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The Stone News for February 2003
Pastor's Message for February
If God exists, then why hasn't he made his existence sufficiently clear?
Philospher J.L. Schellenberg
Many people of faith live on the brink of agnosticism. (Atheism is a fundamentalist assertion that God doesn't exist. Agnosticism, you may remember, says "I am not sure.") Our seasons of agnosticism are not bad or wrong or shameful, but a gift that allows us to plummet new depths of faith.
Christians have wondered for 2003 years about the mysterious hiddenness of God.
Theologians suggest different reasons why God has refrained from making himself/herself known. Some suggest that God wants to ensure human freedom so we may engage in the task of "soul-making". God doesn't want to force belief upon us. Others say that God expects a good deal more than belief. God wants us to grow and to acquire a full range of characteristics, qualities and viewpoints. God's hiddenness keeps divine revelation being cheap and easy.
I like that last idea. What if God had given me my miracle in the wheat field of Pendleton, Oregon at age 15? Who would I be today? What would be lost in my soul?
This February, eight young people and their mentors begin Confirmation 2003. It is a ritual of readiness in Christian faith and growth. They'll search for clues to God's presence. Here's what I hope: In the searching, they will come to appreciate, to treasure, and to be transformed by God's love.
May God bless our searching and our soulmaking.
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David Beamer To Return To Stone
Our Pastor Emeritus, David Beamer, will return to Stone Church the first weekend in May 2003 to present a Friday evening lecture and a Saturday morning workshop, "Believing Is Seeing . . . How To Change Beliefs That Limits Us." Put May 2-3, 2003, on your calendar; more details next month.
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The Zephyr Experience 2003
June 29 - July 4, Zephyr Point Conference Center at Lake Tahoe
First Period Classes (8:15 a.m.)
Endings Make for New Beginninng: Living Into the World in Front of the Gospels
- Herman Waetjen, Professor Emeritus, SFTS
Time Out With God
- Marjorie Hoyer Smith, Pastor and Spiritual Director, Bread of Life Center for Spiritual Formation
Death, Dying and Religions
- Richard Keady, Professor, Religious Studies, San Jose State
Second Period Classes (10:30 a.m.)
Mind/Body Healing Tools: The Difference that Makes the Difference
- David Beamer, Pastor Emeritus, Stone Church, and Workshop Leader
How We Got to Where We Are: A History of Relations Between Faith and Culture
- Frank Hamilton, Pastor Emeritus, Church of the Roses, Santa Rosa
The Desert Mystics: Hunger for the Reign of God
- Gregg Townsend, Pastor, Two Rock Valley & Tomales Presbyterian Churches
Children's Programs (both First and Second Periods)
Leader for children: Della Smith, Stone Church
Leader for youth: Julie Ludwig, Stone Church
Worship Leader: Jana L. Childers, Professor, Interim Dean & Vice President, SFTS
Dean of the Conference: Alice Thorn, Stone Church
Attendance is limited. Enroll NOW for this exciting week at Lake Tahoe.
Registration forms are available in the Stone Church Office.
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2003 Westminster Woods Summer Camp Dates
Adventure Camp for students entering Grades 2, 3, 4: July 30-August 2
Sherwood Forest Camp for those entering Grades 4, 5, 6: July 27-August 2
Railroad Camp for those entering Grades 7, 8, 9: July 27-August 2
Buccaneer Camp for those entering Grades 7, 8, 9: July 20-July 26
Brochures with registration forms will be available in early February. They will describe these camps at which we have reserved spaces, as well as others that are available. Steve and Ann Coons will visit our church school on March 2 to promote camp. Registrations for the sessions we've reserved are due in our office by March 9.
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Stone Church Women's Retreat 2003
The time is swiftly approaching! March 28 to 30
We have a place, a leader, and a theme for our annual women's retreat-now all we need is you!
Our location will be the beautiful and serene St. Francis Retreat, in San Juan Bautista-a very short drive from San Jose, but a very long way from the hectic pace of the Silicon Valley. For those of you who joined us last year, you will remember this place as a verdant and bucolic setting that is perfect for the type of contemplation and spiritual growth that we all thirst and long for. For those new to the retreat, you have a wonderful, new experience to look forward to.
