February 2018

From the Pastor

Isaiah 40:28
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. God does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29God gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. 30Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; 31but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Thanks to all who continued to lead the Church while I was away in January. For a couple of Sundays we were home and woke up on Sunday morning thinking of what church we should visit. This small church on College Ave. kept coming to mind. St. John’s Presbyterian, I had heard, would be having excellent music and great preachers, and they are inclusive and do great work in the community and the world. Each week I thought about you on Sunday. I love the post-Christmas hymn singing-and-breakfast.  Thanks to Lisa and Nigel for leading that.  I know it was a joy. And then Lacey, Richard, Debra Avery and Sally Juarez led worship, and each week I thought I would love to hear what they have to say. I know they were good, too. Great gratitude for their work and spirit.

After promptly getting that bug, and recovering, I took a week to do yoga in Big Sur, then escaped with Feliciana to Sedona, to hike in the red rocks. Then we joined folks from the church for the snow trip in Tahoe. Glorious! Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

And now we are excited for a great February and March. Lent starts with our Ash Wednesday service at 6:30 pm Wednesday, Feb. 14. This is a beautiful candlelight contemplative worship service.

Also for Lent, we are hoping most of the congregation will read Barbara Brown Taylor’s “Learning to Walk in the Dark.” Several copies are being sold at church or you can purchase it on your own. We tend to think of God as the source of light, and we tend to be afraid of the dark. But surprisingly, when you cruise through scripture, many folks are running into God in the dark too. Come explore.

Next, we have the privilege of Lacey’s ordination on Saturday Feb 24 at 3:00 pm.  Finally, mark your calendar for the Congregational Meeting on March 11 after worship. Potluck lunch, and we will receive the annual report for 2017 and approve the pastor’s terms of call.

Pastor Max

St. John’s Annual Congregational Meeting and Potluck Lunch will be held in Hunter Hall after worship on Sunday, March 11.  Please join us to receive and review St. John’s 2017 Annual Report and to approve the 2018 Pastors’ Terms of Call. Potluck assignments will be posted in the March CALL.

Sunday Forums for February
February 11:  Debbie Notkin and Lou Rigali “Public Bank of Oakland”
Where does money come from? Who creates money? Who should control our money supply, and for whose benefit? And how does all this matter in the kingdom of God, anyway? A broad coalition of community organizations, led by “Commonomics” and “Strike Debt Bay Area,” has been asking these questions. In the fall of 2017 St. John’s session wrote a letter in support of exploring the creation of the Public Bank of Oakland, and in November 2017 Oakland City Council, with economic support from the Berkeley City Council, began a feasibility study for the bank. Debbie Notkin and Lou Rigali will lead a discussion about this innovative approach to how we might manage one of our most common and vital public resources.February 18: “Ministry of Berkeley Presbyterian Mission Homes and Rwanda.”
Bill and Beth Beatty spent five weeks in Rwanda last summer immersing themselves in the culture and the issues of that small country of East Africa. They were greatly impressed by the sophistication and organization of that poor country. Since the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, (as documented in the film “Hotel Rwanda”), during which nearly one million of their total population of eight million were murdered and so much destroyed, they have recovered remarkably in education, health care, infrastructure, governance, women’s rights, and, most importantly, in forgiveness and in reconciling as a nation.
Bill and Beth will present photos of the region, the people and their leaders, village life and worship, how cows are key to their sustenance, plus other commentary on this extraordinary country. There will be time for questions.

February 25: Lenten discussion of “Learning to Walk in the Dark,” Part 1
For our Lenten study, we shall be reading and discussing Barbara Brown Taylor’s book Learning to Walk in the Dark. Used copies are available online for less than $9. Please read the book and come to discuss it at a Sunday Forum. Specific chapters will be announced in advance for each Sunday. For those who are unable to obtain a copy or to read ahead, a leader will begin each discussion with a brief summary of the chapter.
Per Capita Tax time
Each year we pay an amount per member to support the ongoing work of the Presbytery of San Francisco, the Synod of the Pacific and the national level PC (USA) General Assembly.  Please remit $36.25 per member in your household.  Kindly drop a check in the offering plate or mail it to the church office to Elisay Digiuseppe.  Please include “PC tax” on the memo line of your check.  Thank you!
Lacey’s ordination to Ministry, Saturday, February 24
You are invited to celebrate Pastor Lacey Hunter’s Ordination to Ministry in the United Church of Christ, with Marvin K. White preaching.  The ceremony begins in the St. John’s Sanctuary, followed by a reception and dance party in Hunter Hall.
Flick Flack
St. John’s potluck movie discussion group will meet at 6:30 pm on Friday, February 23, in the Campbell Reception Room. Movies to see (if possible) are “Call Me By Your Name,” “The Shape Of Water,” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri.”
Those of us who met in January enjoyed a delicious meal and lively conversation. We all hope more people will come in February, since there is likely to be a very interesting discussion of these particular movies.  Questions? Check with Sally Hussey.
Horizons Bible Study
February 15 is the date for our next lesson in the current study of the early Christian community as recorded in the New Testament book of “Hebrews.” Sally Hussey will facilitate the review of Lesson Five: “In Community with the Tradition of the Past.” Hebrews 3:1-6; and 11are the scriptures to read, as well as the lesson itself. We’ll also be reviewing some the Confessions of our faith tradition. We’re meeting at the usual time and place: 12:00 noon in the Campbell Reception room, lunches in hand, as well as a Bible and the study materials (extra copies are available). Interested? There is room at the table for newcomers!
Left behind…
Someone left a white towel at Claudia Cate’s Tahoe house after the St. John’s Snow Trip. Is it yours? Please reclaim. Also, if someone mistakenly took a white pillowcase edged with eyelet trim, please return to Claudia, 510.384.5777.
The St. John’s knitting group will meet Fridays, February 16, March 2 and 16 at 1:30 in the church break room.  Come join us for tea, conversation and knitting or just drop by to visit anytime during the afternoon.
Calling all sweet tooths: “Chocolate Sunday,” coming up this Sunday, February 11.
Food and Clothing Needed, and Donations—
St. John’s directly helps to feed and clothe the homeless in several ways:
* Twice a week, “Food Not Bombs” prepares nutritious, delicious meals in our kitchen to serve in People’s Park
* UC students are helping to manage our clothing closet and distribute clothes to the homeless on Fridays
* By providing ready-to-eat food that is available in our narthex closet for those who need it.
Are you able to contribute food and/or warm clothing to re-stock our shelves?  We seek ready-to-eat packaged or canned foods (that don’t require a can opener), jackets, sweaters, blankets, and sleeping bags.  If you can, please bring donated items to church on Sundays or to the office during the week.  Thank you! For more information on “Food Not Bombs” see their website at ebfnb.org.
Please add to Your Prayers…
Ken Lynch family, Angel and David Foreman and family, Elisay Digiuseppe and family, Lois Andiloro, Bill Herwood, Gloria Worrell and Cherokee, Chip Goodman, Jaye Pierce and family, Eric Hussey (Sally’s son), Janice Wells, Joyce Caproni, Sally Juarez and family, Ann Arndt

Deep peace to you. Deep peace to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the gentle night to you.
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Deep peace of Christ the light of the world to you.From “A Gaelic Blessing,” by John Rutter