December 31, 2013

Greetings and Prayers as we reach the end of 2013 and lift up our eyes to 2014. I trust that this message finds you in the presence of those you love and surrounded by reminders that grace abounds.

As 2013 comes to an end, let us take a moment and give thanks once again for the lives of the members of our community who died in 2013: May Chan, Beverly Cooper, Art Ferguson, Bette Pancoe, Leona Sims, John Taylor and Harrison Williams. Let us have faith that these members of the church eternal now know full well the meaning of the promise of Jesus, “I go to prepare a place for you.”

As you may be aware, Christmas Day brought a wonderful gift into the life of the Hopkins family with the birth of James Henry Hopkins, son of Aaron and Teresa. He was born at 10:48 p.m. at Kaiser Hospital Oakland, the hospital at which his father was born and is currently employed. Henry and his family are doing well. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes.

As 2013 ends and 2014 begins let me share two blessings/thoughts:

1.  From Charles Dickens, The Chimes (1844). “So may the New Year be a Happy one to You, Happy to many more whose Happiness depends on you! So may each Year be happier than the last, and not the meanest of our brethren or sisterhood debarred their rightful share, in what our Great Creator formed them to enjoy.”

2.  From “Advice From a Glacier,” a bookmark Pastor Tanner gave me for Christmas. The author is Ilan Shamir:     Carve Your Own Path…Go Slow… Channel Your Strengths…Smooth the Way for Others…Keep Moving Forward…Avoid Meltdowns…Be Cool!

I look forward to seeing you in worship on January 5. Sydney Webster will be our Preacher at this Service of Communion. If you can, stay after worship or an hour or so and help us take down the Christmas decorations. It will be greatly appreciated.

Let us remember to pray for all who are ill, grieving, traveling, lonely, anxious or looking for work. Let us find ways to cry with those who cry and laugh with those who laugh.

Peace,

Jim H.

If you intend to make daily Bible reading one of your spiritual disciplines in 2014, I suggest using the American Bible Society Daily Bible Reading Guide. Go to dailybible.americanbible.org/. You can download the Reading Guide or sign up to have the reading for the day sent to you.