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The Stone News for July 2004
It is the season of Pentecost, when out of the depths of Good Friday and after the exhilaration of Easter Sunday, the church ponders the future. The author of the Gospel According to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles wrote them as a pair. The Gospel reflects upon the gift of Jesus' birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection. The book of Acts concerns the gift of God's Spirit to the church for the long haul.
This season used to be formally acknowledged in the Common Lectionary, the grouping of scripture readings shared by churches around the world. However, the most recent Lectionaries have deleted this season of reflection. It is almost as though the architects of the Lectionary felt the season too risky. Nevertheless, at Stone Church there is a genuine season of Pentecost, celebrated in worship through August 29th and marked for us by the beautiful banners up front and the streamers adorning the side walls of the sanctuary.
It is fitting that we celebrate Pentecost at Stone. For there is no timidity here about the future. Consider the two Session Task Forces that are at work. The Facilities Task Force has been working for over four years. Way back then, they started imagining how our physical space could be rebuilt to better serve the ministry of Stone Church. Now, we have started construction on the first phase of the plans that the Facilities Task Force developed.
The Vision Task Force is a group of thirteen men and women just appointed by the Session. This group of veterans and newer members will lead us in clarifying our self-understanding as a Christian congregation at the beginning of the 21st century. They will lead us in dreaming about the shape of our future ministry together.
I see little evidence of timidity about the future. Rather, a group of down-to-earth Christians seems willing to rely upon the guidance and presence of God's Spirit as we work together to understand and to act upon God's calling us to ministry in the future.
May God continue to Bless us with awareness of God's Spirit in our midst and with the courage to move forward in ministry together.
Groundbreaking Ceremony Kicks Off Remodeling
After months of careful planning, ground has been broken for the renovation of Stone Church's facilities. In a formal ceremony immediately following the Worship Service on Pentecost Sunday, May 30, leaders and participants in the project turned the first shovels of earth beneath the flagstones of the church patio. The renovations, to be completed by the end of the year, will usher in a new era of modernized church facilities.
Scheduled on the day that the Christian calendar commemorates as the beginning of the church, the event signified the realization of a dream of enhanced facilities for the continued ministry of Stone Church. As the apostles were told in Acts 2, "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams."
All church members were asked to dress in red, symbolizing the passion and spirit of the apostles as they were filled with the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. As the congregation left the sanctuary and moved onto the patio, a band played, "When the Saints Go Marching In."
Turning shovels of earth were Fred Oliver, Linda Appleton, Pat Magee, Susan Bedolla, and Barbara Krause from the Facilities Task Force (pictured above, flanked by Revs. Kuiken and Mills); Janice and Mel Goertz, Ed Tablak, Linda Appleton and June Tablak from the Capital Campaign; Jane Odell (Interim Presbytery Executive) and John Lococo, Sr. (Clerk of Presbytery), from the San Jose Presbytery; Bill Gould and Marty Hochroth from Bill Gould Design; and Mike Blach, Juan Barroso, and Steve Dunne from Blach Construction. Ken Yeager, San Jose city councilman, who was unable to attend in person, sent his regards for a successful project.
Church Signs $1.26 Million Renovation Deal
A $1,264,074 contract has been signed with Blach Construction for the renovation of two Stone Church buildings. Demolition of the Lincoln House interior began in late June, and work on the Social Hall and the new Nursery will begin in early July. When the Lincoln House renovation is complete, the church offices will be moved, and four school classrooms will be constructed in the old office and Chapel space. Even though the start of construction was delayed six weeks by discussions with the City Planning Department, Blach expects to complete the renovation before Christmas.
Key features of the final design are a fully functional kitchen adjacent to the Social Hall, three glass doors opening from the Social Hall directly onto the patio, a durable, high-quality, sound-absorbent floor in the Social Hall, ADA-compliant bathrooms, and new cabinetry and bookshelves in the Lincoln House office.
The contract totals $164,074 more than the originally budgeted $1,100,000. This is due to several factors: (1) increases in sub-contractor costs since the original estimate, (2) required installation by PG&E of two electrical sub-panels to handle the greater load, and (3) roof reconstruction over the current arcade to expand the Social Hall.
The Capital Campaign committee expects to raise the additional funds over the remaining four years of the pledge campaign. Within the next few months, contacts will be made with new members who have joined the church since the initial campaign and with those who chose not to support the campaign initially. Of course, others will be encouraged to increase their pledges.
