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The Stone News for May 2003
Pastor's Message for May
"The love of God searches for us endlessly." With these words, Flora Slosson Wuellner captures the essence of being gathered in the community of faith.
It is in the community of faith that we humans are most easily made aware of God's love. Gathering in community and welcoming others into community are sacred activities in and of themselves. Of course, the community takes many forms, finds many expressions.
Jesus said, "Wherever two or more are gathered, there I will be also." This is a sacred antidote. When we face difficult times, we often seek isolation. When life is busy, we often seek privacy. Solitude, privacy, and quiet certainly have their place. All are important for spiritual well being. But equally important, perhaps more important, is the need for gathering together. Jesus knew and knows of our tendency to retreat into isolation when the going gets tough. Jesus knew and knows that God seeks us endlessly. Jesus knew and knows that our simple act of gathering is a health seeking and health building act. Gathering together to worship, to study, to sing, to pray, to share our faith, to support each other in difficult times, gathering together as a people of faith in groups large and small is a simple act of spiritual well being. It makes us more aware of God's love to be around other people touched by that love and willing to share it.
So, may God continue to bless us with awareness of God's endlessly searching for us. May God bless us with the sacred inclination to gather together.
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Vacation Church School Goes "Under Construction"
Soon Stone Church will be "Under Construction" in more ways than one! That's the theme of this summer's Vacation Church School using material developed by Habitat for Humanity. Students will assume the role of "crew members" on a construction site. As they look at Biblical stories plus stories of families who have received Habitat houses, they will experience being a Christian community who cares for others.
VCS will happen here in the mornings from June 23-27. If you have children from age 3 through grade 8, use the enclosed information and registration form to save a place for them. If not, give the information and form to a neighbor!
Participants will receive fun T-shirts with the "Under Construction" logo. It is important to register before June 8, so we can order the shirts. The VCS mornings will be filled with stories, music, crafts, snacks, games and more-all built around the construction theme. The offering given each day will go to Habitat for Humanity, to build houses for low-income families in our own community.
Adults and older youth are also asked to consider being involved in this fun week. Whether you've been involved in the past or not, you can help in a variety of ways-teaching, aiding, leading music or games, or preparing snacks. It takes many people to build the community in which our young people can learn and grow. Call Miriam Kishi if you might be available to discuss the possibilities. (At church M-Th 9AM to 2PM).
Presbyterian Women and the Birthday Offering
When Presbyterian Women gather for their Annual Picnic in Evelyn Radunich's garden on June 5 at noon, the Birthday Offering will be received and dedicated. This offering began in the former Women of the Church PCUS in 1922 when Women of the Church were asked to give one penny for each year of their lives or a dollar as a "birthday gift" to a girls' mission school in Japan. When Presbyterian Women formed in 1988 from the Women of the Church and United Presbyterian Women, this meaningful tradition was continued. Each year grant proposals are received by the associate for mission interpretation for Presbyterian Women from a variety of sources including Presbyterian Churches, Presbyterian governing bodies, health agencies, ecumenical groups, and community organizations. Recipients are chosen by the Creative Ministries offering committee. 2003 Birthday Offering recipients are:
- Child and Family Program - Austin, Texas
- Area Residence for Kids, Inc. - Dublin, Georgia
- The Sleeping Porch - Wimauma, Florida
- Cleveland Campus Mosaic - Cleveland, Ohio
- Good News Shelter for Survivors of Domestic Violence - Seoul, Korea
Since its inception, Presbyterian Women, nationally, have given $26,790,445 in extra-mile giving to the Birthday Offering, heeding Jesus' words, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
All women of the church are invited and welcome to attend the picnic which will also include bringing layette items for the Public Health Nurses' program with new mothers, election and installation of PW officers, and the presentation of an Honorary Life Membership in Presbyterian Women and Memorial Gifts. Hazel James will take reservations and answer questions regarding this special event.
- Claudia Hamm, PW Vice-Moderator for Program
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Facilities Task Force
Congregation Approves $1.25 Million Capital Campaign
for Major Facility Renovation
At a special meeting following worship on Sunday, February 9, the Congregation approved:
A comprehensive education program will be undertaken so that all church members are informed about this project.
All members of the congregation will be invited to participate in the capital fund raising campaign.
A recognition plan that fittingly honors donors and/or memorializes family members will be made available to members who support the campaign.
