April 2, 2013

It is is not a new or startling revelation, yet,  as I reflect on the week gone by I am once again amazed by all the caring and talented people who shared their gifts with the community and made Holy Week and Easter days of deep meaning, great beauty and profound hope. Thank you to all.

This Sunday The Reverend Dr. David Laubach from the American Baptist Home Mission Societies will be with us for the presentation of the Religious Freedom Award. The Reverend Dr. Greg Ledbetter, Pastor of Shell Ridge Community Church in Walnut Creek, will preside over the service of Communion.

In my sermon, “four FRAGILE freedoms” I will note that Roger Williams, the founder of the Rhode Island and the First Baptist Church in America played a central role in making religious freedom one of the hallmarks or our national identity. In an article in the January 2012 Smithsonian magazine entitled “God, Government and Roger Williams’ Big Idea,” John M. Barry writes:

Williams believed that preventing error in religion was impossible, for it required people to interpret God’s law, and people would inevitably err. He therefore concluded that government must remove itself from anything that touched upon human beings’ relationship with God. A society built upon the the principles Massachusetts espoused (the civil authorities were responsible for enforcing religious belief) would lead at best to hypocricy, because forced worship, he wrote ‘stincks in God’s nostrils.’  At worst, such a society would lead to a foul corruption o not of the state , which was already corrupt, but of the church.

The dispute defined for the first time two fault lines that have run through American history ever since. The first, of course, is over the proper relation between government an what man has made of God – the church.  The second is over the relation between a free individual and government authority – the shape of liberty.”

My hope is that the spirit and legacy of Roger Williams is alive and well in the ministry, values and commitments of Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church.

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Prayers for those whose bodies need strength and healing – Bette Pancoe, Sybil Alexander, Charlotte Evans, Ted Evans,  Keith Paramour for his grandparents, Barbara Bowman, Carol and Steve Leichter, Brenda McCarthy for the Maldanado and Dews families, Art Ferguson, Cecil White, Kay Baxter, Joni Nomura, Sandra Dunn, David Broadnax, Chuck Johnston for his partner Kevin, George Lee for Sylvia, Edna Dorenzo, Virginia Damretzky, Al Johnson, Jamie Reid, Kay Baxter’s friend Abbott, Rae Rita Thompson’s father
  • 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 – Shante Taylor on the death of her father, Larry Hutchings on the death of longtime friend Sven Krovald
  • Prayers for our loved ones who are facing significant challenges – Gloria and Phil Meads for their nieces, Jason and Jon, 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, Wil Ash for Joel Kaufman, Aaron Cooper for his family
  • Prayers for our community- For the ministry of our sister American Baptist and Alliance of Baptists congregations, for all who came to our pre-Easter parade, for the ministry of reconcilation of the Baptist Peace Fellowship, the ministry of Samaritan Neighborhood Center, the Seafarers Ministry of the Golden Gate
  • 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
  • Prayers of gratitude – For the promise of the Easter season,  for Bryce Dawkins, Michael Glann, Aaveya O’Guinn and Atira O”Guinn who were baptized on Easter Sunday, Amber and Aries Broadnax for their family, Richard Young for his family
  • Prayers for ourselves – May each of us know peace, joy, acceptance and encouragement 

Announcements 

The movie 42 (Jackie Robinson story) opens on April 12. We are organizing a community trip to the movies to see it. Contact Ryan Parker by April 9 to reserve a spot – jamesryanparker@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 16, District 2 Council member Pat Kernighan will be introducing a resolution commending Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church for contributing to a better Oakland by virtue of:

  • Its leadership in welcoming to their congregation, members of the LGBT community as well as people of all races and ethnicities.
  • Its efforts to feed the hungry by maintaining a food pantry and through its sponsorship of an annual “Hunger Walk”.
  • Its willingness over many years to provide free meeting space to an incredible array of community groups.The council meeting begins at 6:00 pm but it will preceded by an informal reception with cake and punch in the Mezzanine outside the City Council chambers beginning at 5:30. If you can arrive a bit earlier to help with serving, please phone me at 510 451-6537. (Ken Katz, Lakeshore Neighborhood Leader)