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The Stone News for April 2004
In recent weeks, I feel that Stone Church is simply blossoming. Yes, the weather has been exceptionally beautiful. Yes, I have gone and returned from France. Yes, the flowers are out, and judging from my friends with allergies - everything is blossoming.
Do you feel it too? Returning from the men's retreat, the church guys had a comradely zest from the blend of humor, work well-done, and friendship. (I renamed their last retreat "Tooltime with Jesus" judging by their work and fellowship at Westminster Woods.)
Returning from the women's retreat, I've had a sense that we rewove the fabric of generations yet again. Age seems irrelevant to these women - I think it is because wisdom, wit and giggles transcend years, and bond us together. Blossoming takes place when there's good soil and a good climate. It doesn't happen automatically. It takes time and effort, and not all the forces are under our control. (Thank God!) I've been considering, however, that there are so many folks in Silicon Valley who have no garden in which to blossom.
Martin Marty, a Lutheran theologian says: So much talk about "spirituality" today is unrooted, unmoored ... there is a marvelous expression of freedom in this kind of "pick and choose" spiritual effort; but unrooted spirituality tends to come as it goes. There is a momentary satisfaction, but without anchor it leaves one adrift ...
I am grateful for people with a rooted spirituality. I am glad to be in this garden of churchgoers. We come knowing it is not good to be alone. We come because we need regular reality checks. We come because we need to help each other deal with our problems. We come because when we dream with others, dreams come true. We come because we need to practice for heaven.
We come because it gives us joy.
Lenten Theme: Journey Out of the Wilderness
Using liturgical readings, the sacred environment in the sanctuary has been transformed during Lent to give the feeling of desert wilderness. Out of the wilderness, we can journey into the light. It is an inner journey out of the desert with our prayers, concerns, and joys.
The symbol of the stones is the focus for our meditation. Stones tell timeless tales, and they are the keepers of our stories. They tell the history of the land. They are full of mystery and possibility. We can move stones and change the course of a river. We can build with them. Focus on the stones of the wilderness in your own way, according to your own history, and join us on this journey.
Holy Week Approaches
Palm Sunday Service - April 4 at 9:30 am
Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, the day marking Jesus' entrance into the city. At Stone Church, we will celebrate Palm Sunday by singing loud "Hosannas" and waving palm branches.
Taizé Service - April 6 at 6:45 pm
The sanctuary doors are open at 6:30 pm so you may enter to listen to contemplative music in preparation for worship, and the service begins at 6:45 pm. Join us as we experience and deepen our faith through silence, song, prayer, and meditation.
Maundy Thursday Service - April 8 at 7:30 pm
On Maundy Thursday, the poignant moment of the Last Supper is observed. The term, Maundy, comes from the Gospel of John, verse 13:34, "Mandatum novum do vobis," which is the start of the phrase, "A new commandment I give you: Love one another." At Stone Church, we will venerate this most solemn and reverent of events with a tenebrae (Latin for "darkness") service, during which sacred texts are read, hymns sung, and the candles and lights of the church are gradually extinguished until the church is in total darkness.
Good Friday Service - April 9 from 12-3 pm
Witnessing Jesus' death on the cross on Good Friday is the ultimate reminder of the cost of discipleship. The sanctuary will be open from noon to 3 pm. Intermittent musical offerings and bulletins with devotional readings will be provided to enable you to reflect amidst song and silence.
Easter Services - April 11 at 9:30 am and 11 am
All ages are invited to celebrate the joyous Resurrection of Christ together in family worship. Nursery care is available for children ages 4 and under.
Adult Education - Sunday Mornings
Stone Church's Adult Education classes are held in the Chapel, from 11 am to noon on Sunday mornings. Infant and child care are available upon request; please let us know your needs.
April 4 - Palm Sunday - No Adult Study class.
April 11 - Easter - No Adult Study class.
April 18 - Speak Out Forum with the Pastors and Board Moderators. The first quarterly Speak Out Forum provides members of the Church with an opportunity to interact with the elected leadership in a "no-holds barred" informal setting. Pastors, Board Moderators and the Moderator of Deacons will be in attendance. Bring your concerns and suggestions -- perhaps you have questions about the conversion of Lincoln House to office space; perhaps you are worried about the changes in space usage that will be required during the facility renovation period.
