June 5, 2014

As I sit at my computer to write this month’s column I am looking at my schedule for the month ahead. While relatively full, it is, at least at this point, less packed than the first five months of the year have been. We shall see.

There are some “this doesn’t happen every month” June events that I would like to comment on:

  1. I will lead a series of New Member Classes on Sundays June 8, 15, and 22. The classes will meet in my office following worship at 11:45. Each class lasts only fortyfive minutes so they are far from an exhaustive review of Christian belief, Lakeshore identity or opportunities for involvement in our community. Yet, I think they provide an interesting and important introduction to what it means to be a member of Lakeshore. The first class is best titled “Meet Your Pastor.” I understand that LABC is far more than my story, beliefs and commitments but these do have some affect on who we are and what we do. Thus, in this class, I share my testimony, my call to ministry, my five favorites passages of Scripture and my vision for our church. The second class is “Our Baptist Identity.” At the heart of this session are the Four Fragile Freedoms identified by Walter Shurden – Soul Freedom, Bible Freedom, Religious Freedom and Church Freedom. The third class is “Life At Lakeshore.” Topics we discuss in this session are the history of our church, our structure, our constitution, our buildings and our commitments. All, regardless of membership status, are invited to join in.
  2. On Thursday evening, June 26, we will host another of the Ceasefire Call-Ins. These invitations to young men who are identified as possible perpetrators of violent crime to reject violence and rejoin the peaceful community seem to having a positive impact. The title of the lead story in the May 19, 2014 San Francisco Chronicle was “Violent Crime Plummets in Oakland.” The article noted, “Oakland won’t be able to declare even partial victory …until the city sees consistent and sustained drops in crimes, especially killings, for more than five years. But police feel as though they are on the right track. ‘Police strategy plays a role, and I think community outreach and activism play a role,’ said Sean Whent, Oakland’s police chief. In particular, Whent said, police have aggressively used a program called Ceasefire to curtail violence in East Oakland. The program offers a carrot-and-stick approach to crime where city and community leaders offer members of gangs and criminal groups help if they stop criminal activity and warn them of harsh sanctions if they don’t.” Please continue to pray for the peace of our city. (The call in has been rescheduled for July.)
  3. At 4:00 on Monday afternoon, June 30, the Lakeshore Business Improvement District, of which the church is a member, will hold its Annual Meeting in our Family Room. While the program is not set, elected officials and key city staff are invited to give updates on their efforts to improve the quality of life in our neighborhood. I invite you to put this meeting on your calendar. I will supply more detailed information as it becomes available. There is a deep connection between a vibrant church and a vibrant neighborhood and between a vibrant neighborhood and a vibrant church.

See you in June, and Peace,

Jim H.