February 20, 2018

Dear LABC,

I am saddened to report that Margaret Alexander’s youngest daughter, LaShaya, died quite unexpectedly this past Sunday at her home in Las Vegas. LaShaya was mother to eight-year-old, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth’s father died when she was one. The current plan is for Elizabeth to return to Oakland with Margaret and live with her here. I will try to keep you abreast of the needs of the family. I know we will be LABC at its best and surround Margaret and family with our love. Margaret will be in Las Vegas through a memorial service at Calvary Missionary Baptist Church and the hard work of closing LaShaya’s apartment. Lord, have mercy.

The murders at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida serve as a bitter and tragic reminder that the words of Psalm 73:6 describe us and the society we live in, very well. “They wear pride like a necklace and violence like a robe.” We know that common sense gun laws can mitigate against gun violence but we do not enact them. We know that ready access to mental health care can be of great benefit but we do not fund it. We know that the message “your life does not matter” reverberates through our culture at multiple levels and insidious ways,  but we do not articulate a countervailing word. Our prayer must be “God of Enduring Hope, lead us to sanity, lead us to respect, lead us to justice, lead us to wisdom, lead us to the world you dream for us. Amen.”

Our celebration of African American History Month concludes this Sunday with Hat Sunday/Soul Food Dinner Sunday. Please bring a side dish or dessert to share and join in the festivities in Barnett Hall following worship.

My sermon this Sunday will lift up the movement in the life of faith between standing with our community and standing alone. There is a time and place for both.  I will note that as Moses led the people to the promised land there were moments for him to stand with the people and moments to stand alone. The same was true for Jesus as he led his disciples to truth. There were moments when he stood with them and moments when he stood alone. May God give us the wisdom to discern when the time is right to stand together and when the time is right to stand alone.

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Margaret Alexander and family as they mourn
  • Larry Sims as he mourns the death of his nephew, Darrick
  • Rick McKillop for his dad (hospitalized)
  • The people and churches of Puerto Rico
  • The people and churches of Cuba
  • The people and churches of Haiti
  • Helen Harrison for Angela Pappachan and family as they mourn
  • The Wilkinson family for Evan (recuperating from surgery) and Gloria (hospitalized)
  • Delores Canon for Terrance
  • All who live with anxiety and depression
  • Marian Ott (pain relief)
  • Tyrone for TJ, Shamaya and their little miracle (in NICU)
  • Thanksgiving with Mary Karne that Maryla is feeling better
  • Thanksgiving with Camille Parker that Carolyn is home from the hospital
  • The homeless of Oakland and Alameda County
  • The participants in last Thursday’s Ceasefire Call-in
  • Roxanne Jones for her family and herself
  • The Meads family for Siv (health)

The memorial service for Anthony Marshall is this Saturday at 10:30 a.m.