July 7, 2015

Dear LABC Family,

What a wonderful celebration of Celestine Bennett, the 2015 Church and Synagogue Library Association Outstanding Congregational Librarian, we had this past Sunday. Thank you to all who  played a role. Let us re-commit ourselves to learning in ways that stretch us and shape us.

This coming Sunday I will address the difficult, yet timely, topic of the “right to die” or “physician assisted suicide” in my sermon. In the California Legislature there is currently a bill SB 128 before the Assembly Health Committee. If this  bill, the End of Life Option Act, were to become law adults in California with a terminal illness would be able to seek medication to end their lives.

The California Medical Association has moved from opposition to this bill to a neutral position. Some religious leaders support the bill as a compassionate, caring and humane response to great suffering. Other religious leaders, like Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, oppose the bill saying “Helping someone die-even if that person is desperate and asks for help-is still killing.”

I am cautiously supportive of the bill. However, beyond advocacy for this legislation, it is most important to me to note that many, if not most, terminally ill persons, do not want to simply extend their days on earth, but rather  to live in ways that reflect their deepest values. In her wonderful book, A Faithful Farewell, Marilyn Chandler McEntyre puts it this way, “What I’d like, in the time that remains, is to focus on going with gentleness and grace, learning, if I can, a new level of trust in the One who meets me in the midst of our suffering and leads me home. It may be that for me, at this time in my life, being a peacemaker means being willing to stop the fighting (against the disease) and to rest in the peace that passes understanding.”

As part of my sermon I will interview my Beloved, Karen Hopkins, who has long been and advocate of an Oregon-like right to die law in California.

Following worship our Grief and Loss Ministry will present the first of two summer Forums. This Sunday’s Forum will focus on living with grief and will be led by two guest panelists, The Reverend Dr. Ted Berg and The Reverend Charlotte Myers.

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Sheryl and Dave Gattey as they attend the memorial service for Sheryl’s mom
  • The Assembly Health Committe as its considers the End of Life Option Act
  • A prayer for an end to the arson attacks on historically African-American Churches
  • The people of Greece in a time of financial crisis
  • The people of the western United States in a time of drought
  • Karen Okusus as she cares for her mom
  • Debra Dizen for Lisa
  • Diane as she seeks safe places to live
  • Jim Door for his family of birth and his family of residence
  • Marie Johnson for Dilcie and family
  • Connie Hector for her family
  • Larry Sims for his family
  • Sandra Dunn for her father
  • Mary Karne for Maryla
  • Myras Saxton for her mom
  • The Meads family for June, Jean, May and Jenny
  • Kay Baxter for Stacey in Maryland and Jamie in Oakland
  • Janelle and Jason Matthews as they prepare for the birth of their daughter
  • Carol and Steve Leichter