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The Stone News for September 2003

Links to Stories
Pastor's Message
New Music Director Named
Camping Trip
Golf Tourney
Soul Feast
Peacemaking
Stewardship
Session Beat
Deacons
Worship Committee
Men's Book Club
Presbyterian Women
Adult Study
Church School
In The Library

Flower Tapestry Pastor's Message for September

This month's message from Rebecca:
"Mars came as close to earth as it has for the last 50,000 years precisely on my 47th birthday. Astronomers have been as excited as teenagers for the whole summer. The newspaper ran a list of places where ordinary folks could go on August 27th to take part in this rare event. We were all invited to participate in this unique occasion where the solar system seemed to be singing 'It's a Small World.'"

Read the full message.

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Lucik Aprahamian Named New Director of Music Ministry

Stone Church is proud to announce Lucik Aprahamian as the new Director of Music Ministry. Lucik comes highly recommended and is eager to join our community. You can meet her at a reception following church on September 14. The choir will begin working with Lucik on Saturday, August 30th, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The first regular choir rehearsal will be on Wednesday night, September 3, from 7:30 until 9:30 p.m.

We are delighted to welcome Lucik Aprahamian to our staff! She is a gifted conductor whose background and musicianship will bring a rich diversity to Stone Church. She is a graduate of UC Santa Cruz with a B.A. in music and an M.A. in Performance Practice/conducting. While there, she studied keyboard performance practice with Professor Linda Burman-Hall and conducting with Professor Nicole Paiement. For six years, she has studied voice with Brian Staufenbiel.

Lucik has worked extensively in both choral and orchestral conducting, with a passion for both. She has been assistant conductor for UCSC Opera Theatre productions for the past five years, as well as for the Chamber Singers. Currently, she is artistic director of the UCSC University Women's Chorus.

She says: "Having been born in Venezuela to Armenian parents, my cultural background is diverse and reflects the joining of Eastern and Western cultures." Besides an interest in traditional classical repertoire, she has a great love for new music and music of other cultures. Her research on the 20th century composer, Alan Hovhaness, broadened her understanding of new music techniques and concepts and the influence of various Eastern cultures in European music.

In addition to all the above, Lucik brings fluency in three languages, knowledge of little-known repertoire from the Classical period in Venezuela, and a passion to continue our multi-faceted and rich tradition of sacred music at Stone Church.

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Mt. Cross Family Camping Trip a BIG Hit!

A half-dozen couples and families enjoyed the mountain scenery, companionship, community and fabulous food at the Stone Church camping trip at Mt. Cross in Felton in August. Walter and Debbie Roach prepared the gourmet, family style dinners with a Tuscany-inspired menu. Derk Johnson led the Saturday evening worship in the amphitheater with song and prayer, as well as a hike during the day. Alison van Diggelen entertained with scary stories at the campfire. Janet Hatch-Franklin prepared crafts for both the young and the young-at-heart. Plan to join us on August 6 - 8, 2004. Reserve your spot today; half the sites are already spoken for! Contact camping organizer, Catherine Edwards.

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Calling All Golfers and Wanna-Be Golfers

The annual Stone Church Golf Tournament will be held on Saturday, October 11, at The Villages Golf Course in the San Jose Evergreen district. Tee times will start at 1:00 p.m. There will be a tee gift for everyone and lots of prizes for all skill levels. To ensure that no one is embarrassed, we will use the scramble format in which each member of the foursome hits a shot, and the "best shot" becomes the place to hit the next shot (detailed rules will be provided). This is not just a game for the gentlemen - ladies are encouraged to participate. Sign-ups for this fun event will begin in mid-September.

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Interested in Soul Feast?

Are you interested in joining a small group of women to learn more about spiritual life? A new Soul Feast group is being started this September, to meet one Friday night a month for eight months. We will have only 10 members, and we will be very serious about this study. If you are interested, you may contact Deborah Crim or Alice O'Brien Botts.

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Peacemaking

Since Sept. 11, 2001, America has invested in security measures, raised awareness of domestic and international threats, and invaded and conquered two nations; and still the fear of terrorism remains acute. Most suspect that building up defense systems alone will do little to make us safer. We hear that resentment of America is inspiring thousands of new fanatical martyrs.

