The Stone News for March 2005
Pastor's Message for March
Interim. Transition. Construction.
Increasingly here at Stone Church, we are living "in-between times." We are between the old church and the newly renovated building. We are between one pastoral team and another. Finally, we are between Jesus' announcement that "the reign of God is here!" and its full realization.
How we behave in all these in-between times matters to God. When we've lost familiar anchors, can we still manage to extend generosity, hospitality, and love? When there's inconvenience and disruption, what soothes and comforts us and helps us to witness to the living Christ?
Yes, we are living in an interim time, a transition time, a time of construction. Faith meets the nitty-gritty of church life during these in-between times. Are we gracious or resentful at coffee hour? Are we fractious or cooperative at meetings? Where do we place our anxiety? At the foot of the cross in prayer - or at the foot of neighbors in mutual complaint?
The true test of a healthy congregation is found in these in-between times. Ultimately Stone Church reveals to whom it belongs by the quality of its spiritual witness. Rooted and grounded in the love of Christ, our discipleship shines clearly in and outside the sanctuary walls at all times.
Two practical things, however, will help our discipleship.
First, communicate clearly. Bring your questions, anxieties, loves and longings to the leaders - pastors and Session. Don't let them hang like a cloud or cause backstage whirlwinds. "Gossip is the dark side of language," we are told. Let us keep our language in the light! In this way, the fabric of our common life will not tear and fray, but can be woven into patterns that are strong and life giving.
Second, engage in corporate worship on Sundays. Your presence encourages others. In this way, God remains the focus of our life together.
Church life is a discipline. The way we live in this interim time speaks loudly of the way we live in all interim times. May the living Christ comfort and renew our common life in the days ahead.
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Stone Church Celebrates Renewal
Church renovation is rapidly nearing completion, and it will soon be time to celebrate the renewed and improved Stone Church! A church-wide celebration and open house will take place on Saturday afternoon, April 16, from 1 to 4:30 pm, with a formal dedication at 2:30 pm.
The entire Willow Glen community will be invited through articles in the Willow Glen Resident and Willow Glen Times. Our close neighbors, who suffered with the noise and trucks parked on the streets, will be sent special invitations. Churches who helped us get through the last nine months will be honored: St. Francis Episcopal for housing our youth group, hosting one day of our photo shoot for the pictorial directory, and hosting memorial receptions; Willow Glen United Methodist for also hosting memorial receptions; and Calvary United Methodist for taking our assigned month with the InnVision Rotating Shelter.
Festivities will include music concerts in the sanctuary; art and history exhibits in the social hall; tours of the facility (including the offices and library in Lincoln House); and refreshments on the patio. Christian Education will also provide special activities for children and adults. The nursery will be open during the entire event for infant and childcare.
Please join your church family for this much-anticipated day in our church history. If you've stayed away because of the construction, please come back. And everyone, please bring your friends and neighbors. Let's all celebrate this completed labor of love!
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The Rev. Rebecca Kuiken Receives Two Prestigious Invitations For Study
Bruce Raby, head of the Personnel and Administration Board, wrote the following article for the StoNews
Stone Church recently received honors in the form of two invitations to our associate pastor, the Rev. Rebecca Kuiken.
The first invitation to the Rev. Kuiken was from the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties to go on a study trip to Israel, March 3-13, with a group of distinguished Bay Area community leaders. This study will expose the participants to a full picture of Israeli society, left to right, religious to secular, Jewish to Arab and Muslim - especially one that is based on the realities experienced by its citizens and not on media images. A scholarship covers all expenses but $750; the Rev. Kuiken's budgeted continuing education fund provides the $750. This opportunity is particularly appropriate for our Lenten worship theme of Facing Our Jerusalem.
The second invitation is from the Center of Theological Inquiry at Princeton Theological Seminary for the Rev. Kuiken to participate in a Lilly Endowment study project for pastoral spiritual formation. All expenses are paid for this event, November 13-16.
The Rev. Kuiken is not requesting any additional time away from the church; she is making small changes in her approved sabbatical dates. (Her sabbatical is a contractual agreement that is part of her call to Stone Church.)
Acting on a unanimous recommendation from the Personnel and Administration Board, Session approved the Rev. Kuiken's participation in both events. Pastoral coverage has been arranged during her absences.
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Worship During Lent
Lent and Easter Worship Services
Lent is a time of intensive spiritual preparation for all of us. We pray and prepare to follow Jesus faithfully to the end. We open ourselves to Jesus' love.
