January 8, 2013

Sunday, January 13 – The Baptism of Jesus and Foundation Sunday

Sermon Title: “Neither Immortal, Immutable Nor Insignificant”
Text: Matthew 3: 1-17
Theme: The baptism of Jesus teaches us some important things about ourselves.

The baptism of Jesus teaches us that every human life is significant in God’s eyes. As followers of Jesus it is important that our lives reflect this reality. While we can never predict how it is we will be called upon to implement and enact this truth, we can be certain that we will be called to do so,

For example, four years ago I had only a vague idea of who the Kachin people were. Now, after sharing worship space for four years with the San Francisco Kachin Baptist Church, my understanding has grown and I have been moved to write the following letter to both Senator Barbara Boxer and Senator Dianne Feinstein. I trust it reflects the truth that every life is significant in the eyes of God.

Dear Senator Boxer,

My name is Pastor Jim Hopkins. I am the Senior Minister at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church in Oakland. For four years the San Francisco Kachin Baptist Church has been meeting at LABC. The Kachins are one of the ethnic groups of Burma and have been greatly influenced by Baptist missionaries to their country. As an aside, 2013 is Bicentennial of the arrival of the first American missionaries, Adoniram and Ann Judson in Burma.

As I have come to know my Kachin sisters and brothers I have become aware of, and greatly concerned about, the plight of their friends and family members who remain in their homeland. The Kachin, like Myanmar’s other ethnic minorities, have long sought greater autonomy from the central government. They are the only major ethnic rebel group that has not reached a cease-fire agreement with elected President Thein Sein’s government. There are reports this week that the government is using fighter jets to attack the Kachin rebels. It is estimated that there are at least 50,000 refugees along the border of the Kachin state and China. The mere survival of these refugees is very uncertain due to exposure to the elements, hunger and these unwarranted attacks.

I would much appreciate it an opportunity for two or three of the Kachin leaders and me to meet with you or your staff at your Oakland office to convey the depth of our concern and to urge you to use your influence to let the government of Myanmar know that while the incremental reforms that are occurring in Myanmar are appreciated the way the Kachin’s are being treated in unacceptable.

I can be reached at jim@labcoakland.org, 510-893-2484 (office) or 510-329-2484 (mobile). Thank you for attention to this significant moral concern and thank you in advance for your response.

Sincerely,

Pastor Jim Hopkins
Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church

(Good news. Senator Boxer’s staff has already responded and we are working to set a meeting.)

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Leona Sims – Summit Hospital
  • Harrison Williams – Vasona Creek Health Care Facility. Los Gatos
  • Bette Pancoe  – Summit Hospital
  • Beverly Cooper – recuperating at home
  • Sybil Alexander and family
  • Helen Harrison for the Green family as they mourn
  • Tess Benin for the Burnaquillo family as they mourn
  • Naomi Nutting as she cares for her mom
  • Theresako Harris for her aunt
  • Parkes and Kathy Johnson as they care for Kathy’s mom
  • All those who come to the church for assistance
  • Phil and Gloria Meads for June, Billy, Jon and Cynthia
  • Kay Baxter for Stacey and Jamie
  • Jesus Portillo
  • Anne Branch
  • The peace of Oakland
  • The people of Syria
  • The people of Burma
  • The people of The Congo
  •  International missionaries of the American Baptist Churches
  • The retired ministers and missionaries of the American Baptist Churches
  • The American Baptist family as it mourns the death of former missioanry to the Congo, Gerald Weaver
  • The American Baptist family as it mourns the death of Ron Quay, retired pastor and former treasurer of the Coalition for Baptist Principles
  • All who are traveling
  • All who are mourning
  • All who are looking for work

Announcements

The memorial service for Lura Ferguson will be at Oakland First Baptist Church on Saturday afternoon, January 19, at 3:00.

The memorial service for Stan Benson will be at Grand Lake Gardens on Monday afternoon, January 28, at 1:30.

Church Officers, Department Members and Committee Members please attend the Orientation Breakfast this Sunday, January 13 at 8:30.

Both Soup and Study (Tuesday Night)  and Wednesday Morning Prayer and Bible Study are back in session following a Christmas recess.

The after worship Forum this Sunday will be led by the LABC and OFBC Foundation Boards. Some interesting new technology aimed at helping us remember our history will be unveiled.