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The Stone News for March 2006
Lent and Easter Schedule
Taizé Services Provide Beautiful, Spiritual, and Loving ExperienceWe Presbyterians can be a bit shy about testimonials, yet there is something compelling in hearing about a heartfelt experience of God. It is in that context that these reflections are offered.
From Dr. Mario Giorgianni:
"I started attending Taizé services at Stone Church in April of 2005. I found Taizé to be very helpful, especially as I had just lost my mother and my sister, and a close friend was near death from cancer. Taizé offered me a place to sort out my thoughts and feelings. I could vent my grief, my anger and my frustration in a safe and spiritual environment. As those immediate emotions were expressed, I was better able to feel a deeper connection to self and others. For one who does not attend church, I have developed a deep sense of and acceptance of my spirituality.
I have recommended Taizé to my patients who, through the frustrations of disability or loss of loved ones, needed someplace to go to sort out their own thoughts and emotions (three have attended so far). I will continue to tell my patients about Taizé and how it might benefit them. It's a safe place to go, to be alone with yourself or to reach out to others. The structure of the service offers an environment to explore who you are, to focus energy on the plights of others, to find a spiritual connection, to help resolve the challenges of life."
From Carrie Moncrief Giorgianni:
"I never know what to expect; I've experienced joy, sadness, grief, awe, thankfulness, and always love. Sometimes I sing, sometimes I just let the beautiful music wash over me. It always moves me intensely."
During the Lenten season there will be a Taizé service every Tuesday evening at 6:30, beginning March 7. Perhaps this would be a place where you too might have an experience of God. We urge you to include Taizé as part of your own personal spiritual discipline for Lent.
Westminster Woods Camp Promotion Day March 26It's time to put dates on your calendar to be sure that Summer Camp can be a highlight of the summer for your young people. First in early March, more information about Westminster Woods will be sent from Stone Church, including the dates we've reserved, mostly in late July. Those who attended in the past three years will receive a brochure from the camp, but more copies are available in the church office. Camps are offered from June until August.
Secondly, we will have a CAMP PROMOTION DAY at Stone Church on Sunday, March 26. A Westminster Woods rep will visit church school classes to get them excited about camp and will be available to talk with parents at a table in the Social Hall after worship.
Their "spirited summer program offers young people the space and safety to ground themselves in their relationship with God, and to learn to draw on it to become stronger - more whole, more self-confident, more capable of relating to others and to the challenges before them. Campers participate in a wide range of activities designed to foster teamwork and unity. As they worship and play together, campers at The Woods develop the connection between their beliefs and actions."
If you want to claim a space reserved by our church and save $25, you must register by April 1. Information and easy online registration is available at their website, which may be reached by clicking Here. Please register on your own, but let us know, so we can help get families together for carpooling. Scholarship help is available from our Presbytery and from The Woods; call me for an application.
I hope you will begin planning now, so your young person can have the mountaintop experience of summer camp at Westminster Woods.
World Premiere Concert Coming Mar. 31 and Apr. 1
Cioppino Dinner April 22
Indulge in Delicious Cioppino to Help the Men's WorkgroupTo help raise funds for their very worthwhile endeavors, the Men's Workgroup invites you to a Cioppino Dinner, on April 22, in the Social Hall. Led by Leland Wong, Mike Wyllie, and Lawrence Summers, the dinner features a special molto bene Cioppino made from scratch. If you're not familiar with this Italian delicacy, it's a fresh crab and seafood stew in a tasty Italian tomato sauce - served with sourdough bread, it just doesn't get any better! There will also be other great foods, so please come even if you or the kids are not seafood fans.
This feast is a fundraising effort by the Men's Workgroup to support their mission outreach efforts. This group has helped Westminster Woods and other Presbyterian camps and community non-profits over the years with hundreds of hours of labor and skills needed to demolish, rebuild, and restore everything from complete buildings to decks. You'll want to hold this date on your calendar to come out for food and fellowship - for a great cause. More specific details and tickets will be available later in March and April.
Nationally Renowned Author Denise Roy Coming to Stone ChurchGod is for more than Sundays ... enlightenment can be found in the everyday ... and there is holiness in humor ...