Stone's Youth Change The World -
Please help Stone's young people by sponsoring participants in Heifer International's Read-to-Feed project: respond to a student's request, ask to be assigned to someone, or sponsor the project in general. Choose to pledge an amount per book (or unit of time spent reading or being read to) or a definite donation. Students will keep track of books read and turn in the list at the end of the summer with parent's initials. These funds will be added to the one-third of the church school offering sent to Heifer International.
Gifts of animals help struggling families who have few resources and need an ongoing source of income to move away from poverty and toward self-reliance. The students voted to use their 2004 gifts to buy goats, which are $120 each. More people in the world rely on goats for milk than cows. Each goat gives about four quarts of milk a day; extra milk can be sold or made into cheese or yogurt. Goats adapt to rocky, mountainous areas, extreme climates and poor, limited land. The manure fertilizes crops, and the two kids born per year provide additional income.
With each goat, Heifer International provides training in animal care and earth-friendly farming practices and teaches ways the goat can help them. Plus families "repay" the loan by "passing on" one or more of the animal's offspring to another family in need, who, in turn, pass on the gift to another family! In almost 60 years, Heifer International has helped over four million families in 128 countries. Your gift can help young people change the world!
Center Ends Its Caring Ministry;
After almost 26 years, the Kairos Counseling Center closed its doors in May, making room for the remodeling of Lincoln House into church offices.
The Kairos Center was established in 1978 in response to a vision that Stone's former pastor, Rev. Bob Bowles, held for a counseling ministry staffed with licensed therapists who would honor the spiritual, as well as the emotional and psychological dimensions, of one's life.
Over the past 26 years, hundreds of individuals from the surrounding community have been served by this unique form of ministry. Each year, nearly 75% of Kairos' clients received fee adjustments in order to recieve therapy at rates affordable for their level of income.
Though no longer an official arm of Stone Church, staff members Connie Pearson and Mary Alice Collins will continue their work in the community.
Connie will be working at two locations, one on Lincoln Avenue and the other just off 85 and Almaden Expressway. Mary Alice has set up a home office.
Mary Alice Collins and Connie Pearson, as the staff of Kairos Center, want to thank the Stone Church community for their support all these years, which has allowed so many people to be served in quiet, yet significant ways. "It has been a privilege to have been part of this ministry to our community, and we are deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served in this way."
Membership and Evangelism Board is sponsoring a Farmer's Market throughout the summer and into the fall during the Sunday morning coffee time.
Unless you started gardening very early this year, you may not have excess produce right now.
Chris Lee reports, "Currently in my garden I can see small, green orbs on the tomato plants and blossoms on a couple of squash plants, and the cucumbers haven't even started blossoming yet. When the first fruits of my labor arrive, I will want to serve them to my family and wait for the compliments. However, I am an experienced gardener. I plant extras in case the snails or gophers take a share. In a month or two, there will be a time when the family doesn't want squash, no matter how I serve it, one more night in a row. Every cucumber plant will be working at max capacity. I will be overwhelmed by cherry tomatoes. In order to keep the plants producing, we need to keep picking anyway."
At this time, you should remember Stone's Farmer's Market. Some members are not fortunate (or foolish) enough to garden, and they will appreciate your extras. In exchange for vegetables and fruits, you will be asked to make a donation to Second Harvest Food Bank. M & E will take the donations and excess produce to Second Harvest on Monday mornings.
If you have gardening questions or are interested in providing transport for the fruit and vegetables to Second Harvest on Mondays, please call Chris Lee.
Your Time, Talent -
Last month, volunteers who served on the Church School staff were recognized during the Sunday Worship Service for the work they did during the 2003-2004 Church School year.
More than 30 members of the congregation were recognized for their efforts, which ranged from a full-time commitment to Stone Church's Christian Education program to smaller commitments of just an hour or two. Their expertise and talent ranged from an ability to communicate Biblical and historical truths in a way that is interesting and informative for growing young minds to simply the ability to work a computer or a VCR.
A few weeks later, several members of our congregation who served on the Facilities Task Force (pictured below) and the Capital Campaign were honored by participating in the groundbreaking for the project to renovate the Social Hall, Chapel, and Lincoln House.
Most of the work done for and in the name of Jesus Christ at Stone Church is done by volunteers like these whose range of talents covers everything from public speaking to a special relationship that enables him or her to reach out in a particular way to just one member. Their time commitments may be sizeable, or just an hour or two each year.
The Stewardship Board recognizes that all of these volunteer efforts are as valuable contributions to the work of Christ and his Church as is the money we pledge each fall. Soon the summer will be past, and a new church year will begin with many traditional roles to be filled, from board and committee work to singing in the choir to teaching and helping in Church School. There will be new opportunities to serve as the new Vision Task Force, which will explore the future ministry of Stone Church, begins its work.