Isn't it time to make focused efforts toward true peacemaking? The Psalmist writes, "Depart from evil, and do good;" still, realizing that is not enough, adds, "Seek peace, and pursue it." (Ps. 34:14) Numerous ways to "seek peace, and pursue it" in our violent world are taught by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. Each year we support this initiative when we take the Peacemaking Offering on World Communion Sunday. Among the things accomplished by 3/4 of the Offering are the:
  • Interfaith Listening Project, which brings Muslims and Christians to the United States for interfaith dialogue and understanding.
  • Peacemaking seminars and workshops for adults and youth.
  • Partial funding of the Presbyterian United Nations Office.
  • Publishing resources such as Peace Notes, "Living as Peacemakers in a Violent World," and ways for Presbyterians to respond to humanitarian needs in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hundreds of new ideas have blossomed into peacemaking projects in Presbyteries and in several thousand congregations! Next week Stone's Church and World Board will choose how 25% of our offering will be used locally. We receive the Peacemaking Offering on World Communion Sunday, October 5.

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Stewardship

Keep your calendar cleared for the Oct. 17-19 weekend. In the coming weeks, you'll receive an invitation to attend one of the Stewardship Board's Home Gatherings, which will be the focal events of the fall stewardship campaign.

The Home Gatherings - which are a joint project with the Membership and Evangelism Board - will be hosted by various members of our congregation at their homes. Some will be dinners, others will be an afternoon barbecue or a meeting over dessert and coffee, but each will be an opportunity for a small group to receive 2004 pledge materials and learn about how to participate in this year's campaign: Acts of Love and Faith From Our Congregation.

We hope you'll accept your invitation to attend a Home Gathering and accept this opportunity for expressing the love that Jesus Christ has shown us by giving to the work of Stone Church.

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Session Beat

Session meeting August 12th, 2003

After a reflection time led by Rev. Rebecca Kuiken, the Session interviewed and welcomed into membership Elaine Baker and Mildred Chen.

The Clerk's Report included the resignation of Mary Gilbert from Deacons and Rick Cromwell from Session. Session accepted these with regret.

Deacon Moderator Carol Martin requested hiring a Memorial Coordinator to aid Deacons in providing a consistently professional service for memorials held at the church. Personnel and Administration proposed the job description and compensation, with Hilleguus Faber as the new coordinator. Session accepted this proposal and adjusted the Wedding Coordinator fees as well.

Dick Kistler reviewed the Stone Church financial system and the new voucher form.

The Music Ministry Search Committee reported with great enthusiasm that a new director of music has been found in Lucik Aprahamian. Her wonderful energy and impressive resume promise an exciting new chapter in Stone Church music. Board and Committee reports of special note: Stewardship dinners/lunches will be held in private homes for all church members. Chris Lee will head the Rotating Housing Shelter in October. We closed with prayer requests and the Lord's Prayer.

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Deacons

It is not every day that you get to see the physical evidence of prayers answered. The Deacons had such an experience at the start of their last meeting.

Joshua Goulart has been on the Deacon Prayer Chain since before he was born. His mother, Mary, is a friend of Connie Gum's. While Joshua was in utero, it became obvious to Mary's doctors that he had severe heart defects. At that time, Connie asked that the Deacons begin praying for Mary and her, as yet, unnamed child. As soon as Joshua was born, he had to be put on life support. He had a stroke when he was less than a week old. Over the course of the next year and a half, he had to have numerous, complex surgeries. He almost died more times than his parents want to remember. During this time, the Deacons continued to pray for Joshua and his family.

Slowly, and with the help of numerous doctors, nurses, and therapists, Joshua has grown into a strapping two year old. Because of the stroke, he suffered brain damage, but he continues to make progress in all areas of his development. He was an absolute delight during his visit with the Deacons and is a joy to behold.