Join us March 20 at 9:30 am for a special Palm Sunday service. The Stone Church choir is preparing The Magnificat, by Pergolesi, with instrumentalists from the San Francisco Conservatory and singers from UC Santa Cruz. The Maundy Thursday service, on March 24 at 7:30 pm, will be a simple communion service for all ages. On Good Friday, March 25, a Tenebrae service will be held at 7:30 pm. "Tenebrae" (Latin for darkness) involves scripture, prayer, and candles gradually extinguished to remember Jesus facing his death. On Easter Sunday, March 27, we will have one service at 9:30 am.
Taizé Services Continue Every Tuesday During Lent
Take some special moments for yourself this Lenten season. Join us at our Tuesday night Taizé Services. Come at 6:30 pm and settle in with some quiet music and contemplative time. The service begins at 6:45 pm and lasts until 7:30 pm. Chants, music, quiet time and prayer offer up a time of exceptional renewal. March 1, 8, 15, and 22.
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World-renowned Jesus Scholar, Dr. Marcus Borg, to Lecture at Stone April
1 - 2
World-renowned scholar and writer, Dr. Marcus Borg, will present the annual Henrietta Perdue Memorial Lecture,"Two Visions of Christianity Today" on Friday evening, April 1. Dr. Borg will present a series of three lectures on the topic, "Seeing Jesus Again," on Saturday, April 2. Each lecture will be followed by a time for questions from the audience.
Christians and the church in North America today are deeply divided by two very different visions of Christianity, including ways of seeing the Bible, the Christian tradition, and the Christian life. The Friday evening lecture will describe these two visions of Christianity, clarifying the differences and seeking points of commonality. The Saturday lecture series will summarize Dr. Borg's picture of the historical Jesus, based on his distinguished career as a Jesus scholar.
The cost is $10 for the Friday night lecture, $15 for the Saturday lecture series, or $20 for both programs. Tickets are on sale in the social hall after Sunday morning worship. Childcare is available and should be requested when you purchase tickets.
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Ball of Yarn Inspires Thoughts About Lent
This Lent, the Liturgical Arts Committee prayerfully reflected on Luke 9:51-56 and chose the theme, Facing Our Jerusalem. When Jesus faced Jerusalem, he faced his destiny and vocation as the Child of God. Every Christian is called in discipleship to follow Christ: each of us has our own Jerusalem to face.
The ball of yarn and rope at the front of the sanctuary symbolizes our faith journey. Like a ball and rope, we are connected to God and to one another. As we connect to God, and as we connect with each other, we weave our faith journeys together as a congregation and strengthen our Spirit.
On the first Sunday of Lent, worshipers were asked to write about their faith journey and their own Jerusalem. As we move forward into Holy Week, you will discover the yarn ball and the cards finding their way into the sanctuary. Just as each of us progress and transform during these days of Lent, so too the liturgical arts in the sanctuary will change.
As you sit and view the liturgical arts, use your imagination and meditate on your own personal faith journey as you face your Jerusalem.
The Lenten Liturgical Arts Committee includes Heather and Andrew Reynolds, Donald Foster and Karen Scott. If you are interested in liturgical arts or would like to assist Worship by being an usher, bringing flowers or attending Taizé services, contact Gail Chaid, Worship Moderator.
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A Special Free Lecture/Presentation
From Jewish Message to Gentile Mission:
How Peter, Paul and James Invented Christianity
E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor
of New Testament Studies
Vanderbilt University, Nashville
Sunday, March 6
Reception at 3:30 pm, Lecture at 4:30 pm
First Congregational Church
1980 Hamilton Avenue
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A rainy, long drive over the hill to Aptos didn't dampen the spirits of six of Stone's young people going through confirmation this spring. They were rewarded with a beautiful day at the beach when their confirmation mentors joined them on Saturday. They used their Bibles to answer questions and to study the triune God. In addition, they had games, food, and fun!
Retreat participants were (mentor, young person): Mike Breuleux, Greg Edwards; Joyce Degan, Janna Minehart; Rich Frohlich, Mark Wyllie; Claudia Hamm, Katie Hubbert; Bob Lowry, Gordon Meacham; Walter Roach, Brett Bowers. Mentor Chris Lee also attended. The Rev. Rebecca Kuiken and Elder Rosaleen Zisch provided leadership. Additional members of the 2005 Confirmation Class are Emilie Nissen (mentor: Chris Lee) and Phillip Anderson (mentor: Jim Hagan).
