February 26, 2013
“Humility is true self-knowledge. God is your being, and who you are…you are in God. True self-knowledge cannot end in the mere awareness of our faults and failings. True self-knowledge opens onto God. Perfect humility is meeting/receiving/enjoying the unfathomable love of God, who is the ground of our being.” (The Cloud of Unknowing)
“By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust your strength lies”.
( Isaiah 30:15)
Soup and Sacrament continues this Wednesday with Gratefulness: The Heart of Prayer – the means and ways for nurturing prayer in our lives. Plus you get some of the finest soups on the planet. Join in at 6:30 pm.
Don Smith has died. His final weeks were with his daughter Jeanie in Arizona. Don’s Memorial Service will be this Saturday at 4:00 pm at Peace. All are invited. If you wish to assist with a small reception afterwards, please let me know. For all the saints – to God be the glory.
We get to celebrate the Baptism of Abigail Young this Sunday. Her family is coming from across the country….at least as far as Boston! Come prepared to praise and bless!
The Forum this Sunday will be lead by Martha Mantei and fellow volunteer from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Shirley Kaminsky. Their presentation is entitled: Bringing Mental Illness and Suicide “Out of the Darkness”: Hopeful Information about Treatment and Healing. Please encourage others in the congregation to attend with you. This is an excellent opportunity for honest insights from lived experiences and for learning how to turn these losses into experiences of hope.
Time to join the Lenten/Easter Choir, isn’t it!! Gary invites all the singers at Peace to join him after worship these next Sundays for the beauty and joy of it all.
If you cannot sing….your other Talents are still Needed: Counters of our Offering, Bread Bakers – (we have a new one), Ushers and Sound Board operators. Training is available for each of these duties. Contact Deacon Jeanie Locklear or the church office if you can assist. (Imagine what it would be like to have no Bread, no bread, no one to lead and no sound!)
Yes, it is true that recent studies have concluded that Europeans live with 40% less stress than Americans because they have health care for all their people. Even more ironic, through the Marshall Plan following WWII, the US mandated that the ‘enemy nations’ of Germany and Japan provide universal health care coverage to all their citizens. What a punishment.
World Day of Prayer: Church Women United – Beginning in the late 1800s, women from various denominations came together to pray for unity and various missions among them. Today people in 170 countries gather for “informed prayer and prayerful action”. You are invited to participate this Friday, March 1 at Lafayette United Methodist Church, 955 Moraga Road in Lafayette. 9:30 for coffee and prayer from 10 – 11 am. Rev. Deborah Lee will speak about her work with the Interfaith Immigrant Rights Project. Everyone is welcome. Speak with Lois McGee for details.
Keep in your prayers: the Smith Family, Shepanek family, Melinda Howard, Jonathan and Miki, friends with cancers/Alzheimer’s/Parkinsons, the Catechumens, Youth Group, those searching for homes – physical and spiritual.
We had a wonderful Connections Forum this past Sunday. Regarding outreach those present discussed the intimidation factors and the difficulties of speaking from grace. And new insights were discovered that brought energy and laughter to the group. More to come. You will be seeing some of the fruits of these labors on Sunday. If you are drawn to serve with the Connections Committee, please speak with Deacon Dabbie Bowron.
The Time Change occurs on March 10 – Spring Ahead!
The Jazz Church West presents pianist Dan Zemelman this Sunday at 5:00 pm. He brings with him: Christian Tamburr, Vibes – who has played with Cirque De Soleil; Mads Tolling, Violin – a 2 time Grammy Winner who has been featured on NPR and performed with Chick Corea and Ramsey Lewis; and Rose Armin-Hoiland, Vocalist – an up and coming singer with a delightfully powerful voice. If you have too much joy in your life you had best avoid jazz!
Lenten Wisdom and Blessings, Pr. Steve
February 19, 2013
“To live in this world you must be able to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go….. let it go.”
The Theme for our Soup and Sacrament Series this year – which begins this Wednesday, February 20 from 6:30 – 8:00pm is “Gratefulness the Heart of Prayer: Skillful Means for Nurturing Prayer”. We will discuss and experience various forms of prayer for attuning ourselves to God’s Presence. Commentary from Dietrich Bonhoeffer will also be utilized. Join in and enjoy the best soups on the planet!
