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The Stone News for May 2006
Pastor's Message for May"In a time of drastic change one can be too preoccupied with what is ending or too obsessed with what seems to be beginning. In either case one loses touch with the present and with its obscure but dynamic possibilities."
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander
Resurrection living confronts head-on the forces of evil, death and sin and speaks their name with power and specificity. "This is wrong." "This is an injustice." "You may not treat a person this way." "To not speak up is cowardice." "We cannot tolerate prejudice or ignorance in this form." It means good people may need to speak up and even engage in conflict, rather than rest in being nice. This is hard for us.
Resurrection living takes regular doses of prayer and daily steeping in the Divine. It helps to know the example of great souls like William Sloane Coffin, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Of course, it requires deep Gospel rooting in the One in whom we see God's face most clearly, Jesus Christ.
Resurrection living is not for the fainthearted, and it is best done in the company of these great souls, and living companions who are also trying and struggling to live the Way here on earth, in small and daily Resurrection doses at home and work.
We as a nation, and as a congregation, are undergoing a period of great change. It is in such times that the true mettle of a person's soul, and one's trust in Resurrection power, shows forth in all its colors. I wish for you all a Resurrection soul that blossoms with the full spectrum of color of Spring flowers.
I offer the closing words of Thomas Merton, which began my column ... What really matters is openness, readiness, attention, courage to face risk. You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope. In such an event, courage is the authentic form taken by love. May the peace of Christ be with you and all whom you love.
Mark Your Calendars!
May 5-6: Henrietta Perdue Lectures with J. Philip NewellWorld-renowned authority on Celtic Spirituality, J. Philip Newell, will lecture on Friday evening, May 5, from 8-9:30 pm and then present two workshops on Saturday from 9 am - 12:30 pm. Cost is $10 for the Friday night lecture, $10 for the Saturday workshops, or $15 for both days. Tickets are available at the door.
May 7: Senior Picnic hosted by the DeaconsThe Stone Church Senior Picnic will be held Sunday, May 7, from 3 - 5 pm in the social hall, rain or shine. All seniors are welcome to join us for a chicken barbecue. Please call Walter or Debbie Roach if you are able to join us.
May 17: Cookout on the PatioPlease join us on Wednesday, May 17, from 5:30 - 8 pm for hamburgers, hot dogs, yummy beans, drinks and salad. If you want, please bring your own unusual condiments or an easy, finger-food dessert. This event is sponsored by the M&E Committee. Let us know you are coming by signing up after worship or by clicking the link provided right here.
May 20: All-Church WorkdayPlease see story immediately below.
May 21: Annual Congregational MeetingThe Annual Congregational Meeting will be held immediately after worship on Sunday, May 21. (Moderators, please turn in your Annual Reports by May 14.)
All-Church Workday To Assist Park and ACT for Mental HealthThe Church and World Board (C&W) invites everyone in the Stone Church family to help our community and to care for God's world on May 20 from 9 am to noon. This year's workday will provide assistance to two different San Jose sites: the Guadalupe River Park & Gardens and ACT for Mental Health.
The Guadalupe River Park & Gardens is three miles of wonderful outdoor space in an urban setting. The river is a habitat for fish, other animals and plants, and the Heritage Rose Garden has more rose varieties than any garden in the western hemisphere. We will pick up debris on the trails and riverbanks to increase the health of the river and park and encourage new rose blossoms by trimming spent flowers. Children of all ages are welcome, and special activities will be provided for the youngest.
At ACT for Mental Health, a nearby non-profit agency that serves low-income people, an adult team will paint the front of the building and the recreation room where clients gather for support groups and socializing. The C&W Board would like to thank the Presbyterian Women for their gift of $250 to help with this project. At the end of the workday at noon, everyone will gather at the Guadalupe River Park for a picnic lunch provided by the C&W Board. Please sign up after worship in the social hall. Maps and lists of tools to bring will be available. Certificates for teens who need community service hours will be ready to pick up at the end of the workday.
Seder Meal PhotosHere are four photos from the Seder Meal we celebrated on Maundy Thursday, just before Easter.
Women's Retreat 2006: "Best Ever"!More than 60 women gathered March 17-19 at the St. Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista for the annual Stone Church Women's Retreat. Our own Mary Alice Collins, who led the inaugural retreat 11 years ago, led this year's retreat using the theme, "The Creative Power of Women."
By examining the Biblical creation story along with other spiritual resources, participants reflected on experiences when they felt closest to "God the father, mother, birther of the cosmos." To more fully participate with God as co-creator in their lives, they were told to heal and let go of guilt, anger and frustration harbored about themselves and others through gratitude, forgiveness, openness, awareness and imagination.
