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The Stone News for October 2004
Pastor's Message for October
If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem, but I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. That makes it hard to plan the day. - E.B. White
A good friend received this "prescription" from her doctor: Do one thing that you enjoy every day.
Would this be a good prescription for you? Would it help you to love God and your neighbor more? When you think about taking daily joy (along with your daily multivitamin) does it seem frivolous? Is it a comfort or a distraction?
Many people find that daily joy is difficult. There is no time. There is too much to do. There are many ways to diagnose the problem: economic hardship, depression and grief, addiction to achievement, and 21st century corporate culture.
We need to be reminded that the Christian life is about both saving and savoring God's good creation. That is what the spiritual practices of worship, prayer, and yes, even confessions and catechisms are all about. So let us open our hearts, hymnbooks and Bibles as reminders.
May you keep before you the 17th century Westminster Catechism's first question:
Q. What is the chief end of [humanity]?
A. [Our] chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy God forever.
Family Holidays, on Saturday, November 20, from 10 am to 2 pm. Alternative celebrations for Advent, Christmas, New Years, and more. Details and sign ups coming soon.
Middle School Retreat, Friday and Saturday, November 5 - 6. Star-studded details coming soon!
How many times have you said to yourself, "I'd like to do more for my community"? How many times have you thought about the various groups to which you belong and marveled at the kindness and cohesiveness of the congregation at Stone Church? Why not make a commitment to your community and church by making an annual pledge?
Stone's Annual Stewardship Campaign is getting underway. Look for pledge cards to arrive in the mail during the third week of October. Stone Church does so much for so many through:
To name only a few ... and these efforts are supported by our staff, who are always ready to lend a hand. All of this requires funding, and while money is not an end in itself, it is the means by which these Acts of Caring are made possible. Planning is greatly facilitated by knowing ahead of time what monies can be counted on from our offerings. The size of your contribution is not important: what matters is that you make a commitment to a place actively involved in community building and doing the right thing - Stone Church of Willow Glen.
Immediately after worship on Sunday, September 12, Stone Church family members and friends gathered at San Jose History Park to enjoy great company, delicious food, and a beautiful afternoon together. The annual event drew 125 picnickers to the tree-shaded grounds of the History Park. Plenty of folks dined and socialized at the picnic tables, while others spread blankets on the grass.
Membership and Evangelism moderator Judy West and her team have been planning the picnic for months. "We wanted everyone to relax, enjoy a good meal, visit with each other, and have fun," Judy explained. Chris Lee arrived early to barbeque, joined by Walter Roach. Families brought dozens of dishes to share, ensuring plenty of food for all.
Picnickers of all ages took turns playing bocce ball, croquet, and badminton. Kids blew bubbles, and everyone enjoyed the African games taught by Tarwo Zok Boley, who is from Liberia. Church members also strolled through the historical buildings in the park.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this event a success. See you next year!
Who are we as a faith community?
Answering that question was the Session's first priority when it created the Stone Church Vision Task Force in June, and the task force is addressing it initially by delving into the beliefs of its own members.
All 13 people on the task force recently wrote their faith statements, which will soon be available on the church's website at www.stonechurch.org. Writing and discussing these statements has helped the task force get a better understanding of its members in theological terms, and the exercise also hints at the breadth of beliefs in the congregation at large.
In the coming weeks, the task force will begin involving the congregation in its effort to clearly express Stone Church's identity to its members and the outside world. It will use the website and faith sharing messages during Sunday worship, in addition to the StoNews in its efforts. All of this is the first phase of a larger, 15-month project, which charges the task force to:
In addition to clarifying who we are as a faith community, priorities of the task force's work include family ministry, worship, an approach to sharing the Good News, and mission and justice work.
Church School Shares Space Downstairs
Church school has had a great start, even with classes temporarily sharing space downstairs, anticipating the eventual move upstairs. Let me take you on a tour.
First, in Room 1, you'll see the enthusiastic Preschool class on one side of the screen. Since there are potentially 10-16 children each Sunday, we have two teams with one teacher and two aides, a piece. After their Bible story and activity, the Preschoolers join the younger children for playtime in the Nursery in Room 6.
On the other side of Room 1, you'll see one of the Rotation workshops for Kindergarten-Grade 5 classes. In September, it was an Art workshop making a plaque reminding them to listen for God's call, as Samuel did. In October, they'll learn about David - his challenge facing Goliath and, after being anointed by Samuel, his ongoing devotion to God.
Room 2, our Computer Lab, has been named "The Mouse House" and has appropriate decorations including the long-loved Church Mouse. In addition to using a program on "Samuel," the older class had a visit from Butch Washington to hear about his personal call from God and about the "Eli's" who helped him hear that call.
