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The Stone News for November 2005
Quick AnnouncementsHelp Decorate Our Church on November 22 from 6 to 9 pm. The Worship Committee invites everyone to help put up the church's Christmas tree and hang the liturgical arts for Advent. Contact Gail Chaid.
Deacons' Parent's Day Out will be held on Saturday, December 3, from 10 am to 2 pm. Children from infant to age 12 will be cared for and fed lunch to give parents some free time. Contact Anne Storer or Mike Wyllie.
J. Philip Newell, internationally acclaimed poet and author, who writes about Celtic spirituality, will be the Henrietta Perdue Lecturer, May 5 - 6, 2006. Contact Pat Magee.
Because so many events are announced in this StoNews issue, we summarize them in date sequence here:
Come to Taizé for an Interlude of Peace in the Advent SeasonA wall of candlelight illuminates the dimly lit sanctuary when worshippers enter the Sanctuary for a service of meditation, prayer, and chanted music. The style of music is repetitions of chants, sometimes with a cantor singing harmonies and descants. The prayerful songs are beautifully simple and easily learned. There is precious silence, a short scripture reading, time to light a candle, and time to pray at the wooden cross. Taizé services provide an interlude of peace - a time of kairos (God's time) in the midst of chronos (human time).
"We are blessed that we can retreat from the world for this brief period of time, so that when the world re-enters, we recognize what is timeless in all time."
Taizé services will be held on all Tuesdays during Advent: November 29; December 6, 13, and 20, at 6:45 pm.
- Hilleguus Faber
Postscript: Click Here to see the new Taizé web page.
Stone's Refugee Family, the Woldemeskels, Thriving in VirginiaSheri Cunningham was recently in touch with the Ethiopian refugee family that Stone sponsored in 2000. Melaku and Aster Woldemeskel, and their daughter, Maria, are doing very, very well in Virginia.
Melaku has a new job; he no longer drives a taxi, but is working for an internet company. He says the work is very easy for him, and he enjoys it. Aster is also working, and their daughter, Maria, is doing well in school - she corrects her parents' English pronunciation every day.
Melaku was able to bring his cousin and her family here from Ethiopia. They lived with the Woldemeskels for three months, and then Melaku helped them get low-cost housing on their own qualifications. He is very proud of this accomplishment. Both his cousin and her husband have jobs and are doing well.
Melaku said he was very sad when he had to leave his friends at Stone and hopes to come back for a visit some day. He enjoys reading the StoNews every month, keeping updated on church information, but misses us all.
He wants to be sure to tell everyone at Stone, "Hello," and to thank them for their wonderful support while they were here.
He sounded very, very happy, and his English has improved greatly ... perhaps thanks to his daughter!
If you would like to drop the Woldemeskels a note, please contact the church office for their address.
Lyn Johnson Art ShowLyn is a lifelong Presbyterian; his family was one of four founding families of Heritage Presbyterian Church in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. He has tenaciously provided art used at Stone Church for the past fourteen years ... time and talent that produces treasure.
He will exhibit this and other work in the Social Hall on Saturday, the nineteenth of November, from 11 am to 6 pm and on Sunday, the twentieth of November, from 11 am to 2 pm. Original art, prints, cards and ceramics will be available for purchase, and ten percent of the proceeds will be tithed to Stone Church.
Praising the Lord with art!
Postscript: for a quick look at some of Lyn's work from a few years ago, click HERE. These original bulletin covers were designed and created by Lyn for use in Sunday worship. The covers shown date from 2000 and 2001.
Family Snow Trip Dates AnnouncedAlthough it's hard to believe, the snow season is swiftly approaching, as is the annual Stone Church Family Snow Trip. This always-enjoyable event takes place at Zephyr Point Conference Center, Lake Tahoe, and will run from Friday, January 27, through Sunday, January 29, 2006. Here are the basic costs for rooms and meals:
Extra adult: $34.00 for the weekend
Child (3 - 9 years old): $14.00 for the weekend
Child (younger than 3): no charge
Maximum charge for family in same room: $188 for the weekend
$40.00 per adult
$26.00 per child (3 - 9 years old)
Child (younger than 3): no charge
Stone Summer Camping Trip Returns August 2006Stone's Summer Camping Trip returns the weekend of August 11 - 13, 2006, at beautiful Costanoa resort on the coast between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay, surrounded by Ano Nuevo State Park. Beautiful hiking trails start at Costanoa and go inland, and also go coastward to beach and tide pool access.
Tent sites have been reserved at $52 per night (for up to four people). Luxury tent-cabins are available for $135 per night, but will be reserved only by specific request. We will be doing our own cooking, at a cost of about $25 per family.
