volunteer for either one or both events.  Those volunteering for both events will have lunch at the prison after the first session and then will be escorted to the camp at about noon to join the group there for the remaining interview practice time.  Speak with Ron Elsdon for details.

Bread for the World’s 2016 Lobby Day: Survive and Thrive – June 7, Washington DC

While effecting change in Congress may seem like a fantasy, it’s very much possible — especially with an in-person visit. Studies show that in-person meetings are the most effective way to influence your lawmakers — more than emails, letters, or even phone calls. Bread for the World has advocated an end to hunger for over 40 years, often taking our message directly to congressional offices. This year, we’ll urge Congress to fund key maternal and child nutrition programs overseas and in the U.S. Will you join us?
Follow the example of Moses, Joseph, and Esther as we take a message of liberation from hunger to our political leaders. Register today to make sure your voice is heard on Capitol Hill!

Easter Blessings,

Pr. Steve