We invite all of you to pray for Joshua's continued growth and development. We also encourage you to pray for Joshua's parents and sister as they deal with the joys and challenges of raising a child with special needs. If you would like to know more about the Deacons' Prayer Chain or have a prayer request, please contact Carrie Moncrief or Bill Lakatos. Ripples

We are all confronted daily by the needs of others. We see the man on the corner with his sign - "will work for food, please help" - and it just seems overwhelming at times. We have our own needs, are out of work ourselves, have our own illnesses and sick relatives, and never have enough time or money.

Yet, when we joined our church, we became part of a larger "family." We made a commitment to our fellow church members, and the Ripples program is one way we can fulfill that commitment. Ripples was started several years ago by the Deacons to address the needs of our congregation. Over the years, many needs have been met, but the most requested are meals when someone is sick or grieving and transportation to doctor visits, to church, etc., for members who cannot drive.

Please consider prayerfully what you could do for the Ripples program, and contact Emily Meacham or stop by the table after worship to sign up.

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Worship Committee News

Rev. Gaines on Oct. 4th
The Reverend Jeff Gaines is coming to Stone Church, October 4, 2003. Many of you know Jeff from the San Francisco Theological Seminary's "Companions of the Inner Way" and "The Asilomar Experience." Some even know Jeff from his childhood at Stone Church!

Jeff will show us ways to make our sanctuary become an active part of our worship through symbols, color, texture, fabric, light, etc., using the scriptures as our starting point. The Worship Board has asked Jeff to help us and the congregation deepen our spiritual experience. We will explore the many forms of visual expression to enhance the worship experience beyond the spoken word and our wonderful music.

Sign-ups will be in September. There is no fee, but Jeff needs to know how many plan to attend. Questions? Call Susan Bedolla.

Liturgy and Music
The Liturgy Planning Committee and the Music Ministry are also part of Worship Committee. We welcome Lucik Aprahamian as our new Director of Music Ministry. We look forward to a collaboration with her as she and the choir work together to provide outstanding sacred music.

Volunteers Needed
The infrastructure of the Worship Committee is in the beginning stages with Gail Chaid as Moderator. If you wish to volunteer, either come to the committee meetings on the fourth Sunday of the month at 11 a.m., or contact Gail during coffee time at the Worship Committee table. Volunteer positions still needed are (1) Flower Committee Chairperson (2) Calling Committee Chairperson (3) Chancel Committee Chairperson.

Also, since we don't have a full-time custodian anymore and the present custodians are on site only once a week, we need plenty of help cleaning, dusting, removing candle wax and keeping the sacred space beautiful. If you notice something that needs attention please notify Jerry Pearson, Buildings and Grounds, or Gail Chaid. You can also volunteer to help provide services to keep us looking great.

Sunday, September 21, Jane Odell, Elder, and Interim Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of San Jose, will preach at Stone Church. Prior to coming to San Jose, she was the Interim Executive in the Presbytery of Los Ranchos (1999-2003) and The Synod of the Southwest (1996-1999). Jane is married to the Rev. R. Stephen Jenks, former Interim Executive in the Synod of the Pacific. She has three grown daughters and five grandchildren.

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Men's Book Club

Here are the dates and book titles for the next Men's Book Club meetings:
  • Sept. 15 The Eagle's Shadow by Mark Hertsgaard. (available at County Libraries). We will meet at Gary Weiss' home at 7:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 20 The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown.
  • Dec. 15 East of Eden by John Steinbeck
You are invited to participate in an 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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Presbyterian Women

PW Logo How does PW work? Presbyterian Women is organized at all levels - in congregations, presbyteries and synods - as well as at the General Assembly level. This connectional system allows ideas and information to continually flow back and forth to strengthen the work of Presbyterian Women and the ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

PW prepares for the fall
The relaxing, fun days of summer are waning, and PW are preparing for a busy, fruitful fall schedule. Regular circle meetings will begin in September, and all three circles wish to invite any women in the church interested in Bible study and fellowship to come join with them. Check the dates below:

Amethyst Circle with Hazel James as Leader will meet Wednesday, Sept. 3, in the Library at 1 p.m. Hazel will also be the hostess for this first meeting. Emerald Circle with Catherine Amos as Leader will meet Thursday, Sept. 4, at 9:30 a.m. This first meeting will be at the home of Catherine Amos. Sapphire Circle with Dorothy Stevens as Leader will meet Monday, Sept. 8, at 7:30 p.m. This first meeting will be at the home of Sue Evans.