The confirmation process culminates for this exceptional group of youth with their attending the March Session meeting if they have written a Faith Statement and desire to become a member of the church.
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Senior High Group Participates in Home Building Project in Lindsay,
The participating organizations are the Stone Church Senior High Group and Self-Help Enterprises, Visalia, California. The site is Lindsay, California, a town in the Central Valley of California's agricultural center. The time is March 28-April 2. We are on the march - our youth and their advisors will spend the week learning and practicing house-building skills and assist families building their own affordable housing. This is the opportunity of a lifetime - to help, to learn, to form friendships with our brothers and sisters in need, and to deepen our own community of love and acceptance of Christ's commandment "to love others as you love yourselves."
We will invade the town of Lindsay, California, where Self-Help Enterprises is building a community for low income families - one of many in Self-Help's forty-year history of building affordable housing where families may live in safety and comfort.
The following senior high youth have committed to Youth Group Mission Trip 2005: Nia Olmstead, Gordon Meacham, Laura Kate Anderson, Jon Lou, Claire Kiely, David Moncrief, Rachel Buckley, Andrew Willis, Dan Willis, and Ellen Bailey. Adult advisors Lawrence Summers, Hilleguus Faber, Art Holtz, Arthur Summers, and Kate Wheatley will be working side by side with our senior high youth - hopefully the adults will be equal to the challenge of working with so many of our talented and dedicated youth!!
The Youth Group Mission Trip 2005 will be a life-changing experience for our young people. We ask for your support and prayers as we gather to work, to forge new friendships, to create community, and to extend the hand of love through our work. Service and commitment are what these young people offer. What they will receive is grace beyond measure.
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Reserve your spot now!
Plans are under way for the Stone Church Art & Handcraft Festival on Saturday, May 21. This is your chance to showcase your talents in painting, ceramics, beading, knitting, embroidery, quilting and more. We will have separate sales and display areas and welcome all kinds of handcrafted work. To determine display space requirements, the M&E board needs to know how many people plan to participate. Please contact Pat Patterson by March 31. Indicate whether you plan to sell or display your work and how much table and/or wall space you will need. We're also seeking volunteers to help with setup and activities that day. Let's make this a fun event for the whole community!
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Men's Book Group Meets
The Men's Book Group announces two dates:
On March 21, at the home of Gary & Nancy Weiss, the group will discuss Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, by Lynne Truss. "You don't need to be a grammar nerd to enjoy this one ... Who knew grammar could be so much fun?" (Newsweek) We all know the basics of punctuation, or do we? Most neighborhood signage tells a different story.
On April 18, the group extends a special invitation to everyone at Stone. Willow Glen resident and author, Laurel Doud, will join us for a discussion of her book, This Body: A Novel of Reincarnation. Please save this date; more information will be included in next month's StoNews.
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The Session met February 8 in Lincoln House with Jane Odell, Interim Executive Presbyter (Presbytery of San Jose) as Moderator.
The Session's first action was to reluctantly accept Elder Don Skipwith's resignation. A special congregational meeting was called to elect a new elder. Jody Meacham was nominated to fill the vacancy.
Pat Magee from the Facilities Task Force reported on the construction status and plans for the renovation celebration. Pat said progress should be more visible in the coming weeks as appliances are installed and finishing work completed. The project is expected to be finished by the end of March. Plans for the renovation celebration on April 16 are progressing (see article elsewhere).
Gail Chaid, worship moderator, passed around a liturgist sign-up sheet. Expect to see more elders up front during Sunday worship.
The Session learned of the Rev. Rebecca Kuiken's invitation from the Jewish Community Relations Council to go to Israel with other community leaders from the Bay Area in March. Session voted to modify the Rev. Kuiken's sabbatical dates so she could take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Her sabbatical will now start on April 17, which means the Rev. Kuiken will be here for the renovation celebration. Our worship theme for Lent is Facing Our Jerusalem, and we are able to send the Rev. Kuiken there for a firsthand report!
The Session then spent an extended amount of time in conversation with Jane Odell and Mel Goertz (representing the Presbytery) regarding our current pastoral transition. The Session was briefed on the procedure for the next step in the process, which is selecting a pastor to serve as Stated Supply. Many concerns about the transition were raised, as were suggestions for specific actions. Additional meetings were scheduled to deal with the numerous and complex issues that this situation brings. Expect to be hearing more from the Session soon, as it works its way through this time of change for Stone Church.
The meeting was concluded with prayer.
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Stone Church members perform many acts of kindness for many people. One ongoing kindness, under the auspices of the Deacons, is little known among our members. Much appreciated by its recipients are the many activities provided for the enjoyment of Live Oak Adult Day Services clients. Stone members entertain with cello, guitar, piano, voice, exercise movements, and craft abilities. They also volunteer to just "help out".
Do you have some amazing photographs; do your little ones love to talk and hug; do you make balloon animals; can you tell great stories; do you have a friendly dog; are you a stand-up comic? Is there something you can do on a regular, occasional, or one-time basis to stimulate and brighten the days of Live Oak clients?
Live Oak now has five centers: Willow Glen, Cupertino, downtown San Jose, Gilroy, and Los Gatos. They are open from 9 am until 3 pm, Monday through Friday. On Sunday, March 6, the Deacons will have a sign-up table in the social hall. Come by to talk with us about what you may want to do and how it might work for you. If you won't be at Stone that Sunday, call Maureen Ryan or Ed Tablak to discuss your ideas and to sign up.
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Nominating Committee Seeks Next Church Leaders
Stone Church's Nominating Committee is now fully constituted and diligently working to find the next group of leaders for our congregation.
If you would like to learn more about being an elder or deacon, feel free to contact someone currently serving in these groups or any member of the Nominating Committee: Sue Williams (moderator), Alan Decker, Ann Pierce, Bob Lowry, Carolyn Clendenning, Catherine Amos, Donald Foster, Gordon Meacham, Ida Raby, June Tablak, Leland Wong, Mary-Ann Hudson, Pat Patterson, Sharon McElroy, Steve Stark, or Virginia Holtz.
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Family Clusters Begin in May
Presbyterian Women and the Membership and Evangelism Board invite you to join a "Family Cluster" on a night that works for you and your family. There will be as many clusters as there are participants, with 4 or 5 families meeting together for a potluck, games, inspiration time and whatever appeals to the families. Sign-ups will begin in April, and the regular monthly meetings will begin in May.
For our purposes, "a family" includes singles, young and old, and we welcome grandparents, aunts, uncles, and lots of cousins. No one is excluded. You will have a choice of evenings as we want to involve as many members and friends as possible. Call June Tablak if you have any questions.
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Church and World Board Extends Thanks, Announces Events
Church and World Board would like to thank the congregation for their response to the Special Offering to provide aid to victims of the Tsunami. Stone Church mailed a check to Church World Service for $6,252.90.
Here are some notes about upcoming events.
Mission to El Salvador
Dale Bracey needs donated items for an upcoming mission trip to El Salvador. Toys, puzzles, and books for children may be cluttering your closet: share them with children in rural El Salvador, and feel good about clearing some boxes at home!
Dale will be taking these toys, puzzles, and books to the children in a small subsistence farm community named La Canoa (the canoe). Books must be in Spanish or bilingual and at the preschool or elementary level. (Please note that stuffed animals are not allowed.)
If anyone has pharmaceutical contacts, donated medicines for the village health center would make a prize contribution. Please bring all of your donated items to the church for Dale by March 13.
One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS)
The special offering, OGHS, will be collected on Easter Sunday. Learn more about it from the Faith Sharing presentations scheduled for March 13 and March 20.
The annual CROP walk will be held April 24. Church and World Board is actively seeking leadership participation from senior high students. Sign-ups start in March. For more information, contact Derk Johnson.
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Stewardship Reports on Pledge Campaign on Pledge Campaign
Stone Church's 2005 Pledge Campaign began last October when the Stewardship Board distributed pledge packets to the Session on October 12, 2004, and mailed packets to the Deacons on October 13, 2004. Congregational pledge packets were mailed on October 18, 2004.
Since that time, 154 pledging units have responded with pledge commitments amounting to $306,682. This is a 9.6% decrease from the 2004 year-end pledge total. A total of 66 pledging units increased their commitments, 10 new pledging units were added, and 24 pledging units decreased their pledges. Seven of the 172 pledging units that pledged in 2004 moved or left the church.
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Opportunities for Families Abound this Spring and Summer
The Christian Education committee has been working hard to plan many wonderful events this spring and summer for families and children of all ages. Please be sure to save the following dates.
