May Mission Offering: Baptist Peace Fellowship

Baptist Peace FellowshipThe special mission offering for May is  our annual offering for the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America. We are one of the original congregational partners of BPFNA,. generously supporting their important work over the years. The mission of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America is to gather, equip and mobilize Baptists to build a culture of peace rooted in justice.

The BPFNA website has this to say about the organization:

What comes to mind when you hear the word Baptist? Do you think peacemaker? How about folks who care for the poor, resist racial discrimination, speak out about worldwide injustices and care for the environment? If that is not your vision of Baptist, then we invite you to stay a while, find out more about us and learn what the word Baptist means around here. The Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America works to gather, equip and mobilize Baptists to build a culture of peace rooted in justice.

As the largest network of Baptist peacemakers in the world, we celebrate and support the peacemaking work done by Baptist churches in Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico and Mexico by raising the visibility of these efforts; bringing peacemakers together in regional and international gatherings; and providing resources, speakers and training to our members. We also actively connect with peacemakers from other traditions, faith-based and secular, to build alliances and work together toward our common goal of a more just and peaceful world.

Copies of BPFNA’s award -winning magazirne1 Baptist Peacemaker, along with other literature , information on this Summer’s “Peace Camp,” and a brochure for individual membership are available in the church entry way or from the office. For further information, see the website at FBC Palo Alto is a charter member congregation of BPFNA.

We urge you to give generously. Our goal for this offering is $500.

Summer Peace Conference

Baptist Peace Fellowship ConferenceYou will see there are a number of announcements in this week’s Midweek Message, so let me just focus on one thing featured below.  As I said Sunday, the annual Summer Conference of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America – lovingly known as “Peace Camp” is a wonderful experience.  I know first–hand because I have attended a number of them in recent years.  There is serious learning and work in the area of peace making on the local, national and international levels, but there is also music, worship, Bible study, food and fun for people of all ages – much like the “family camps” that some of us grew up with.  There is outstanding programming for children, youth, young adults and the rest of us.  Every time I return from Peace Camp, I say how I wish people from our congregation could join in this great experience.

Well, now may be the time to act on that.  Only occasionally is Peace Camp held on the western side of the continent.  This summer it will be held on the campus of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.  By all accounts, the campus, Spokane and its environs make a remarkably beautiful setting.  Pastor Tripp and I would love to lead a pilgrimage to Spokane this summer.  Our hope is to secure a couple of vans, fill them with folk from FBCPA and head north.  In order to make this dream a reality, we need to hear from you.  If you have any interest in exploring this great learning and community building opportunity for our congregation, please let one of us know.  This trip will take some planning but it will be well worth the effort.  I would really love to make the journey this year with you.

Sunday we will continue our Lenten journey on the theme, “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.” This week’s gospel text finds Jesus reflecting on the “daily news,” conversing with his followers about whether or not disasters are punishment from God.  It’s a challenging text.  Come, see what Jesus does with the challenge as I understand it.  In Adult Spiritual Formation, I will continue sharing from my sabbatical experience in learning Spiritual Direction.  See you Sunday at 10:00 AM.

May God’s new thing flourish within us and among us.

Pastor Rick