This Week at First Baptist (12/3)

CalendarThis Week at First Baptist

  • Thursday, December 4, 7:30 pm: Choir Practice in the Parlor.
  • Sunday, December 7,10:00 AM: Worship for the whole family
    “Alive in the Adventure of Jesus: Women on the Edge,” Pastor RIck preaching.11:30 AM: Adult Spiritual Formation
    Be Born in Us Today – Cast Out Our Sin
  • Sunday, December 7, 4:30 pm: Soli Dei Gloria Concert, A Thousand Noels, music of Charpentier, Buxtehude and Zelenka fills our Sanctuary. Tickets at the door: $26 general and $21 seniors/students, in advance $23 and $18. For more information:
  • Tuesday, December 9, 10:30 AM: Bible Study
    at the Terraces of Los Altos at Janet Maxwell’s apartment.
    The address is 373 Pine Lane, #2106, Los Altos.  Let Pastor Rick know if you need transportation.


  • Friday, December 12, 10:00 am Senior Chat and Luncheon honoring Dona Smith Powers, Covenant Presbyterian Church, 670 East Meadow, Palo Alto. Details here.
  • Sunday, December 14, 4:00 pm: All-church Caroling and Chili Supper. Meet in the Parlor and we will spread out from there to bring Christmas cheer to some of our community who don’t get out so easily.
  • Sunday, December 21, 11:30 am: Christmas Brunch for the whole congregation in the Fellowship Hall. Please bring finger food to share.
  • Wednesday, December 24, 5:30 pm: Christmas Eve Service. A family-friendly service in the sanctuary

Caroling, special music and Christmas Pageant

Advent Candles
Advent Candles

Thanks to everyone who participated in our annual caroling event and chili supper Sunday.  Thirteen of us caroled for members of our community who don’t get around so easily anymore.  Then we returned to the church for a delicious supper supervised by Sachiko Berry with her talented team of Eleanor Satterlee, Joanne Jones, Marilyn Hunwick and choppers extraordinaire, Paul Berry and Hugh Satterlee.  The weekend began with a wonderful introductory concert from the iSing Girl Choir led by Jennah Delp-Somers and Shane Troll and included a lovely worship service planned and conducted by our intern, Naomi.  (This in spite of her “Friday the thirteenth!”  If you have a few minutes, ask her about it.)  Thanks to Thelma (and Ron) Tuttle for overseeing and delivering our EHP Adopt-a Family project, as well as to everyone who participated.  Four families totaling 17 people will have a brighter Christmas because of our generosity.

This Sunday we will conclude our Advent season, the time of preparation for Christmas.  The theme is Let Us Build a House where All Are Named, their Songs and Visions Heard” and my sermon is titled “Love Is on the Way.”  As we’ve been reminded in our Advent Adult Spiritual Formation time – “This world is wild as an old wives’ tale and strange the plain things are “ (G. K. Chesterton, “The House of Christmas”).  So we here the promise of a baby born to a young woman – an ordinary occurrence – only this baby will be God living among us!  Indeed plain things become strange in this season and we wait and watch in wonder.  The service will hold an abundance of music; our choir will be augmented by several singers from The Choral Project as well as friends and family.  It promises to be a good day.

Following the service we will hold our annual Christmas Brunch in the Fellowship Hall (bring finger food to share,) featuring the world premier of “The Adventures of the Grinch, Nope, Dan Who Misplaced and Generally Neglected our Savior and Messiah, Christ Jesus (Amen): Episode 1,” a video Christmas Pageant created by our children and youth.  It will be another full and fabulous day to share with a family member, friend, neighbor, colleague or stranger or two.  See you Sunday at 10 AM.

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

PS  Don’t forget Christmas Eve worship at 5:30 PM on Christmas Eve.  This will be a lovely candlelit service for the whole family.

Advent continues…

Advent 2013Advent continues to be a blessed time for our congregation.  We were graced with a fine sermon and liturgy from our intern, Doug, on Sunday along with beautiful music from Jennah Delp-Somers and two of the iSing girls.  Then the day was capped off with a lovely Open House hosted by the Spiridons.  Good friends – old and new, good food, good community.  Thanks to Nana and Alex for being such gracious hosts.

