Mission Offering for June: Granholm Scholarship Fund (6/8/16)

Pastor Gregory and childrenRecognizing the tremendous costs of higher education today, we have established a fund, in honor of Don and Mary Granholm, to help support our youth with their aspirations of pursuing a college education. This fund is part of our Special Funds portfolio in hope that the money will grow into a larger fund.  Through this fund we can provide a small gift that might be used for books or other needs.

To date we have received $160 toward our goal of $500.

Scholarship applications are a available in the Entryway or the church office. If you have questions, speak to Pastor Rick.

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Note from Pastor Rick (6/1/2016)

James Poe, violinLast Sunday we continued “violin month,” as we listened to the beautiful playing of James Poe. James will play for us again on June 19 before heading off to New York City for seven weeks of study with Itzhak Perlman. We also concluded Peace Month with a focus on “Peace Now!” and a spirited discussion of Daniel Shapiro’s Negotiating the Nonnegotiable.

This month as we center on our own children and youth, celebrating graduations and the end of the school year, and raising funds for the Granholm Scholarship Fund, our theme will be “The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss.” The beloved children’s author and illustrator, Theodore Seuss Geisel, dispensed wit and wisdom for children of all ages, from one to 100. Each Sunday we will focus on one or more of his works, along with the Ancient Word to see what together they might teach us as people of faith.

This Sunday is Youth Sunday. Pastor Gregory, along with our children and youth, will be leading us in worship. The book they’ve chosen is the classic graduation gift, Oh, the Places You’ll Go. We will also celebrate Communion. Adult Spiritual Formation is on hiatus for the summer. Sunday will be our bi-monthly Lunch Bunch,

June 12 we will begin patio hour and June 19 we will hold our first cook out of the summer in honor of Father’s Day. If you’d be willing to host Patio Hour or help with the cook out, please sign up on the sheet in the Entryway. Also, on June 12, Grace Baptist Church in San Jose will be hosting the annual spring gathering of the Pacific Coast Baptist Association. The theme is “Communications in the Church.” There will be worship at 2:30 PM, followed by a panel on which I am participating, ending with dinner. Registration forms are available in the Entryway and office, or you can let me know if you’d like to attend. Registration deadline is Monday, June 6.

Join us for any of these opportunities beginning with Sunday at 10:00 AM. Invite your family and friends, neighbors and colleagues, acquaintances and strangers to join us on the journey.

Together, let us strive…to know God’s love!

Pastor Rick

 

Mission Offering for June: Granholm Scholarship Fund

Pastor Gregory and childrenRecognizing the tremendous costs of higher education today, we have established a fund, in honor of Don and Mary Granholm, to help support our youth with their aspirations of pursuing a college education. This fund is part of our Special Funds portfolio in hope that the money will grow into a larger fund.  Through this fund we can provide a small gift that might be used for books or other needs. Our goal for this offering is $500!

Scholarship apllications are a available in the Entryway or the church office. If you have questions, speak to Pastor Rick.

Where in the World is Pastor Gregory?

This week this section is devoted to the work of Pastor Gregory in our own “backyard.”

This New Year brings new adventures, new connections, new relationships, and a new section in the Midweek Message. Each week I will highlight some of the things I have been doing in our church and out in the community. Along with the Midweek Message you can find ministry updates on my office door, the bulletin boards, our weekly parent email “Weekly Wonder,” and through Facebook.

Parent Meeting: Our first parent meeting of 2016 was last Sunday and I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. After a quick update from Elizabeth Ramirez and myself, we discussed Sunday’s youth programming, weekly communications, and potential Saturday outings. It was encouraging to know that we are on the right track!

Peninsula Interfaith Climate Action (PICA): This month we discussed the successes and failures of the Paris Climate Talks, we discussed our involvement with the upcoming Palo Alto Sustainability and Climate Action Summit, and we began planning for an Interreligious Climate conference in the fall.

United Campus Christian Ministry (UCCM): As a new board member of UCCM I volunteered to help Charlotte Jackson in fundraising for the campus ministry; we met with Nan Swanson and Geoff Browning for an orientation. Our next meeting is this Saturday and we will be taking our first steps in thanking 2015’s donors. I am delighted to see how our involvement on Stanford’s campus can blossom through our partnership with UCCM.

Faithful Fool’s Trip: Twice a month I drive with Thomas Atwood up to the Tenderloin district in San Francisco to learn, pray, reflect, and laugh until our stomachs hurt! Establishing a relationship with the Fools has been a vital source in understanding how we can merge the arts with lasting personal/social transformation in Palo Alto.

Ed Bowers is one of them men struggling with life on the streets; he also happens to be an amazing poet. I’ll close this week’s update with a recent piece he shared with me.

Tenderloin Street Corners by Ed Bower

Tenderloin street corners
are full of
discarded eyes full of
blinking sadness trapped
inside the invisible
indefinability of matter.
They look sad
like they just got their crying done
and have nothing left
to do
but laugh.
This laughter goes unappreciated
by most
but I often listen to it inside my head
and smile
while I’m walking around
here.
The human spirit cannot be defeated.

 

Much love,

Pastor Gregory

 

Youth Sunday Reflection by Clara Ramirez

Clara RamirezYOUTH SUNDAY REFLECTION
Sunday, June 7, 2015
Clara Ramirez

Good morning everyone. I want to start off by talking about my experience at graduation from Los Altos High School. It was really interesting to watch graduation for three years prior to my own when I played in the graduation band every year. I thought about what it would be like when I was one day up there in the stands waiting to graduate. It was pretty much the same as being in my performance band except from a different angle. There was so much expectant energy from the audience and also from the people sitting around me. Yesterday I felt proud and accomplished. I was very satisfied with the work I have done in high school.

