Pastor’s Blog /SAVE THE DATES

Seminarian / Wedding / Solstice SELEBRATION!

June 22nd, 6:00pm:  A party to honor Louis and kick off summer

June 23rd, Sunday Worship, 10:00a – Celebrate the marriage of Ella & Louis

Easter blessings,

Pr. Steve



Pastor’s Blog 05.15.19


“If the soul could have known God without the world, the world would never have been created.”  Meister Eckhart

The gift of the Light Globe from Pr. Margareta and family was well received and celebrated on Mother’s Day last Sunday.  This is a beautiful invitation to prayer when we can’t find the words to express our hearts’ desire.  The Light Globe will be introduced to our AA and NA groups also for their use and prayers.  The Light Globe will always be available to you on Sundays or whenever you come to Peace.  Thanks to Pr. Margareta for preaching and to Johannes for transporting it all the way from Stockholm!



A joy to hear our Peace Singers perform.  Looks like they are having fun too.


The Holy Envy Class began onTuesday at Beth Chaim.  Two more classes will follow on May 21 and 28 at 7 pm.  You are welcomed to join in this exploration of various faith traditions.  As Lutheran scholar and bishop Krister Stendahl taught:  A) Learn from the adherents of another religion not from its enemies; B) Do not compare their worst to your best; and C) Enjoy experiencing Holy Envy!

Keep in your prayers:  Margaret Bender, Lois on the death of son Brian, Pr. Margareta on the death of her mother, Bob Mantei, Ed, Betty, Ralph, Spoon Jackson, Eddie and Mad, those seeking homes, those struggling in their relationships, the lonely, the unemployed, nurses, teachers, our children and grandchildren.


Vivaldi’s Magnificat – with the Pacific Choir and full Baroque Orchestra — Saturday at 7:00 pm, 10th Anniversary Concert!

Come honor the 10 Years of Partnership with the Pacific Choir, encourage these wonderful  young people and feed your soul with spiritual delights!

How blessed we are (and how exceedingly rare for a congregation) to have the Abundance of Artistic Performances (classical voice and instrumental, jazz, visual, cinematic, theatre, dance, poetry) that we experience at Peace on a regular basis.  Be amazed!



“Do not depend on the hope of results.  When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, (essentially healing, compassionate work) you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect.  As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself.  And there too a great deal has to be gone through, as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people.  The range tends to narrow down, but it gets much more real. In the end, it is the reality of personal relations that saves everything.”  Thomas Merton

Easter blessings,

Pr. Steve



Pastor’s Blog 5.10.19


“What is REAL?  Real isn’t how you are made.  It’s something that happens to you.  It takes a long time.  But once you are Real you can’t become unreal again.  It lasts for always.”  The Velveteen Rabbit

Mother’s Day Worship will be especially celebratory this Sunday as we welcome and dedicate the gift of a Light Globe from Sweden.  This gift from Pr. Margareta and family will illuminate our prayers for our mothers and the people of this world.  Bring your Mother to church on Sunday – in your heart if not in your hand – and light a candle in gratitude for her.

Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others : Begins TUESDAY!  Sign up today…   Tuesdays, May 14, 21 & 28| 7:00-8:30 pm Beth Chaim Sanctuary

Rabbi Dan and Pastor Steve Harms once again come together to teach a compelling approach to thinking about God and faith. The class will be taught out of NY Times bestselling author, Barbara Brown Taylor’s recent novel, Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others.  We will explore the question “What can we learn about our own wrestle with God from encountering the faith journeys of our neighbors?”  Three Sessions | Cost: $60 (includes book)

From Calvin Neswiswi and our Partners in Venda, South Africa:  It is 11:00 in the morning and South Africa started voting at 7:00. We are looking forward to large voter turnout.  Our wish and hope is that Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC win the election. Pray with us for peaceful election.  Greetings to our friends in Peace.

Math Outreach  ( supports kids in disadvantaged local and global communities who lack the skills of basic math concepts. The program will provide tutoring, mentoring, and fundraising to purchase necessary educational supplies. The goal is to help  close the learning gap in math so kids can move forward in their math education.  So far, Math Outreach has raised over 1000 dollars and has been able to purchase numerous math educational supplies including base 10 blocks, pencils, notebooks, flash cards, white boards, calculators, and learning toys.

MAY 18 ~ Pacific Choir Artist in Residence program presents the 10 year Anniversary Concert, Saturday May 18, 7:00p.  Tickets available at the door.

