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The Stone News - June 2006
Pastor's Message for June
On Sunday, May 21, I announced in church that it is with great sadness that we must say good-bye to two of our dedicated staff members.
Lucik Aprahamian, our very talented Music Director, will be working on a doctorate in conducting at the University of Arizona this fall. Her last Sunday with us is June 11. In the three years that she has been at Stone Church, Lucik has endeared herself to the choir and to the congregation with the high caliber of music that she chose and conducted, with her beautiful voice and with her loving and collegial way of work. Under her direction the choir has enhanced worship with inspiring, appropriate sacred music presented in the most dignified manner. We have especially appreciated the special music at Christmas and Easter and the additional musicians that Lucik brought with her to augment the choir. We will miss Lucik, but are pleased that she is furthering her education. We wish her God's blessings.
After five and a half years at Stone Church, Beth Sorensen Agnew, our extraordinary Administrative Assistant is leaving to pursue her career in Social Work and Family Counseling for which she has been interning for some time. Her last day with us is June 23. The many people who have worked with Beth over the years are aware of her amazing contribution to our church. She is extremely efficient without being officious; multitasks, with grace, under enormous pressure; relates to all church members in a kind and loving manner; is acquainted with every aspect of the church and works well with all who need her assistance. Beth is very professional, knows how to keep a confidence and sets a collegial tone in the office. Is it any wonder that we will miss her? We wish her and her husband Tim a future filled with blessings and joy!
Mark your Calendar!
Vacation Church SchoolPlans are moving along for a fun and memorable Vacation Church School at the Jerusalem Marketplace, from June 19-23. Students will travel back in time to experience a synagogue school, village playground, family traditions and crafts, including carpentry, baking, weaving, leatherwork, jewelry, pottery, candy, and brick-making. Students will also hear stories of Jesus' life.
Deadline for registration is June 12. VCS is open to children 4 years through completing grade 5; grade 6 and older are invited to be helpers (and enjoy a BBQ-swim party). Forms are available in the office, at the VCS table on Sunday, and on the church website.
Heifer ProjectThe Heifer Project focus chosen by church school for this year is rabbits. Students will be invited to Read to Feed again this summer, signing up sponsors to support their efforts. Collections will be made at church in July or by individual readers.
Salads of Summer LuncheonTo celebrate the end of Vacation Church School, M&E and CE will host a Salads of Summer potluck luncheon for the entire church family on the patio on Sunday, June 25, after worship. Please bring a salad to share and M&E will provide fresh breads and refreshing beverages. During lunch, our VCS children will share the special crafts they created while experiencing the Jerusalem Marketplace. Look for more information on the events bulletin board in the Social Hall over the next weeks or contact Ed Tablak.
Men's Book GroupThe Men's Book Group will next meet on July 24 at 7:30 pm. Please watch the Sunday worship bulletin for announcement of the place. The book to read for that date is The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman. In addition, books for this coming fall will be chosen. All men of the congregation are invited to attend.
Help Others Learn by Being a Mission ShutterbugExplore the Presbyterian Church's mission and help Stone Church members know more about our various ministries by being a Mission Shutterbug this summer. When planning vacation trips near and far this summer, plan to spend a few hours at a Presbyterian mission project, take a few pictures (we will supply a camera if you need one), and plan to tell folks about what you saw and heard when you return. Marge Palmer or Ruth and David McCreath will help locate Presbyterian missions near your vacation travels. Marge Palmer can be reached at the church office; David and Ruth at their home.
Turnout for 2006 CROP Walk the best in yearsUnder the dynamic leadership of Derk Johnson, almost twenty Stone Church members and friends, young and old, turned out for the 2006 CROP Walk. This Church World Service - sponsored event raises funds to serve hungry people and victims of disasters locally and worldwide. While final figures are not yet in, we expect that Stone Church's financial contribution will be over $3,000 - also the best in several years.
We noted with interest that Lincoln High School, where we are shown gathered, is undergoing major construction. This no doubt brought back fond memories of how we spent much of 2004 dealing with construction at Stone Church!