Our leader will be Ruthanne Svendsen, a Spiritual Director with an emphasis in Ignatian Exercises and groups. She is currently a Senior in the Masters of Divinity program at San Francisco Theological Seminary, and a Companions on the Inner Way musician and staff member. Several of our Stone Church women have highly recommended Ruthanne from their memorable experiences with her through Companions on the InnerWay.
Ruthanne has selected The Road to Emmaus as our theme. We will use this scripture story to trace our spiritual journeys, from disappointments and longings, through our hopes and realizations, to transformation and resurrection. The prayer forms of Lectio Divina, Taizé, labyrinth, and art will be woven into our weekend to provide everyone with a form that will speak especially to them.
Again, please save this date--March 28 to 30, 2003--and if you have any questions or requests, be sure to contact Emily Meacham.
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New Play Group Forming
Under the sponsorship of the Membership & Evangelism Board, a baby, toddler, preschooler play group will be meeting in Lincoln House, Wednesdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. If you are home with children, please come join us for fellowship and fun! Bring a friend, pack a lunch! Call Tina Luebcke with any questions.
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Sweethearts In The Kitchen
Please join us for this special annual event - "Sweethearts in the Kitchen", on Saturday, February 15, 2003. This is your chance to prepare a wonderful dinner for your "Sweetheart". This opportunity is open to great cooks and nervous wanta-bes in the kitchen. You will be guided in your efforts by a gifted chef and your friends and the results will be wonderful.
You will arrive in the afternoon to prepare the dinner. Your "Sweetheart" will arrive at dinnertime to appetizers, wine and music, followed by a wonderful dinner and dancing. The cost for two is $40. Sign-ups through the end of the January. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Chris Lee at.
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Facilities Task Force
Report To The Congregation
The Facilities Task Force (FTF) expresses their deep appreciation those of you who participated in the Feasibility Study conducted by Jennifer O'Donnell, our campaign counsel. Whether through the confidential personal interviews, or written survey, you gave Jennifer important feedback and information that will guide the FTF through the next phase of our facilities upgrade process.
You noted your priorities when it came to what areas within our Stone Church facility need to be addressed. And it is not surprising that the children of Stone Church are #1 on your list! You also indicated your willingness and potential to participate in supporting the project through a capital campaign. And all of this under the shadow of an unstable economy!
Later this month the FTF will be meeting with Session to propose a $1,000,000 campaign to raise the funds needed for those top priority areas. This will be the first phase of our renovation project. And on February 9th at an important Congregational Meeting, Session will be bringing the full recommendation to you for your vote. At that time we will also have copies of a synopsis of the Feasibility Study report for you.
So I applaud all of you for your willingness to be a part of this exciting step in the life of Stone Church.
- Linda Appleton, FTF
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The Session began the meeting by receiving Mike Wyllie and Marquita Coe into membership.
The consent docket was reviewed and approved including the minutes of Session minutes of December 10th and 14th.
June Tablak presented the proposed Communication policy for a second reading. There were some changes made from the first reading and the policy was approved as revised. This change will result in a new format for the Stonewall News starting with the March edition.
Bob Johnson proposed a use for the Royce Hubin Fund. Session approved the use of $1000 to assist the Willow Glen Middle and High School Music Department to acquire a portable sound system to be used in community concerts including Senior Residences. They recently sang at Siena Residence in December.
Reverend Rebecca gave a Facilities Task Force update. The Session will review the recommendation at a special Session meeting on January 30th. We will likely need to reduce the size of the capital campaign and focus on the highest priority improvements in the first phase.
Chris Nilson presented the proposed budget which is balanced but scaled back from last year. The budget was approved and the pastors' calls will be approved at the January Congregational meeting. Also, please remember to stop by the social hall to pick up your 2003 pledge envelopes.
Also - A New Look for the Stonewall News!
The Session approved a new policy and format for the Stonewall News. Beginning next month, the Stonewall News will have a newspaper look. We also will welcome a new editor, Emily Meacham. Stay tuned!
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Men's Book Club
Below are the dates and book titles for discussion the next three meetings. Meeting locations will be announced in the church bulletin.
Feb. 17 Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen
Apr. 21 House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
Jun. 16 Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose
You are invited to participate in our informal, sociable discussion of books we select to read. We meet in each other's homes approximately every other month for refreshments and discussion. The books we choose reflect the varied interests of the participants. May we add you to our e-mail notification list? If so, or if you would like more information, please contact Bill Gum or Bill Ribble.