Honoring our Mothers

“Love is recklessness, not reason.  Reason seeks a profit.  Love comes on strong, consuming herself, unabashed.  

She risks everything and asks for nothing.  Love gambles away every gift God bestows!”


Easter blessings, Pr. Steve

Pastor’s Blog / Grace Waves 05.01.19


“The living are few and the dead abound in this life — the dead being those who never let go and can’t walk away from themselves into love and laughter!”  Christian Bobin

Following their Baptismal Renewal on Easter and ancient church tradition, the Catechumens have now become Mystagogues” Mystagogues are spiritually inquisitive, delightfully ambiguous and increasingly playful as they explore the meaning and mystery of their lives.  Keep them in your prayers.

The Jazz Church West and Cinco de Mayo coalesce this Sunday at 5:00 pm.  Dr. John Calloway will be performing with his Quintet.  How long have you said to yourself, ‘I’ve got to get to jazz!’  Now’s the time!

Congratulations to Elizabeth and John Hunter Ashley on their family Cover Photo in the Blackhawk Magazine.  ‘Music, Medicine and Ministry” says it all.  A fine and fun article!

This Sunday Amaya Ghosal will share with us a Math Outreach program she has created to support students in Nairobi.  Another way for us to experience and practice our global partnership.

“Holy Envy” – Finding God in the Faith of Others:  Rabbi Dan and I will once again teach a compelling approach to thinking about God and faith.  The class will be taught out of NY Times bestselling author, Barbara Brown Taylor’s recent novel “Holy Envy”.  We will explore the question “What can we learn about our own wrestling with God by encountering the faith journeys of our neighbors?”  Three sessions on Tuesdays May 14, 21 and 28 at 7:00 pm at Beth Chaim.  The cost is $60 and includes a copy of the book.  Sign up on Sunday or notify the church office.

Sabbath Attack Poway: Once again, the time has come for us as a people and a world, to confront any form of hatred or prejudice that might lurk in our hearts.  The time has come to examine our public and religious speech to ensure that institutional violence is not unwittingly preserved in our teachings, our prayers, or our public worship.  We must make it a priority in our public and governmental life to elect leaders who will uncompromisingly stand up for human rights and not use one religion against another for political advantage.  We stand with Rabbi Anvari, who continued his sermon after being shot in the hand, by saying:  “One message from all of us in our congregation is that we are standing together. We are getting stronger. Never again. You can’t break us. We are strong.”

Our thanks to Elizabeth Hopkins-Kurz for representing Peace at the Baha’i Diversity in Unity event last Sunday.

Muse on this:  “College mental health facilities are swamped, suicide rates are spiking.  At the root of it all is the following problem:  We’ve created a Culture based on Lies including – rich and successful people are worth more than poorer and less successful people.   We pretend we don’t tell this lie, but our whole meritocracy points to it.  The message of the meritocracy is that you are what you accomplish.  If you perform well, people will love you.  No wonder it so hard to be a young adult today.  No wonder our society is fragmenting.  We’ve taken the lies of hyper-individualism and we’ve made them the unspoken assumptions that govern how we live.”  David Brooks in the NY Times

Bill Carmel’s Artist Reception The Art Gallery at the Orinda Library on Sunday, May 5 from 2:30 to 4:30 pm.  See Bill’s latest paintings in three themes: Paintings Without Words, Contra Costa County Landscapes and Fractal Patterns and enjoy light refreshments.

“You’re Doing What?Older Women’s Tales of Achievement and Adventure”:  Enjoy inspirational stories encouraging women and men to view aging as an opportunity to act on long deferred or never imagined dreams.  Featuring our own Elise Ching at Orinda Books on Saturday, May 11 from 2 – 4pm.

Celebrate the Pacific Choir’s 10th Anniversary at Peace with Vivaldi’s Magnificat RV 610 & 611 on Saturday, May 18 at 7:00 pm.  Can you believe it’s 10 years?  This unique concert will feature Baroque instruments (strings, oboe, harpsichord) with soloists from Australia and the SF Symphony Chorus, plus musicians travelling from Oregon to participate in this special event.  Come honor the creativity of these 50 young people and director Dr. Hyunjung Choi.  Invite friends to join you.  Tickets are $35, seniors and students $20 and children 10 and under free.

“We need to guard not only against the negativity of this world, but against our preoccupation with ourselves, another door by which the world might creep back into us like a prowler into a sleeping house.”   Bobin

Easter blessings – Rise Up!

Pr. Steve

“God’s forgiveness is like breathing.  Forgiveness is not apparently something God does, it is who God is.”