June 25, 2013

Greetings,

The end of June is a busy time at Lakeshore. Our Bible Study groups are approaching the midpoint of their reading of every last word of the book of Exodus, planning and preparation for Vacation Bible Camp is in its final stages (a few adult volunteers are still needed), our Children’s Center Advisory board meets this evening, several of our members will be reporting on their American Baptist Biennial/Mission Summit experience at Baptists Lunching Together this Thursday, the Church Retreat is on the horizon, Crafting for a Cause meets this Saturday, the Sanctuary Art Committee will report to the Congregation at a meeting following worship on Sunday and we have begun a new effort to assist a large number of Congolese mothers and their children who are being resettled in Oakland in July.

Also, the Personnel Committee, which is mandated by our church constitution to evaluate the pastoral staff, is engaged, with my encouragement and support, in an effort to have every member complete a performance evaluation in regard to my work as your pastor. As noted, the Personnel Committee evaluates my work on annual basis. This year, as I begin my 25th year as your pastor, I told them it would be helpful to me for them to “cast their net widely,” to elicit feedback from the entire congregation. While I have no intention of going down the “I’m here  to please everyone” road,  or any illusion that I could successfully navigate that path, it is helpful to me to have your input about the ways I can best lead and serve. The forms, which were mailed to every member, can be returned via the U.S. mail using the envelope which was provided, given directly to Dale Edmondson (the chair of the Personnel Committee) or placed in the return box in the Narthex. If you have questions please contact Dale at edmondsons62@att.net.

My sermon for this coming Sunday it titled “Commitment to the Teachings, Connection to the Teacher.” It will be taken from Galatians 5: 1. 13-25. To make the points I want to make I will be calling on the book “On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good” by Jim Wallis.

In this important treatise Wallis critiques both conservative and liberal churches. Of conservative churches he writes, “Many conservative churches still have a very hard time understanding Jesus as a teacher. He is instead only the Savior, the lamb that was slain for our sins, the sacrifice necessary for our atonement, the figure whose propitiation opens our way to heaven.”

Of liberal churches (like ours) he writes “But whether for reasons of science of just cynicism, if you don’t believe that Jesus is really alive today, all you have is a list of teachings without the Living Teacher. And that is a very big problem . . .Take all Jesus’s teachings and wish each other good luck in trying to follow them – that’s  a lot of hard work when we are left to do it on our own.” Clearly, Wallis believes that to follow the  teachings there must be a living relationship with a living teacher.

While it is a busy week at LABC, it is also a busy week for the Supreme Court of the United States. I pray that the decisions of the court will strengthen, rather than undermine, our national commitment to liberty and justice for all.

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Prayers for those whose bodies need strength and healing – Bette Pancoe (The Rehabilitation Center of Oakland), Sybil Alexander, Charlotte Evans, Doris and Ted Evans, Steve Leichter (Orinda Convalescent Hospital), Joni Nomura, 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,  Jim Jeffery, Jeanne Robinson for Linda Ng, Cynthia Nelson, Kimberly Williams for her father, Larry and Darnell Sims for their co-worker George,  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,  Mary Alice and Abe Cirimele for Sal Tedesco
  • 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
  • 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 Bonnie, 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
  • Prayers for our community – For those who live in fear,  the Congolese refugee families who will arrive in Oakland in July (We are collecting sample size toiletries for them. There is a collection box in the Narthex.), For the people of Brazil and for Julian Nesbitt and members of the Pacific Boychoir as they perform there, the American Baptist Homes of the West Board as they meet in San Jose, the Rollefson/King family as they prepare to move
  • 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 young woman from Richmond during the trial of those accused of attacking her, for the fire victims and fire fighters in Colorado, California and other western states besieged by wildfires
  • Prayers of gratitude – For those who represented us at the ABC Biennial, for Esther’s excellent sermon, for the music of Lenny Ott and Stan Fong, for the ministry of Ron Kallander who is retiring as the chaplain at Piedmont and Grand Lake Gardens and Esther Hargis who will soon begin as the GLG Chaplain, for Geetha Thaker as she begins her medical residency in Michigan
  • Prayers for ourselves – May each of us know that we are counted among God’s beloved

Announcements

Invitation – If you are attending the A’s game on July 3 join us for a pregame tailgate party. We will set up near sign A5 in the 66th Avenue parking lot at about 5:00. I will bring tables, a grill, hot dogs, buns, and condiments. I think Ally is bringing a big salad. Bring something to share if you can.