April 25 & May 2 - Denying Death with leader Richard Keady, Professor of Religion, San Jose State. American society denies death and thus robs it of its meaning for life. How should we as Christians view death, and how can we celebrate it as the culmination of our earthly life? May 9 - Dealing with Death: Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives with leader Lynn Stutz, Attorney.
May 16, 23 & 30 - The Passion According to Mel Gibson: A Critical Assessment with leader Pat Magee. The historical Jesus scholar, John Dominic Crossan, has called Mel Gibson's movie an important cultural event in America. Using preview clips and related TV documentaries as our starting point, we will explore the movie and the questions it raises for us as Christians today.
Johnson Solos with
Stone Church's own Kris Johnson was the featured soloist in the March 15 performance of the Guitar Concerto in D Major, by Antonio Vivaldi, with the San Jose Youth Chamber Orchestra. Kris and the orchestra performed in the Little Theater at Willow Glen High to an appreciative audience, who, after demanding an encore, were treated to a virtuoso piece, Usher Waltz, by the contemporary composer, Nikita Koshkin. Many Stone Church members attended this wonderful event and were amazed at Kris' talent. We want to congratulate Kris on a superb concert and wish him much success as he continues in his sure-to-be-stellar musical career.
Resting in the
Heart of God:
"He said to them, 'Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest awhile.' For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat." (Mark 6:31)
On Saturday, May 9, former Stone Church member, Ann Coons, will lead an all-day (9 am to 4 pm) meditative retreat on the theme, "Resting in the Heart of God." There will be no charge for the retreat; rather, a free-will offering will be taken.
This retreat day will be a time set aside for quiet and rest. It will be a day to soak in the presence of the Holy and will include many opportunities for personal prayer and times of sharing, as well as theological reflection. Who hasn't yearned for that kind of stillness and peace? And when we are worn thin by stresses in our lives, or overwhelmed by the chaos and conflict in the world around us, it's not just our bodies that need quiet - our souls crave something as well, something deeper to replenish us.
Ann has a Certificate of Theological Studies degree from Pacific School of Religion, a Diploma in Spiritual Direction, and an MA in Theological Studies from SFTS. In addition to her practice in spiritual direction, Ann is a noted retreat leader, having led last year's Women's Retreat at the Zephyr Point Conference Center. She has a special interest in contemplative prayer and using the labyrinth as a tool for deepening prayer.
Life has been an adventure for the Coons since leaving San Jose and Stone Church in 1992. Until mid-2003, they lived in Sonoma County, where Steve was the Director of Westminster Woods Camp and Conference Center. A recent move to Chico has brought them closer to family. Son Jim is a pastor at Bidwell Memorial Presbyterian Church, Chico. Daughter Cherie is the Director of Special Events and Ceremonies at UC Davis.
New Stand for Lectern Bible Under Eternal Light
In the Jewish tradition, the Eternal Light hangs over the ark containing the Torah scrolls in synagogues. At the beginning of each Sabbath worship service, the scrolls are taken out of the ark, uncovered, and placed on the central lectern for reading during worship. At the conclusion of worship, the scrolls are returned to the ark under the Light.
Our Eternal Light was given by the Rabbi Gitin, then Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in San Jose, when the present sanctuary was completed. It was installed in a central location on the front stone wall and later moved to the side of the Chancel, consistent with the Reformed Tradition's understanding of the primacy of scripture in relation to the centrality of Christ. Now, an oak stand has been added under the Eternal Light for the lectern Bible, signifying the importance of Scripture.
The stand was made by Walter Roach in a style to match the other oak furnishings in the sanctuary. The lectern Bible will sit on this stand at all times, other than during worship. When worship begins, the person processing with the Bible will take it from the stand, proceed to the rear of the sanctuary, and process with it as the opening hymn begins.
This placement of the Light in relationship to the Holy Scripture honors the gift and those who received it on behalf of Stone Church.
Nursery and Preschool Moving
The first step in our renovation process will involve the little ones. Both the Nursery and Preschool class will be moved the week after Easter to Room 6 downstairs. Beginning Sunday, April 18, parents will need to take babies and toddlers to that room. They can use either the regular stairs or the outside stairs (southwest of the sanctuary) that lead to the door at the end of the hall near the temporary Nursery in Room 6.
Preschoolers will continue to be invited to opening worship in the sanctuary. After meeting their teachers on the patio, they will go first to a section of Room 1 for their story and activity, then to Room 6 for playtime with others in the Nursery. Parents will pick them up from Room 6.
