From the Pastor

God's PeopleThank you all for your cards, condolences and kind words on the death of my sister, Joan. I will be headed to Boise this Wednesday, April 22, to conduct the memorial service and see my family. I will be back on Saturday in time for the Evergreen Planning Meeting as well as worship and the Quarterly Business Meeting on Sunday. We all have our ways to handle loss. It has been good for me to have my classes to teach at PSR and ABSW and The Choral Project. Both of these feed me as does the opportunity to share life and ministry with you all. Thanks for every effort you make to live into the Beloved Community of God.

In a bit of shameless shilling, I would like to encourage any and all of you within range to attend one of The Choral Project concerts this weekend – Friday night in our Sanctuary, Saturday evening in Santa Cruz and Sunday afternoon at Mission Santa Clara. (Details at www.choralproject.org/)The brief but powerful program explores some music of incredible spiritual depth and beauty. Under the theme, “Chiaroscuro,” we sing of the interplay of light and dark. What is especially meaningful to me at this moment is the way God is present and active in the darkness as in the light.

Sunday we continue our journey into a “Global Uprising” with consideration of “The Uprising of Discipleship.” The texts for the week cover Jesus’ call and commissioning of his followers to walk the Way and carry out his ministry of bringing the Beloved Community on earth in the here and now. How do we respond, centuries later, to the echoing call to “feed my sheep,” to “tend my lambs,” to heal the sick, to care for the needy, to spread the Good News far and wide?

In Adult Spiritual Formation we welcome representatives of the United Campus Christian Ministry at Stanford, a ministry which we helped found and have long supported. They will update us on the work that they are doing among progressive Christians at the university.

Please be here by 10:00 AM on Sunday for worship and Sunday School and stay for Adult Spiritual Formation. What better time to bring others along to share in the life of our community than this blessed Easter season?

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

Pastor Rick  

Around and about

Through the month of May I will be teaching at PSR and ABSW on Tuesday afternoons and evenings. As a result I will be working for FBCPA on Monday afternoons. However, this Monday, February 16 is a holiday and the church office is closed and next weekend, February 21 through February 24, I will be using vacation days to participate in The Choral Project Tour to southern California.

While I am away this Sunday, we are delighted to welcome the Rev. Dave Robinson to our pulpit. As lead chaplain with CIC, he has been with us before. He will preach and also lead Adult Spiritual Formation, taking us deeper into the ministry the chaplains do in our county jails. Please come out to support him and hear about the important work of CIC.

In this Lenten season, Brian McLaren invites us to be “Alive in a Global Uprising.” The Lenten texts are from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7. This week we begin with the Beatitudes. On this Ash Wednesday, Marcus Borg, of blessed memory, reminds us that Lent and Easter are “about following Jesus from death through resurrection.” This is a journey that promises a global uprising as we move ever toward that new creation that is the beloved community of God.

Come Sunday at 10:00 AM; stay for Adult Spiritual Formation and bring some others along to share the day.

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

Pastor Rick  

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  

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