December 2016

From the Pastor —
Hope lives! 
Throughout history, In most societies the majority faith supports the powers that be. Sometimes that support will be wise and sometimes it will be absurd and dangerous. Sometimes it will be idolatry.  There are always branches of faith that are absurd and dangerous virtually all the time. But any branch can turn absurd and dangerous some of the time. Nobody is immune. Not all faiths are equally beneficial or close to the truth, but when we get there, we find people of other faiths who have come by a different path. We come through Christ, through the grace of God made manifest in Christ, in a small child born in a manger. Weak made strong, strong made weak, both together through love. It was in the beginning and ever shall be. Rejoice! Again I say
Merry Christmas,
Love, Pastor Max
Special Music Presentation next Sunday, December 18:
Todd Jolly, St. John’s music director, tells us that the text is the Ordinary of the Mass, and it is a complete setting with Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei.  Franz Joseph Haydn wrote this setting in honor of St. Nicholas, for the occasion of the name day of his patron, Nicolas Esterhazy.  An exquisite gift of the season to you! — with thanks to Todd. Don’t miss it.
Olive Oil from Palestine, in an effort of St. John’s towards peaceful resolution of the Middle Eastern conflict, will again be available in the Narthex next Sunday, December 18.  A wonderful gift for your friends, family and for you yourself!
A Message from Pastor Karen
Dear Church Family,
What a joy it has been to celebrate Advent together! From writing liturgy for the candle lightings on Sunday mornings, to rehearsing for the Christmas pageant, I have felt an overwhelming sense of God’s joy and gratitude for the variety of ways God has called me to use my gifts here at St. John’s.
Yet amidst all the excitement, I am also hearing God call me to take some time to focus on my young family and the gifts of older grandparents that are still a part of my life.  Therefore, after preaching on New Year’s Day, I will take about two months of personal leave to spend time with loved ones and recalibrate life at home, to better equip our family to appreciate the benefits of two working parents. While I will miss all of you very much, I am so thankful for this opportunity and I look forward to celebrating Lent together when I return on March 1.
— Blessings and love, Pastor Karen
Fred Harvey’s daughter Ruth and family will be visiting from Maryland the week of Dec 26 – Jan 1. Since Fred has less room than usual because he is sharing his home with a Chinese legal researcher and a post-foster care young man from Guatemala, he has less room for guests than usual and wonders whether anyone will be away that week and could use a house sitter. Call Fred at (510) 290-3677.
A big thank you to St. John’s football parking volunteers
Thanks to all of you who volunteered, some more than once: Nigel and Lisa Blampied, Mark and Nelly Coplan, Sally Hussey, Ralph Lastuka, Agatha Sue and Charles Lee, Jeanine and Jiang Lin, Andy Lyons, Ryan McCorvie, Brad Perkins, Greg Rising, and Don and Dorothy Worth.  Because of night games, some volunteers weren’t able to serve, but my thanks to you anyway.  Hope to work with you again next year! Construction delays in meeting the City of Berkeley’s new parking lot requirements, along with the night games (which we don’t usually open the lot for) meant we saw a large reduction in our collection —approximately $3000, instead of the $5-7,000 we normally receive.  Let’s hope that next year brings an increase, along with a better schedule and an improved team!
—Appreciatively, Claudia CateHere is a poem by M.S. Merwin…
who is one of the most acclaimed poets of our time.
I hope you enjoy it, for its beauty and challenging complexity — and that you believe through all the turmoil of these days the world over, Heaven does indeed hear us. . .  Keep the faith!

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out
in our directionsback from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
taking our feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
thank you we are saying and waving
dark though it is

W.S. Merwin, “Thanks” from Migration: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by W.S. Merwin.  (Copper Canyon Press, 2005)

Merry Christmas
from Gail, your StJ’s CALL editor.