January 2016


Happy New Year!
A wonderful Christmas!  Thank you all for sharing your love — and God’s love for us all. Paul writes to the Philippians about staying focused through prayer.  Instead of worrying about anything, the Philippians are to bring everything to God in prayer.  The anythings and the everythings of life can add up to an endless stream of worry.  Prayer encourages us to view things from God’s perspective.  As we look and are reminded of what we are thankful for, we begin to see more and more.  In prayer we bring our struggles into the realm of hope, and we also think of the good things: whatever is true, commendable, those things that are excellent and praiseworthy.   Roger Crawford, a friend born with severe physical disability, who was nevertheless able to become a professional tennis player, says “People are not optimistic because they have recognized possibilities.  They recognize possibilities because they are optimistic.”
“Just like everyone else,” Roger writes, “I was born with some unchangeable physical characteristics.  And just like everyone, at times I struggle to remain positive and accept what I can’t change… I learned to focus on what I could change, something I could control… The greatest obstacle to my success was not my hand or legs.  It was how I viewed them.”   Roger says he began to choose what voices he would listen to.  Rather than giving weight to and paying attention to people who were negative towards him, he began to focus on those who believed and challenged him to over  So, by God’s grace, may we all.

Love and blessings,
Pastor Max

Do you remember your baptism?: On Sunday, January 10th there will be an opportunity to share your baptism story in worship. Often family members or even the church where you were baptized have kept a record of the date you were baptized and who the pastor was. Also, if you have any baptism mementos, be sure to get those ready to share as well!  Not baptized? Younger or older, there is never a bad time to dedicate your life to God. See Pastor Max or Pastor Karen for more details.

                                                                                                   From Pastor Karen

St. John’s Family Snow Trip! Our annual trip to Tahoe will be January 29-31. Be sure to save those dates and stay tuned for details.
Adult Forums for January
10   “The Importance of Interreligious Dialogue”   Presentation by Daniel Shantu, an Ethiopian PhD Candidate at GTU, with special interest in addressing religious pluralism. Daniel holds that the Christian theology of religions is a discipline that attempts to study and give credit to the value and meaning of other religions in an interreligious encounter. “Given the reality of religious pluralism wherever we are in today’s world, it is of crucial importance for Christian mission to engage in painstaking exploration, investigation, and study of other religions for effective witness to the gospel. As we are called to be a witness to God’s saving acts through Jesus Christ, we need to find the effective way of doing so in a religiously pluralistic world.”

17   “The Children of Abraham”   Saad Akbar will share stories common to both Christian and Muslim traditions, pointing out the similarities and variations. Saad is an MA student at the Center of Islamic Studies at GTU working towards a PhD in Islamic Studies.  Muslim by faith, Saad was raised in a Muslim family, but having been educated in an American school in Saudi Arabia, a Catholic high school in Karachi, Pakistan, and college in New York, Saad feels he belongs to two worlds: the world of Islamic tradition and the world of Western tradition. The only nonChristian at the Berkeley Presbyterian Mission Homes, he is pioneering the program of intentional multifaith residential community.

24   “Being Muslim in America”   Ameena Jandali will describe experiences and impressions that show how the Paris and San Bernardino attacks as well as current presidential campaign rhetoric have fueled an intensification of “Islamophobia” in the United States and around the world.
Youth Ministry for grade 6-12, following the Simple Gospel, resumes January 10. Come with ideas for discussion topics and activities.

Ongoing Monthly Activities at St. John’s

Flick Flak, St. John’s film & fun potluck group, meets again at 6:30, on Friday, January 22 in the Campbell Reception Room for a movie discussion of “The Big Short” and “Spotlight.” Bring something to share and something to say (or not) even if you can’t make it to the movie!
Horizons Bible Study meets Thursday, January 21, 12:00 -2:00 pm. in the Campbell Reception Room. Sally Hussey is leading Lesson Four, “Dangerous Waters – God’s Deliverance.”  Joshua 3 and Psalm 69:1-3 are the scripture passages to read in preparation. Bring your lunch, a Bible and the Horizon’s Bible Study materials. We always have a lively discussion, and welcome new participants.
The Literature Club will meet on Thursday, January 28, at 2:30 pm in the Office Break Room to discuss “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline.  All are invited, all are welcome.
The Knitting Ministry will meet January 15 in the church office break room at 1:30. Come join us for tea, cookies, conversation and knitting (even if you don’t knit…)
The Memorial Service for our beloved Andy Benson will be Sat., Feb.6, 2:00pm, at St. John’s.

Save the date! Plan ahead! Don’t miss this really fun event!  Watch for a registration form!
St. John’s Annual All-Church Retreat
Friday April 8Sunday, April 10Relax • Refresh • Reconnect

in the Redwoods!

Let go! Slip from the grip
of everyday cares!

Life is more
than your favorite device!

Rediscover yourself,
your faith, your friends
at St. John’s!

Take a deep breath —nose to toes.
Imagine the Holy Spirit filling you up,
renewing you inside and out!Redwood Glen, 1½ hours from St. John’s, is a wonderful place to deepen friendships at St. John’s, re-affirm personal relationships, and revitalize faith. (Here in the redwoods, the trees will hug you!)Sign up!  Redwood Glen is accessible and comfortable, a drive through Half Moon Bay to a near-coastal site that is great for hikes and talks, even a trip to a nearby ocean!

Continuing the History Of St. John’s
(from the November 2015 CALL)
Following are the remarks of
longtime member Margaret Emmington

….then came the War and that terrible Sunday when all Japanese received word they were to be immediately incarcerated.  Converse, Dr. Hunter’s teenage son, was president of his class at Berkeley High School.  He knew all the addresses of his classmates.  So Elizabeth and Dr. Hunter called on every Japanese family that Sunday afternoon.  In several cases they took for safekeeping into their possession valuables of some of the families.  Then two days later in front of the First Congregational Church, the Berkeley Japanese families gathered for transport to the internment camps.  Of course the Hunters were there to help load the devastated families onto the buses.
One of the Japanese families owned the College Cleaners then.  After the internment they reestablished their cleaning business.  For many years they honored the Hunter family, who lived in the manse around the corner on Russell Street, by cleaning all their garments without charging a penny.
Another story I remember about the war days is the “clothes barrel” — and we all tried to keep it going through the Hunter years.  It was a huge barrel painted white placed at the side entry door of Fellowship Hall in the old Julia Morgan building, just off College.  By Saturday every week during the war it was overflowing with clothing for war refugees.
— To be continued! —