Book Club I will meet at Carolyn Clendenning's home, Monday, Sept. 8, at 1 p.m. Call Carolyn for more information.
Book Club II will also meet on Monday, Sept. 8, at the home of Joyce Degan, at 2:30 p.m. Call Claudia Hamm for more information.
Focus Group will meet Tuesday, Sept. 9, at June Tablak's home, at 9:30 a.m.
Lunch Bunch will meet Tuesday, Sept. 9, at the Taiwan Restaurant on Lincoln Avenue at 11:30 a.m. Call Ida Raby to make reservations.
Last on the PW September calendar will be the Bible Study on Thursday, Sept. 25. Marge Palmer will lead the study from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in the Library. All women are welcome but let's try to have at least one representative from each circle at this outstanding, helpful study.

SFTS Annual Study Day
The San Francisco Theological Seminary will hold its annual Horizon Study Day with Sue Westfall as the leader at 9 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 20, in San Anselmo. Watch the church bulletin for details and reservation information. Nov. Thank Offering Luncheon

Join us on Nov. 15th for speaker Rev. Sharon Stanley, Executive Director of FIRM (Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries). Rev. Stanley was a widely praised preacher at the 2000 Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women in Louisville. Stay tuned for more information in next months' StoNews.

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Sunday Morning Adult Study
11 a.m. - Noon

The Bible From Scratch: the Old Testment for Beginners
October 5, 12 and 19 led by Barbara and Dale Bracey
November 2, 9, 16 and 23 led by Marge Palmer

Do you think everyone else in the church knows more about the Bible than you do? Have you ever been instructed to look up a Bible passage and you weren't quite sure where to look? Have you ever considered attending an Adult Study class at Stone, but thought of many reasons not to go because you were sure you would feel out of place? Do you need an overview of the whole Bible and some basic tools and skills for Bible study? Perhaps you are a young parent who has not had the time to open the Bible, let alone study it. Perhaps you are a new member at Stone who has never attended Adult Study here; then this is the Bible study for you.

The study will be led by retired pastors who are part of the Stone Church family and worship here regularly: Marge Palmer and Dale and Barbara Bracey. Each is deeply committed to adult education and a wonderful teacher.

We understand that young parents find it difficult to spend an additional hour at Stone on Sunday morning; therefore, infant and child care will be available during the class time.

Sign-ups can be made after the Sunday morning Worship service or by a call to the Church Office. The study book, The Bible from Scratch: the Old Testament for Beginners, will be available for purchase at a cost not to exceed $10.

Ranting and Resisting with the Prophets
September 21 - October 26 led by Diana Gibson

We will explore and expose the troubling, passionate, and prophetic word in the Hebrew scriptures, focusing particularly on the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah, seeking to hear how the prophets speak most relevantly to our world today. We will study the Bible in the hope that the Bible will change us, teaching us to see God's dream (and nightmare) in our everyday lives. There will be homework - a daily discipline of reading and interacting with a small text from the scripture.

The Rev. Dr. Diana Gibson has been a Presbyterian pastor for 25 years and served First Presbyterian Church in Palo Alto for 16 years, from 1984 - 2000. She recently completed her Doctorate of Ministry in which she worked with Old Testament theologian Walter Brueggemann at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.

Marcus Borg: The God We Never Knew
November 2 - December 14 led by Pat Magee

Marcus Borg, a distinguished scholar who has devoted himself to studies of the "historical Jesus," has written from his own experiences as a Christian and, informed by a lifetime of scholarship, about our need to develop a personal relationship to God. In clear, precise, down-to-earth language, he explains difficult concepts while outlining a reasoned, convincing approach to Christian faith. The God We Never Knew can liberate us from magical thinking and narrow-minded literalism and points the way to a continuing, ever-deepening relationship to God.

Participants will be expected to read one chapter a week in preparation for the class discussion. Books will be available for sale beginning September 28.