I am not very good at remembering exact ages for my memories at First Baptist Church, but I remember many little snippets of happiness during my years here. For me, a big part of coming to church is about enjoying the company of others.

I remember Jamie and David Shi from Sunday school. I was probably about 6 or 7 when they were with us. I remember appreciating the things they had to say, even at my young age. I felt comfortable in their presence. We all learned from the “crazy lady”, I’m sorry I don’t remember her name. She taught us great music and even invited us to summer camp at Cantabile music camp in Los Altos. Maybe this is where I started to have a love of classical music and performing. A love I continue to have to this day.

I remember Daniel Ha when he was he was really little. He was very energetic and talkative. I think when we are Sunday school now he has some really good ideas… when he feels like sharing. He really contributes to the conversations and makes me think. The conversations that we have in Sunday school stay with me for longer than just the hour that we are together. This is a valuable, positive part of my time at church.

One particular Sunday I remember is when we were asked to write, “God is here” on a rock. I didn’t want to do it so I didn’t. I think I felt that I didn’t want to write “God is here” in letters because for me a rock just by itself is enough to feel the presence of something. Looking at any rock made me feel like “nature” is here, not “god”. I have a very deep connection with the earth and nature so I didn’t feel like the letters saying “god” were necessary.

I want to show you this rock. We have this special rock that sits in our living room, a rock we got from Lake Tahoe. When I touch it, it’s cold and makes me think of the fresh air and open skies, pine trees and snow melted water. Having this rock makes me think of the possibility that there could be more than one word to say what most people would use the word “God” to represent. That word is nature. I used to feel that the wind was a spirit, breathing into you, making you feel refreshed. That to me was a type of natural experience that could be equated with what some say is the spirit of god.

I feel comfortable saying to you that I do not use the word “God” because I trust you all. Having grown up in this church gives me the confidence to freely express my opinions.

Being comfortable in the presence of others is important to me because I know I can be who I am and be accepted. I have always felt accepted here with this church family. Thank you for that.

I wonder if my experience will be different now as I am getting older. Will I learn new things? Will I get closer to the other adults in the church? What are the adult’s visions of church? How do they do church? Do you just listen to Rick all morning? Will I be able to use the word God more easily in my future? Maybe God already knows about my word choice and doesn’t care.

Thank you to the church for always bringing me happy snippets of good memories and for making me think. I am excited for the experiences that are to come.

This Week at First Baptist (4/15/15)

CalendarThis Week at First Baptist

  • Thursday, April 16, 5:00 pm: Church Council in the Parlor.
  • Thursday, April 16, 7:30 pm: Church Choir in the Parlor. New voices are always welcome to join.
  • Friday, April 17, 8:00 pm: The Choral Project presents “Chiaroscuro” in the sanctuary, choral masterpieces by contemporary classical composers focused on the contrast of light and dark.  See choralproject.org for ticket information (including free tickets for students high school and younger.
  • Saturday, April 18, 11:00 – 1:00: Food, Games, Social Time in the church parlor. Please bring sandwich makings, sweets, or beverages. Invite some teens to join us – from your neighborhood or church. For more information, contact Dona Smith-Powers at donamaysp@sbcglobal,net.
  • Sunday April 19:
    10:00 AM: Worship and Sunday School:
    “Alive in a Global Uprising: The Uprising of Discipleship,”
    Pastor Rick preaching.
    11:30 AM Adult Spiritual Formation: An update on the work of the United Campus Christian Ministry at Stanford.
  • Sunday, April 19, 12:30 PM: Church Finance Committee in the Parlor.
  • Monday, April 20: Spire deadline
  • Tuesday, April 21, 10:30 AM: Bible Study at the Terraces of Los Altos. We will meet at Marylea McLean’s apartment, 373 Pine Lane, #4204, Los Altos.

LOOKING AHEAD:

  • Thursday, April 23, 10:00 AM: Women’s Brunch at Corner Bakery Cafe, 3375 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. All women of our church community are invited. Please join us.
  • Sunday, April 26: Quarterly Business Meeting

This Week at First Baptist (4/1/15)

CalendarThis Week at First Baptist

  • Thursday, April 2, 6:00 pm: Maundy Thursday simple supper and communion in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Thursday, April 2, 7:30 pm: Choir Practice in the Parlor. New voices are always welcome to join.
  • Friday, April 3, Noon – 3:00 pm: Good Friday: Sanctuary open for prayer and meditation. Walk the labyrinth in the Patio.
  • Saturday, April 4, 10:00 AM: Set up for Easter brunch in the Fellowship Hall. Please help our Congregational Life Task Team prepare for this festive event.
  • Sunday April 5: Easter Sunday
    10:00 AM: Worship for the whole family:
    “Alive in a Global Uprising: The Uprising Begins,” Pastor Rick preaching.
    11:15 AM Easter Egg Hunt for children.
    11:30 AM Easter Brunch in the Fellowship Hall.
  • Tuesday, April 7, 10:30 AM: Bible Study at the Terraces of Los Altos. We will meet at Marylea McLean’s apartment, 373 Pine Lane, #4204, Los Altos.

LOOKING AHEAD:

  • Wednesday, April 15, 8:30 AM: Men’s Breakfast at Palo Alto Breakfast House, 2706 Middlefield, Palo Alto. All the men from our Church family are welcome.
  • Saturday, April 18, 11:00 – 1:00: Food, Games, Social Time in the church parlor. Please bring sandwich makings, sweets, or beverages. Invite some teens to join us – from your neighborhood or church.
  • Thursday, April 23, 10:00 AM: Women’s Brunch at Corner Bakery Cafe, 3375 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. All women of our church community are invited. Please join us.