The little ones will continue to use these rooms throughout the renovation process, until their new rooms upstairs are ready for them. We hope this will make the transition as positive an experience as it can be for them.
Senior Picnic - April 25, 2004
This year's Senior Picnic is coming up fast, and the Deacons are planning a memorable event. Food, fun and friends will be abundant on Sunday, April 25, from 2 to 5 pm. The springtime setting at Kelley Park should be beautiful - peaceful, green and bursting with blooms. In keeping with the historic theme of the park, this year's picnic will be a "Fashion Parade Down Memory Lane."
Do you remember what your grandparents wore when you were still a toddler or in those wonderful photographs of them as a young couple? How about the printed cotton dresses that your mother wore when you were growing up and maybe that sporty hat that your father wore on Sundays? When you went to your first dance, or out on your first date, do you have a fond memory of a favorite outfit or maybe a funny story about what seemed like a disaster at the time? Please hold those thoughts - we want to hear all about it, and we'll be asking for those anecdotes!
To spark your memory, some of the lovely young ladies from Stone Church will be modeling vintage fashions as part of this year's entertainment. Musical accompaniment will feature Big Band swing tunes, Frank Sinatra through the years, and other favorites. Picnic guests are encouraged to wear, or bring, some favorite outfit or clothing item that they have kept packed away, in case it comes back into style.
We're still looking for volunteer models and any donors willing to lend their treasured keepsake clothing items for a few hours. If you're willing to help, please contact Caprice Scarborough.
Church & World Board Provides "Many Ways To Help In Mission"
The Church and World Board wants you to know about these many ways to help in mission.
One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Immediately following World War II, U.S. Protestant churches made appeals for relief and reconstruction in areas devastated by the war. In 1949, One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) began with a special offering in an estimated 75,000 churches.
Currently, OGHS comprises nine major denominations. Within our denomination, programs supported by OGHS have evolved, along with our understanding of how best to stand with people in their suffering. They now include (1) Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, which embraces the refugee advocacy program of our Presbytery and is headed by Rev. Bill Palmer, (2) Presbyterian Hunger Program headed locally by advocate Pat Plant, and (3) Self-Development of People. In 2004, each of these programs will receive approximately one-third of the offering.
Our gifts are a powerful, tangible witness to the healing love of Christ for all people.
Father Chacour to Speak on "The Power of Peace" (Sunday, April 18) Father Elias Chacour, the Melkite Catholic Bishop-elect of Jerusalem, will speak at the Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church, on April 18, at 7 pm. He has ministered in the village of Ibillin, Israel (which is north of Nazareth), for 38 years, developing a school that serves kindergarten through university-level students from Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Druze backgrounds.
This event is sponsored by the Pilgrims of Ibillin, a U.S.-based support group to which our church is contributing this year. The church is located at 728 W. Fremont Avenue in Sunnyvale. A free-will offering will be taken. Father Chacour is pictured at left.
South Bay CROP Walk (Sunday, April 25) Looking for a good cause that is interdenominational and comes with snacks and live music? Look no further than the South Bay CROP Walk, the largest in the West!
Church World Service (CWS) is the sponsoring agency for CROP Walks, bringing together many faith groups in an effort to save lives and relieve suffering. CWS has ties to practically every country in the world and is experienced and efficient, with costs below 18%. Our local walk supports CWS, as well as Santa Clara County Food Bank and Sacred Heart Community Services.
Be a walker in this 26-year-old Stone Church tradition! It takes place in the Rosegarden, a neighborhood of beautiful homes and gardens, and it's a very youth-friendly activity. Sign up during coffee hour. And if you won't be walking, please sign up to sponsor some walkers!
All-Church Mission Project (Saturday, May 22) Mark your calendar for the All-Church Mission Project, a workday at InnVision, from 8 am to 4:30 pm, followed by a BBQ. Sign-ups will begin soon.
Holy Week Experiences For Families
Church school students of all ages will receive Holy Week Family Activity packets on Sunday, March 28 or April 4. The packets include a purple felt cross and guide the family can use, plus felt symbols to add each day as the family focuses together on the events of Holy Week. As families share and discuss a scripture passage, they will learn what happened to Jesus, not only in the hopeful entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and the celebration of Easter resurrection, but in the days of discouragement, preparation and challenge in between. Families will also be encouraged to think about how these events can affect their perspective and lives and share a prayer together.