Denise Roy, LMFT, M.Div., author of the award-winning book, My Monastery is a Minivan, will speak on Creating Family Spirit - Strengthening Family with Everyday Rituals, on Sunday, April 30, from 11 am to noon, at Stone Church.
Denise will present the idea that parenting is a sacred task and will explore the ways that families can be strengthened through rituals that bring them closer to each other, and to God. With a unique gift for helping people bring more depth and meaning to the heart of their family lives, Denise will reveal the grace that exists within our everyday lives.
You will learn how to make ordinary moments extraordinary, identify upcoming rites of passage in your family, and learn creative and practical ways to celebrate life, love, and faith at home. Denise will show you how the divine is always present, even in the carpool lane!
In addition to being a highly recognized author, Denise is a psychotherapist, popular speaker, and mother of four. She received a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University and was one of the first women to receive a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, where her thesis was published as her first book, Bringing Forth in Hope.
Denise has been quoted or featured in numerous publications, including: Real Simple, The Washington Post, Woman's Day, Redbook, San Jose Mercury News, and Spirituality & Health.
For more information or to register, please contact the church office (269-1593). A $10 donation is requested. Childcare is available, and advance notice is appreciated.
J. Philip Newell, Authority on Celtic Spirituality, to Lecture at Stone May 5-7J. Philip Newell, an internationally acclaimed poet, scholar and teacher of Celtic spirituality, will be guest lecturer for the Henrietta Perdue Memorial Lecture Series the first weekend in May.
On Friday evening, May 5, Dr. Newell will present a lecture, "Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality," exploring the major themes of the Celtic tradition as a spirituality for today. Saturday morning, May 6, he will lead two workshops, "Matter Matters: Listening for God within the Body of Creation" (9-10:30) and "Love-Longings: Listening for Christ within the Human Soul" (11-12:30). Dr. Newell will also be the guest preacher on Sunday morning, May 7.
Formerly Warden of Iona Abbey in the Western Isles of Scotland, Dr. Newell is currently Writer Theologian for The Cathedral of The Isles on Cumbrae. He is internationally acclaimed for his work in the field of Celtic spirituality, including his best known titles Listening for the Heartbeat of God and his poetic book of prayer Sounds of the Eternal. He is an ordained Church of Scotland minister with a passion for ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. Canadian by birth, he lives in Edinburgh with his family where he undertook his doctoral research in Celtic Christianity. Since then he has played a leading role on both sides of the Atlantic in the re-birthing of a creation spirituality for today.
Cost is $10 for the Friday night lecture, $10 for the Saturday workshops, or $15 for both programs. Tickets will go on sale Sunday morning, March 5.
Sign-ups Ongoing for Stone Church Summer CampingYou can still sign up for Stone's summer camping trip, August 11 - 13, 2006, to the beautiful Costanoa resort: a few tent-camping sites are available. Costanoa is on the coast between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay, surrounded by Ano Nuevo State Park. There are beautiful hiking trails starting at Costanoa and going inland, and going coastward to beach and tide pool access. For more information, visit their website by clicking Here.
Tent sites are $52 per night (for up to four people). Additionally, luxury tent-cabins are available for $135 per night, but will be reserved only by specific request. A one-night deposit is due at sign-up. We will be doing our own cooking, at a cost of about $25 per family for food. See our sign-up table during coffee time, or contact Maureen Searing.
Christian Education Notes
Information Available about the Hazards of Advertising to ChildrenAre you concerned about the onslaught of advertising and marketing targeting children? The amount spent increased from $6.2 million in 1992 to at least $15 billion a year at present.
Pick up information Sunday in the Social Hall at the Church School table including:
"What Parents Can Do At Home," and
"How Parents Can Limit Television and Why It's Important."
"8 Tips to Keep in Mind"
Sunday Morning Adult Study
Lenten Adult Study: Conversations with the Preaching PastorAs is the custom at Stone Church, the adult study hour each Sunday during Lent will be a time for in-depth Conversations with the Preaching Pastor and reflections on the morning's worship service. Discussion is encouraged to be free-wheeling and wide-ranging.