Next stop is Room 4 where the Games and Drama workshop helped students in September learn to listen to God, as Samuel did. On October 3, all Kindergarten-Grade 5 students will gather there to focus on Peacemaking, returning to the sanctuary to participate in Worldwide Communion. For the rest of October, Room 4 will have "David" workshops.
Middle School students will tell you that the place to be is Room 5, the room that they are decorating and making their own! Yes, they'll share it when they're not there, but it will definitely be special and will continue to be their room even when the other classes move upstairs. Their focus is "I Know My Bible," a chance to put all those O.T. stories together.
Finally, we come to Room 6, our temporary but very inviting Nursery. The smaller children feel loved and comfortable in that space, not yet knowing an even better one is being created above them.
Yes, we're all sharing space downstairs, but we're very "up" about what's happening in our church school classes. Families will want to be here as often as possible, as well as to read the same stories at home that are now posted on the church website. I encourage others in our church family to consider being a part of these happenings by signing up to teach, aide or substitute in our classes. Church school is on its way up!
Blessings, Miriam Kishi
Youth Group Visits Big Basin
In late August, thirteen teens and five adults opened the new season for the Stone Church Youth Group with a wonderful day at the beach - playing volleyball, building sandcastles, braving the chilly waters at Pajaro Dunes - followed by an overnight campout at Big Basin State Park. There were rave reviews about Gordon Meacham's, Phillip Anderson's, and Max Frohlich's grand sandcastle, the Hobbit Cove in the sand dunes, Lawrence Summers' cooking, s'mores around the campfire, camping in the midst of the magnificent redwoods, a late night full moon walk, and the fun in simply being together with old - and new - friends.
The Youth Group is now into its regular schedule of meetings on Sunday evenings, 7 - 9 pm (at St. Francis Episcopal Church, on Pine and Newport, until their Stone room is ready again!) and invite all Stone Church high school age students to join them.
Adult Studies Focus on Jesus and Reformed Heritage
Two Sunday morning Adult Study Class series will be offered in October and November. One series will study the world, life, and teachings of Jesus, continuing the successful Basic Bible Studies begun last year. The other series will be led by the two pastors and will explore our Reformed Heritage.
Basic Bible Study
Basic Bible Study is an opportunity for those who have never studied the Bible, who have not studied the Bible since they were a child, or who just want a deeper understanding of the Bible.
October 10 and 24 (2 weeks): The World In Which Jesus Lived with Pat Magee as leader. We will examine the social, economic, political, and religious setting in which Jesus lived in first century Galilee as background to understanding the teachings of Jesus.
November 14 - December 19 (6 weeks): The Parables of Jesus with Marge Palmer as leader. We will study six of Jesus' parables as recorded throughout the Gospels.
Our Reformed Heritage
October 3, 10, and 24 (3 weeks): Thinking the Faith Out Loud with Rebecca Kuiken as leader. Our Reformed tradition insists that we use our hearts and minds to be Jesus' disciples. We will draw on a contemporary Reformed theologian, Douglas John Hall, as a starting point for our discussions.
November 14 and 21 (2 weeks): Reformed Theology and a Radical View of Community with Art Mills as leader.
October 17: Quarterly Speak-out Forum
November 7: Discussion and Sermon Feedback with Butch Washington.
The Christian Education Board understands that parents of infants and young children find it difficult to spend an additional hour at Stone on Sunday morning. Therefore, infant and childcare will be available during the 11 am Adult Study hour throughout the year. We would appreciate knowing beforehand if you will need infant or childcare.
Judy West gave the opening prayer for the September 14 Session meeting. A thank you letter from Andrew Willis for his time at the Presbyterian Youth Triennium was shared.
Pat Magee, representing the Facilities Task Force, said that construction is moving along nicely. Walter Roach has helped with the kitchen design in the main building. Pat thanked everyone involved in the weekly meetings with the construction, design, and architectural representatives. Shown to the right is plywood roofing on the front of Lincoln House - next are the water barrier and composite material shingles. Roofing will be completed before the end of September.
Judy West from M & E reported that since construction for the social hall and the rest of the building won't be complete until late in January, coffee time will be discontinued when the weather gets too cold to be outside.
Emily Meacham reported that all articles in the StoNews must be sponsored by a Session or other church committee or board. Each committee must have a StoNews liaison who will work directly with Emily.
Dean Helms said that each Session committee reported to Stewardship a summary of goals and needs, which will be reported to the congregation as the Stewardship campaign progresses. Per capita must be submitted by the church for each member, so if you have forgotten to pay per capita, please do so.
Gail Chaid, Worship Moderator, reported ushers and usher captains are needed, so please volunteer with Cathy Marshall. Advent preparation began with a meeting on September 19; the next meeting is October 7, at 7:30 pm, at Andrew and Heather Reynolds home.
Sue Williams reported that Nominating Committee needs representatives from all other committees; please give these names to Sue.
