April 16, 2013

We had an important discussion at our congregational meeting on Sunday in regard to the proposed artwork for the space of above the baptistery. I thank the committee and I thank the congregation for doing serious work in a serious manner. There is a display of the proposal in the Narthex for you to view as  you think and consider further. The next meeting of the Sanctuary Art Committee is Sunday, April 28 at 8:45 in the Library. The meetings are open to all members of the church. If you would like to submit a response in writing please send it to me at jim@labcoakland.org. While I cannot promise that the committee will agree with every response, I can promise that each response will be carefully and respectfully considered.

This Sunday my sermon is titled “42”and will relate  the Jackie Robinson story to the  Lectionary Scripture of the day, Acts 9:36-43.  My simple point will be that as the effort of Dodgers General Manager, Branch Rickey,and Jackie Robinson to integrate baseball was too important to let die, the Act’s account of the resurrection of Dorcas makes it clear that early church viewed the gifts she embodied, good works and acts of charity, as too important to let die. The question I will raise is what do we consider too important to let die?

In recognition of Earth Day the hymns and prayers of the morning will lift up Creation as a gift of God and our role as caregivers of Creation.  A question, is our role as caregivers of Creation one of those commitments that is too important to let die?

The Coffee Hour will be hosted by our Hunger Task Force in honor of the caring ministries and programs the HTF supports. The HTF is to be congratulated for its good work and for being named as a recipient of a Matthew 25 grant from the American Baptist Churches USA to support its effort to address poverty. Again a question, is our commitment to care for those in need one of those things that is too important to let die?

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Prayers for those whose bodies need strength and healing – Bette Pancoe (The Rehabilitation Center of Oakland – formerly Rounsville Convalescent Hospital, Sybil Alexander, Charlotte Evans, Ted Evans,  Carol and Steve Leichter, Brenda McCarthy for the Maldanado and Dews families, Art Ferguson, Cecil White, Joni Nomura, Sandra Dunn, David Broadnax, Chuck Johnston for his partner Kevin  and for his dad and step-mom, George Lee for Sylvia, Edna Dorenzo, Virginia Damretzky, Al Johnson, Jamie Reid, Kay Baxter’s friend Abbott, Rae Rita Thompson’s father, Celestine Bennett’s son Richard, Dave Gattey’s brother Phil and sister in law Linda, Cherie Smith for mom, Helen Harrison for Susan Newberry, Jim Jefferey, Jesus Portillo for Spanky and William, Jeanne Robinson, Joe Abrams for his father, Alean Saunders-Coffey for her sister and a friend,
  • Prayers for those who are aging and their loved ones who care for them – Sandra Dunn for her father, Theresako Harris for her aunt, Larry Hutchings for his mother, Marc Harrison for his father, Sheryl Gattey for her mother, Helen Roberson for her mother, Ruth Smith, Naomi Nutting for her mother
  • Prayers for those who are grieving – Darby Lockett (Shell Ridge Community Church) on the death of her husband,Dudley, Ann Fields on the death of two cousins and her neighbor
  • Prayers for our loved ones who are facing significant challenges – Gloria and Phil Meads for their nieces, Jason, George and Phillip Oliver, Kay Baxter for Stacey, Georgia Upshaw for her friend Ginny, Toni Daniels for her family, Margaret Alexander for LaShaya and family, Joan Patten for her son Peter, Rowena Jackson for her son Paul, Barry Breaux for his family, Mary Lee, Max Powers, Ann Fields for her family, Mary Alice and Abe Cirimele for Sal and Sylvia Tedesco, Steve Reimer for his son Greg, Declan Brown for his friend Lewis, Cathy Leaks for Rodney Leaks, Cordia Lee for Elysse and Elijah Green IV, John, Paige, Erica and Elijah Green III and herself
  • Prayers for our community- For all who are engaged in Earth Day work projects, for the ministry of our Hunger Task Force and its partner organizations, for the Oakland City Council and Mayor Quan, for the United States Congress as it addresses gun safety and immigration, All who seek assistance from the church, Tess Benin as she prepares to travel to the Philippines, Our students as they study and make decisions
  • Prayers for people we don’t know who  are facing challenges we can’t imagine- For our Kachin brothers and sister, those who are incarcerated, all who are affected by gun violence, the people of Haiti, the people of the Syria, the people of the Korean Peninsula (both South and North) the people of Boston and the families of those killed and injured in the bomb explosions there on Monday
  • Prayers of gratitude – For the medical work of Dr. Geetha Thaker in India, for the ministry of the Lakeshore Children’s Center in this Week of the Young Child
  • Prayers for ourselves – May each of us know peace, joy, acceptance and encouragement 

Announcements

Your Pastoral Staff has been asked by the Pastoral Staff of Piedmont Community Church to provide emergency pastoral care coverage this Wednesday-Friday as the PCC Staff will all be out of town for what is spring vacation for the Piedmont School District.

LABC will be recognized by the Oakland City Council tonight (Tuesday). Reception at 5:30, Presentation at approximately 6:00, City Hall. No Soup and Study tonight. The Church Council will meet as scheduled at 7:30.

Historical Note – April 2013 is the 5oth Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” King composed the letter to some moderate white clergymen, and by extension to the rest of the nation, in a jail cell in the midst of the bitter struggle to desegregate public accommodations in Birmingham, Alabama. In an article in the April 17, 2013 “Christian Century” historian Robert Westbrook writes, “The letter was a powerful indictment of the shortcomings of timid moderation is the face of injustice.”  For me, one of the most important sentences in the letter reads “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”