You can sign up in the Social Hall at Coffee Time, or contact Maureen Searing. A one-night deposit is due at sign-up.
Stone Church Golfers Annual TournamentWhat a glorious October day! It was warm and sunny by the time all 24 golfers arrived at The Villages Golf and Country Club, in Evergreen, for the 10th annual Stone Church Golf Tournament.
Since the golfers represent all ability levels, teams with both the lowest and the highest scores were recognized. Also recognized were the men and women who claimed the longest drive and closest to the pin awards.
Additional donated prizes were awarded by drawing names. Lucky winners went home with gift certificates for Siena restaurant, a Round Table Pizza party, and Aqui restaurant; a golf club from Gene Fasano; sleeves of golf balls; a golf book from Willow Glen Books; award-winning wine from the Ribble Family winery; and many more prizes. Once again our Willow Glen neighborhood merchants and Stone Church members were very generous in providing many of our prizes.
We are very grateful for all this support. So, as you shop and dine, please remember the following merchants who provided monetary support for our Stone Church tournament. Please thank them by supporting them with your business!
Round Table Pizza (Lincoln Ave)
Willow Glen Books
Siena: A Mediterranean Bistro
Aqui Cal-Mex Grill
The Tablak Family
The Ribble Family
Be sure to mark your calendars for next years' tournament: Saturday, October 14, 2006, at The Villages.
- Maureen Ryan
Christian Education Notes
Bibles GivenOur church is giving Bibles to four young people this year. On October 16 it was great to see that many of all ages had received Bibles when they were young. Marge Palmer presented Bibles that day to fourth graders Wilson Borden and Kelsey McDaid, and to fifth grader Joelle Borden, plus one will go to Kirsta McKee.
Bible recipients and their families gathered after worship for brunch and an opportunity to get better acquainted with their Bibles. They learned how the Bible is the story of God's relationship with God's people which continues with us as the lead characters as we learn to be faithful and trust God's faithfulness to us.
Making Holidays More Joyful with Less Stress and Debt
That's the goal of the "De-Stressing the Holidays for Families" class on November 13 from 11AM to 12noon. Parents will go home with ideas to share with their families to help them make decisions to simplify their holidays and focus on the real spirit of Christmas. Activities will help children think about the meaning of the holidays as well. Sign up by November 6 to participate.
On November 13, 20 and 27 students will make Advent Wreaths in their classes and take home a new "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" booklet with a guide to use for family worship with their Advent Wreath and other ideas for a Christ-centered holiday.
Take advantage of this opportunity to make intentional choices about your celebration and gift-giving. You can find more joy and reduce the stress and debt!
Responding with Love
Church School students responded to Jeremiah's message that God writes God's love and law in our hearts. They planted more than 30 bulbs in church flower beds, made 20 cards which Rev. David Rodriquez (pastor of First Presbyterian in Hollister, now serving as Chaplain in Iraq) will give to U.S. soldiers, and accepted youth offering envelopes from Stu Bear pledging to continue to share God's love and their gifts with others.
Sunday Morning Adult Study Offers Edifying Choices
Sunday morning adult study classes are being offered this school year in two broad areas: (1) Bible study and church history, and (2) spirituality and Christian life. In addition, special classes will be offered to assist parents in being Christian educators.
All classes run
from 11 am to noon with nursery care available during the hour.
And just a reminder: nursery care is always available during the adult study hour.
November Choices Include Good Books
Here are the latest additions to the Stone Church library,
located in the Lincoln House Conference Room.
- Sue Williams, Library Coordinator
News from Presbyterian Women
Thank Offering LuncheonA new Habitat for Humanity project to teach construction skills to women in prison will be the topic of the Thank Offering luncheon on November 12. Through the project, women will be taught construction skills by building birdhouses; the birdhouses will then be sold, with proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity.
The Rev. David McCreath will be the presenter, speaking out of his wide knowledge of Habitat's work. The project will be the subject of a proposal to Presbyterian Women's Creative Ministries committee, seeking funding in 2006. Usually PW hears about projects already funded; this is a chance to hear about one that is asking for funding. The Thank Offering is one of two offerings taken by PW nationally each year.
The Thank Offering luncheon will be held in the Social Hall on Saturday, November 12, at noon. For reservations, contact Tina Luebcke by November 7.
Coffee SalePW's regular Fair Trade Coffee Sale will be November 20, the third Sunday, in the Social Hall after worship. Stock up for Christmas!.
November 2, 1:00 pm, Amethyst Circle, in the Library Conference Room
November 3, 9:30 am, Emerald Circle, at Alice Thorn's home
November 8, 11:30 am, Lunch Bunch (Taiwan Restaurant; call Ida Raby for details)
November 12, noon, Thank Offering Lunch in the Social Hall
November 14, 7:30 pm, Sapphire Circle, at Sue Evans' home
November 17, 9:30 am, Bible Study with Marge Palmer, in the Library Conference Room
November 17, 1:00 pm, Book Group I, reading The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd, at Liz Shandera's home
November 21, 2:30 pm, Book Group II, reading Beethoven's Hair by Russell Martin, at Marcia Ludwig's home
New Medicare D Prescription PlanConfused by the new Medicare D Prescription Plan? The Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP), a program of the Council on Aging, provides free, objective information to help those on Medicare make the best choices. Call (800) 510-2020, or your local senior center, to make an appointment for counseling. The Willows Senior Center (448-6400) is a HICAP site.
- Rhonda Lakatos
Church and World Board Provides Myriad Opportunities to Serve Others
Community Inns Comes to Successful ConclusionFrom September 24 through October 28, Stone welcomed 15 homeless men, as one of the 12 churches in InnVision's Community Inns Rotating Faith-based Shelter. This year, three other congregations helped us with meals.
Stone's members enjoyed being part of this endeavor - people rushed to sign up. The dinner dates filled quickly, as well as the opportunities to help with shopping, hosting, coordinating, and moving. One church member commented that people who do not usually participate in church activities take part in this program.
All ages were included in this project: the Church School and Middle School kids made placemats that brightened each table; the Vivace children's choir (which practices at Stone) provided lovely singing; and the High School kids provided their unique energy and enthusiasm.
One of our guests shared a sad story: When his wife died, he had to sell his car and other belongings to pay her funeral expenses. He lost his housing and began to live on the street. He was so grateful for food and a place to sleep.
My (Christmas) Shopping List for the WorldDuring November, Church & World will provide Alternative Gift Catalogs, from Alternative Gifts International, which let you honor a loved one with a life-giving gift for hunger relief, shelter, medical assistance, peace and justice, the environment, child survival, and more. C & W has 12 catalogs, which will be available in the Social Hall during Coffee Time, in the Church Office, or by contacting Bea Groppuso.
Make Hunger HistoryHunger Action Advocacy in the Presbytery of San Jose is providing an opportunity to make "hunger history." On November 4 - 6, Bread for the World, a nationwide Christian group seeking justice for the world's hungry people by lobbying our nation's decision makers, is planning a Hunger Action Retreat. The speaker will be the Rev. David Beckman, President of Bread for the World, and the location is the Mt. Cross Conference Center in Felton. Registration forms are available in the Church Office. For more information, click to email Edie Lott.
Tours of Bill Wilson CenterEach year the Bill Wilson Center, with counseling, housing, education and advocacy services, sets up tours for the community. C & W contributes to this center on your behalf with Stewardship funds, so please consider visiting them on one of these dates:
Adopt-a-FamilyLook for the Christmas Tree, decorated with colored paper ornaments, which will be set up in the Social Hall toward the end of November. Friends Outside gives us the opportunity to make Christmas happier for a struggling San Jose family. We hope to adopt two families this year. You may choose a gift item, a food item or grocery or gift certificates.
Backpacks for RefugeesTo welcome refugees arriving at the San Jose airport, C & W has been providing backpacks to be filled with ten specific items. On October 9, 12 backpacks were quickly distributed. More backpacks, and the list of items, will be provided before Thanksgiving. Look for us in the Social Hall during Coffee Time.
Mission Study Committee Sends Questionnaire, Schedules Group DiscussionsYou've helped us identify the issues. Now it's time to find out how you feel about them.
The Mission Study Committee is ready to conduct the most anticipated part of its role in the search for Stone Church's next pastor, which will make for a very busy November. Here's what's going to happen:
- Jody Meacham
First Call for PNC MembersThe Nominating Committee invites you to begin thinking about the membership of the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC), which will recommend Stone's next head of staff.
Once our Mission Study Committee finishes its work, the congregation will elect a PNC. This group should reflect Stone's membership and should include members who are willing to meet weekly over many months. The committee will review the applications of interested pastors, narrow down the number of prospects, check references, listen to sermon tapes, and with the help of Presbytery, do all the other necessary tasks leading up to nominating a person to be out next pastor.