Budget and Finance reported that finances for this year were cut, and some committees were hit hard. Hopefully, 2005 pledges will increase.
Ed Tablak reported for the Church and World Board that clothing barrel donations should go to the office during construction. Faith sharing for peace will be October 3. The Rotating Shelter will be at Calvary Methodist for September and October. Sign up's are needed for food. Bill Palmer will coordinate the 2005 shelter.
Rosaleen Zisch, Christian Education Moderator reported that vacation church school outreach will be continued.
The Elder-Deacon retreat will be September 26 at the Tablak's residence.
Rebecca Kuiken led the Session in a closing prayer.
This month, the Deacons continued their regular caring ministry of visiting shut-ins, providing transportation for infirm members, praying daily for those on the Prayer Chain, providing home communion, greeting Sunday morning worshipers, and providing grief support.
The Deacons could always use the congregation's help with their Ripples program. If you, on an occasional or a regular basis, could provide transportation or meals for someone in need or could visit one of our many shut-ins, please contact the Ripples coordinators Emily Meacham or Gretchen Keagle.
In the picture to the right, Liz Shandera and Hilleguus Faber enjoy a pleasant conversation at a recent church service.
Hope For Israel And Palestine
International Observer Lloyd Auchard will report on his three-month sojourn in Israel and Palestine as a World Council of Churches representative, on Sunday, November 7, at 7 pm, at Stone Church. Lloyd experienced some scary moments this past winter as he stood alongside people in the village of Jayyous, east of Tel Aviv, whose lives, homes, and work were at risk. Contrary to expectations, he heard a common longing for a just and enduring peace from both Israelis and Palestinians.
Lloyd, a Presbyterian minister who served churches in Portola Valley, the San Joaquin Valley, and the eastern United States, will show pictures and tell stories of the people he came to know and understand: the fears and frustrations of Israeli soldiers, the despair and anger of Palestinians, and their common longing for peace. The event will include an opportunity to submit written questions.
Special Peacemaking Offering
Stone Church will participate in the celebration of World Communion Sunday on October 3. Presbyterians worldwide will join with other people of faith in prayer, reflection, and positive action to build a culture of peace and nonviolence. A special Peacemaking Offering will be collected for this worldwide effort, and 25% of the funds will be used for local peacemaking projects.
Additional information will be available during Sunday worship, which will also include a special Faith Sharing and other activities.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God." - Matthew 5:9
Rotating Housing Program
Stone's contribution to the Rotating Housing Program this year will be providing food and labor, but not our building, since it is under construction. We will be helping Calvary United Methodist Church in the Rose Garden area.
The Church and World board thanks the chefs who have already volunteered to provide meals - your efforts are greatly appreciated. There are still opportunities for food preparation; please sign up during the Sunday coffee time.
No Thank Offering Luncheon This Year
Due to the construction at Stone Church, PW's Coordinating Team has decided not to hold the traditional luncheon to highlight the Thank Offering. Instead, members will be given explanatory materials and envelopes at their October circle meetings.
The Thank Offering has been above and beyond regular church giving for Presbyterian Women since 1887, when Eliza Clokey suggested, during a meeting of the Women's General Missionary Society, that each woman give $1 in addition to her regular giving as a "thank offering to her Lord." Today, the offering supports the needs of people who are aging, disabled, homeless, or refugees, as well as education, health, and justice programs. The July/August issue of Horizons magazine has a complete listing of the projects supported.
Fall is also Pledge Time for Presbyterian Women. Above and beyond their regular church giving, women are encouraged to pledge $5 a month to support the programs of PW at Stone Church, in the Presbytery of San Jose, and church-wide. In addition, a one time per capita payment of $6 is divided so that $4 goes to the PW in the Presbytery of San Jose and $2 goes to the PW in the Synod of the Pacific. Materials and pledge forms will be available at October circle meetings.
October 5, 9:30 am - Focus Group at Lincoln Glen Manor, Skilled Nursing Facility, entrance off Booksin Ave. Virginia Holtz, League of Women Voters, will discuss Ballot Measures on the November election.
October 6, 1:00 pm - Amethyst Circle at the home of Hazel James.
October 7, 9:30 am - Emerald Circle at the home of Catherine Edwards.
October 11, 7:30 pm - Sapphire Circle at the home of Sheri Cunningham.
October 12, 11:30 am - Lunch Bunch at the Taiwan Restaurant. Contact Ida Raby for reservations.
October 14, 9:30 am - PWCT at the home of Alice Thorn.
October 18, 1:00 pm - Book Group #1 at Lincoln Glen Manor, Skilled Nursing Facility, entrance off Booksin Ave. Reading The Kite Runner by Kahled Hosseini.
October 18, 2:30 pm - Book Group #2 at the home of Claudia Hamm.
October 28, 9:30 to 11:00 am - Bible Study with Marge Palmer at the home of Alice Thorn.