Special Offering April 2015: ABSW

American Baptist Seminary of the WestThe American Baptist Seminary of the West (ABSW) was founded in 1871 and is the center of American Baptist ecumenical theological education in the far western United States. ABSW is a charter member of the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) since 1962. The seminary is affiliated denominationally with ABC USA and the Progressive National Baptist Convention, and admits students from a variety of  denominational traditions. ABSW is described on Twitter as Multi-Cultural, Multi-Ethnic, Evangelical, and Ecumenical.

Hobart Hall: ABSWHobart Hall, the heart of ABSW’s campus, is a four-story brick Tudor Revival building and was designed by one of California’s most famous architects, Julia Morgan. Dedicated in 1921, ABSW is a California state landmark.

ABSW offers its students resources through the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), the largest partnership of seminaries and graduate schools in the United States. ABSW students may take classes at 9 other GTU seminaries, and have access to one of the finest theological libraries in the world, a faculty of distinguished scholars, and the resources of UC Berkeley. Through the GTU, students can pursue ABSW degrees as well as Ph.D., Th.D., and M.A., and two joint Ph.D. programs with UC Berkeley.

Paul M. Martin is President/CEO and Professor of Pastoral Theology and Michelle Holmes is Vice President/CFO . Many of us remember LeAnn Snow Flesher, Academic Dean and Old Testament Professor, from her visits to FBCPA. We all remember Tripp Hudgins, now Director of Admissions.
Our church has had many connections with ABSW: Our Minister for Children, Youth & Families, Doug Davidson, is a student at ABSW and his wife, Jennifer Davidson, is Assistant Professor of Worship and Theology. Our pastor is a graduate of ABSW, as are Dona Smith Powers and Lynn Hunwick.

The 144th ABSW commencement ceremony will take place on May 16, 2015, 2:00 PM, at Beth Eden Baptist Church in Oakland. The speaker is Bishop Warner Brown Jr., Bishop of the California-Nevada Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. At last year’s ABSW Commencement, Congresswoman Barbara Lee was conferred an honorary Doctorate of Laws.

Our goal of $750 for the April Mission Offering for scholarships will be matched by the ABC Home Mission Society. We encourage you to give generously to continue FBCPA’s longstanding history of support to students at ABSW.

Marilyn and Lynn Hunwick

Back to teaching

It’s already been a full week as I began teaching yesterday at both Pacific School of Religion and the American Baptist Seminary of the West. It happens that both professors of pastoral care and counseling are on sabbatical this spring, so the schools needed somebody to cover their required introductory classes. This is a good opportunity for me to make use of some of my training and experience. It has been a long time since I have taught at this level, so I am happy to say I survived the first day and am looking forward to the rest of the term. Fortunately, since both classes are on Tuesday, I can lead Bible study in the morning and make it to Berkeley for the afternoon and evening. This also means I will be available at FBCPA on Monday afternoons to compensate for the time I spend teaching.

This week’s focus is on “Jesus and the Multitudes.” The texts from Luke show Jesus working in and among the crowds that gathered around him, eager for healing and words of hope. However, as we discovered in Bible study yesterday, the 34th chapter of Ezekiel is a remarkable passage from which Jesus and the gospel writers must have drawn for inspiration and resources. The word for leaders and the powerful who abuse that with which they have been blessed rather in service of the common good are roundly condemned. In the end, the prophet says they will be “fed justice” – an intriguing image. At the same time, the description of God as the Good Shepherd is among the most beautiful in scripture.

In Adult Spiritual Formation, Dona Smith-Powers and Martha Myers from Grace Lutheran Church will share their experience from a conference they attended last year, sponsored by the Alliance of Baptists, on Palestinian Christians..

See you Sunday at 10:00 AM

May we continue to grow together as God’s people.

Pastor Rick  

God's People


God's people

Thanks to Dona; Fourth Sunday of Advent

Three candlesAnother full week in the life of FBCPA. On Friday, the final Senior Chat was held at Covenant Presbyterian Church, followed by a luncheon co-hosted by Covenant and us to say thank you to Dona Smith-Powers for eight plus years of leadership of this program. We shared our gratitude for all she has given.

On Saturday, in our sanctuary, we held a moving memorial service for Virginia Herbert. Until her death, just shy of her 96th birthday, Virginia was our oldest member. Virginia was a remarkable woman, school teacher, mother and social organizer. Her circle of friends and former students is large. There will be another celebration of her life later in the spring when more of these folks can gather to share their rich memories. We will surely miss her. Thanks to everyone who helped with the service and lovely reception afterwards.

Sunday we finished our brief spiritual journey into the theme, “Be Born in Us Today,” by considering the ancient practice of examen, in which we ask ourselves on a regular basis, “Where did I feel God’s presence in my life today?” and “When Did I experience God as being absent?” These are key questions for a growing spiritual consciousness. In the afternoon, a group of intrepid carolers went to the Terraces to sing for some of the folk there. Afterward we gathered back at the church for chili supper. Thanks to Eleanor, Melanie Ramirez and Thelma Tuttle for making the delicious meal happen.

This Sunday, the fourth in Advent, we conclude our celebration of singers and songs of the season. We will have an augmented choir with voices from the Choral Project plus several regular guest musicians. We will all sing our songs as well. The sermon title is “Angelic Airs and Earthy Echoes,” in which we look once more to the heavenly choir and the shepherds’ shock. You’ve heard the word before of this most surprising experience. The announcement comes to the poor and outcast, the lowest of the low – “It’s to you we bring the glad tidings. It’s for you the Messiah comes. Let there be peace and good will for all on this earth.”

After worship we will gather in the Fellowship Hall for our annual Christmas brunch. Everyone is asked to bring finger food to share. Why don’t you bring some guests as well? It will be a great day. See you Sunday at 10:00 AM

God grant us more light, more love, more life as we journey together.

Pastor Rick

Honoring Dona Smith Powers

Senior ChatDear Senior Chat Friends:

On December 12 we will honor Dona Smith Powers with a luncheon after the Senior Chat Program.  Dona has been a faithful leader of Senior Chat for 8 years. The programs have been diverse and timely and many people have appreciated Dona’s leadership.

In visioning for the year ahead, Covenant has decided to take a different direction with this ministry, so this will be our last Senior Chat Program.

During the last 8 years Covenant Presbyterian and First Baptist have been the primary sponsors of this program and we invite you to this final program and celebration.

We hope that you will join us on Friday December 12 at 10:00 a.m. for Senior Chat and a luncheon that will follow.

Please RSVP to the Covenant Church office if you plan to attend the Luncheon: office@covenantpresbyterian.net  or you may call 650-494-1760.

Rev. Margaret Boles
Covenant Presbyterian Church
670 East Meadow
Palo Alto, CA 94303

Rev. Rick Mixon
First Baptist Church
305 North California Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 943