One veteran participant exclaimed that it was "the best retreat ever!" Mary Alice felt the retreat experience was a "community creation" and was moved by the "sense of unity and working together," as well as the "energy to create" she felt during the weekend. Marge Palmer said the retreat was "awesome - very meaningful and very helpful to many people. It meant a great deal to everyone."
New participants immediately "felt really welcomed" into an "inclusive, loving, organized" community. Another woman was moved to joyful tears while sharing the love and support she felt during the retreat.
Lighthearted moments included a silent auction run by Deb Tablak that raised $483 for the scholarship fund and Laraine Pitcher, Miriam Rowan and Kathy Sundquist leading wonderful music. This year's planning committee co-chairs, Deborah Crim and Jan Keifer, want to thank all scholarship fund donors. Please contact next year's co-chairs, Lynn Stutz and Colleen Doherty, if you want to help organize this terrific event.
CE Board to Consider Curriculum ChangesThe Christian Education Board is considering changes to the church school curriculum, and they would like the entire church family to be involved in the process. On Sunday, May 7, after worship, look for a large blue sign, Church School Curriculum, in the social hall, and stop by to provide feedback and/or to let them know if you'd like to be invited to a special meeting about the changes. You can also (our Christian Education Board Moderator) for more information or to volunteer to help with the process, by clicking on the link provided right here.
Sunday Morning Adult Study
Adult Study classes for May and June offer a rich assortment of topics, speakers, and experiences.May 7: Celtic Spirituality: Discussion with Dr. J. Philip Newell: As a follow-up to his Henrietta Perdue lectures, Philip Newell will preach Sunday, May 7, and lead a discussion class at the 11 am Adult Study hour.
May 14: Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church: The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) appointed a diverse task force four years ago to find ways that the church can live more harmoniously in the face of deep disagreements. Did they succeed? The task force's final report will be considered by the General Assembly in June. Its recommendations are stirring strong reactions from conservatives, liberals, progressives, and moderates. Dale Bracey believes the report signals a possible way out of our divisions.
May 21: no class. (The annual Congregational Meeting takes place on this Sunday.)
May 28 - June 25: Listening to the Heartbeat of God: Philip Newell's acclaimed book on the history and importance of Celtic Spirituality, Listening to the Heartbeat of God, will be explored for five weeks.
May 28 - June 25: Faith Journeys at Stone Church: Each week, different members of Stone Church discuss their faith journeys: what brought them to Stone, how they have grown at Stone, their hopes, and the spiritual struggles they face today.
Church Library Adds Books for All Ages and InterestsHere are the latest additions to the church library, located in the Lincoln House.
Younger folks will find these new books interesting:
News from Presbyterian WomenPresbyterian Women will be selling Mother's Day Cards to support buying mosquito nets to prevent malaria. Be sure to support this very worthy cause.
PW Scholarships AvailablePW announces its 11th year of college scholarships and other grants from the Ruby M. Hudspeth Trust. July 15 is the deadline for Stone Church youth applying for college scholarships. A student may receive this assistance for up to 4 years. Last year's recipients included Colin Frohlich, Matthew Moncrief, and Betsy Williams.
Throughout the year, PW considers applications for funds for training or educational programs, retreats, conferences, etc. Applications for scholarships and grants are available in the PW mailbox in the church office.
Annual Meeting and PicnicPW's annual meeting and traditional picnic in Evelyn Radunich's back yard will be held at noon on June 1. Public Health Nurses from Santa Clara County will bring the group up to date on their work with new mothers. PW will contribute layettes and money to provide "going home" needs for low-income families. The meeting will also include installation of leaders.
PW Calendar for May
Crab Feed PhotosHere are two photos from the Crab Feed event that took place on April 22, to raise funds in support of forthcoming Men's Mission Work Trips.
Church and World Board Adds Support for Two New Local AgenciesThe Church and World Board (C&W) has added The Refuge Transitional Housing program and ACT for Mental Health to their local community giving. These agencies join the following agencies, which have been supported by C&W for several years, thanks to your generosity:
Consider Your Will and Consider Stone Church during Wills Emphasis Month
Since the month of May is Wills Emphasis Month, the Stewardship Board would like to encourage you to consider the current status of your will and to consider remembering Stone Church in your will.
No matter what your age, you should always have a valid will. Wills do more than allocate funds: they can establish a guardian for a child or make provisions for an aging relative, a handicapped child or a significant other.
Here are some other do's and don'ts about wills excerpted from a recent article by Marshall Loeb of MarketWatch: