We welcome diversity and sing our differences
in harmony, without fear.
The Stone News for February 2006
Pastor's Message for February
According to our Liturgical calendar, we are now in "Ordinary Time," that is, a time when there are no special celebrations such as Christmas or Easter. In a way, we are also in "ordinary time" or "in-between time" in our seasons. It has always seemed to me that the month of February marks the middle of winter. When Bill and I lived in northern New York State, where the winters were long with piles of snow and cold weather, we often said that if we could get through February, we could make it through the rest of the winter.
Winter, of course, in California is different, but the days are short, and there is a lot of rain and cloudy weather. For many people it is a depressing time; some even buy special lamps to help alleviate the seasonal depression that sometimes occurs. Our winter "blahs" are compounded by the dreadful news that comes to us daily regarding war and terrorism, earthquakes and hurricanes, new and dangerous diseases, corruption in business and government - and the list goes on and on.
What can we do to make life brighter during this "winter of our discontent"? We can enjoy time with family and friends. We can go to concerts and uplifting movies. We can go to church on Sunday and to Taizé services. We can read inspirational books and poetry. And, we can go to the Scriptures! Just as there are Lectionary passages each Sunday, there are also such passages for daily reading. As I write this on January 19, the Psalm for today is number 27. Here are some excerpts:
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? ... he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock ... Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.
Herein lies our comfort and our hope. Such words bring us joy and give us a perspective on life in which we are reminded that God is with us, not only today, but in every season of our lives. Believe this and be glad!
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Help Make Feb. 5 a Super Souper Sunday
What do cans of soup and the most important date on the American sports calendar have in common? A homonym! Sunday, February 5, the day the Pittsburgh Steelers play the Seattle Seahawks for the NFL championship, is Super Bowl Sunday.
But at Stone Church, the same day is the day our middle school students join with thousands of other teens across the country in Souper Sunday, collecting canned goods or dollar bills for our local food bank.
Make yourself a reminder today to bring canned goods to church on February 5 on Super Souper Sunday.
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Special Valentine Events on February 11!
Starting the day, a couples' retreat, Thanks for the Memories, Learning to Love More Fully, from 9 am to noon, helps you learn how to revitalize a loving relationship and rediscover the meaning of romance. Ed Brackenbury, founder Institute for Marital and Family Therapy, and trainer, Institute for Christian Resources, will lead the retreat.
Ending the day, the "Sweethearts in the Kitchen" dinner lets you prepare a wonderful dinner for your "sweetheart." Both great cooks and nervous wannabees are invited. You will be guided by a gifted chef, and the results will be "marvelous."
The Rev. Marge Palmer will lead a renewal of vows in the Sanctuary at 5:30 pm, which will be followed by appetizers, wine and music, dinner at 6:30 pm, and dancing afterwards.
Cost for a couple is $20 for the morning retreat, $60 for the dinner, or $70 for both events.
Last chance to sign up is Sunday, February 5.
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Register Now for the Zephyr Experience July 9-14, 2006, at Lake Tahoe
The Zephyr Experience is an annual weeklong intergenerational conference for families, singles and couples at the Zephyr Point Conference Center at Lake Tahoe. Attendance is limited; enroll NOW for this exciting week. Registration forms are available in the Church Office or by accessing the Zephyr website by clicking here.
Here are the class descriptions:
Lodging is in the new 59-room Tallac Center (bigger than the old 43-room Tahoe Center). Fees go up after 6/1/06.