Church school on those two Sundays will also provide special Holy Week experiences. On March 28, students will begin in the sanctuary; then those in Kindergarten through Grade 8 will go to Room 1 to see a new video titled, "The Messiah Comes," and, working with buddies, prepare their Family Activity packets. Preschool students will receive packets in their class.
On Palm Sunday, April 4, all students can join in the palm procession in the sanctuary carrying palms and bringing forward their One Great Hour of Sharing fish banks. (Be sure to set clocks forward to be on time!) Then Preschoolers will go to their room to learn about the Last Supper, while Kindergarten through Grade 8 will meet in the Social Hall for a Seder experience to connect the Passover remembrance of the Exodus with Jesus' gift of the Last Supper. Those who did not prepare Family Activity packets the Sunday before will receive them, and all students will go back to the sanctuary for Communion.
Finally, families are invited to celebrate Easter together in the Sanctuary. Children's bulletins will help young people participate and focus on the joy of the day. Child care will be provided in the Nursery for those four years and younger.
Mission and Evangelism Events
Successful "Dinners (and Lunches) for 8" Program Continues in May
The "dinners (and lunches) for 8" program is off to a good start. 60 members and friends participated in five events in members' homes, and a good time was had by all. Everybody met somebody new to them. The next "dinners (and lunches) for 8" are scheduled for Saturday 14 and Sunday May 15. Signups will begin after Easter. Please join us this time around.
Whether you are a "jewelry-maker" or would like to learn about jewelry making, join us in the Social Hall on Monday, May 10th, at 6:30 pm. Pat Patterson will give us some instruction on making earrings, necklaces and bracelets. To register (no later than May 3) and to receive further information, call Connie Pearson or Pat Patterson.
New Member Class Format Changes
New member classes are usually held each month on the Sunday before the Session meeting. The class is held from 11 am to 12:15 pm and is a chance to get to know one another, along with learning about the Presbyterian Church and Stone Church in particular.
The format now includes a follow-up class, where new members can learn more about the different activities and volunteer opportunties at Stone. This also allows new members to give feedback and get to know one another better. Contact M&E Moderator June Tablak for more information.
Annual Valentine Tea
A Day Just for You!
Presbyterian Women in the Presbytery of San Jose offer you, "Nurturing Our Spirits," a retreat day for all women in the Presbytery of San Jose. This retreat will take place on May 1, from 9 am to 2:30 pm. Presenter will be Denise Roy, family therapist, spiritual director, author and mother of four children. Her most recent book is My Monastery is a Minivan: Where the Daily is Divine and the Routine Becomes Prayer. The retreat will be held at Woodhaven Retreat Center, 1420 Newport Ave., San Jose. There is a registration fee of $30 if received by April 12, $35 after April 12; lunch is included. Contact the church office for more information.
This June when Presbyterian Women of Stone Church gather for their Annual Picnic, the Birthday Offering will be received and dedicated. The Birthday Offering grew out of a 1922 challenge to American Presbyterian Women to improve the lives of schoolgirls in Japan. Women were challenged to give one penny for each year of their lives or a dollar as a "birthday gift." Today, no specific amount is suggested, but women are challenged to "give as they are blessed." During this 82-year period, $27,790.445 has been received to fund mission projects in the United States and around the world. We at Stone Church are proud to be a part of Presbyterian Women across our country who give generously to this "extra-mile giving" opportunity. More details about this year's Birthday Offering recipients and the June picnic next month!
PW has many mission projects on going. To make contributions of clothing for FIRM, to learn about the Net-making project, to work on the AIDS project, or to work on the Mending for Wholeness program, contact the church office to be put in touch with project leaders.
Thursday, April 1 - Emerald Circle meets at 9:30 am. Contact the church office for location.
Tuesday, April 6 - Focus Group meets at 9:30 am. Contact the church office for location.
Wednesday, April 7 - Amethyst Circle meets in the Library at 1 pm. Contact for church office for more information.
Monday, April 12 - Sapphire Circle meets at 7:30 pm. Contact the church office for location and name of leader.
Tuesday, April 13 - Lunch Bunch meets at the Taiwan Restaurant at 11:30 am.
Monday, April 19 - Book Club II meets at 2:30 pm. Book to be reviewed is Portraits in Sepia, by Isabel Allende. Contact church office for location.
Thursday, April 22 - Bible Study in the Library at 9:30 am. Contact church office for name of leader.
Monday, April 26 - Book Club I meets at at 1 pm. Book to be reviewed is The DaVinci Code, by Don Brown. Contact church office for location.