Our Youth Group meets this Friday evening from 7 – 8 pm. (2nd Saturdays and 4th Fridays each month) Keep them in your prayers!
February 24 – Forum: The Connections Committee invites you to “Connecting the Vision and Joy of Peace with New Friends” this Sunday for the Adult Forum. This is a chance to explore how we can communicate the vitality and spirit of Peace with new friends. We will share a variety of ways that you will find comfortable and fun. Join Deacon Dabbie Bowron and me for this creative occasion.
Sunday Salon: Our Book Study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy continues this Sunday, Feb. 24 at 3:00 pm at Peace. We will meet on March 10 and 24 and decide April dates in the near future. All are welcomed to participate in reading and reflecting on this fascinating story of faith in our times.
Keep in your prayers: Nancy, Gun, Melinda, Jonathan and Miki, Don Smith, Parker, the Catechumens, for the wisdom and grace to discern what really matters in our life and community.
Lenten Blessings, Pr. Steve
February 12, 2013
“Each human being, regardless of birth, status, or native ability, has the right to be seen as created as an image of God, filled with infinite worth, equal to all other human beings, and so unique that he or she can say with surprise, ‘The world exists for me!’ On the other hand, since each and every person can make these claims, the only way all people can create a world that recognizes them is through relationship, that is the partnership between each person and God, as well as the connections between all human beings. Spiritual traditions provide means by which such a world can be created.”
David Elcott Sacred Journey
What a Celebration this past Sunday was with our special musical guests, the Dixieland Dykes! We celebrated morning, noon and night. What a festive Mardi Gras Party – great food, wonderful decorations thanks to Ken Budesa and dancing galore. Thanks to Gary for all our musical connections. We may have to make this an annual event!
The Sunday Salon/Bonhoeffer Book Study began on Sunday too. All are welcome to join us even if you haven’t gotten the material read. We have several copies of the book: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy available for purchase in the office. Here is our Salon Spring ( 3 – 5 pm) Schedule: Feb. 24 ( Chapters 4 – 6); Mar. 10 (Ch. 7 – 9 ); Mar. 24 (Ch. 10 – 15). An incredible man for our incredible times!
Ash Wednesday: Tomorrow night our Lenten Season begins with worship at 7:30 pm. Join us for this powerful experience of transition. Our Soup and Sacrament Series on Wednesday evenings begins on February 20 at 6:30. The Theme: Gratefulness the Heart of Prayer.
The Youth Group met last Saturday to Walk the Labyrinth and reflect on future plans. The Youth Group now meets every 2nd Saturday afternoon and 4th Friday evening.
A beautiful Jazz at Peace Evening comes your way this Sunday with the Marcus Shelby Trio at 5:00 pm.
On the necessity of Cooperation:
“Each person would soon learn from experience that if he (or she) aided their fellow-men, we would commonly receive aid in return. From this practice…we might acquire the habit of aiding our fellow human beings…. and this habit would strengthen our feelings of sympathy, which give us the impulse to continue benevolent actions.”
Charles Darwin (who remained a believer and never imagined his evolutionary work being applied to economics)
Blessings, Pr. Steve
February 6, 2013
“The ego seeks its desires in words and actions. The soul rests and awakens in the stillness of the Presence.”
Our thanks to the Partnership Committee for last Sunday’s worship. These are Calvin Neswiswi’s 5 Points for Strengthening and Sustaining a Healthy Partnership [Calvin is the chair of the Lwamondo Parish Partnership Committee]:
1) Regular communication of information;
2) Exchange of Projects and Human Resources;
3) Regular delegation visits;
4) Exchange of prayer concerns;
5) Exchange of homilies.
Lwamondo Parish intends to send us a Delegation in 2014. We are hoping to send a delegation to Laurel Galan this year in 2013. Thanks to Ceil and Arlene for the beautiful variety of African and Guatamalan cloths. And to Seminarian John Brett for preaching. Wasn’t the music fun!
Meanwhile in Lwamondo they celebrated our Partnership at Dzwerani Congregation where Rev. Zwo Nevhutalu preached on Partnership. On February 15 – 17 the church leaders of all the Ministry Leagues will be meeting for Strategic Planning. They send greetings and gratitude for our Partnership!