Opportunities will come for you to help in large and small ways. Your time is not too limited, nor is your talent too small, to be put to a larger use. The Stewardship Board asks that you prayerfully consider how to respond when you are called.
May 22 was a very busy Saturday for many Stone Church folks. About 50 people spent part or most of the day working at InnVision in downtown San Jose. They sorted and hung clothes, stacked and organized furniture, painted walls, created a secure area with steel fencing, and pulled weeds outside the building. In one day, they transformed a heaped-up warehouse into a clean, attractive area where InnVision clients can easily select things their families need.
Meanwhile, back at the church, 12 children and a bunch of adults bagged 520 pounds of rice and beans for Sacred Heart Community Services and made a nice lunch for the workers. About ten happy cooks prepared a tasty dinner for all takers at the end of the workday.
The children also had time to make greeting cards for homebound church members, plant flowers near the church, and collect hundreds of snails. In addition, a team of gardeners relocated many plants that would have been in the way of construction.
The C & W board extends a big thank you to all who planned and carried out the day - Leland Wong and his committee, Mel Goertz and his cooks, Ellen Springer and her children's program, and every worker: young or old, experienced or first-timer, church member, friend or visitor. It was a great day!
Considering the importance of the Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center at Lake Tahoe, which is used regularly by many members of our congregation, the C & W board pledged $3,000 over the next 3 years. This donation will furnish a guest room in the new lodge, which will open in September 2005. C & W made this donation in honor of long-time board member Liz Shandera who greatly values the preservation of open space and the maintenance of retreat facilities.
The C & W board has been asked whether some Stone members would like to help with Friday evening game nights for foster care youth in the Independent Living Program. Each evening could use two to four adult volunteers. It could be done on a one-time basis, but there is also opportunity for continuing contact with the youth. If this is something you'd like to try this summer, please contact Sue Williams.
The June 8 Session meeting was opened with prayer by Susan Bedolla. New members Kathie Lloyd and Nancy McClaran were welcomed into the congregation. Session elected Alice Thorn as Clerk of Session from July 2004 to June 2005 and thanked Catherine Amos for her latest stint as Clerk (one of many).
The formation of a Vision Task Force was next on the agenda. A committee-of-the-whole discussion on the topic concluded with the approval of a $500 budget and the appointment of 13 task force members: Jody Meacham (co-moderator), Carrie Moncrief (co-moderator), Susan Bedolla, Mary Stone Bowers, Leslie Cromwell, Mel Goertz, Tina Luebcke, Alice McNelis, Karmel Miller, Bill Ribble, Ed Tablak, Andrew Willis, and Suzanne Wolf-Nilson.
Chris Nilson and Dean Helms reported on Budget & Finance and Stewardship issues, respectively. Dean reported that actual pledges received were much closer to expected pledges this month than they were last month. Chris reported that the numbers were, however, still shy of what we would need to meet the budget, so finances continue to be tight. Chris agreed to stay in contact with each moderator to track trends and provide updates. Pat Magee reported that the Capital Campaign was on target, and $400,000 should be in the bank by quarter end (6/30/04).
Pat also reported that there had been revisions in the Elder Notebooks and that copies were in the Elders' boxes.
A M/S/A was made to delegate Personnel & Administration the authority to approve the Rev. Rebecca Kuiken's grant request to the Lily Endowment, which is due later this month. Rebecca's sabbatical plans will be considered by the final application at the Session in July and August.
Facilities Task Force: Art reported that Session would hold a special meeting to discuss the contract with Blach Construction, including the results of negotiations with subcontractors, finalized inclusions/exclusions, and the latest architectural drawings.
Nominating: Steve Stark reported that a full slate of Session members will be presented Sunday, June 13, at the Congregational Meeting. Likewise, several new Deacons will be presented; the committee is still seeking to fill two Deacon positions.
Worship: Susan Bedolla reported that the new Pentecost decorations in the sanctuary were crafted with love by Heather Reynolds, Jeanette Rapp, and Karen Scott.
Membership & Evangelism: June Tablak reported that 28 people attended the recent dinners and lunches. A second new member meeting will be held later this month.
Church & World: Sue Williams reported that the All-Church Mission Work Day was a great success with over 100 members signing up to help at InnVision or at the church. The event was truly an intergenerational one. Sue also mentioned that an upcoming C&W speaker, Lloyd Auchard, who was an Ecumenical Observer in Palestine, will be at Stone on Sunday, November 7, at 7 pm.