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Updates from your Church and World Board
Clothing Barrel Needs a New Guardian Angel
Have you ever noticed the barrel across from the Chapel as you walk in to enjoy your coffee Sunday mornings? The 'Clothing Barrel' is part of Stone Church's local mission projects and has been tirelessly watched over the past 9 years by Betty Helmer. Every Sunday for the past 9 years Betty has guided the used clothing items left in the barrel to the Sacred Heart Community Center (located on Alma, just a few blocks past Highway 87). We are very thankful for her work in helping these items find new homes via Sacred Heart. The Church and World Board is looking for a new 'Guardian Angel(s)' to help with getting the clothing to Sacred Heart. If you are interested in helping out once a month, or periodically (we'll take whatever help we can get) please call Jenny Kirchhoff.
Church and World Board Seeking to Expand
The Church and World Board facilitates and promotes Stone Church members' involvement in mission projects. These projects include Men's Rotating Housing Program, Friends Outside Giving Tree, Children's Clothing Drive, CROP Walk, Men's Mission Group, and the various offerings taken throughout the year. If you are interested in being involved in the planning of these projects or would like to help consider new future projects - we would love to have you join our board! If you are interested please call Jenny Kirchhoff.
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Membership & Evangelism
As of July 1, Chris Luebcke is planning to give up being the Webmaster for Stone Church. He is and has been doing such a great job, we are sorry to see him give it up, but we know there is someone in our church who is ready to take it up. Chris says he has worked out a lot of the kinks in the program and that putting the info in is pretty easy. Just takes a few hours a month. If you would like to give it a try, please see Pat Magee or Chris Luebcke and talk with them about what is needed. Thanks!
Another Family Potluck Social and Game Night is scheduled for Saturday, May 17th from 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm. in the social hall. All are welcome! We had a great time at the last one and look forward to seeing some new faces as well. Bring your favorite games to play! Sign ups will begin after worship starting Sunday, April 27th or you can call Tina and Chris Luebcke. Hope to see you there!
Mel Goertz, our beloved Coffee Master, is planning to retire from that responsibility around the end of June. Who will take up the job? Is it you? Please call June Tablak and say "Yes."
The New Member Potluck will be held on Saturday, May 3rd. The Board of Deacons invites all new members and their families (who have joined Stone Church within the last three years) to come together for an entertaining and informative evening. This fun event will be in the Stone Church social hall from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Please RSVP to Cham Yean.
Lastly, to keep you updated: Mel Goertz has been leading the Senior High Youth Group in a project to distribute flowers and a message to our neighbors, thanking them for their patience with our parking, and inviting them to join us on Sunday morning. This will take place on Sunday May 11th.
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The meeting was opened in prayer by the Reverend Rebecca Kuiken. Six members of the confirmation class, along with their mentors and parents were welcomed. The confirmees (and mentors) in attendance were: Rachel Buckley (Julie Ludwig), Sarah Hedayati (Jeanette Rapp), Emily Mertens (Sheri Cunningham), David Moncrief (Ed Tablak), Brian Nissen (Don Skipworth), and Dan Willis (Tom Hurst). Each confirmee read a statement of faith which they had written. The group was then unanimously voted into the membership of Stone Church.
Mel Goertz reported on the recent Presbytery meeting where two pastor candidates were approved, including Rob Martin who had preached at Stone Church one Sunday as part of his interviewing process.
The consent docket was formed, reviewed and approved.
Jerry Pearson reported that B&G was changing custodial services as the current service was unsatisfactory. Jerry also informed the group that a workday would be held on April 26th.
Debbie Roach (P&A Chair) reminded that the annual Elder/Deacon retreat is to be held, Saturday, May 17th. New Elders/Deacons will be ordained on June 3rd.
Rick Cromwell, of the Worship Committee, reported that an email of Thanks was being drafted to Jan Kiefer and Alice O'Brien Botts for doing the communion preparations for the past two years. Others have now been trained and will be taking over their responsibilities.
Rod Thorn reported for B&F that the annual financial review had gone smoothly last Saturday and that the audit books were now broken down into two time periods. Chris Nilsen added that our budget was close to being 'right on' for the month.
Ellen Springer from the CE committee had nothing to report at this time.
June Tablak reported for M&E that there would be another Family Game Night and Potluck on May 17th. She also relayed that the Stonewall News would be coming in its new format in either July or August. June also let Session know that an Easter Egg Hunt be held for the children on the Saturday before Easter. How egg-citing! (egg sighting?)
Jody Meacham of the Stewardship Committee had nothing to report at this time.
Art Mills spoke on behalf of Susan Bedolla and the Nominating Committee and informed session that all of the nominations had been made.
The meeting was closed in prayer by the Revered Art Mills.
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Men's Book Club
Here is the date and title of the book for discussion at our next meeting:
Jun. 16 Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose.
We will meet at the home of Bob James.
