Good News, 09.21.2012

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Where did your faith come from? ….one of your parents? …a Sunday School teacher? …a camp counselor?  And, what does your faith in Christ mean to you now?  Are you a student (disciple) of Christ and, if so, where/how do you continue your studies? After all, a disciple by definition is a learner.

My first memory of church comes from a time when we lived in Lima, Peru.  My mother took me to church and I became entranced by the prayer votives.  Later, I loved going to church camp in the summertime where we had “quiet night” under the stars, went on nature walks and learned Bible stories.  Now, I am blessed by a spiritual director who helps me sort through personal experiences, discern choices before me and understand scriptural passages I’ve been reading.  The process, though, is what intrigues me because I feel so welcome to “be myself” – talk about the places where I am confused…irritated by others… and less than “perfect.”  It is such a gift!

Parker Palmer, a Quaker and highly respected author, teacher and spiritual leader, wrote To Know as We Are Known: Education as a Spiritual Journey. In it, he says that our vocation is the spiritual life, the quest for God.  About teaching he writes, “To teach is to create a space in which the community of truth is practiced” To pursue that quest, Palmer says, we need to know the difference between the “truth” that our culture demands of us such as whatever would give me an ‘A’ in a class versus “the truth in Jesus Christ” that would set me free as a human being.  While scholarly achievement and financial success are admired in our culture, they often lead us to become adversarial, self-righteous, controlling and domineering.  Palmer contrasts that with the spiritual attitude of “submission to the truth of Christ.”  He reminds us that through careful listening and responding to God’s Word in Christ, we learn about ourselves as God already knows us.  This leads to growth in fruits of the Spirit within us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control and generosity. (Gal 5:22+)

To teach is to create a space… where new ideas, concepts and our own feelings are welcome.  Within this hospitable space, people are encouraged to struggle through the pain of their half-truths and self-deceit… to struggle toward wholeness and health in Jesus Christ.

To learn is to enter that space… where it is safe to ponder: What does it mean to open my heart to all people?  How can I be compassionate as our Lord was, to ALL, even the ones that irritate me?

So…. who wouldn’t want to be both a teacher and a learner when it means the opportunity to grow in faith and hope and love?  In other words, who can resist God’s invitation to a richer spiritual life?  Homecoming Day at Peace Lutheran is Sunday, September 23.  That is the beginning of the new Sunday School year.  Come one!  Come ALL! Let your attitude of “submission to Christ” lead you right into a class!  Remember: God is the potter and we are the clay!

Blessings,  Pastor Mary Ann

Partnership Delegation The Delegation to Lwamondo Parish in Venda, South Africa leaves Sept. 26 at 11 PM from SFO. Pr. Steve will meet the group in Johannesburg for the commuter flight to Polokwane airport.  Late news is that the local bishop will meet them at his office in Seshego Township on Sept. 28, shortly after they land in Polokwane.
Jack O’Neil will meet with local youth groups and begin an exchange that he hopes to use for his Eagle Scout project.  Elizabeth Hunter Ashley (his mother) will be singing during the church service on  Sunday  Sept. 30. Karl Pfeiffer has warned the delegation to expect services that last 2+ hours!
Four Peace families have volunteered to support John and Noah Ashley while Elizabeth and Jack are traveling: Karl, Gun, Charlene and Arlene.  Thanks to them– and to all who contributed to the fund for the Beuster Church rebuilding.  The check will be hand-delivered.  Jack and Elizabeth will return on Oct. 6 (so that Jack doesn’t miss too much school) and Libby will return on Oct. 9. The Delegation will be giving a report back to Peace a couple of weeks after they return.

Upcoming Events:

Sept. 23–HOMECOMING Sunday; SUNDAY SCHOOL resumes during worship;
Blessing of Delegation to South Africa; Youth Group receives copies of The Message
Sept. 28–Education series on Baptized We Live begins
Oct. 2 (Tues.)–Healing Prayer Team meets at 4 pm.
Oct. 3 (Wed.)–Youth Group meets at 7 pm. Discussion of God Has A Dream and South Africa and Senegal
Oct. 4 (Thurs.)–Tai Chi resumes at 7 pm with Lori Eickmann; class meets every week thru Nov (except Thanksgiving)
Oct. 7–Feast of St. Francis; St. Francis Pet Blessing Festival from noon-3 pm
Oct. 14–Small & Tall Service; Education series on Baptized We Live continues;
Jazz @ Peace 8th season opener at 5 pm with Gerry Grosz & the Jazz Kitchen
Oct. 17 (Wed.)–Youth Group meets at 7 pm; guest speaker from the Contra Costa Food Bank
Oct. 21— St. Luke’s Sunday-Healing Prayer Service; Education hour with Healing Prayer discussion
Oct. 28–REFORMATION Sunday; Education series on Baptized We Live continues

Greg Grebe’s Oct. 7 Pet Festival list:
Items needed: Additional large umbrellas for shade (we only have four)
Baskets or services for the Silent Auction
Help needed day of event:
Table set-up in the courtyard for the Silent Auction (before Worship)
Traffic director so that exhibitors can get close to the grassy area
Chair set-up for exhibitors on the lawn–as well as chairs and umbrella for Pr. Mary Ann and Pr. Margareta
Roving volunteers to assist as needed
Items for the Silent Auction can be brought into the Office–Tues-Thurs–or bring them the day of the Pet Festival

Property Update From Everett Sylwanowicz,  Property Deacon

Here’s an update on two Peace property projects for 2012.

Just in time for Winter, the painters should be putting the finishing touches on the painting and siding repair project on the outside of the church.   The original paint job was done with the wrong kind of paint for the type of wood that was used for the siding of the Church.   Many of the siding panels have had to be replaced.  Only the highest parts of the church remain to be repaired and painted.    The process should be complete within a month, and should last for many years.

Fall is a great time for planting native plants.   The seasonal rains provide the moisture needed for the plants to get started.   Native plants use much less water than non-native ground covers over time.   We have a few landscaping patches around the church that were planted with non-native ground cover that has become inundated with weeds.   This October we would like to transform the patch on the southwest corner of the church into a beautiful native garden, with specimen manzanita as the focal point.  Jeanne Kaplan and I are very motivated.   Talk to either of us after church if you would like to participate (planning, digging, planting, donating rocks or plants).