Christian Education: Ellen Springer reported that Summer Church School began during the past week with the introduction to God's Amazing World and that volunteers were still needed for specific countries. Ellen also reported that the Youth Mission trip was cancelled this year due to lack of interest. Ellen thanked Miriam Kishi for her behind-the-scenes help on the All-Church Mission Work Day project.
The meeting was closed in prayer by the Rev. Rebecca Kuiken.
Coordinators Extend Heartfelt Gratitude to Ripples Team
As the Deacons come to the end of their program year, and begin to start a new one, the Ripples coordinators would like to thank all of the wonderful "co-opted Deacons," that is, the Ripples team, for their support this year.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Ripples program, Ripples is a Deacon program that seeks to provide care for the members of our congregation. This most often takes the form of hot meals to someone who is sick, just out of the hospital, or grieving, as well as transportation to a doctor's appointment for someone who cannot drive. Because the Deacons can be overwhelmed by this ministry when added to their regular duties, the Ripples program tries to use everyone in the congregation to fill these requests. This year, quite a few Deacons, themselves, have even needed Ripples support.
Last fall, we held a Ripples sign-up during coffee time to recruit those of you willing to lend a hand to your fellow church members, and the response was fantastic. We have met many, many needs this year: 48 hot meals, 53 transportation requests, and 5 helping with other tasks. And this is not even scratching the surface because Ripples works just like the ripples on a pond - each Ripple propagates more and more acts of kindness that may go unrecorded in the Ripples book, but certainly do not go unrecorded in the hearts of the recipients.
If you would be willing to be on the Ripples email or phone list, please contact Emily Meacham or Gretchen Keagle.
News From The Worship Committee
Current Liturgical Arts Committee chairperson, Susan Bedolla, will become the Session's representative for the new Vision Task Force on July 1. She is also Facilities Task Force representative, and her time commitment for both task forces will be significant. Worship Committee will soon welcome a new elder as Liturgical Arts chairperson.
The Worship Committee, on behalf of the church, would like to thank Susan for her dedication and commitment to the Liturgical Arts Committee. Under Susan's leadership, the Liturgical Arts Committee was created and organized. The congregation appreciates the hard work, creative process, and liturgical arts for worship. Thank you!
And a note about liturgical colors this year: Rev. Art Mills says, "We will stay with the season of Pentecost through the month of August ... so red is in order until September, when we will switch to green."
Horizons Bible Study Considers What She Said: Quotable Women in Scripture
In many ways, women of the Bible were much like we are - they raised families, survived hard times, celebrated victories, shared hopes and dreams with sisters in the faith, and tried to obey God's call. When reading about women in the Bible, we must listen closely to hear What She Said, for most Biblical writers are assumed to be male. Although active in the stories, women were rarely acknowledged for speeches or quotations. Those of us who have read the Bible since childhood may never have thought about this odd fact - that although the Bible is filled with stories about women, they are seldom quoted as speaking for themselves.
The nine lessons in the Horizons Bible study cover nearly 2,000 years and represent both Testaments - from the call of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis to the early days of the church described in Acts. Beginning in September, Presbyterian Women circles will be reading and discussing this Bible study, written by Dale Lindsay Morgan. On September 11, at San Francisco Theological Seminary, Dale Morgan will lead an introduction to the study. Members of the Stone Church Coordinating Team will have registration information.
PW Scholarship Deadline Approaches (July 15)
PW announces its ninth year of college scholarships and other grants under the Ruby M. Hudspeth Trust. The "other grants" may include funds for training or educational programs, retreats, conferences, etc., and may include groups outside of the church. July 15 is the deadline for Stone Church youth to apply for college scholarships. A student may receive assistance for up to four years. Last year's recipients included Marie Pierce, Nathan Hudson-Crim, Randall Rubida, Betsy Williams, and seminarian Karen Hagan. Applications for scholarships and other grants are available in the church office.
PW August Brunch
A Call to Faithful Democracy is the program theme for the PW August Brunch. We will discuss our responsibility to be informed voters for the coming election. November brings the chance to stand up and be counted for what we believe. The brunch will be held Saturday, August 21, from 9:30 to 11:30 am, at the Dry Creek Village Association Club House. School supplies will be collected for the Youth Education Program of Sacred Heart Community Service. Contact Diana Lim, 239-0879, for more detail.
Jeannette Rapp Recognized
Jeanette Rapp was recognized as a Faithful Woman of Stone Church at the June Gathering of PW in the Presbytery of San Jose. Jeanette has enhanced our worship experiences for many years with her banners, drawings, weavings, etc. - most recently the paper-cut banners that graced the chancel on Women's Sunday.
PW Book Group I will meet on July 19 at Carolyn Clendenning's home to discuss Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels.