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The Stone News for August 2004
Pastor's Message for August
Last Sunday, I noted wryly that I'd now crossed a pastoral milestone - it was the first time in 20 years of ministry that I'd used the word "port-a-potty" in worship. (For those of you who missed it, you are invited to use them, but note that the large disabled-accessible one is the luxury model for Stone Church members!)
Yes, construction at Stone Church has begun. Port-a-potties and construction tags. The Blach Construction sign and our Sunday Worship at 9:30 sign now co-exist nicely on the corner of Clark Way.
Sure it is disruptive. Sure it is a bit messy. But in so many ways our ministry continues its normal August rhythm. The pace begins to quicken a bit.
We will all soon be asked to pick up one of the household tasks of Stone Church's ministry. Our Christian home needs ushers, church school teachers, folks who like odd jobs, such as organizing the all-church picnic, and others who want regular weekly or monthly rhythms, such as greeting newcomers, lighting Taize candles, or mentoring a new member.
We'll also be hearing about new fall plans. The Men's Mission Work Trip comes in September. High school kids will be camping in August and leaving for a mission trip to Westminster Woods in October. Middle school kids will be hearing about a new November retreat. Another Family Soul Feast weekend on the topic of Peacemaking will take place in October.
Stone Church leaders and members have brought good humor and resourcefulness to the disruptive changes that remodeling brings. Judging by the liveliness of our worship this summer - and the energy for the future - we're not only remodeling with hammers and drywall, we're also doing some great construction to build a community that witnesses to Christ in the larger world.
Constructively yours and many Blessings!
Come one, come all to the annual Stone Church Family Picnic immediately following the church service on Sunday, September 12. Mark this date on your calendar now.
Place: San Jose History Park, located at Senter Road and Phelan Avenue
Time: Meat grilling will begin at 11:15 am, so we'll be able to eat right away.
Bring: a salad or dessert
Activities: games and fun for all ages
Attire: Wear a special t-shirt that reflects what you did during the summer; for example, Summer Church Camp, family reunions, favorite vacation spots, etc. Be ready to share with all and have a grand time!
Youth Ministry Group Announces Summer and Fall Events
The Youth Ministry Community has planned two special Youth Group activities this summer for all Stone Church 9th - 12th graders and their friends. A swim party and barbeque will be held on Thursday, July 29, from 3:00 - 6:00 pm, at the Tablaks' home. This will be the first opportunity for our great group of incoming 9th graders to become part of the Stone Church Youth Group. Mel Goertz is chef for the day and would appreciate RSVPs so he knows how much food to plan.
August 28 - 29 will find us traveling down to Big Basin where Lawrence Summers has reserved campsites; we plan to spend beach time during the day and campfire time in the evening. So all 9th - 12th graders, mark your calendars and plan to join us for a fun weekend together.
The regular schedule for the Youth Group will begin in mid-September, with meetings on Sunday evenings from 7 - 9 pm. For more information about the Youth Group, talk with any of the adults in the Youth Ministry Community: Mary Alice Collins, Mel Goertz, Julie Ludwig, Jim Nissen, Bill Ribble, Lawrence Summers, Kate Wheatley, Suzanne Wolf, and Rebecca Kuiken.
Sign-up Now to Have Your Family Picture
Final arrangements have been completed with Olan Mills for a new Pictorial Directory featuring our soon-to-be-completed facility renovation. Olan Mills has done our three previous directories, and they are the best in the business.
Family pictures will be taken on the weekend of August 27 - 28 (Friday, 3 - 9 pm, and Saturday, 10 am - 5 pm) and again on the weekend of September 17 - 18 (Friday, 3 - 9 pm, and Saturday, 10 am - 5 pm). Sign-ups will be held on the patio after worship beginning in August.
Because of the ongoing construction work in the Social Hall and Lincoln House, the photo shoot must take place in the Sanctuary/Narthex complex. We will enter the Sanctuary through the door facing the back driveway. A reception desk will be located immediately inside. Pictures will be taken in the Narthex, and two viewing stations will be located in the front of the Sanctuary.
With photos taken in late August and mid-September, each family should have its finished pictures well before Christmas. The directory will be published and distributed to all members in February or March 2005.
Brief History of
Have you ever had a moment in your life where you felt such deep peace and harmony that everything stood still? Maybe it was in the woods, at the beach, or at a worship service. Some of the Stone Church family felt a calling to create a context where it was possible to touch the mystery of such moments. After our previous pastor, Bob Bowles, returned from Taizé, France, he began to introduce the congregations to Taizé Chants, and he held an occasional Taizé Service. When Stone decided to offer a regular meditative service, Rev. Rebecca Kuiken suggested that a Taizé Service would provide an opportunity for silence and contemplation, especially since it was built on a tradition that was international and ecumenical.
Brother Roger Schultz founded the ecumenical, monastic brotherhood in 1940 in a tiny village in Taizé, France. Though the brotherhood was founded as a meditative church, it soon became socially active, offering refuge to Jews fleeing the Nazis. Taizé's vocation is to strive for communion among all, Christians and non-Christians alike. For years it has involved people from all over the world taking part in a common creation. This openness has inspired enormous youth participation in Taize, where the first "Council of Youth" in 1974 drew 40,000 people. Each summer thousands of high-school and college students flock there to camp out by the monastery and worship. The monks have built new dormitories for 300 more young people.
The Taizé style of music is repetitions of chants, often with a cantor singing harmonies and descants. The songs, which are really prayers, are simple so everyone can actively participate and are sung in Latin, a neutral language that does not belong to any particular group. French, German, English, etc. may also be used, especially in verses and responses by the cantors, whose role is to express the prayer of all those present.
On November 3, 1998, Stone Church held their first Taizé Service. Sister Suzanne Toolin, who leads the Taizé Service at Mercy Center in Burlingame, came to lead the service at Stone. She inspired us with her suggestions and guidance. A committee was organized to perform the multitude of tasks behind the scenes.
From the beginning and continuing to this day, Barbara Roberts, Karen Johnson and other members of the Johnson family, Laraine Pitcher, and Donald Foster provide outstanding and beautiful music that creates the context for the service.
"We are blessed that we can retreat from the world for this brief period of time, so that when the world re-enters, we can recognize what is timeless in all time."
Joyce Linn has undertaken a great new project and wants to invite others to participate. Her 99-year-old mother is a resident of the San Jose Care Center, and Joyce visits her often. Joyce noticed that the pictures on the walls there were not very interesting, so she started hanging some more interesting ones on a wall in a gathering room. The residents loved it, and she has continued with a theme for each month. If you have paintings that you would like to lend to Joyce for a month or so, please call her.
A Note from Andrew Willis on the Value of Stewardship
As a new church year has just begun, the Stewardship Board has undergone a major change of cast. Mary-Stone Bowers, Jody Meacham and I have been recruited for the Vision Task Force, while Ed Tablak will be switching to the Church and World board. During my time on the board, I have grown to appreciate both the small and large commitments of my fellow church members. The remodeling of the church has called for an even greater commitment from many members of the church, but they have accepted this burden willingly.
Seeing the perseverance of my fellow members has inspired me to devote my own time and talent to the church. Many people find that stewardship is their least favorite part of being a church member, but I find it rewarding. I do not have a lot of money to give and sometimes fall behind in my pledges, but I feel it is important to keep up the commitment, contributing what I can by babysitting and doing chores for my neighbors.
Since most of my giving is my time, I have spent considerable hours attending meetings as an Elder and a Stewardship board member. Often it is difficult to attend these meetings on school nights and juggle them with homework, but I have tried not to miss too many. It is important to lend my thoughts and opinions to a discussion. I do not often have much to say, but when I speak up, I am not made to feel embarrassed. Though once intimidated by the experience and expertise of older members, I have realized they are simply people who care deeply about the church community.
In fact, I think that many young people hesitate to become involved and give their time because they do not know what to expect. They do not anticipate forming connections with those from older generations. They do what is comfortable for them; they do not challenge themselves. One can easily let this happen, but I am glad I try, myself. My fellow members value each other's time and opinions and are always willing to give. I believe that over time, young people will realize the collective kindness and generosity present in a community such as Stone Church, and will follow the example.
As I prepare to travel to the Youth Triennium at Purdue University, I hope to find young men and women like myself there, who have fully realized the gifts of their elders.
Summer is giving church school students, who are entering kindergarten through grade 8, an opportunity to tour "God's Amazing World" and learn about God's people in eleven countries. Letters from Presbyterian missionaries, visitors, and activities related to the various cultures are making Sundays fun and educational.
July 18 was an especially fun day, learning about Sudan and welcoming two visitors who taught us African games: William from Sudan and Boley, who has lived in several African countries (and who received one of the welcome backpacks prepared by our Grades 4-5 church school class). On July 25, since our Presbyterian Women have made mosquito nets for pregnant women in Malawi, PW members taught us about Malawi. Dorothy Stevens shared a net she made, and Bea Groppuso helped the children stamp-print a Communion tablecloth, Malawi style. See it on August 1 during our communion service.
August will take the students to Mexico, Romania, Guatemala, and Peru. A stop in the U.S. on August 15 will feature June Tablak sharing her stories about the "Lambing Weekend" in which she participated at the Heifer headquarters in Arkansas.
