Good News 10.18.2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

            Last Sunday, our seminarian, John Brett began an adult discussion group using the book, Baptized We Live, by Dan Erlander.  In that class, we are asking:  What IS baptism?  And, what does it mean to live out our baptism?  

            A true story:  After the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was discussing reconstruction of our country with members of his cabinet.  Thaddeus Stevens banged his fist on the table and said, “Mr. President, I think enemies are to be destroyed!”  Mr. Lincoln responded quietly, “Do I not destroy my enemy when I make him my friend?

What a novel idea!  …a nonviolent way to exterminate enemies!  The hitch is, of course, that it does not change my enemy but requires me to change – thoughts, feelings, attitudes, perhaps my entire world view?  Often that requires soul-searching honesty and tremendous inner struggle.  We call it “wrestling with our own demons.”

Right after his baptism…right after he heard the words, “You are my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased,” Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness fasting and enduring temptations from the devil.  Similarly, each time we remember our baptism…each time we hear the words, ‘You are my beloved son (daughter) with whom I am well pleased,” we are called to journey into the desert of our own souls to look for obstacles that are preventing us from growing closer to God.  For example:  Perhaps we constantly compare ourselves to others and believe our value is established by some outside factor?  Or, perhaps we constantly engage in negative self-talk so that we are always saying, “Oh, I can’t do that!”  Or, maybe we find ourselves putting others down so we can feel better… stronger… smarter?  Those are only a few of the ways we could confront inner issues.  There are many more!  However, the point is – – constant struggle and repentance is what it means to live out our baptism.  The Good News?  It is God’s abundant and overflowing love for each of us that calls us into more health and wholeness.

Remembering our baptism…. Living out our baptism is a constant dying and rebirth so that we might bear more fruit for Christ.  Or, as Saint Paul said (Gal 2:20), I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.  Paul means that death to self is living in Christ with the freedom to be compassionate… to love… to give joyfully in service to one another.

All are welcome to join our discussion group on baptism.  Struggles and repenting… dying and rising… are CENTRAL to what is means to be a Christian!

Blessings,  Pastor Mary Ann

From Education Deacon, Linda Benatar

     John Brett began his series for Adult Education on Sunday, October 14th.  Eight attended and enjoyed his first session of “Baptized We Live”. [Booklets are available in the Office.]  We met from approximately 11:15 to 12.  John will continue this series on Sunday, October 28th and conclude it with the third session on November 4th.  Even if you missed the first session, it’s not too late to join us for the remaining ones.

     Our new Sunday School program seems to be running smoothly.  A special “Thank You” to the teachers.  We could use more children, so encourage any you might have in mind to attend. 

     For the spring, or perhaps as Lenten activities, we are looking into having a time for a film on Martin Luther and a recitation of the Gospel of Mark.

     Mark Miller has also offered to do a session on help with investment strategies, especially for retirees.  If you are interested, please let Mark Miller or Linda Benatar know!

     Any topics that you would like to see covered by our education committee, please refer to Linda Benatar, Education Deacon.

Jazz Last Sunday evening was magical with original compositions by Gerry Grosz, who is a master on the vibraphone.  Jazz Kitchen performers,Alto saxist  Larry De La Cruz, Bassist Doug Ebert, and Drummer Rob Hart were also wonderful. Two more Jazz @ Peace events very soon–All Nite Soul on Oct. 28 from 5-7:30 pm with the Fred Randolph Quintet and various talented students—  and Glenn Pearson, with Clifford Brown III on Nov. 11.  We will need volunteers to help with All-Nite Soul since Pr Margareta and Jan Johansson will be away on vacation.

Martha Mantei invites us to attend the Broadway Chorus production of Saints and Sinners at the Amador Theater in Pleasanton on Nov. 9-11.  Friday & Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 2 pm.  Call 925-462-2121 to purchase tickets.

Monthly outreach –A small group accompanied by Laura Barrera, a longtime friend of Peace, sang at the Danville Rehabilitation Center after worship last Sunday.  Call Charlene at 820-5167 if you would like to join the group in November.

Bill Carmel’s sculptures and paintings are on exhibit at the Orinda Library Gallery until Oct. 31.  This is an amazing and diverse collection of works commissioned over the years.  Well worth a trip to Orinda–just 5 minutes off Highway 24–at 26 Orinda Way!

October/November Calendar

  • Weekly (Tues)  Yoga Level One in the Gathering Hall at 9:15 am
  • Weekly (Thurs) Chair  Yoga in the Gathering Hall at 4:45 pm
  •  Oct 21–Healing Prayer Sunday
  • Oct 28Reformation Sunday (remember to wear red); stay tuned for some great stories from our Delegation to South Africa ;                
    Jazz Church West presents All- Nite Soul–The Fred Randolph Quintet–joined by his students  5-7:30 pm
  • Nov 4  All Saints Day Sunday Service; Council Retreat  noon-3 pm
  • Nov 11Bread for the World Sunday Service; Jazz Church West presents Glenn Pearson with Clifford Brown III.
  • Nov 18Consecration/Stewardship Sunday Service
  • Nov 21–Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at Beth Chaim 
  • Nov 22–Thanksgiving Day (no service)
  • Nov 25–Christ the King Sunday Service


Keep in your prayers Ed, Micki, Howard and Lynne, Pam, all those looking for work, and upcoming elections in the US and South Africa.

Blessings to all!