- Bible - What the Church Needs to Learn from the Prophets with Bill Chalker, Prof. Emeritus, Philosophy & Religion, Albertson College of Idaho
- Mission to the World - Faith & Empire with Walt Davis, Prof. Emeritus, Sociology of Religion; former Director, Adv. Pastoral Studies, SF Theological Seminary
- Church & Society - Individual Rights-based Approach to Resolving the Palestinian/Israeli Dispute with Maad Abu-Ghazalah, former President, SF Chapter American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, currently on SF Arab Cultural and Community Center board
- Spirituality - Praying with All the Saints with Blair Gilmer Meeks, author and lecturer in liturgy at Vanderbilt Divinity School
- Mission to the World - Lebanon & Southeast Asia with Carol and Ben Weir, missionaries in Lebanon and Syria, 1953-1985, taught Evangelism and Global Mission at SFTS, and Rebecca Blair Young, Presbyterian Minister serving in Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
- Church & Society - Virtuous Sex & Sexual Virtue with Lisa Fullam, Assistant Professor, Moral Theology, Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley
- Children's Programs:
Ages 4 - 9: led by Janice and Mel Goertz;
Ages 10 - 13 led by Walter Roach;
Ages 14 - 17 led by Jennifer Ludwig
(Ages 15 - 17 can choose either youth or adult classes.)
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Women's Retreat Celebrates the Creative Power of Women
As women, we are always working with creativity. Whether we are forming a family, a project at work, a story, a beautiful garden, or a relationship, creativity is part of who we are.
Please join us for Stone Church's annual Women's Retreat weekend, March 17-19, in San Juan Bautista. Retreat leader, Mary Alice Collins, MA, MFCC, will present, "The Creative Power of Women."
During the weekend, we will experience spiritual practices that may assist us in more clearly aligning our energy with God's creative power. We will spend time in groups, and alone, working on what it means to create our own lives and reflecting on what gives us vitality and purpose. Other opportunities will include creative workshops in writing, knitting, weaving, yoga, beadwork and MUCH MORE!
Don't forget the talent show, and be sure to bring something for the white elephant sale - all proceeds will go to a scholarship fund for future participants. You may also contribute to the scholarship fund by contributing $5 extra when you send in your registration, or contact Jan Keifer or Deborah Crim to make additional donations.
Letters have been sent out to previous participants, and registration has begun. The last day for registration and payment is March 1. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Scholarships are available! Make sure you send in your registration card as soon as possible to secure a spot. Contact Leslie Cromwell to register and indicate your desire for a scholarship. Hope to see you there!
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Fat Tuesday Celebration is Back, Thanks to the Remodeled Social Hall
Put that diet on hold for one fun and delicious night! The fabulous Fat Tuesday dinner and skit night returns to Stone Church on February 28 at 6 pm.
In years past, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent), also known as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, was an evening of fun and food for the Stone family before starting serious preparation for Easter. Now that the remodeling of the Social Hall is complete, we are bringing back this very special event!
This year, dinner will be gourmet soup, with recipes provided by Leonard Lewis and prepared by our church chefs, Walter and Debbie Roach. Desserts will be potluck style - we ask everyone to bring their most decadent and delicious dessert to share. Skits, humor and silliness will fill the stage as we see all the pent-up talent within the Stone family. You won"t be disappointed! American Idol will not hold a candle to this!
Sign-ups will start in the middle of February in the Social Hall during coffee time. For information and to get your "act" booked early, contact Derk Johnson, our master of silliness.
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Mark Your Calendar:
Feb. 28: Fat Tuesday Dinner and Skits at 6 pm
Lent and Easter Events and Services
March 1: Ash Wednesday Service at 7:30 pm
March 7, 14, 21, 28, & April 4, 11: Taizé Services at 6:45 pm
April 9: Palm Sunday Service at 9:30 am
April 13: Seder Dinner and Maundy Thursday Service at 7:30 pm
April 14: Good Friday Service at noon
April 16: Easter Service at 9:30 am
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Update from the Worship Board
Meet Mary Barton Johnson of the Worship Committee
The Worship Committee wants you to get to know its members a little better. This month, Mary Barton Johnson, chairperson of both the upcoming Seder Dinner and the Flower Committee, is featured. Here is a little about Mary, shown on the left in the adjacent photo, in her own words:
"My parents owned a floral shop in Aurora, IL, where I worked after school. Neither my sister nor I wanted to take over the business, so my dad sold it when he retired. As a child, I had three goals: to become a nurse, to own my own horse, and to have a grand piano. I became an RN at 21, got a grand piano at 25, and owned two horses at 29. I moved to California when I was almost 32 and couldn't afford to bring the piano or horses. I replaced the grand piano with a studio piano and replaced the horses with cats (current population is six), a miniature Schnauzer, and a goldfish pond in the back yard."
"My church activities include being an Elder, a choir member, Stone's Parish Nurse and a Stephen Minister. As Parish Nurse, I am available for health-related questions, organize blood pressure clinics, give flu shots, organize blood drives, and make home and hospital visits. I also bake all of the Communion bread, prepare home communions and coordinate altar flowers. I've served on various committees: Stewardship and the Pastor Nominating Committee that selected Art Mills."
"I met my husband, Derk, at Stone when I joined in 1991, and we were married in 1995. My hobbies include gourmet-cooking, winemaking, knitting, weaving, quilting, sailing, singing in the San José Symphonic Choir, and gardening."
We are glad to have you, Mary! You add so much to our church life.
Open Yourself to Taizé
"It calms me, renews my energy, and refocuses my mind to the important things ... It is a time and place where I can sit quietly and wait for the presence of God ... The highs and lows of my daily life level out, and I experience a treasured moment of peace ... The beauty of the music is like a balm pouring over me, and I leave feeling blessed and grateful ... "
Where can you find this experience of deep peace? As evidenced in these quotes, many people from our Willow Glen community are finding it on Tuesday evenings at Stone Church Taizé prayer services.
If the idea of rest and spiritual refreshment sounds appealing in the midst of your busy life, yet you are thinking all this quiet and chanting is not your style, keep reading. Here are thoughts from others who hesitantly tried it, and liked it!
"Sitting in silence was hard for me at first, but it has grown on me, and I now find it a deep, spiritual discipline ... Although my first visit left me a little uncomfortable and restless (not the structured, vocal worship service I was used to), I returned again and soon found myself relaxing into a calm, meditative mood where I formed a new connection with my love for God ... "
Whether you are a regular meditator, or someone for whom chanting and shared silence is a new spiritual discipline, we invite you to expand your worship experience and try this beautiful service the first Tuesday of every month, and every Tuesday during Lent (beginning March 7). The prelude music begins at 6:30 pm, and the service starts at 6:45 pm.
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Our church school did a great job this year helping families through Heifer International. With one-third of their regular offering and quarters from the Quarter Tower, plus all contributions to the summer Read-to-Feed project, they sent $1,601 for heifers at the end of 2005! At $500 each, three healthy heifers will give new hope to families across the globe.
The rotation classes for Kindergarten through Grade 5 also helped families by making wonderful lentil soup three Sundays in January under the guidance of Maureen Searing and Chris and Jo Lee. They were responding to Jesus' direction to be salt for the world and to share God's love. The soup was enthusiastically received by the Montgomery Street Inn.
We'd like to help your family as well. No, we won't give you a heifer or soup! Instead we are offering you ways to help yourselves. You can learn and grow and confirm your commitments to your partner, your family and God. You can choose to sign up and show up to hear new ideas or old ideas put in new ways.
One of the best gifts parents can give their children is to strengthen their relationship and renew their commitment to each other. I hope you will consider participating in the February 11 event with the couples seminar, renewal of vows and "Sweethearts in the Kitchen" dinner.
My husband and I participated in a similar event at Sunnyvale Presbyterian a couple of years ago and found it beneficial. Ed Brackenbury made the morning fun and helped us remember the love that had brought us together. We left with a new commitment to our relationship. I hope you will give your family that gift.
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Sunday Morning Adult Study
Sunday morning Adult Classes are being offered this school year in two broad areas:
(1) Bible study and church history and
In addition, special classes will be offered to assist parents in being Christian educators. Classes run from 11 am to noon with nursery care available during the hour.
(2) spirituality and Christian life.
All February classes are in the Spirituality and Christian Life category.