As they continue their tour of the world this summer, young people can help those in need in two ways: their offering can go into a new Quarter Tower (donated by the Tablaks), and they can participate in the Heifer Read-to-Feed project. The Heifer project gives them good incentive to read books - so their sponsors will help them buy goats for families in need around the world.
Preschool students are enjoying the new Nursery space in Room 6 during the summer.
Summer may give you opportunities to share with others in your family in valuable ways. Discussing the following questions could help you know each other better and possibly share your faith as well. Families could use the questions at mealtime or while riding in the car on vacation.
These questions were used for table cards made by participants in the Family Soul Feast weekend. Prayers were included to encourage sharing with God as well:
"Lord God, teach me faith and caring, teach me wisdom, teach me sharing. Raise me up and make me strong. Be with me the whole day long. Amen."
"Dear God, make me good and kind to all creatures that I find. Help me love God's whole creation. Make my life a celebration. Amen."
I wish you a summer of sharing with each other and with God.
God bless, Miriam Kishi
The church office would like your latest email address. Have you changed your personal or work email address lately? Please let us know. Whether it is a message about a churchwide event, church school, or a family function or one of the Pastors or Session members wants to reach you, we want to make sure you don't get left out of the loop. Please email the church office with your information or call call the office.
The July 13th Session meeting was opened at 7:30 pm by Rebecca Kuiken, with prayer and a reading from The Soul of Tomorrow's Church. "The most charitable institutions, of which the church is one, have tended to view the problems of society as out there, and it was assumed that service to the out there was the sole justification for their existence. Now the view is emerging that one begins in here, inside the servicing institution and makes of it a model institution. This model, because it is a thing of beauty, in itself, becomes a powerful serving force."
Rebecca then described the plans for her May through September 2005 Sabbatical. Part of her plan is to study French Huguenot "prophetesses." She also wants to be in the communities of Iona and Northumbria, experiencing their worship style and their community peacemaking. Rebecca has submitted a grant proposal to the Lilly Foundation.
The Facilities Task Force reported that preliminary construction work is underway. Port-a-potties are in place, with a wash station provided. Utilities have been disconnected at Lincoln House; demolition there started Wednesday, July 14. A trench will be dug along the back of the church for power conduits, and fences are in place. Church members should have access to the basement weekday evenings, but that may change. Workers have taken out the kitchen fire suppression system. Pat Magee and Susan Bedolla are the contacts for any remodeling concerns.
Membership and Evangelism reported that the annual picnic is planned for September 12 at the San Jose History Museum.
Buildings and Grounds reported that Art Holtz, Tom Scott, Lawrence Summers and Leland Wong removed all shelving from the library and music room, removed window coverings, and are investigating the building structure outside the library. Volunteers moved 50 boxes of books from the library to the chapel.
Budget and Finance reported that the annual Financial Review was completed, with no problems. At the end of June, church income was at 98% of budget; expenses were at 96% of budget. Earlier in the evening, Session had elected corporation officers for the coming year: President Chris Nilson and Vice President Rod Thorn. (Church by-laws direct that the moderator and vice moderator of Budget and Finance assume these positions.)
The meeting was adjourned with prayer led by Rebecca Kuiken.
New Board Members Welcomed
The Deacons just welcomed the following new board members:
Mary-Stone Bowers is the Deacon's representative to the new Vision Task Force. She says, "I think this is going to be an exciting job as we try to determine where and what we want Stone Church to be, as we grow in the future. Having three children, I see this as critical." Mary-Stone has been a member for two years and has previously served on the Stewardship board and the Capital Campaign.
Carol Decker is the Church Group Recognition Coordinator. Carol was baptized Presbyterian as a child but was not a regular churchgoer as an adult. She now says, "Having joined Stone Church earlier this year, I feel I've found the spiritual home I had been looking for. As a Deacon, I hope to get acquainted with more of my fellow church members and to provide a caring connection for those in need of prayers or assistance."
Mary-Ann Hudson is the Deacon's representative to the Nominating Committee. She reports, "During a previous term as a Deacon in the late 90's, I felt that I grew in learning a caring way of being in touch with and serving the local congregation. I am looking forward to being a part of this group and to having continued opportunities to extend its work."
Emily Mertens is the New Member Liaison. Emily starts the ninth grade at Mitty High School this fall; she is one of our wonderful youth Deacons. Her reason for becoming a Deacon: "My church family has given so much to me, and I wanted to give something back."
Maureen Ryan is the Visitation Coordinator. She says, "After a year away from Deacons, I am blessed to return for another three-year term. The Deacons are the heart of the community and by performing Deacon tasks, I experience joy."