This Sunday the service will be led by our other intern, Naomi.  She will be preaching on Isaiah’s vision of a blooming desert and God who comes to a young woman in Galilee with an incredible message of good news.  In Adult Spiritual Formation we will look at some of the beautiful poetry that Ann Weems penned for her seasonal volume, Kneeling in Bethlehem, plus everyone is invited to bring Advent/Christmas/Epiphany poetry to share.  Then at 4 PM everyone is invited to come back to the church where we will divide up to go caroling to the members of our community who don’t get out easily or often.  Following the caroling, we’ll return to the church for chili.  It will be another full and fabulous day to share with a family member, friend, neighbor, colleague or stranger or two.  See you Sunday at 10 AM.

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

Pastor Rick: December 12

Thanks to everyone for the flexibility in scheduling our annual caroling and chili event.  We had a good turn out; we sang for several folk from our community who are not able to be with us regularly.  Then we gathered back at the church for chili supper.  I think the singing was much appreciated by those we visited.

Please remember our Friday evening Contemplative Services.  They are lovely, brief opportunity to spend time in the beauty of our sanctuary praying, singing and meditating our way through this Advent season.

This Sunday we will continue to spend time with John the Baptist as well as the prophets Zephaniah and Isaiah and the apostle Paul as we search out the light of joy in this Advent season.  The challenge for us will be to look for the joy in the sharp critique and sometimes harsh words these biblical characters bring.  I suppose the real question is whether or not there can be joy in our lives and in the world if we do not get our house in order.   Yet, even in our wondering and our waiting Paul encourages us to “Rejoice in God always!”

Soprano Susanna Jimenez will be singing with the choir Sunday.  She will also supply some very special Music of Preparation when she sings “Rejoice Greatly” form Handel’s Messiah.  You will want to be here early to hear her.  After Adult Spiritual Formation, in which we will consider what it means for Christ to come into the world as we know it, we will take a little break before reconvening at Spiridons for their annual open house for the whole congregation.  We are always grateful to Alex and Nana for opening their lovely home and providing a fabulous party.

This is a wonderful time to invite a family member, friend, colleague, neighbor or stranger to join us in worship, sharing and learning.  See you Sunday before 10:00 AM and at the other events of the season.

May God bless us and keep us on the way,

Pastor Rick

Pastor Rick: December 5

banjo.fwWhat a lovely beginning we have had for the Advent season.  Thanks to everyone who has contributed in action and in spirit.  It seems that we are on the right road of preparation for the holy coming.  I urge you to participate in all the activities of the season as much as possible at the same time I encourage you to take time to prepare.  Both John and Jesus spend time alone in the wilderness as they prepare for the work to which God has called them.  We may not find ourselves in the wilderness per se, but some down time in all the crush of holiday madness may be just what God is calling us to – time to sit quietly, to consider what is to come, to pray that we may be ready, to search for wisdom and understanding, to contemplate the light that is coming into the world and how it is manifest in hope, peace, joy and love.

Sunday we will spend time with John the Baptist and his forebears  John’s is that alarming voice, crying in the wilderness for us to make ready the road to salvation, urging all who will listen to turn from the seduction of empire to the promise of God’s righteous reign.  In this process, we will also look again at Zechariah’s song, the “Benedictus,” which was the focus of our work with Jennifer Davidson last month.  What did we learn in those sessions that we might bring to our worship this Sunday?  How might all these ancient words of blessing and comfort, prophecy and hope help us prepare for God’s touch on our lives this Advent?

As part of your time of preparation, I strongly encourage you to join us for Friday night’s contemplative service in the astonishing beauty of our worship space.  I find this to be a holy, healing time and trust that you might, too.  The services are simple and brief, scripture, songs, prayer and silence.

Sunday, we will keep our caroling and chili supper at 4:00 PM, so we will also continue our sessions in Adult Spiritual Formation on the theme “Prepare the Way.”  This Sunday we will consider preparation for Christ’s coming – in our faith community.  What is it for which we hope in this season and how might its realization make a difference in us and around us?

This is a wonderful time to invite a family member, friend, colleague, neighbor or stranger to join us in worship, sharing and learning.  See you Sunday at 10:00 AM and at the other events of the season.

May God bless us and keep us on the way,

Pastor Rick