Rally Day this Sunday- 120th Anniversary

a new thingThis week marks the church’s “back to school” days.  Sunday will be our annual Rally Day when we transition from the more relaxed days of summer to the energetic bustle of autumn.  Apparently the weather does not plan to cooperate as it promises to be warm this weekend and summer is likely to linger for a few more weeks.  Still, we will be gearing up for a full church year of educational opportunity for children, youth and adults.

We are particularly blessed to have two fine interns coming to work with us this “school year” and they will both begin this Sunday.  Be sure to give a warm FBCPA welcome to Naomi Shultz (from Pacific School of Religion) and Doug Davidson (from the American Baptist Seminary of the West.)  Pastor Tripp and I are both excited to be working with these students and trust that you will, too.

Sunday’s focus will be on Hebrews 11 and the theme “We’ve Come this Far by Faith,” as we celebrate the “great cloud of witnesses” whose legacy is FBCPA.  We will celebrate our 120th anniversary in worship and at a potluck cook out afterwards.  We’ve been digging in the archives and have found some pretty interesting historical material to share with you.  Thanks especially to Marilyn Hunwick, our chief sleuth.   We will also consider what it means for us to take faith and hope from our forebears in order to “run the race that is set before US.”

Come at 10 AM for worship and stay for the potluck cook out afterwards.  Bring someone along to share the day with you.  See you then.

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

Pastor Rick

Beloved Community

tripp-banjo.fwFriends of God,

And we begin again.

What does it mean to be born again? Well, it looks a little like a new program year, like going back to school again. Itʹs familiar but different. You think you know how everything works but you are also prepared for some new surprises along the way. Heck, you might even be excited or a little scared because you know that there are surprises in store. You have been promised surprises.

Welcome to Church, the Beloved Community.

The youth room will be under construction over the next couple of weeks as we begin to live into some new things this year. Our children are getting older. Do you remember senior year of High School? Well, prepare yourself to watch it happen again before your very eyes as Oscar lives into his final year of High School. Our kids are growing up and the room we worship and study in needs to change with us. I donʹt know what it will look like in the end. So much of that is up to them. So, color me a little scared and excited, too.

The Beloved Community has children in it…and they grow up.

This year, as you already know, we are welcoming Doug Davidson and Naomi Schulz into our fellowship as student interns. They are members of the Beloved Community, but now also members of our fellowship. They will help out from time to time with our children and youth, but you will see them more in worship and in our adult education hour following worship.

Adult education this year will include the exploration of some key Christian themes like how and why we read scripture, what it means to be ʺThe Churchʺ and how thatʹs different than being a Democrat, an American, or being Irish (sorry, Naomi). We are a people without a country. But we are also a people called to be together at a certain time in a certain place as an outpost of Godʹs Kin‐dom. This is the ʺeschaton,ʺ the fulfillment of Godʹs whole self, Godʹs being in the world. What does
it look like to live it?

You tell me. Iʹm just starting to figure this out. Some of you have been at this for a while.

Itʹs a new year and together we shall be born again. Itʹs a little scary and exciting, but together we can move forward into this new thing God has in store for us. Jesus has paved the way. Take courage. As the song goes, ʺItʹs the end of the world as we know it, but I feel fine!ʺ

Peace and All Good Things,
Pastor Tripp

To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God. To open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.”
— William Temple (1881‐1944)

Remembering Dorothy Aker and looking ahead

Carolyn Aker
Carolyn Aker

We had a rich, full day Sunday as we worshiped, shared community and celebrated the life of Dorothy Aker.  I was particularly glad to listen as family and friends “fleshed” out Dorothy’s life through the sharing of memories.  Having only known her in these last years, it was good to hear of all her contributions to her family, her church and her community.  I knew she was a remarkable woman, but I didn’t fully realize how much so.  The reception after the service was very lovely.  I think Dorothy would have been pleased.  We continue to hold Carolyn and the rest of Dorothy’s family in our prayers.

Sunday we are going to do something different in worship.  We are going to focus on music and singing.  I hesitate to call it an “old-fashioned hymn sing” because we will be doing a variety of music.  I also hope it will be a worshipful experience that will be meaningful for young and old alike.  We will also be saying farewell to Pearl Pe in Sunday’s service, as she is returning to Myanmar to be with family there.  We will formally bless her on her way as well as saying our informal “good-byes” during the luncheon afterwards.  Instead of patio hour, we will have “dinner on the grounds.”  Everyone is invited to bring food to share and stay for a time of community.

You will note above that we will hold a kick-off Sunday or Rally Day for our church school year on September 8.  We will worship together, formally introduce our interns, Doug and Naomi, talk about educational opportunities for the year and share another potluck lunch in celebration of the 120th anniversary of our congregation.  If you have memorabilia or stories to share, please let me know, so we can include you in the program.  This will not be a big, formal celebration but an important opportunity to remember where we come from as well as what we are about.

Join us at 10 AM for worship and stay for the fellowship of the Patio Hour.  Bring someone along to share the day with you.  See you then.

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


Meet Our New Interns

Naomi Schultz and Doug Davidson
Naomi Schultz and Doug Davidson

As most of you know, Pastor Tripp will be finishing up his course work this month and will be working on his comprehensive examinations in the coming year. This, plus some needs of his family in Virginia, means he will be working fewer hours at FBCPA. We are delighted that he will continue to be our Minister for Faith Formation and Family Life. We are equally delighted that we have two outstanding seminary students coming to work with us in the coming year, both to fulfill their field work requirements and to help with Pastor Tripp’s responsibilities.

Tripp and I have dreamed of having multiple interns working as a team ever since he started working with us. I had an opportunity like this in Granville where I was privileged to work for a year to work with three wonderful women – two interns and a pastoral associate. Everyone benefited from the project, especially the congregation. Let me introduce you to our interns.

  • Doug Davidson will be a second‐year M.Div. student at the American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley. Before beginning seminary, Doug worked for more than two decades as an editor for religious publications, including thirteen years as coeditor of the late, great Christian peace‐and‐justice magazine The Other Side. Read more …
  • Naomi Schulz will be a third year student at the Pacific School of Religion. Her areas of academic interest include: Theologies and Best Practices of Christian Parish Ministry; Theologies of Embodiment and Care related to Disability and Illness; Intersections of Art and Spirituality; and, Faith‐based organizing. Read more …

Of course there is much more to both Doug and Naomi but I wanted you to know something about them before they started. I hope you will take every opportunity to get to know them better as they serve our community in the coming year.

Pastor Rick