Pentecost Launches Church School Into Summer World Tour
A celebration of the birthday of the Christian church on Pentecost Sunday, June 4, will set the scene for exploring how we share God's love with others around the world. Our celebration will include expressions of gratitude for the many people who have helped with church school in the past school year. A reception and decorations provided by church school students will help us celebrate this important birthday when the gift of the Holy Spirit was first received.
In Summer Church School, beginning June 11, kindergarten and older students will gather to learn how Christian Love Encircles God's World. Each Sunday, as they see how mission grows out of our response of gratitude for God's grace, they will visit one country. Across the summer they will visit Nigeria, Malawi, Kenya and other African nations; Haiti, Guatemala and other countries in Central America; as well as Russia and Cambodia. We hope that those in the church family who have traveled will check our itinerary and be willing to share some souvenirs.
A rabbit (named, perhaps, Bunnicula, or maybe Uncle Wiggly) will visit our church on June 11 to help kick off the Heifer Project Read to Feed challenge. Students will receive materials to begin finding sponsors and be ready to read (for fun and for rabbits!) during their summer recess.
Summer Church School will meet each Sunday, except Fourth of July and Labor Day Weekends, when there will be Family Worship, with Children's Youth Bulletins provided.
Sunday Morning Adult StudyMay 28 - June 25: Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality
This class is a five-week exploration of Dr. Philip Newell's acclaimed book on the history and importance of Celtic spirituality, Listening for the Heartbeat of God. Themes presented by Dr. Newell in his lectures and sermon will be developed. Books will be available for purchase.
May 28 - June 25: Faith Journeys at Stone Church
All - Church Workday PhotosHere are photos from the May 20 All-Church workday. Stone Church members painted rooms at the non-profit agency ACT for Mental Health, and also cleaned up debris at the Guadalupe River Park & Gardens.
News from the Library
Hubin Gift Enhances LibraryNew to our library is an attractive tall bookcase bought with funds from the Hubin family. This is a very appropriate memorial, since the library was strongly supported by both Esther and Royce. Esther was a leader of the library who brought her skills as a professional children's librarian and her knack for organizing. Royce was an avid reader who enjoyed everything from adult non-fiction to Young Adult books. (He recommended YA books for their clear explanations and illustrations.)
This new shelf unit has enabled us to spread out our adult books a bit, making them easier to see and to access. The unit also frees our book cart, which we plan to use in the Social Hall on Sundays with a selection of books to check out, and as a reminder of the library.
You are warmly invited to the library during or after the coffee hour. On many Sundays Sue Evans or I will be there to help you find your way around. On weekdays the library is also usually available during office hours (9-1).
In case you don't know, ours is a browsing library arranged in sections somewhat like a bookstore. We have books grouped into:
We invite you to browse our collection and check out materials for 3 weeks. Please let us know of any questions or suggestions.
News from Presbyterian Women
Museum VisitWomen of PW's Book Group II recently visited the Japanese American Museum of San Jose. (See photo on the right.)
IMPACT Director to Speak at Summer BrunchThe legislative agenda on issues of women's health and links to our faith principals is the topic of the Presbyterian Women's Summer Brunch on August 26. Elizabeth Sholes, Director of Public Policy of IMPACT/California Council of Churches, is the featured speaker. The Focus Group of PW is planning the brunch.
Potluck to Welcome Visiting Brazilian WomenTo welcome, and hold conversation with, two women visiting from Brazil, PW is hosting a potluck in the Social Hall on July 2 at noon. These women are coming in response to a visit by a nationally gathered group of Presbyterian Women who went to Brazil in October 2005 in a program called the Global Exchange. They are traveling to learn about the US and will end their travels by attending the PW Churchwide Gathering in Louisville July 7-11.
PW Calendar for June(Note: Circles do not meet again until September.)
News from the Church and World Board
One Great Hour of SharingThe One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) offering at Easter time was $4,032.29, $230.00 of collection came from the children in our Church School. Thank you for your generosity.
Gifts of Women Sunday HonoreesAt the annual Gifts of Women Sunday (in February) we remembered the contributions of the many women who have served, shaped and led in our church. At that time two outstanding young Stone Church women were honored. They, with their mothers, are shown in the photo on the right.