You are invited to participate in our informal, sociable discussion of books we select to read. We meet in each otheršs 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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Dates to Remember: May 1 Emerald Circle at Margaret Brown's home at 9:30 a.m. - Lesson #9
May 5 Book Club I at Carolyn Clendenning's home at 1 p.m. Call Carolyn Clendenning for further information.
May 6 Focus Group on Women's Issues at June Tablak's home at 9:30 a.m.
May 7 Amethyst Circle in the Social Hall at 1 p.m. Judy Dilts is hostess.
May 12 Sapphire Circle at Sally Magee's home at 7:30 p.m.
May 13 Lunch Bunch at the Taiwan Restaurant on Lincoln Ave. at 11:30 a.m.
May 19 Book Club II at Rosaleen Zisch's home at 2:30 p.m. Call Claudia Hamm for further details.
Thank you one and all for your contributions of good, clean, used clothing for FIRM (Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministry). A number of members of the PW Coordinating Team made the trip to Fresno April 23rd with their cars loaded with boxes of much-needed clothing. The donations were much appreciated and the recipients provided a tour of the newly enlarged facility and prepared a tasty lunch as well.
Some PW have been busy with the "Mending for Wholeness" Program. Many clothing items have been gathered from two Ross stores. Some items needed stains removed and some needed minor repairs. The clothes were then donated to different agencies. To date, they've been given to:
Emergency Housing Consortium - 75 items
Sacred Heart Community Services - 71 items
Innvision - 63 items
Career Closet - 14 items
Goodwill - 4 items
Stone Church School - 2 items
Leta Boone, Sally Magee and Janice Goertz have hemmed large numbers of single sheets for the Emergency Housing Consortium. So far, ten Stone PW have been involved with this worthy project. If you would like to add your expertise, call Sue Williams for information about when and where. Come and join in the fun!
Lunch Bunch - If you like to eat and chat, you are invited to join us. We gather at Taiwan Restaurant on the second Tuesday of each month at 11:30 a.m. We enjoy good food and fellowship. If you are interested, phone Ida Raby. Ida will put you on the list and call each month to remind you.
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May 5: Congregational meeting; no adult class
May 11 - May 25 (3 weeks): Muslims: Our Neighbors in Silicon Valley
Our guest speaker will be Dr. Hisam Abdallah who has degrees in Islamic Law, organizational management and clinical research. He is a leader in the Muslim Community Association of the San Francisco Bay Area and holds various leadership roles in National Islamic organizations. His topics:
May 11 - Tenets of Islamic faith (emphasis on the Qur'an)
May 18 - Islamic practices in individual, family and community life
May 25 - Islam's perspective of, and attitudes towards other faiths
June 1 - (1 week only) Population, Resources and Ecology
Leader: Pat Magee
An introduction to the interrelated challenges of world population, food, energy resources, and biodiversity.
"The central problem of the new century is how to raise the poor to a decent standard of living worldwide while preserving as much of the rest of life as possible."
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Church School Considers Results of Resurrection
As the students complete their study of Jesus' resurrection, they will consider the results of that miracle. Certainly it verified Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, and spurred the disciples and other followers on to become the early Christian church. Rotation workshops will study and experience what it was like to be a part of that community, sharing what was special about Jesus, and practicing caring for others.
On Communion Sunday on May 4 church school students will focus on the love received from mothers and other caregivers and how to give back to them as well as to others. Then on the first Sunday in June students will learn the story of Pentecost in preparation for a celebration of the birthday of the Christian church on June 8.
June 15 will be a special day as we recognize all those who have been a part of our church school staff during this school year. That day will also kick off our Summer Sundays "Journey with Paul." It will be a fun way to see how the story of Jesus spread and the early church continued to grow through the adventurous travels of Paul.
An important part of being a church community is learning to give to others. Church school students have responded so far with gifts to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering of $135.31; fish banks are still welcome. The students are also encouraged to continue to give weekly offerings to support their commitment to buy llamas through the Heifer Project, to support Stone Church, as well as give to the financial campaign to improve our facilities.
Parents, I need your help in developing a habit of giving in our young people. The total weekly church school offering (from Preschool through Middle School) averages $4.75. While this is amazingly low, I'm not as concerned about the amount, as I am that our young people are not learning to give. Please encourage your students to bring an offering, possibly part of their allowance, each Sunday. Youth stewardship envelopes are available and can be helpful in developing that habit, but loose offering is fine as well.
Thank you to parents and others in the church family who continue to play an important role in the faith development of our younger ones.
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A Good Season For Reading
The younger members of our family will find these new books:
-- Sue Williams, Library Coordinator
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