Feb. 5 - 26: What Is Stewardship, and Why Do We Talk About It?
Stewardship is the grateful response to God's grace and goodness. It requires a consideration of how our choices affect us and others, how we can be good caretakers of the created world, and how we can best serve God as disciples of Christ. The Rev. David McCreath will lead a four-week exploration of Christian discipleship in personal life, community life (compassion), public life (justice), and financial life. Each week will include exploration of biblical and theological themes and will challenge participants to enter into a covenant with the congregation for growth in discipleship.
Feb 5 - 26: The Way of Forgiveness
You are invited to deepen your spiritual life in conversation with other Christians and the Rev. Rebecca Kuiken. We will be using the book, The Way of Forgiveness, by Marjorie Thompson, as a discussion starter. Each participant will be invited to develop and live a personal "rule of life" that helps us forgive ourselves and others.
- Pat Magee
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Curious, Amazing, Good Books!
New books for our younger folks:
Additions to our adult side include six beautiful books by Madeleine L'Engle donated by Alice Thorn:
- Curious George Rides a Bike by H.A. Rey (1st Books Rey), given by the van Diggelens
- Amazing Otters by M.B. Brownell (J 599 Bro), given by Vivian Shimmon
- I Want to Be an Astronaut edited by S. Maze (YA 629 Maz), given by the Galgano-Anderson family
- The Life & Times of Washington edited by Enzo Orlandi (YA Biog Washington)
New to our adult special sections:
- A Stone for a Pillow: Journeys with Jacob (222.11 L'En)
- And It Was Good (242 L'En)
- Penguins & Golden Calves: Icons and Idols (242 L'En)
- The Rock That Is Higher: Story As Truth (242 L'En)
- Certain Women (Fiction L'En)
Come browse the library in Lincoln House and see what you'd like to read!
- The Woman's Bible by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (Women 220.7 Sta)
- The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins (Women 649 Hug), given by Tina Luebcke
- One Day My Soul Just Opened Up by Iyanla Vanzant (Women 291.4 Van), given by Maureen Ryan
- The Tarantula Whisperer: A Celebrity Vet Shares Her Secrets to Communicating with Animals by Laura Pasten (Ecol 636 Pas), given by Betsy Williams
- Eating to Save the Earth: Food Choices for a Healthy Planet by Linda Riebel and Ken Jacobsen (Ecol 641 Rie)
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News from Presbyterian Women
Valentine Tea: A Sewjourn with Rosemary Eichorn
The Presbyterian Women's Valentine Tea will feature former Stone Church member, Rosemary Eichorn, fabric artist. Her presentation will include an informal fashion show of collaged garments and a display of liturgical art and vestments. She will also display contemporary art quilts and several traditional quilts that illustrate how her vision and its expression have evolved over the past years. She'll include samples of knitted and stitched accessories and surface designed art fabrics.
Tea will be served on Sunday, February 12, from 2 to 4 pm in the Social Hall of Stone Church. The afternoon will include a White Elephant Silent Auction to benefit the national PW Widening the Circle Fund. Bring something special for the auction. Please contact Claudia Hamm to RSVP and for child care requests by February 8.
Gifts of Women Sunday to Honor Ordinations
On Sunday morning, February 26, the worship service will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ordination of women as Deacons and the 50th anniversary of the ordination of women to the Office of Word and Sacrament, as part of the yearly Gifts of Women Sunday.
Guest preacher will be the Rev. Nancy Schell, who has been a trailblazer for women in the Presbytery of San José. As part of the service, all women who have served (and are serving) as Deacons and Pastors throughout Stone Church's history will be honored.