All-church Mission WorkdayAbout 35 members participated in the All-church Mission Workday projects. Some, including the littlest of us, helped to clear debris and trash from the Guadalupe River Park and Gardens. Others helped with painting at the ACT Therapeutic Community Center. The front facade of the building and the community room are being freshened and brightened.
Our thanks to all who could join us in the tasks at hand. We all met at the Guadalupe River Park and Gardens for a closing picnic together. The C&W Board also thanks Presbyterian Women for providing funds that helped in the purchase of some decorative items for the community room at ACT.
Recycling Bottles and CansWord from our Dumpster Diver is that he is getting lots of help from those of us in the congregation who bring in their collections for him to recycle. The consequence of this effort has provided $108 towards the church school Heifer International project since late 2005. Keep up the good work!
Pentecost: A Birthday Party!Join us on June 4 as we celebrate the Day of Pentecost, the birthday of the Christian Church, and the gift of the Holy Spirit to the church. We will have the opportunity that day to receive the Pentecost Offering that benefits children at risk, youth and young adults. C&W Board will use 40% of the offering to provide scholarships for children in the Smythe Boys and Girls Club on the Eastside, where tuition went from $25 a child to $150 for the six-week summer program. The remaining 60% will support General Assembly ministries that advocate for children and provide leadership development opportunities for our youth and young adults. For more about this offering, please click Here for further information from the PCUSA web site.
Report from the Pastor Nominating CommitteeThe Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) was elected on March 26 and began work immediately. Like all of you, the members of the PNC are excited about the prospect of calling a new pastor, anxious to get it done quickly, and, quickly or not, determined to do the very best job possible. To keep you posted, the PNC will report progress on a regular basis.
A three-stage process is being used by the PNC for completing the pastoral search. The three stages can be summarized as:
(2) conduct a broad and thorough search, screening the responses to a final set of candidates; and
(3) evaluate the candidates and make a selection.
The PNC meets weekly. We are studying documents, reading books, and generally educating ourselves about how this pastor search process is to proceed. Our next step is to begin preparing the Church Information Form (CIF), using the soon-to-be-published Mission Study. Since we are unable to answer your specific questions, the PNC will occasionally provide general progress updates. We ask for your patience and especially your prayers for guidance.
That was QUITE a birthday surprise!On Wednesday May 17th many of us gathered for an out of door barbecue supper, to celebrate the arrival (finally!) of good spring weather. Of course, there had to be music. The Brass Group, including Miriam Rowan on the French Horn, was asked to play.
Now there is a subplot. Miriam was also having a birthday. To keep everything a surprise, the other players came early to rehearse the chosen piece, "The March of the Hamburgers." When she came we gave her her part and immediately began to play before the crowd. Miriam did her best to join in. Coincidentally, the tune just happened to be identical to the more familiar "Happy Birthday" - which we were singing to her. Miriam's look of surprise had to be seen to be believed!
Session BeatAt its meeting on May 9, Session:
Deacons Give Thanks for Gift
The Deacons would like to thank our recent anonymous benefactor. We are always glad to be of help to all of the members of the congregation, and we do not expect any compensation, but gifts to help us in our ministry are always a blessing.
All of the Deacons thank you ...
... for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.
Stewardship Board Highlights Will BequestsShe was a faithful member of Stone Church, attending Sunday services in hat and gloves, participating in Bible study classes, and taking an active interest in education. Just like a lot of us, you're thinking (except for the hat and gloves). But while she was alive, Ruby Hudspeth did something that more of us should consider.
In addition to giving her time, talents, and treasure, Ruby included the church in her will, leaving a bequest to the Presbyterian Women of Stone Church. Because of her thoughtful generosity, PW has been able to contribute to many local agencies that benefit women and children, including:
the Santa Clara County Public Health Nurses,
the San Francisco Theological Seminary Children's Program,
the Bill Wilson Center,
Planned Parenthood, and
The Stewardship Board invites you to think about your response as a faithful steward to future generations by including a charitable bequest in your will. Ruby Hudspeth has shown us how this type of gift can keep on giving!