July 16, 2013

We changed our worship service as it was taking place this past Sunday in order to respond to the George Zimmerman verdict in the slaying of Trayvon Martin. I appreciate the skill of my colleagues in making the needed adjustments “in the moment” and I appreciate the response of the congregation. When an unarmed seventeen year old can be shot to death and no one is held accountable it is a moment that calls for somber reflection, national lament and spiritual perspective. The prophet Jeremiah likely would say to us something like he wrote to the Jewish exiles in Babylon, “Let us continue to seek the peace of our cities for our children, our youth, our young adults, our middle adults and our seniors. It is in the peace of our cities that we will find our own peace.”

I will  preach the sermon I intended to preach on July 14, “The Land In Which We Are Forgiven,” this coming Sunday. As part of my sermon I will ask the rhetorical question “If you had to summarize the Bible in one sentence what would that sentence be?” I would be interested in your responses. Please email them to me at jim@labcoakland.org. As part of our service on Sunday our children will be singing songs they learned at Vacation Bible Camp.

An always busy LABC is even busier with our Vacation Bible Camp in full swing. Our Office Assistant, Chuck Johnston, who is leading the Bible Adventures, just returned to his computer after appearing as King David. Thanks to Karen Okusu and crew for this magnificent effort. A special thanks to Wally Bryen and John Small for coordinating the decorations.

After preaching on Sunday I will travel to Aptos where I will be the speaker at the week long “Journeys Farthest Out” family camp. I will be building on the “Female Characters of the Bible” sermon series I preached this spring and exploring the ways in which Eve, the Hebrew midwives Shiphrah and Puah, the sisters Mary and Martha, the unamed widow who gave from her poverty, and Dorcas who was restored to life by Peter are our fellow travelers on our journey to love, to hope, to forgiveness, to self, and to God.

After camp I will be on vaction for two weeks. Central to our vacation this year is a almost week long family reunion on the Oregon Coast with Karen’s family in celebration of her Dad’s 80th birthday. The only anticipated downside to this long anticipated event is that its timing means I will not be able to attend the Church Retreat. Something I hate to miss. Thanks to Ally and Carolyn Matthews for their leadership in this celebration of our Church Family. I will return to the office on August 12.

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Prayers for those whose bodies need strength and healing – Beverly Cooper (Bev, who moved to Arizona in late May, is  hospice care in Tucson),Sybil Alexander, Charlotte Evans, Doris and Ted Evans, Steve Leichter, Angelique Gollinger, Sandra Dunn, David Broadnax, George Lee for Sylvia, George and Sylvia for their neighbor Ying, Edna Dorenzo, Virginia Damretzky, Al Johnson, Jamie Reid, Rae Rita Thompson’s father, Celestine Bennett’s son Richard,  Jeanne Robinson for Linda Ng, Cynthia Nelson, Kimberly Williams for her father,  Joan Thatcher, Beth Rice (my sister), Bonnie Sato for Trish -her grandchilren’s caregiver, Alean Saunders-Coffey for her neighbor, Myra Saxton for her sister and her neighbor, Jewelle Gibbs for her sister Mauryne, Sheila Sims, Carol Travis for Berta, Barabara, Patricia, Eula Anana and Rosalyn. Camille Parker, Peg Shaw, Gloria Joseph
  • 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, Ruth Smith, Naomi Nutting for her mother, Karen Hopkins for her father, Connie Hector for her mother in law, Helen Roberson for her brother, Katrina Lau for her father, Max Powers, Jeanette Paige for her father
  • Prayers for those who are grieving – Jennifer Pancoe for the Guillen family (Stanford Hospital) on the death of their wife and mother
  • Prayers for our loved ones who are facing significant challenges – Kay Baxter for Stacey and Jamie, Georgia Upshaw for her friend Ginny, Toni Daniels for her family, Margaret Alexander for LaShaya and family, Joan Patten for her son Peter and her sister Anne, Rowena Jackson for her son Paul, Mary Lee, Ann Fields for her family, Steve Reimer for his son Greg, Larry Sims for his sister Rene, Zondra Martin for her family, Phil and Gloria Meads for Phillip Oliver, Sarah and June, Jason Milano, Dwight Dickerson and family, Bjoe Morris for Pamela Addison, Marie Johnson for Donnie and his fiance Nicole as he prepares for deployment as well as for Triselena, Mary Karne for her neighbor and for her family, Mikki Boyd for Genevive Cannille who’s husband is very ill, Paige Bence and John Lee for Travis, Chuck Johnston for his partner Kevin, Bert Tom (hospice care)
  • Prayers for our community – For those who live in fear, the Congolese refugee families who will arrive in Oakland over the next few months, the people of Brazil and for Julian Nesbitt and members of the Pacific Boychoir as they perform there, Wisdom for our elected leaders, Aaveya and Atira O”Guinn as they move to South Carolina, those still in trauma after the crash of the Asiana airliner at SFO
  • Prayers for people we don’t know who are facing challenges we can’t imagine – the people of Syria, the people of Iraq, the people of Afghanistan, the people of South Africa as they pray for Nelson Mandela, the people of Egypt, for the fire victims and fire fighters in Colorado, California and other western states besieged by wildfires
  • Prayers of gratitude – For Karen Okusu and all who are working on this week’s Vacation Bible Camp,  that Bette Pancoe is home and was with us in worship, with the Meads family for prison ministries and the Salvation Army, with Wally Bryen on becoming a chaplain at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital, with Erica Quinn on a new job (Erica continues her part-time work at LABC)
  • Prayers for ourselves – May each of us know that we are counted among God’s beloved

Announcements

Rod Murray, who lives near the church, has jury duty on July 29, at the Alameda County Courthouse in Hayward. If you are able to help him with transportation to the courthouse please call him.

Artist Eric Powell will be meeting with the Sanctuary Art Committee this Sunday at 8:45 in the Family Room.

Soup and Study and Wednesday Prayer and Bible Study will resume on August 20 and August 21.

This will be the last Midweek Message until August 13.