The class runs March 12 - April 2, from 11 am to noon with nursery care available during the hour.
There will be no adult classes on Palm Sunday, April 9, or Easter, April 16.
Valentine's Day Abounded with Love, Food, Fun, Music and DancingThis year, in honor of Valentine's Day, Stone Church presented a daylong series of loving activities for couples of our church on February 11. Beginning with a special retreat conducted by family therapist, Ed Brackenbury, eight couples shared the Social Hall setting to explore in workshop fashion various aspects of being in relationship. Later in the afternoon, a number of these couples renewed vows in the Sanctuary with the Rev. Marge Palmer. How's that for romantic!
In the evening, under the careful supervision of church chefs Walter and Debbie Roach and Mary Johnson, a Mediterranean feast was prepared with over 56 participants enjoying a gourmet spread from appetizers to soups to salads to dessert. The icing on the cake was at the end of the dinner when our fabulous church family musicians, Bob and Karen Johnson, provided a stream of classic love songs on saxophone and keyboard that were perfect for dancing.
Many thanks to John and Sandi Lococo for organizing and helping direct the event and to all those many people who helped set up, prepare, decorate, grill and clean up - it was a huge team effort. And be sure to attend this special event next year in February!
News from the LibraryNew books for our younger folks include:
News from Presbyterian Women
Presbyterian Women in the PresbyteryThe Spring Gathering of PW in the Presbytery will feature Sister Marilyn Lacey, the long-time director of refugee ministries for Catholic Charities. The Rev. Bill Palmer, Refugee Ministry Coordinator for the Presbytery of San José, will join her. Sister Marilyn is an engaging speaker whose stories of refugees make you feel that you really know the people she works with.
Bill Palmer will bring an example of a backpack prepared and given to new arrivals in the San José program. There will also be a display of a kitchen kit, a project of the Fresno Inter-denominational Refugee Ministry. A gift of $50 will buy a kit for a newly arrived refugee family. Fresno has recently had an influx of Hmong refugees. The PWP is in its third year of having FIRM as a mission project.
The meeting will take place on Saturday, March 11, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm at Santa Teresa Hills Presbyterian Church.
Interfaith Choir Concert Was a Wonderful ExperienceThe Interfaith Choir Concert on Sunday afternoon, February 12, was an event not to be missed. In fact, many from Stone Church scurried over to Campbell United Methodist Church right after the PW Valentine Tea. The seating was filled to overflowing, and the participating singers were magnificent.
The Stone Church Brass and our beloved Chancel Choir outdid themselves at this concert whose proceeds went to support the Community Inns program, which is so dear to our hearts.
Men currently in the program helped to set up the reception hall with decorations befitting the love we all share and were also happy to clean up after we finished spending time together with delicious refreshments to celebrate the cause.
Be sure not to miss this event next year: a mere $10 donation provides so much.
Church Women United Presents Opportunity to Change US Health CareChurch Women United, a national movement of Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox and other Christian women, is alerting everyone to an opportunity to be involved in changing the way health care is paid for and delivered in this country.
As part of the "Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act Of 2003," the US Congress created the Citizens' Health Care Working Group, whose mission is to develop a plan of action that will result in Health Care that Works for all Americans. For the next nine months, they are seeking ideas from ordinary Americans on how to do this.
Here is what you can do now to help form the recommendations the working group will make to Congress and the President:
News from the Church and World Board
Men's WorkgroupLeland Wong reports that the Men's Mission Workgroup traveled to Westminster Woods to do some wire-pulling that saved the camp $1500 in labor costs. Many thanks to our able workgroup!
"First Sunday" Food CollectionEvery first Sunday of the month (also Communion Sunday) will give the congregation the opportunity to help fill the dry food larders in our community. Our first collection will be Sunday, March 5. For questions, contact Deborah Crim.
Recycle Electronics for a Cleaner FutureYou can recycle computer and other electronics at Amerturk Inc., 1050 East Duane Ave, Suite M, Sunnyvale, Monday - Saturday, 9am to 6pm. For more details, click Here to visit their website.
