Happy New Year to All,
I trust that the year ahead will hold wonder and joy, learning and adventure, faith and community for us all.
Our worship theme for January is “Light Through The Cracks.” This is also the title of an art and writing project for the inmates at the Elmwood Correctional Facilities led by our mission partner, Correctional Institutions Chaplaincy. There are mediation booklets available and there will be artwork in the Narthex and Sanctuary.
The central Scripture in our worship on January 10 will be Matthew 10:34. In this text Jesus is sending the twelve disciples out on a mission and speaking candidly about the demands of being one of his followers. He is clear. There will be challenge. There will be rejection. He says, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace, but a sword.” It is very important that all of us wrestle with and come to understand this teaching. It does not mean that Jesus sanctions violence in his name. That would go against everything else he stands for. It does mean that there are times when he wants us to feel discomfort, to be upset to be get bothered, to feel a sharp point. He is insistent that the purpose of our faith is not to numb us to all discomfort. In fact, our faith encourages us to allow our pain to express itself in healthy ways. It turns us toward some sharp and difficult places. It means that light can shine through the broken places of our lives.
The Prayers of the Congregation
- Joel Reyes as he mourns the death of his father. The funeral will be on January 6 in Kansas City.
- Geetha and Darshan Thaker as they mourn the death of Geetha’s mom. The funeral was in Michigan on January 2.
- Amy and Ryan Parker as they mourn the death of Amy’s grandmother. The funeral will be on January 7 in Mississippi.
- Dwight Dickerson for his friend Rick Wedgle and daughter Julia as they mourn the death of their wife and mother, Susan
- Georgia Upshaw for her brother in hospice care
- Declan and Sheila Brown for baby Henry, the grandson of some longtime friends
- All whose health prevents them from coming to church – Virginia Damretzky, Edna Dorenzo, Francis Graham, Irene Jennings, Phyllis Nutting, Edie Parrott, Peg Shaw
- Sandra Dunn, health concerns
- Cecil White, health concerns
- Doris and Ted Evans, health concerns
- Mary Anderson, health concerns
- Larry Sims and family
- John Townsend, health concerns
- Ruben Artery for his brothers Rick and Robert
- Leon Veal for his sister Shirley
- Kay Baxter for Stacey and Jamie
- Jan Scott for all who are seeking and working for peace
- Jesus Portillo for the health and growth of the LABC family
- Margaret Alexander for her family
- The Scott and Runnels family on the loss of their mother
- Lionel Jermon and family on the loss of their mother
- Mary Karne for her cousin Jim
- Warren and Camille Parker, health concerns
- Katrina Lau for employment possibilities
- All who received support from our Sponsor-A-Family efforts – may they continue to experience love and support long after the gifts have been opened
- Thanksgiving with Don, Nicole, Marie, Marian and the Johnson, Ott and Glann families on the birth of Donald Lee Johnson III on December 30
- Thanksgiving with Karen and Jim Hopkins that Nedra Hathaway is home and gaining strength
- Thanksgiving for the ministry of Melanie Baggao in Lebanon and Kihomi Ngwemi and Nzunga Mabudiga in Haiti
- Thanksgiving for the courage of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr who called for justice in his homeland resulting in his execution by the Saudi Arabian government
- Thanksgiving for the leadership of President Obama and his proposals for policy that will reduce the epidemic of gun violence
- January 5 – Soup and Study Returns, 6:00 p.m.
- January 6 – Wednesday Prayer and Bible Study Re-starts, 10:30 a.m.
- January 8 – Flick Flack Meets, Home of Dave and Sheryl Gattey
- January 9 – Forever Young Goes Out to Lunch, 12:30 p.m.
- January 9 – Make Oakland Better Now Hosts Ceasefire Summit, 2-4 p.m., Sanctuary
- January 10 – Leadership Breakfast, Greg Ledbetter speaking, 8:30 a.m., Barnett Hall
January 6, 2016 is the twentieth anniversary of the vote to disfellowship LABC, FBC Berkeley, San Leandro Community Church and New Community of Faith (San Jose) from the American Baptist Churches of the West. I am deeply grateful for the way each of you continue to witness to the gospel and continue to insist that when it comes to the good news of Jesus the Christ, all means all. Jim H.