Life Around the Church (12/16)

Betsy Andersonby Betsy Anderson, Office Manager/Building Supervisor

The church is decorated for the Christmas holiday. The tree is up in the Sanctuary lit with tiny white lights, pine cones are everywhere, and there is a feeling of anticipation that joy and celebration are ahead.

The church building is wonderful and historic. People passing by often comment on how lovely it is, and others come inside the Sanctuary to pause and reflect and have a quiet moment during a busy week.

One of my job duties is to keep all of our machines and appliances humming along. Our church building was constructed in 1949 with some original equipment that we still use. And as is often the case right before a holiday – the week before Thanksgiving and now the weeks before Christmas – our vintage stove needs a part and has stopped working. Stove repair people have said that plumbers can fix it, plumbers say fire safety people can fix it, and fire safety people say electricians can fix it. Thankfully, we believe that Palo Alto Plumbing and Heating has found a solution and we’ll be up and running very soon in time for the holidays.

Special events happening in and around the church during December include:

  • Dec 9: Women’s Brunch at Nana Spiridon’s, 11:30 AM
  • Dec 10, 11 & 17: New Mozart Concerts
  • Dec 11: Christmas Caroling & Chili Supper, 4 PM
  • Dec 19: iSing Family Carol Sing, 6 PM
  • Dec 24: Christmas Eve Family Service, 5 PM
  • Dec 25: Christmas Day Service, 10 AM

Happy December and Merry Christmas!


Life Around the Church (11/16)

by Betsy Anderson, Office Manager/Building Supervisor

Betsy AndersonBy my door, the leaves are falling, all around the patio, and everywhere you look, the leaves still on the trees rustle in the wind, and the youth garden is thriving with bush beans, basil, chocolate mint, cilantro, and rosemary.

Indoors, classes are in full swing. On any given Monday, the Macrobiotic chefs are chopping up fresh ingredients for the evening meal, while on the other side of the kitchen wall Andrea Monti glides across the floor of the Fellowship Hall demonstrating a flawless Tango with one of her dance students.

Continue reading Life Around the Church (11/16)

Life Around the Church

by Betsy Anderson, Office Manager/Building Supervisor

Betsy AndersonIt’s very peaceful when I arrive at the church every day. I open the Sanctuary, and put out the “Open for Prayer and Meditation” sign, and come into my office where it’s usually sunny. Lots goes on later in the day, but first thing, it’s very quiet.

On Mondays, the chefs for the macrobiotic dinner arrive just before Noon to begin cooking the evening’s meal. Patricia Becker, the manager of the dinner, is offering a vegetarian cooking class here on December 3rd to teach how to prepare some of their best dishes.

Continue reading Life Around the Church

Love Comes Down

Love Came DownThank you for everyone who joined us for caroling last Sunday. We sang for most of our residents at The Terraces of Los Altos in the health facility and the main dining room. It was fun to greet Janet Maxwell, Ruth Owen, Mary Martin and Ron Fredlund. Special thaks to Sachiko Berry and Carolyn Shepard for staying behind to make sure there was a delicious chili supper waiting for us on our return.

This is a busy weekend. Please join us at 10:00 AM on Saturday to set up for Sunday’s brunch. Then at 11:00 AM the choir will rehearse in the sanctuary. Sunday morning the choir will gather again at 9:00, followed by worship for the whole family at 10:00. We are grateful to Bay Choral Guild, iSing Girlchoir and Daniels Ha and Ramirez for providing extra music. Right after worship we will hold our annual finger-food Christmas brunch. Please bring food to share. The word is that the children and youth are working on a special video pageant that will be premiered at the brunch. (Move over Star Wars!)

Sunday’s theme is Love Comes Down. We will focus on Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, with the shared dreams of these two remarkable pregnant women. Then we turn to Mary’s great hymn to the justice and equity that will be central to God’s Beloved Community. Love comes down, is born in them – and in us – and nothing is ever the same.

See you Saturday morning and again on Sunday at 10:00 AM ready to worship, learn and share. Bring someone with you to experience the beauty, the wonder, the challenges of life lived in hope, peace, joy and love.

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

Pastor Rick


Keep Herod in Christmas

Three candlesThis full Advent season continues. We will have an opportunity to celebrate the long life of Virginia Herbert on Saturday at 1:00 PM. Virginia was our oldest member, a woman of intelligence, grace and wisdom and a great teacher. Saturday evening at 7:00 PM, the iSing Silicon Valley Girlchoir will offer “Thankful,” a holiday concert at Mission Santa Clara on the Santa Clara University Campus.

On Sunday, our journey takes a strange turn as we are invited to “Keep Herod in Christmas.” This hardly seems like an appropriate focus for this time of year, especially on the Sunday when the watchword is traditionally “joy.” There is little joy associated with the murderous despot who ruled the region when and where Jesus was born. The ancient king is best (or is it worst?) remembered for slaughtering the baby boys of Bethlehem in hopes of eliminating the Messiah before he could even get started. Brian McLaren insists that it is important to remember that “We do not live in an ideal world. To be alive in the adventure of Jesus…is to refuse to bow to all the Herods and all their ruthless regimes – and to reserve our loyalty for a better king and a better kingdom.” We will continue to search out joy as we walk this road together.