EHC Spring Clothing DriveEHC Life Builders, better known as Emergency Housing Consortium, is having a spring drive for new underwear and socks for men and women. Watch for notices in the Sunday bulletins during March and April for drop-off places.
Bill Wilson CenterThose of us who have visited the Bill Wilson Center encourage you to see the work and caring of this organization with young people in crisis. You have an opportunity to visit this facility on The Alameda in Santa Clara on Tuesday, March 28, between 5:30 and 6:30 pm.
Independent Living Skills ProgramYou are also invited to visit the Independent Living Skills Program on Wednesday, March 8, between 5 and 6:30 pm. This program is designed for young people who have turned 18 and "clocked out" of the system, that is, they no longer have the benefits they received as a foster child. The home is located at 693 South 2nd Street in San José. Parking, which is within 100 feet of the facility, is under the 280 overpass.
Another opportunity to learn about this program occurs April 27 at noon, when a luncheon will be served at the Wyndham Hotel. Past clients of some of the facilities will speak, and a video will be shown to acquaint you with all that they do for the betterment of their clients. Call Kathy Sheely at 850-6129 to make your reservations for any of these appointments.
Mission Study CompletedStone Church has reached a key milestone in its process of finding and securing a new pastor. After six months of work, the Mission Study Committee has completed the Mission Study Report - an in-depth analysis of comprehensive information provided by many members of the congregation.
The report focuses on the purposes we see for our church and the nature of pastoral leadership that will be best for our next years of life together. The results of the Mission Study Report let us express collectively the type of church we expect our new pastor to lead.
The Mission Study Report prepares the way for the election and activation of the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) and preparation of the Church Information Form (CIF). PNC members will be nominated and presented to the congregation this month. The PNC will search, interview and present the person to be called to our ministry. Launching this group into action with a comprehensive profile (CIF) of the church's needs (derived from the Mission Study Report) will be yet another milestone to celebrate.
After our new pastor is called, one of his or her first tasks will be to review, with the Session and congregation, how our ordained staff and lay leadership is organized and chartered. The positions and priorities will also be keenly influenced by the reality of our budget and the collective will of all of us to support the church that we envision for the future.
This process requires patience and diligence; we are a blessed congregation, and the results will be well worth all of our efforts and energy.
Session BeatThe Session began its St. Valentine's Day meeting munching on chocolates courtesy of Marge Palmer, who thanked members for their faithfulness to church business on a special day.
Session heard a letter from the Stewart Tartan Pipes and Drums thanking Stone Church for the relationship over the last ten years, and informing us that they will be searching for a more suitable venue.
In an upbeat report, Stewardship Moderator Dean Helms gave good news about the Pledge Campaign:
Alan Decker reported for the Budget & Finance Committee that Chris Nilson is responsible for scheduling the annual audit of our finances on April Fools' Day.
Fred Oliver reported on the Social Hall floor.
News from the Stewardship Board
Lent Reminds Us to Honor All of Our CommitmentsThe food and festivity of Fat Tuesday is past, and Ash Wednesday has ushered in a more sobering period in the church year. Most people approach the season of Lent with thoughts of rededicating themselves to a relationship with God.
Responding to God's presence in our lives can take many forms, from prayer and repentance, to reflection and generous giving. Keeping your pledge to Stone Church current is one way to respond to the joy of a relationship with our Lord. Please remember to honor your monetary commitment to the church.
Social Hall Floor to be ReplacedMany of you have noted that the cork flooring has not settled in well for us since being installed last spring. While beautiful and rich in feel, it has been problematic as a material. We have experienced severe color fading of the darker tiles near the windows and glass doors, and also unacceptable shrinkage and gaps developing between tiles. Our contractor, Blach, and their flooring subcontractor, Mancini Flooring, have consulted with the cork material manufacturer, and there is not an easy solution. Sometime this summer, without any expense to Stone, they will remove the cork and replace it was a quality synthetic material called Marmoleum. This material is used in a number of high traffic public buildings, including schools and institutions. It will have a similar color scheme and layout to our current cork tiles, but will withstand our hard use conditions better.
Fat Tuesday Came and Went - What a time we had!