March 2017


Hello, wonderful St. John’s people,

greetings in the name of Jesus the Christ, King of sacrificial love and grace, the One who is and was and is to come.

Wow, have I been knocked flat.  Literally.  I apologize for going missing. In late January I was clobbered by the heavy, fast moving lip of a wave, jolting my back, head and neck. I got a concussion and whiplash. A week later I thought I was better and went up to the snow trip to have fun.  After returning home the concussion and whiplash came back strong. I kept working but my brain wasn’t, so I took a couple weeks off. Thank you, everyone, for continuing to be the Church. I am so tender that almost anything is too much for my shoulders and neck. My brain is starting to feel better but now it has become clear that I have a pretty serious;whiplash that will take some time to heal.

Please pray for patience and healing.  I have decided I like my mind and want to keep it. I also pray for God to give me the strength, or pray that I might give God the strength for a lifestyle change — as big-wave surfing has been therapy, fun and escape from what can be intense if meaningful work. Surfer as identity has been a big part of my ego — obviously. But also, multiple routines and habits have been jolted – the many little things we might do daily from posture to focus to order which may or may not be healthy.

Meanwhile, life goes on in these United States of America. I did actually manage some away- and-down time, discovering that such Sabbath will be crucial to surviving the roller coaster ride. In Church we join in solidarity with real people in real community, where we commit to following the Way of Christ and renew the hope that surpasses understanding. By grace we have come thus far, and grace will lead us home.

Love, Peace, Justice, and Truth,

Pastor Max



will be the evening of March 1 at 6:30 pm.

Join us for a beautiful, contemplative service


St. John’s Annual Meeting And Potluck Lunch will be held in Hunter Hall on Sunday, March 5, after worship. Please join us for an opportunity to hear about what St. John’s accomplished in 2016, what commissions will be doing in 2017, and to review the budgets for 2016 and 2017. Potluck assignments, based on the first letter of your last name, are: A-I – Main dish, J-O – Dessert, P-Z – Salad. Please bring enough for at least 8-10 people. All are welcome, even if you are unable to bring food.

Adult Forums in March March 5: First Sunday in Lent: Annual Meeting, no Adult Forum  March 12: Second Sunday in Lent: Pierre Labossiere – Update on Haiti, the current situation March 19: Third Sunday in Lent: First Lenten Reflection on Spiritual Gifts for Ordinary People   In the first of our series of Lenten reflections, our topic will be “Slowing Down and Celebrating.” We will use material from John Ortberg’s book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Gifts for Ordinary People. If you want to be extra-well prepared, read chapters four and five of the book before coming to the Forum.   March 26: Fourth Sunday in Lent: Second Lenten Reflection on Spiritual Gifts for Ordinary People.   In the second of our series of Lenten reflections, our topic will be “Praying and Confessing,” again from John Ortberg’s book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Gifts for Ordinary People, Chapters six and eight. __________________________

The Berkeley Presbyterian Mission Homes Dinner & Silent Auction

You are cordially invited to a gala evening of gourmet dining at their international dinner and silent auction on March 25 at St. John’s.   The evening begins with wine and appetizers at 5:30, followed by an amazing dinner prepared and served by the residents themselves, which features the flavors of their eight different cultures.  Dine on the cuisines of Korea, northern and southern India, Samoa, Pakistan, Ghana, Rwanda, Cameroon as well as the USA.  The evening will include a program that gives you the history of the Mission Homes and will delight you with the musical talents of some of the residents.  Get to know these gifted and intelligent global faith leaders, meet their families and hear their stories.  This will be an evening to remember!  Tickets will go on sale during coffee hour in March.  $25.00 for adults and $10.00 for children 10 and under.


ALERT! March Flick Flack moves to the 2nd Friday. The movies for discussion are Hidden FiguresLa La LandLion and Fences. We will meet on March 10 at 6:30 pm in the Campbell Reception Room for potluck dinner, followed by our thoughts about the movies we have seen. We would love to enlarge our numbers, so if you haven’t yet experienced a Flick Flack evening, you are invited to come with your edible contribution, your opinions on the film(s), and your suggestions for the movies to see for the April meeting.


Horizons Bible Study:

Dorothy Worth will guide us through Lesson Seven in our study of the question: Who Is Jesus? Our March 16 focus is according to the non-canonical Gospels, the early Christian literature that is not included in the New Testament Cannon. Interested? Join us on the 16 at 12 noon in the Campbell Reception Room with your lunch, the Bible study materials if you have them, and your participation in what will be an interesting discussion.


The St. Johns knitting group meets in on the 3rd and 17th of March in the church office break room. Come join us to knit shawls, hats, scarves and baby blankets or just come for tea, cookies and conversation. If you want to learn to knit, we would love to teach you. Knitting is a great way to relax and reduce tension and even helps you stay awake when watching television.


A letter from Chani Bungsut, in India, to Bob and Marilyn,

It has been more than half a year and I believe that this mail is long overdue. India has treated us very well ever since we’ve arrived and it has been a wonderful experience so far. The whole family is doing very well, my mom loves her garden, my dad is very busy with his teaching, and Zuali has many new great friends that she loves to constantly hang out with. As for me, I am currently home for winter break as it is quite cold in Mussoorie right now.

Woodstock has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I have gotten to meet so many wonderful people from all over the world and I have learned a lot from my newfound independence in boarding school. I have pushed myself to step outside of my comfort zone and take on new challenges. For example, I decided to run for Class Governor for the upcoming semester and surprisingly got the position, which is a big step for me in becoming a leader in the community and a more confident person. I receive an amazing education as the teachers are all willing to help as much as I need and the dorm parents and the other girls in the dorms are supportive and wonderful to be around. I can honestly say I’m in love with this place.

Of course it is impossible to forget all the kindness and generosity you guys have shown to not only me, but also my family. I have also been incredibly inspired by your leadership skills and how much you care for the world around you. I hope to be as vocal and important about my concerns as I grow older.

Love, Chhani



If you would be happy to receive The CALL online, we will remove your name from our mail-out list. However, if you need or prefer to continue receiving The CALL by mail, let us (me) know!

Joyful Noise!

Good news” from — and for — the family of St. John’s


God’s mysterious ways may be hard to fathom about now, but faith in God’s love is still the source of our hope and peace. These contributions to The CALL surely attest to the small and larger miracles right under our noses, at our very feet.


  • Need an uplift in outlook during this political season?An amazing (brief) book — informative, insightful, optimistic, and enjoyable reading: “Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities,” by Rebecca Solnit. (Pastor Max concurs, enthusiastically.) Solnit is a writer, historian, and activist, the author of seventeen books about environment, landscape, community, art, politics, hope, and memory, among other topics!  Wonderful social observer who illustrates out of history and in current times the power and success of small-scale resistance against enormous odds.


  • In the latest Atlantic,a story from Brazil of volunteers who deal with bad traffic behavior by dressing up as zebras (think zebra crossings) and confronting drivers on site who pose a challenge to pedestrians — humor can be amazingly effective!


• Poem by Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass:   Why should I wish to see God better than this day?

I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four,

and each moment then:

In the faces of men and women I see God,

and in my own face in the glass,

I find letters from God dropt in the street,

and every one

is sign’d by God’s name,

And I leave them where they are

for I know that wheresoe’er I go

others will punctually come for ever and ever.