- Feb. 1: 1 pm, Amethyst Circle (Lincoln House Conference Room)
- Feb. 2: 9:30 am, Emerald Circle
(R. Lakatos' residence)
- Feb. 7: 9:30 am, Focus Group
(L. Shandera's residence)
- Feb. 12: 1 pm, Valentine Tea
- Feb. 13: 7:30 pm, Sapphire Circle (Ida Raby's residence)
- Feb. 14: 11:30 am, Lunch Bunch (Taiwan Restaurant, call Ida Raby for details)
- Feb. 20: 2:30 pm, Book Group II (R. Lakatos' residence), reading Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden
- Feb. 23: 11:30 am, Bible Study (Lincoln House Conference Room)
- Feb. 26: 9:30 am Gifts of Women Sunday
- Note: Book Group I - Please contact Carolyn Clendenning.
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Music at the January 15, 2005 Senior Tea
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News from the Church and World Board
Message from the Moderator
Along with many of you, I am disappointed in what we had to do to balance our 2006 Stone Church budget. As moderator of Church & World board, I want to point out that budget figures don't always tell the whole story. In 2005, C&W gave $24,450 to General Assembly and $12,650 to local community ministries. In addition, Stone's congregation participated in many General Assembly extra-giving opportunities, such as One Great Hour of Sharing, Christmas Joy Offering, Disaster Relief, Peacemaking Offering, and Pakistan Relief - to the tune of $19,846. Therefore, the total of all 2005 C&W-related giving was $56,946.
Visit the Bill Wilson Center
You are encouraged to visit the Bill Wilson Center on the following dates and times:
Wed. Feb. 1, 10 to 11 am;
Please see the article on the C&W bulletin board for more detail. Call Kathy Sheely (850-6129) for reservations.
Wed. Feb. 8, 10 to 11 am;
Wed. Feb. 22, 9 to 10 am;
Tues. March 28, 5:30 to 6:30 pm.
C&W recycling projects are going gung-ho. The church school and C&W partnership has yielded funds for Heifer International. C&W has found an organization in the Bay Area that collects old, used electronics. The AMERTURK INC. web site can be reached by clicking here. For questions, please contact Fred Groppuso.
Interfaith Choir Concert Benefits InnVision
Our own chancel choir will join other Bay Area choirs to perform a benefit concert for InnVision Community Inns, on Sunday, February 12, from 4 to 6 pm, at the Campbell United Methodist Church, 1675 Winchester Blvd., just south of Hamilton, in Campbell.
Last year several thousand dollars were raised, and the ecumenical gathering was uplifting and united around this worthy cause. A highlight of the event will be the combined choirs of over 100 voices singing Down By the Riverside, as arranged by the well-known English composer, John Rutter. You might even hear some of our Stone Brass!
For information, contact Walter Roach, Choir President, or Sheri Cunningham, Stone's Community Inns representative. C&W will sell the very reasonably priced $10 tickets during Coffee Time over the next few weeks.
- Bea Groppuso, C&W Moderator
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Stone Church Honors Joyce Rhodes for 35 Years Service As Organist
Joyce Rhodes' 35th Anniversary of service as Organist for Stone Church occurred on December 13, 2005. We honored her on the following Sunday at the Coffee Fellowship Hour.
|Can a cake be full of music? This one sure is!
|Joyce begins to cut and share her cake.
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Stewardship Board Needs Participation From All Church Members
The Stewardship Board recently discussed the financial participation of the members of Stone Church. The ideal would be 100% participation in paying the annual per capita assessment, 100% participation in making an annual pledge to Stone Church and 100% participation in the Stone Church Capital Campaign.
The per capita assessment for 2006 is $24 per communicant member. The proceeds from this assessment support the administration costs at the local (Presbytery), regional (Synod) and national (General Assembly) levels.
The pledge income covers the operational and mission expenditures of Stone Church. Major expenditures are for staff, General Mission, local mission, utilities, insurance and supplies.
The proceeds from the 5-year Capital Campaign go to cover the line of credit borrowings and interest for the Renovation Project.
The board knows that 100% participation in pledging is not realistic due to unemployment, health concerns, etc.; however, the board still feels there should be a much higher percentage of people who pledge and a higher dollar amount pledged by many pledging units.
The board feels that all members should participate in supporting their chosen place of worship.
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