Our Advent experiment in spiritual direction will conclude this Sunday with the focus “Be Born in Us Today – Enter In.” Each person is invited throughout this week to engage in the ancient discipline of “examen,” that is, asking at some point in each day, “Where did I experience God today?” “Where did I feel God absent?” Keep a record of your observations, if you’d like. Then, on Sunday, bring something – anything you find symbolic of your experience – to share with the group. It could be a story, a poem, a photograph, a found, created or treasured object or a simple reflection. Be as free and creative as you’d like. Where does God enter into your life   Where do you find a block? This is the rhythm of our spiritual life.

Sunday afternoon we will gather in the Parlor at 4:00 PM to form caroling groups, heading out to bring some seasonal joy to members and friends of the church who do not get out so easily or regularly. Then it’s back to the church for chili and cheer around the table. If you have friends and relations who love to sing songs of the season, bring them along. The more the merrier!

See you Sunday at 10:00 AM. Invite a family member, friend, colleague, neighbor or stranger to share the morning with you – and come back at 4:00 PM to bring a little “Joy to the World.”

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

Young People and Renewal at FBCPA

iSing GirlchoirI love the fact that this is a place that welcomes and embraces young people. As I mentioned last week, we hosted concerts for the Silicon Valley Boychoir and iSing Silicon Valley Girlchoir at the same time we have the ongoing presence of the New Mozart School for Music. The building is often crawling with kids. I want to tell you that the Girlchoir concerts Friday and Saturday were terrific. Not only were the concerts musically excellent, the leadership and teaching of Jennah Delp-Somers and Shane Troll is remarkable. This program has become a real asset not only to our church but to the cultural life of Silicon Valley.

And speaking of assets, our own children and youth will be leading us in worship Sunday. This is the first time in the years I’ve been here that we’ve done something quite like this. Pastor Tripp and Doug have been working with the kids this spring on the topic of baptism. Now they have created a worship service in which we will be “Remembering Our Baptisms” along with them. I am especially pleased that Oscar Ramirez, who is graduating soon from Los Altos High and heading off to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, will be bringing the Reflection on the Word. I am looking forward to what he has to share with us. You will surely want to be present for this gift from our children and youth. By the way, they are also hosting the fellowship time after worship.

Following the service, we will hold the Special Business Meeting to take action on the Renewal Proposal, brought to us by the Renewal Task Team through the Church Council.   I am sure you are all aware of the process this proposal has been through. We came to you originally with a great candidate for the proposed new pastoral position, but in the end she was not available. At our Quarterly Business Meeting in April we brought you a revision of the proposal that removes references to a specific candidate and proposes the creation of a search process for a new candidate. We invited and have been open to talking with anyone in the congregation prior to Sunday’s meeting. I hope you have taken advantage of this invitation if you continue to have questions or concerns. I am hopeful that we have come to the place where we can embrace this proposal and move forward in a timely manner.   I also continue to pray that God will sustain and guide us as we look to God’s future for us.

So plan to be here at 10:00 AM for Youth Sunday and then stay for this very important business meeting.

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

Pastor Rick    

This Week at First Baptist (5/22)

 CalendarTHIS WEEK:

  • Thursday, May 22, 2014, 7:30 PM: Church Choir at in the Parlor.
  • Friday, May 23 and Saturday, May 24, 2014, 7:00 PM: iSing GirlChoir Concerts: ” Grow Together,” in the Sanctuary. For more information:
  • SUNDAY, MAY 25, 2014
    10:00 AM Worship and Sunday School:
    “Accounting for Hope,” Pastor Rick preaching.11:30 AM Adult Spiritual Formation: Cultivating Joy in the Midst of Manufactured Desire our series with Phil Kenneson’s book, Life on the Vine continues with a conversation about how many of our public conversations begin with the assumption of scarcity. What if, on the other hand, we started with the virtue of joy? What if our first assumption was simply to be joyful in what we have? We already have all we need to do the work to which God calls us.
  • Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 10:30 AM: Bible Study at the Terracesof Los Altos at Janet Maxwell’s apartment. The address is 373 Pine Lane,#2106, Los Altos. Let Pastor Rick know if you need transportation.


  • Sunday, June 1, 2014, Children and Youth Sunday
    10:00 AM, Worship for the whole family: This will be a special day in the life of our congregation. The children and youth of the church will lead us in worship. Graduating high school senior, Oscar Ramirez will be our preacher. Together we will remember what it means to be baptized and how that shapes how we live in the world.

    11:30 AM, Special Business Meeting to take action on the Renewal Proposal.

  • Friday June 6, 2014, 6:00 PM: All Church Cookout to celebrate Pastor Tripp and his ministry with us. Hamburgers, hot dogs, buns, condiments, beverage and dessert furnished. Please bring salads and side dishes to share.
  • Sunday, June 8, 2014, Pentecost:
    10:00 AM, Worship for the whole family:
    Pastor Tripp preaching. This will be Pastor Tripp’s last Sunday as our Minister of Faith Formation and Family Life. We will celebrate his ministry and wish him well in his new role as Director of Admissions for the American Baptist Seminary of the West. Everyone is invited to wear something red to honor the day.

    11:30 Am: Adult Spiritual Formation : Canon, Scripture, And Word of God: Over the three Sundays in June – 8, 15 and 22 Corinna Guerrero will address each of the above concepts. We start off with a little church history, but end in a call to advocacy. We hope you’ll join us.