Summer Camp at Westminster Woods
A Westminster Woods representative will be at Stone Church on Sunday, March 6, during church school, to promote their great summer camps for grades 1 - 12.
Stone has reserved space for campers from our church for the weeks beginning July 17 and 24. Registration forms (for these weeks) that are turned in by March 13 will receive a discount and guaranteed spot. Detailed brochures will be available in the church office and from the camp representative.
Parent Support Opportunities
Explore what gives young people the best chance for success in the future, on Sunday, March 20, from 11 am to 1 pm. A video on the 40 Developmental Assets that have been shown to contribute to children's success will be shown. You will also have the opportunity to help plan how Stone Church can support parents in the future.
Additionally, please save Sunday, May 1, for another parent support opportunity.
Vacation Church School
This summer's Vacation Church School will begin after worship with an inter-generational experience "in Taiwan" and will spend the week on an exciting "train ride around the world" with stops in four other countries. If you have students in preschool through grade 7, save June 26 - 30 for a unique Vacation Church School experience. Adults and older students are also needed to join the crew.
- Miriam Kishi
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Sunday Morning Adult Study Provides Varied Opportunities
The Adult Education offerings at Stone Church are always interesting and enriching. Please join us at 11:00 am Sunday morning to take part in these stimulating, educational events.
March 6 - March 13: Sermon Feedback and Conversation with the Pastor. Class participants discuss the morning's sermon and share thoughts with the pastor.
March 20, Palm Sunday: Special Choir Music (no Adult Study)
March 27, Easter (no Adult Study)
April 3: Speak Out Forum (no Adult Study )
April 10 - April 24: Hosea
Through Hosea, we see the God who loves even when that love is not returned. Perhaps a prophet of the 8th century BCE may suggest how we relate to personal betrayal, as well as faithfulness as citizens whose nation is headed in the wrong direction. Dale and Barbara Bracey will lead a three-week study of the inspirational book of Hosea.
April 10 - May 15: The Heart of Christianity
Marcus Borg's latest book, The Heart of Christianity, provides an in-depth exploration of key ideas presented in the April 1 Perdue Memorial Lecture by Dr. Borg. The book describes and contrasts two competing ways of viewing Christianity: the "earlier, traditional paradigm" and a new "emerging paradigm." For millions of people who have turned away from traditional beliefs about God, Jesus, and the Bible, but still long for a relevant, nourishing faith, Dr. Borg shows why the Christian life can remain a transforming relationship with God. Dr. Pat Magee will lead a six-week study of this thought-provoking book.
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Presbyterian Women News
Presbytery PW Spring Gathering
A Spring Gathering with the theme of Ministry to Women and Children with HIV AIDS, sponsored by Presbytery Presbyterian Women, will be held at Stone Church on March 7, from 9 am to noon. The program includes updates on the Malawi project to which Presbytery PW provided ten AIDS Home-based Care Kits last year. The theology and understanding of healing and wholeness that prompt action in HIV/AIDS ministries will also be examined. Brunch will be served during the event.
This will be one of the first activities to use the new social hall, and even with some of the work unfinished, women from around the Presbytery will be able to see this beautiful new space.
Special Nurturing Retreat Day for Women
Presbytery PW is offering a day for nurturing of the spirit, to be led by Jane Odell, Interim Executive Presbyter (Presbytery of San Jose) and long-time Christian Educator. The event will be held on Saturday, April 30, from 9 am to 2 pm, at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Aptos. Registration brochures will be available soon. Contact Claudia Hamm (356-6665) for more information.
PW Calendar for March 2005
Mar 1, 9:30 am: Focus Group at the home of Liz Shandera.
Mar 2, 1:00 pm: Amethyst Circle at the home of Evelyn Radunich.
Mar 3, 9:30 am: Emerald Circle at the home of Catherine Amos.
Mar 8, 11:30 am: Lunch Bunch at the Taiwan Restaurant; contact Ida Raby.
Mar 14, 7:30 pm: Sapphire Circle at the home of Tina Luebcke.
Mar 21, 2:30 pm: Book Group II, at the home of Rhonda Lakatos, reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Mar 24, 9:30 am: Bible Study with Marge Palmer, Conference Room, Lincoln House.
Mar 28, 1:00 pm: Book Group I, at the home of Liz Shandera, reading Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi.
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