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The Mending for Homeless Project is expecting a new shipment of "mendables" soon. If you are interested in helping, call Sue Williams. We thank all who have helped on this project for the needy in the past months.
Dates to remember:
January 15th: PW Gathering registration opened. It will be held July 9-13 in Louisville, KY. Claudia Hamm has registration packets. Scholarships are available.
February 5th: Amethyst Circle at 1:00 p.m. in church library (see special invite below).
February 6th: Emerald Circle at 9:30 a.m. Hazel James is the hostess.
February 10th: Sapphire Circle at 7:30 p.m. Sheri Cunningham is the hostess.
February 11th: Lunch Bunch at 11:30 a.m. Ida Raby is the hostess. Focus Group on Women's Issues at 9:30 a.m. June Tablak is the hostess
February 13th: St. Valentine Tea at 1:00 p.m. at Stone Church with a program by Janice Goertz, featuring children's stories of love and friendship. Reservations to attend go to Hazel James by February 11th, please specify if you need a ride or child care.
A Special Invitation - If you can take an extended lunch hour, have a couple of hours before you pick up the children or would simply like to attend circle in the afternoon, the members of the Amethyst Circle extend to you an invitation to join them the first Wednesday of each month at 1:00 p.m. in the church library. For any questions contact Jan Keifer.
Book Club 2 is now being formed. Contact Claudia Hamm for information.
Fair trade coffee is sold the first and third Sunday after worship. Tea is coming soon!
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Jan 12 - Feb 23: Sermons You Always Wanted To Hear: Conversations with the Pastors
Leaders: Art Mills and Rebecca Kuiken
A chance to discuss the morning's worship service and sermon with the pastors following worship services.
Mar 2 - Mar 16 (3 weeks): Faith Journeys at Stone Church
Leader: Ed Tablak
Each week a different member of Stone Church talks about their faith journey, what brought them to Stone, how they have grown at Stone, their hopes, and the spiritual struggles they face today.
Mar 23 - Apr 13 (4 weeks): Church and World Focus
Leaders: to be announced
Easter -- No class April 20.
Apr 27: Population, Energy and Ecology
Leader: Pat Magee
Congregational Meeting -- No class May 4
May 11 - Jun 1 (4 weeks): Moslems: Our Neighbors in Silicon Valley
Speakers will be provided by the Outreach Division of the Moslem Community Association located in Sunnyvale. A chance to interact with and learn about our Moslem neighbors.
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Church School Swings Into the New Year
During January the Church School Rotation Workshops are focusing on the story of "Jesus and the Woman at the Well." It's an interesting account of Jesus choosing to cross boundaries to interact with a Samaritan woman and verifying to her that he is, in fact, the Messiah for whom the people had been waiting. The students are learning that he offers her Living Water, the possibility of an internal well of love and support that can sustain her and us indefinitely. Take a look at the story in John 4:3-42.
The students are exploring this story through a science experiment with water, a computer lab experience, and a look at the story through the eyes of a variety of artists, then making their own watercolor picture of it. Stop by and see pictures in the Chapel as well as the Middle School classroom, Room 4.
As new 2003 youth offering envelopes are distributed and students are encouraged to develop the habit of giving regularly, we are also sharing the offering given in 2002 as promised. One third of their giving goes to our church, one third to a local mission and one third to the Heifer Project. The local mission chosen for church school funds as well as the Vacation Church School offering in 2002 is the Santa Maria Urban Mission.
Church School students will decide on February 2 how their remaining gift to the Heifer Project will be designated. After seeing a video, Legacy for Efram," showing how people benefit from the gift of animals, they will decide what animals they would like to purchase with the money given.
Our workshops in February will center on the story of "Jesus Stills the Storm" using drama and song, art, and videos. WORKSHOP LEADERS and SHEPHERDS are still needed! If you could help, sign up in the Social Hall on Sunday or call me. (At church Monday-Thursday 9AM to 1PM+ or at home at 253-8452.) We'd also like to borrow a FLAT-BOTTOM BOAT, and we need 17 ounce empty water bottles!
I hope you will encourage your students to participate as regularly as possible in this new year.
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2003 -- A Time For New Ideas And New Beginnings
Our younger readers may want to look up these good books:
-- Sue Williams, Library Coordinator
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