The manual On Calling a Pastor says this: "Election to a PNC is a sacred trust. The members of the congregation must give careful and prayerful attention to the election of persons to serve in this important role. Those who are asked to serve should consider this to be a significant commitment of their time, energy, and very best wisdom. They should be persons who understand and accept this as a task of spiritual discernment, not being easily influenced by personal desires or congregational politics, but rather listening for the voice of God. They also should be persons of integrity who respect confidentiality." Are there people you would like to be considered? Are you feeling a desire to be on the PNC, yourself?
Over the next month or so, there will be a brightly colored box under the stained glass window in the Social Hall. Please put into this box the names of members you suggest; and it is fine to suggest yourself.
The Nominating Committee will seriously consider all names submitted, as well as other names, and will bring a slate of candidates to the congregation for a vote.
- Sue Williams, Moderator, Nominating Committee
The Rev. Marge Palmer opened the October Session meeting with a prayer on mission support. New members Dan Raby, Pam Rosia-Bohrk, Cindy Roberts, Mike Roberts, Hilda Salazar, and Jane Martin were received by the Session after they introduced themselves and told how their faith journey brought them to Stone Church. Marge then discussed plans for a Session/Deacon retreat to be held in the Social Hall.
There was an insightful discussion from many Session members who had been on previous Pastor Nominating Committees, after which, it was concluded that Stone would have a nominating committee of 10 members, including one youth member.
Revised charters for two boards, Church & World and Christian Education, were presented, discussed, and approved.
Bruce Raby, Personnel & Administration board moderator, presented a fundraising policy with clarifications and a revised facility-use fees schedule. Both received unanimous approval.
Ed Tablak, Membership & Evangelism board moderator, gave thanks to David Minehart for his work as our past webmaster and for the easy transition to Rod Thorn as the new webmaster.
Dean Helms, Stewardship board moderator, talked about the fall Stewardship drive and encouraged timely pledging.
The Church & World board procured a new rainbow banner for Buildings & Grounds to place on the side of the education wing.
Buildings & Grounds is investigating options for new church signs.
The Christian Education board is grateful for the donation of seven tables from Doug Williams' company, Northrup Grumman.
The meeting was closed with a prayer by Marge.
- Stan Searing, Elder
Stewardship Campaign for 2006 is Well Underway
HELPING HANDS. Share your time, talents and financial resources in Christian service.
Annual Pledge-drive Packets
"There is another approach, which I think has merit, in which people are encouraged to give, not on the basis of the church budget, but in response to God's incredible gifts to us; to give not because we feel pressured to do so, but out of the sheer joy of giving as a child of God."
In the green Stewardship letter, please note, "When you make your pledge, here are some things to think about:" And on the back of the green sheet, please note the goal of the Stewardship Board of raising your pledge by 10%. You will also find a magnet for your refrigerator, cards to be given to your friends and neighbors, a pledge card and return envelope (please note the desired return date of December 1, 2005), and form for automatic withdrawal, if you so desire. Also included is a "What is Stewardship" booklet and a directory listing the Staff, the Session, and the Deacons.
- Dean Helms, Moderator, Stewardship Board
Session Revises Stone's Fundraising PolicyThe Session has revised Stone's fundraising policy to make it clear that only projects related to the mission of the church and that have received the Session's approval will be allowed.
The Session had asked the Personnel and Administration board to review the fundraising policy because of congregational concerns about an increase in fundraising activities, particularly during Coffee Time in the Social Hall following Sunday worship. Many of those activities were not permitted under the previous policy, but the policy had not been enforced.
Under the revised policy, collections such as the One Great Hour of Sharing and disaster relief collections are not considered fundraising.
Allowable fund-raising projects must be approved by the Session under these criteria:
2. Only one fundraising activity is allowed each month. The PW Fair Trade Products sale is exempt from this restriction.
3. Monies received are to be deposited in the General Fund. Deficits may not be made up from the General Fund without explicit Session approval.
Chair Committee Wants You to Be Seated!Have you found the latest "mystery item" at Stone Church?
Did you sit on it? Did you resist giving another person the chance to try it out?
The chairpersons of the Social Hall Chair Committee, consisting of Virginia Holtz, Jan and Jerry Keifer, Fred Oliver, and Joyce Summers are hoping that you have the answers to all of the above questions. They have been working very diligently to locate the best chairs for the Social Hall, while considering the amount of money available. A sample chair has arrived and will offer everyone a chance to try it.
How's the height?
Does it seem to be a "safe" chair for everyone?
Will it hold the largest and the smallest of us?
How does the color fit into the new room?
Now, we've all been on committees enough times to know that the chair will not please everyone, but we hope you will like it and think that it will be a serviceable and safe chair. It was purchased from Church Chair Industries and has a ten-year warranty. Find it and give it a "test drive"!
- Jan Keifer