Worship promises to be a special celebration this Sunday when the Dixie Dykes (the horn section of the SF Gay and Lesbian Band) join us on the last Sunday before Lent. Playful, zany, contemplative – all the appropriate emotions and insights will be experienced. Please honor these guests (coming from San Francisco!) with your presence!
And they are playing for our Mardi Gras Party at 5:00 pm in the afternoon. This will be a Potluck Meal (Cajun food encouraged – or bring what you like to eat!) – a time to relax with friends, delicious food and great music. There will be dancing space too. The Connections Team asks you to invite friends to join you for worship, the Party or both! (Those who wish to assist with set up and clean up afterwards will earn extra points in heaven.)
Our Annual Meeting will be this Sunday following our worship. Please read in advance the Annual Report that you have received.
We are beginning worship now at 9:25 with the sounding of the Singing Bowl, a few moments of stillness and then prelude as an Invitation to Prayer and to prepare for worship. We human beings need time to transition, to make ourselves ‘available’ for what is about to happen, and to focus on ‘what we might become’ as we enter the sacred threshold. We are always in the presence of God but usually we are not aware of it. Worship deserves special attention. As the opening quote today implies: we come to Life by resting, opening ourselves to the Mystery of Grace, and by listening for the Presence. Liturgy is the work and prayer of the people and it is “the shimmering of eternity in time and space”. Of course greetings and conversations can continue in the Gathering Hall as people arrive.
Sunday Salon: Our Book Study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Prophet, Martyr, Spy will begin this Sunday, Feb. 10 at 3:00 pm at Peace. Copies of the book have arrived and are in the Church Office. If you can stop by to pick one up that would be helpful. We will meet twice a month in member’s homes during February, March and April. All are welcomed to participate reading and reflecting on this fascinating story of faith in our times.
February 17: The Worship and Partnership Committees will meet during the Adult Forum time for organizing and review. The Worship Teams will meet in the Sanctuary where the various subgroups can converse for 20 minutes with a gathering of the whole in conclusion. The Partnership Committee will meet in the Gathering Hall.
Catechumens —Friday at 4:00 pm
Youth Group —Saturday 1 -3 pm (2nd Saturdays and 4th Fridays)
Sunday Salon — 3:00 pm
Mardi Gras Party —Sunday at 5:00 pm
Ash Wednesday service —Wednesday (Feb. 13) at 7:30 pm
Have you ever heard Ella Fitzgerald sing? Her spiritual godson Kenny Washington will be singing for Jazz at Peace on February 17 at 5:00 pm. Don’t miss this.
Keep in your prayers: Nancy, Melinda, Jonathan and Miki, Don Smith, our Youth, Parker, Annie, the Catechumens, for an awareness of the racism within and around us.
Our South African friends requested these prayers: for the unemployed, those with chronic diseases like blood pressure and diabetes; HIV/AIDS; the victims and perpetrators of crime; for their system of Education.
The Theme for our Soup and Sacrament Series this year – which begins on Wednesday, February 20 at 6:30 is “Gratefulness the Heart of Prayer: Skillful Means for Nurturing Prayer”. We will discuss and experience various forms of prayer for attuning us to God’s Presence. Commentary from Dietrich Bonhoeffer will also be utilized.
If you need to purchase a spiritual vacuum cleaner please speak with Pr. Margareta.
Transfiguration Blessings, Pr. Steve
January 31, 2013
“There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they may seem invincible but in the end, they always fail. Think of it: always.” (Mahatma Gandhi – assassinated January 30, 1948….the year after the British peacefully transferred power to an independent India and left)
Partnership Sunday: This Sunday we get to celebrate with our friends in Venda, South Africa and Laurel Galan, Nicaragua our partnership and commitment to the Gospel. Lovely music, new stories and fresh perspectives are coming your way!
Our Annual Meeting is scheduled for February 10 after worship. Pick up copies of the Annual Report, Budget and proposed By-Law changes this Sunday. Your review ‘in advance’ will be helpful.
Mardi Gras Party! On February 10 the Horn Section of the SF Gay and Lesbian Band (aka – The Dixieland Dykes) will join us for worship and a celebration of Mardi Gras at 5:00 pm that evening. This will be a Potluck – and you are encouraged to bring any Cajun dish…..or any food you enjoy eating …….to this event. It’s a time to relax, enjoy good friends and great music! Of course you can invite friends from beyond the congregation as well.
Please keep in your prayers: Nancy, Melinda, Ed, Don Smith, Jonathan, Lisa, Spoon and all who pray for us.
The Youth Group will meet next on Saturday, February 9 from 1 – 3 pm at Peace.
(The pattern will be 2nd Saturday afternoons and 4th Friday evenings.)
Worship and Partnership Committees: On February 17 the Worship and Partnership Committees will meet during the Adult Forum time after Hospitality Hour to fine-tune the organizing of their ministry tasks. Anyone who wants to join the Altar Guild, Ushers, Choir, Sound Board Team, Counters, Lectors, Breadbakers, etc. will be welcomed!
Mularo, Pr. Steve
January 23, 2013
UNMASKING: First of all, you have to keep unmasking the world around you for what it is: manipulative, controlling, power-hungry and in the long run, destructive. The world tells you many lies about who you are, and you simply have to be realistic enough to remind yourself of this – you have to dare to say to yourself: “These feelings I experience, strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am a chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting embrace.” (Henri Nouwen Life of the Beloved)
Our thanks to Rhonda and Mmabatho for their fine presentation on the experiences of racism at our Adult Forum this past Sunday. Layers of insight were revealed and there is much more to learn. Future Forums with them will be scheduled during Lent.
This Sunday’s Adult Forum: Sabbatical Highlights from Pr. Steve and an introduction to Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
The Annual Congregational Meeting is after worship on February 10. Annual Reports have been prepared by the Council – please pick yours up on Sunday. The Budget and By-Law changes will be distributed next week.
Partnership Sunday – February 3: Our annual Partnership Sunday is simultaneously celebrated with Lwamondo Parish on the first Sunday of February. The Adult Forum will be led by members of the Partnership Committee.
Time for a Mardi Gras Party! The Horn Section of the SF Gay and Lesbian Band (aka the Dixieland Dykes) will join us for worship on February 10 and for a New Orleans style/Cajun Cuisine Meal at 5:00 pm that afternoon. It’s a time to relax and enjoy each other before the season of Lent begins that next week. Feel free to invite friends to join you for this wonderful celebration!
Chromatica Choir Concert: Chromatica is a local choir singing classical works, who rehearse at Peace on Monday evenings. They would be delighted if you attend their concert at Peace this Friday, January 25 at 8 pm. Reception will follow.
Sabbatical Readings: Here is a list of the books I got to read while on sabbatical which also made this such a time of enrichment.
The Complete Writings of St. Francis and St. Chiara (St. Clare) of Assisi;
A Sense of Direction – Gideon Lewis-Kraus
No Gods but One: Deuteronomy – Fr. Daniel Berrigan;
A Brief History of Thought – Luc Ferry
The Lacuna – Barbara Kingsolver;
Wisdom Jesus – Cynthia Bourgeault;
JFK and the Unspeakable – James Douglass
Selected Poems – Tomas Transtromer;
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness – Michelle Alexander
Mighty be our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer and Sex Changed a Nation at War – Leymah Gbowee (Nobel Peace Prize Winner and a Liberian Lutheran!)
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy – Eric Metaxas;
The Death of the Liberal Class – Chris Hedges
The Holy Thursday Revolution – Beatrice Bruteau;
In the Darkness before Dawn: Selected Poetry – Thomas Merton
The City of David : History and Archeology of Ancient Jerusalem – Ahron Horovitz
By Heart: Prison, Poetry and 2 Lives – Spoon Jackson and Judith Tannenbaum;
The Power of Habit – Duhigg;
A People’s History of the US – Howard Zinn
Arctic Dreams – Barry Lopez;
Tai Chi magazines; and Guide Books
Best Movie – Lincoln; Best Documentary – The Dust Bowl (Ken Burns); Best Ecological Presentation – Moholoholo by Brian Jones at Kruger Park; Best Liturgy – San Damiano, Italy.
”Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jan 29 (Tues)–Education Committee meets at 4:15
Feb 3–Partnership Sunday [also Super Bowl--go 49ers!]
Feb 10–Congregational Meeting after Worship
– Mardi Gras Party with food and live music at 5 pm
Feb 13–Ash Wednesday Service at 7:30 pm
- Feb 17–Jazz @ Peace featuring Kenny Washington & The Marcus Shelby Trio at 5 pm
Epiphany Blessings, Pr. Steve
January 17, 2013
Friends – Julay!
“I confess I am not afraid of tension…constructive nonviolent tension is necessary for growth. We are not the creators of tension; we merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. All racism distorts the soul and damages the personality – of oppressor and oppressed. Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. Progress never comes inevitability – it comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of people willing to be co-workers with God. The time is always ripe to do right.”
(Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King)
Season of Light/Sunday Adult Forum: You are encouraged to make the Sunday Educational Forum part of your Sunday morning rhythm. It will follow our Hospitality Hour and go from 11:10 – 11:50. This Sunday two members of Peace will share their personal stories of racist experiences in our current times. This will initiate an ongoing series in which we as people of faith can be sensitized to the troubling and life-threatening dynamics of racism in our time. Your attendance and listening hearts are desired.
The Youth Group is getting together for Tacos and Planning on Friday, January 25 from 7 – 8 pm. We’ll meet in the Peace Youth Room. Parents will gather at the local Starbucks for java and conversation during that time. The Youth Group will meet regularly on 2nd Saturdays (1 – 3 pm) and 4th Fridays (7 – 8 pm) of each month.
I am happy to announce that we now have a Yo/Fam (Youth and Family) Committee: Ceil McCloy, Rhonda Turner, Jeanne Kaplan and Pat Leong. Seminarian John Brett will be involved. This will greatly enhance the work of our Youth Ministry. Now is the time to build this group up. Thanks to all who are contributing to our youth development through actions and prayers.
Child Care: We are blessed to have two of our teens who are providing Child Care during worship every week now. Spread the word.
Gary Sponholtz is performing with members of the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Band in the Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington D.C. this next Monday. Congratulations, Gary!
Our own Jasmine Durant is offering Private Tutoring for students in K – 12. Areas include Academic subjects (math, science, computer skills, language and ESL), Fundamental Study Skills and Specialized Services for exam preparations. You can reach her at email@example.com or 708-8544.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor Martyr, Prophet, Spy – A Sunday Salon Series of 7 Sessions (meeting at 4 pm on Sunday afternoons in member’s homes) will begin in late January or early February. This biography about Pastor Bonhoeffer (who participated in one of the plots to kill Hitler) will deepen our understanding of his struggles and context as we explore the meaning of the faith in our day. All are welcomed to join in this engaging study.
Keep in your prayers: Nancy Carlston recovering from knee surgery, Karin Shepanek whose father William recently died, Melinda Howard who is dealing with an aggressive cancer, Jonathan who is also facing an aggressive cancer, Mary Lou and the residents of Diablo Lodge who are living in quarantine from the flu; Cliff, Joe’s sister, Lisa, Bob Worthington, our Youth Group, Catechumens, Council, partners in Lwamondo and Laurel Galan, friends with Alzheimer’s and dementia, the Newtown families, and those in prison.
Mardi Gras Party – a great Dixieland Party is coming our way on Sunday, February 10. Reserve the date. Details to come.
- Jan 20–Adult Forum: Personal Stories of Racism
- Jan 22 (Tues)–Healing Prayer Team meets at 7 pm
- Jan 25 (Fri)–Catechumens meet at 4 pm
Youth Group meets from 7-8 pm for Tacos
- Jan 29 (Tues)–Education Committee meets at 4:15
- Feb 3–Partnership Sunday
- Feb 10–Congregational Meeting after Worship
- Feb 10–Mardi Gras Party with food and live music at 5 pm
- Feb 13–Ash Wednesday Service at 7:30 pm
- Feb 17– Jazz @ Peace featuring Kenny Washington & The Marcus Shelby Trio at 5 pm
Julay! Pr. Steve
January 9, 2013
“I, Paul, have been entrusted with this special grace of proclaiming to all the unfathomable treasure of Christ and of throwing light on the inner workings of the mystery kept hidden through all the ages in God the Creator of everything. The purpose of this was that now through the Church the powers and principalities of this world should learn how multi-faceted is the wisdom of God.” (Ephesians 3)
Thanks to Kaleo and Elise Ching for the marvelous Mask Making workshop with our Youth Group. It was a profound journey with so many discoveries and much creativity along the way. There were so many fine insights shared by our Youth of which you will get to learn more during the Epiphany Season.
The Parents of Youth Group Members will meet after worship at 11:15 this Sunday.
All Saints by Robert Ellsberg is a collection of biographies of saints (one for each day of the year) from cultures around the world, who have lived from 3,000 years ago to our contemporary times. It can be used as a Daily Meditation book (each story only a page and ½ at the most) or as an exquisite way to learn the History of the Church through those have brought the Incarnation of Christ to birth in their own lives. It’s a real ornament! 15 people have signed up to get a copy and Members of Peace have offered to purchase copies for those not able to afford a copy now. Please notify me of your interest by this Sunday so we can order the copies next week.
Meditation on Thursdays from 5: 45-6:30 begins again this Thursday. This also includes walking meditation during this 45 minute period.
Tai Chi Chuan Classes also begin this Thursday at 7:00 pm in our Gathering Hall.
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
(Here is a delightful story, a reflection on the meaning of Christmas by our own Gun Johnston. It is a wonderful example of what it means to Incarnate the Birth of Christ in our lives. You will find it a real ornament!)
After two wondrous weeks in Bolivia and Colombia, I left tropical Cartagena via Bogota and San Salvador, three flights with far too many hours of waiting in between. It was Christmas night and shops closed at the airports for employees to spend time with loved ones. It felt pretty lonesome after having been with a group of travel friends for so long. I kept on thinking that I had to be somewhere anyway, so no big deal but to test the old patience. South America´s Avianca and Taca Airlines were on time and served good food, so I only suffered from lack of sleep and had time to people watch and solve crossword puzzles.
The skies were clear when we approached SFO after lots of rain. It looked like sparkling jewels of welcome home. We had a smooth landing at midnight, eventually got the checked in luggage and got through customs. It is amazing when everything works perfectly. There are so many complaints, but I am in awe of transportation where so many people are involved to make for a safe and certain outcome.
Eric had booked a Super Shuttle service to bring me home, since BART doesn´t run that late, and I could hardly expect friends to pick me up on a Christmas night. Icy air met me by the beautiful decorations of lights showing off the Golden Gate Bridge. No shuttle in sight, so what to do? By now I had been on my way for twenty four hours and was SO tired! While I was pondering what to try next, the blue and gold van pulls up! The young driver reassures me that somebody will take me home, but he has to coordinate with the other vans and passengers. After some time we got going, the van all filled with weary, silent travelers who only wanted one and the same thing, getting home to a comfortable bed!
Crossing the San Mateo Bridge I kept on looking up to the skies for Santa´s sleigh. He must have taken the Polar Route , and I was disappointed. The first load of passengers got off in the hills of Hayward, and the next group hesitantly guided the driver way up to northern Berkeley. Now it was only the driver and Grandma Gun left. I started up a conversation to make sure he wasn´t going to fall asleep. We got to talking about our backgrounds, and, to my amazement, he tells me he came from Bhutan six years ago.
When I took a closer look, I could certainly see he was Bhutanese all over, young and good looking! When I told him I had been to Bhutan he almost drove off the road! In the years away from his mountainous Himalayan country he had never met anybody who knew where it was located let alone having been there. When I mentioned Timpu with the barking dogs at night, and the fact that I had visited every Zong monestary and climbed up to the Tiger´s Nest, he was almost in tears!! His name is Nirvan, and he drives travelers at night in order to go back to school and study Community Planning. I was in awe of this young man, so hardworking. He says he might not go back to Bhutan to work but only to visit family. We covered the present situation of violence in Oakland where we were driving around at night.
All of a sudden my driver discovers that he will run out of natural gas for his van driving to Danville and then picking up a passenger in Concord back to SFO. He can only fill at the airports! It sounds like third world country to me. By now it is past two a.m. and not much of a choice, when I agreed to let him go to Oakland Airport for a fill-up. There certainly wasn´t much traffic but an occasional veering drunk driver to avoid. It was interesting to watch the procedure of filling gas, and with a sigh of relief we hit the road again, now worrying if he will get to Concord by 3:30a.m.where he has a scheduled pick-up. During this drive Nirvan thanks me profusely and assures me I will receive good Karma for the good deed of not getting upset but let him make up for his mistake of not getting enough gas earlier. With the stress he encounters during long hours I didn´t have the heart to reprimand this well- mannered young man. I truly felt blessed that we had met and could share his home country of Bhutan. The law of Karma is closely related to reincarnation. It states that every action of a person, no matter how small it may be, influences how his soul will be born in his new incarnation. Maybe it will work on my back pain as well? I can use all the good Karma I can get.
Time will tell, and in the meantime I treasure the memory of this moonlit Christmas night when I met Nirvan from Bhutan.
Blessed Epiphany, Pr. Steve
January 3, 2013
Happy New Year!
Here is a letter to our partners in South Africa which shares some of the Advent/Christmas highlights!
To our Brothers and Sisters in Lwamondo Parish—Christmas Greetings from Peace Lutheran Church!
We send greetings from everyone at Peace to our friends in Lwamondo Parish and the Beuster Deanery. We have been very busy since our return and we understand you have also been busy with end of the school-year activities.
We also extend our greetings to our friends at Vhuronga Parish. We so appreciated the opportunity to visit Kruger with Margaret and the hilarious presentation of the courtship dance at the Farewell Ceremony for Elizabeth, Jack, Libby and Pr. Steve. We cherish the gifts we received from the Vhuronga representatives, the traditional dress with traditional jewelry and heritage dolls.
Elizabeth, Jack, and Libby each shared a story about their visit to Lwamondo on Reformation Sunday, Oct. 31. Elizabeth created two storyboards with photos. Libby created a slideshow. We will prepare a longer presentation for Partnership Sunday, February 10.
We also featured South Africa in our contribution to the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service on the night before Thanksgiving on Nov. 21, when Elizabeth and Libby dressed in traditional dress and a group of about 15 people from Peace sang Marching in the Light of God.
Pastor Steve returned from Sabbatical on Dec. 2. That evening we had a Welcome Back dinner for him and as well as a Thank You dinner for Pr. Mary Ann Fiene who was our pastor during the Sabbatical. Pr Steve shared details of his Sabbatical at the dinner and each Sunday since has included stories about Lwamondo as well as Assisi in Italy during his homilies.
Our Christmas celebrations were preceded by Advent. Each Sunday of Advent involved a different group in lighting the candles on the Advent wreath. The first Sunday was our elders, the second Sunday was our parish Council, the third Sunday was the family of a newly baptized child and the fourth Sunday was the Catechumen group [a group formed to deepen the faith of those attending].
On Christmas eve we had two services: the Children and Family worship at 5 pm and Candlelight and Communion at 10 pm. The first service featured many Christmas carols telling the Christmas story with Mary and Joseph. We had a doll instead of a real infant because no babies were just the right age this year.
Elizabeth sang several solos at the Christmas eve 10 pm service. We had other vocal music as well as flute and piano accompaniment by Peace members. It was quite beautiful. Christmas morning was a quiet service with about 40 members attending.
This Sunday we will be celebrating the Epiphany.
We have both had national elections since our delegation visited in October. Barack Obama was re-elected here as President in November. We read that President Zuma was also re-elected. We will continue to pray for you in South Africa, as you pray for us, in working to create a moral society with more jobs for wage-earners.
We look forward to hearing from you. We send our love and wishes for a Happy New Year to you all.
Keep each other in prayer!
This Sunday we will celebrate the Epiphany with the wise ones.
Paz, Pr. Steve
December 28, 2012
After the seas are all crossed, (as they seem already crossed,)
After the great captains and engineers have accomplished their work,
After the noble inventors, after the scientists, the chemist, the geologist, ethnologist,
Finally shall come the poet worthy of that name,
The true son of God shall come singing his songs.
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
Thanks to all who made our Kids Mass and Christmas Services such a joyful celebration:
Musicians – Gary Sponholtz, Dabbie Bowron, Jeanie Locklear, John and Mary Ellen Nowel.
Singers – Elizabeth Hunter Ashley, Libby Flynn, Bev Harms, Martha Mantei.
Percussionists – John and Noah Ashley and Jack O’Neil.
Angels and Wise Ones – Jack and Ava Grant…..and all the children.
Christmas Tree – Charlene McPherson, Margaret Beeler and the Altar Guild.
Sacristan/Stage Hand – Ed Rethers.
Bulletin production – Libby Flynn.
Clergy – Revs. Margareta and Elizabeth.
See you for the Mask Making Workshop on January 3 and 5 from 9 – 5 pm. It will be so cool!
Happy New Year…….let it be!