Brian Sholes is the Prayer Chain Assistant. In his words, "For me, this is a good thing; I need more prayer in my life. As a Deacon, this is a good way to serve by helping those who want and need prayer for things going on in their lives."
Anne Storer is the Senior Christmas Tea Coordinator. She relates, "As a member of Stone for many years, I've always respected the work of the Deacons. Most of my past contributions have been with the youth of the church, and being a Deacon is a great opportunity to contribute to the Stone community in a new way. I am honored and humbled to participate in the prayer chain for our members and hope to organize a wonderful Senior Tea."
Learn about Our Ecumenical Ties in Switzerland
If you would like to learn about our Presbyterian partners in the World Council of Churches (WCC), consider attending the 30th Annual Seminar conducted by the Presbyterian Church's Worldwide Ministries Division at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva, Switzerland. This event occurs Oct. 26-Nov. 3, offering the opportunity for meetings and personal conversation with the WCC staff and our ecumenical Presbyterian leadership. Dale Bracey, a retired minister who regularly attends Stone, participated five years ago and especially enjoyed evening "talk-overs" at the John Knox Reformed Center with people from many nations.
Presbyterians are founding members of the World Council of Churches, and Geneva is the perfect location to learn about the action of the WCC and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches throughout the world.
A tour has been organized for this event, which includes visits to Historic Geneva (worth the trip alone) and excursions to the Orthodox Center in Chambesy and the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, as well as an unforgettable day's sightseeing in the Swiss alpine cheese village of Gruyeres and the Chateau de Chillon on Lake Leman. The cost, including lodging, meals, and touring is $1,100 per person. Please contact Dale for more information.
The Presbytery of San Jose is arranging face-to-face dialogs between Christians and Muslims as an experiment in fostering mutual understanding and respect between the two faiths. Started by a General Assembly initiative, this project will bring a visiting Christian - Muslim team from the Philippines to our Presbytery this September 23 - 30.
You are invited to all three of the events, which will take place in San Jose, Santa Cruz, and Monterey. Information about the locations and times will be coming soon. The hope is that the dialogs will help you establish relationships with your Muslim neighbors, as well as learn about Islam.
Worship Committee Needs Additional Volunteers
The Worship Committee has undergone many changes during the transition to the new church year. The committee would like to acknowledge the volunteers for the past church year, welcome new volunteers for the coming year, and request additional volunteers for its important ministry to the church.
Claire and Bill Ribble have completed their year commitment as Communion Preparation co-chairs. Their last time to serve will be August 1st. Worship is looking for a chairperson or persons to head the committee for the next year. Also on August 1st, the church school children will be proving a handmade stamp-printed communion tablecloth. We look forward to their contribution to worship.
Hilleguus Faber will host a Taize committee meeting at her home on October 4, at 7:30 pm. Anyone interested in working on this committee is welcome to attend.
Heather Reynolds has graciously agreed to be chair of the Flower Committee, as Gretchen Keagle (the previous chair) has become the Deacon's Ripples Program co-chair. Heather is also a member of the Liturgical Arts Committee.
Andrew Reynolds, Elder, class of 2007, will now chair the Liturgical Arts Committee, as Susan Bedolla (the previous chair) is shifting her talents to M&E. Thanks to Susan, this committee is off to a fantastic start. If you are interested in joining this committee, they will meet Sunday, September 19, at 11 am, in either the Sanctuary or the high school room downstairs, to begin preparing for advent.
Worship would like to thank all of their talented and loyal volunteers: Susan, Gretchen, Bill, Claire, Karen Scott and others who have worked so hard to make worship more meaningful. We look forward to the success of the 2004-2005 volunteers.
In addition to the previously mentioned committees, Worship also has committees for Ushers and Liturgy. If you are interested in volunteering for any Worship committees, please contact the appropriate chair:
Worship Moderator: Gail Chaid
Presbyterian Women News
PW Fourth Annual Summer Brunch - August 21
Presbyterian Women would like to extend a special invitation to the community of Stone Church women to their fourth annual summer brunch on Saturday, August 21, 2004, from 9:30 to 11:30 am.
The brunch will be followed by a program titled, A Call to Faithful Democracy, and there will be a discussion on the responsibility of each of us to be an informed voter as we go to the polls in November.
Because of the renovation of our church facilities, the brunch will be held at the Dry Creek Village Association Club House, located less than a mile from the church near the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Gaton Drive.
As in the past, PW will be collecting school supplies for the Youth Education Program of Sacred Heart Community Service. School supplies will also be collected two Sundays, August 15th and August 22nd.
Reservations can be made by contacting Diana Lim or Janice Goertz. Please make your reservations by August 15th. A $3.00 donation would be appreciated.