Future Adult Study Classes
Here are some future adult study classes:
January - February: Sermon Feedback, discussions with the Pastors
March - April: Richard Keady, SJSU Religion professor - Death, Dying and Religions
May - June: Walter Hudson - Topic to be announced later

*Infant and child care are available during Adult Study, upon request. Please let us know your needs when you sign up for a class. Sign-ups can be made after the worship services or by calling the church office.

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Church School Gears Up for Fall

Collecting for Read to Feed
Stone Church school students who have been reading this summer to buy llamas through the Heifer Project will be stopping when school starts, counting the books they've read and collecting from sponsors. If you signed up to be a sponsor, please come prepared, beginning September 7, to fulfill your promise. It will be fun to hear how much our young people have read and see how much they'll collect for llamas!

A Cloud of Witnesses for Middle Schoolers
What's a "Cloud of Witnesses"? It's new; it's different, and it's especially designed for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. It's a program from our Presbyterian curriculum 2003, "We Believe," that we will offer our Middle Schoolers this fall. It will be a journey down a historic road that is full of adventure, intrigue, mystery, death, villains, heroes and heroines. The book is called "So Great a Cloud of Witnesses" and promises to be fun and exciting, covering followers of Christ. This survey course will begin with the second century and conclude with the civil rights movement. You might say the Middle Schoolers will be running through history this year. It will be a fun adventure with Rosaleen Zisch and Julie Ludwig steering the course. They will meet each Sunday in the Chapel, starting there the first Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Make sure your Middle Schooler is aboard!

It All Starts on September 7!
We have plans for a great fall for Church School: a super Preschool class in Lincoln House using the new "We Believe" preschool curriculum, Rotation Model Workshops for Kindergarten - Grade 5 starting with three exciting rotations on Moses, and a super new Middle School class doing their own thing! Families need to turn in registration cards to keep our files up to date. Since our first Sunday (Sept. 7) is also a Communion Sunday, students will begin in the classrooms at 9:30 a.m. and will join their families in the sanctuary about 10:15. It will be especially important to be on time those first Sundays of the month. Families can check the bulletin board outside the Social Hall for the location of their students' classes. Sign-ups are being taken on Sundays to help with the Rotation Workshops. The first rotation on Moses' Birth will include art, drama and a video workshop where students will compare excerpts from the "Prince of Egypt" with the scripture. Stop by or call Miriam to see how you can be involved (church M-Th 9a.m. - 2 p.m.). I hope your family will be here regularly to get the most out of fall!

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From Noah To The Seashore, From Optimism To Liberation

We have some beautiful new books for the younger members of our family:
  • Noah's Ark by Peter Spier (Read Aloud J 221.2 Spi), a gift from the Gardners
  • Little Bunny's Magic Nose by Lily Duplaix (1st Books J Dup), given by Vivian Shimmon
  • The Child's Story by Charles Dickens (J Dic), paintings by Harvey Chan, and
  • The Seashore Book by Charlotte Zolotow (J Zol), paintings by Wendell Minor, both given by Judy Dilts
And these books are new on the adult side:
  • Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind & Your Life by Martin Seligman, PhD (155.2 Sel)
  • Stone Soup for the World: Life-Changing Stories of Kindness & Courageous Acts of Service ed. by Marianne Larned (158.1 Lar), given by friends in memory of Ben Williams
  • Christianity & the World Religions: Paths to Dialogue with Islam, Hinduism, & Buddhism by Hans Kung et al. (261.2 Kun)
  • Being Presbyterian in the Bible Belt: A theological survival guide for youth, parents, & other confused Presbyterians by Ted Foote and Alex Thornburg (285.1 Foo), given by Kate Williams
  • Tales of a German Shepherd: The Spiritual Journey of Reverend Hans Frick (921 Fri), given to us by Hans
  • San Jose's Women--Colonial Days to the 1970s by Helen Arbuckle (979.4 Arb), given by Evelyn Williams in memory of Ben
  • Sierra Summers: Fireside Tales to Share with Young & Old by Margaret Trussell (979.4 Tru)
  • No One Can Stop the Rain: Glimpses of Africa's Liberation Struggle by George M. Houser (Soc.Iss. 960 Hou), given by Bill Palmer
-- Sue Williams, Library Coordinator

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