October 28, 2016

I am pleased that we have had such a good turnout for the first two Long Range Planning Conversations. The third takes place after worship on November 13. Lunch will be provided. There will be a collection plate if you would like to help defray the cost. At the October 16th discussion the participants were asked to help us prioritize and evaluate our many ministries. If you were unable to attend but would like to participate in the process, please let me know.

After the first discussion, the Long Range Planning Committee (Paige Bence, Convener) met to review your responses to the questions “When did LABC become the Body of Christ for you?” and “What are the core values that unite us?” This is our summary:

What Makes Lakeshore “Church”?

  • Care and compassion exercised by ministers and members alike
  • Taking a stand for a more just society
  • Abundance of opportunities to participate and exercise one’s gifts

Some Core Values of LABC

  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Open Arms and Hearts
  • Living the Scripture in the Word

One of the ways that we take a stand for a more just society is the involvement of our staff and members in community programs and ministries that work for a more just society. An example of this is my recent involvement in the formation of the Interfaith Council of Alameda County. As a founding board member, I was asked to draft the following statement on housing justice for a press conference to be held in the days before the November 8 general election.

We, the founding members of the Interfaith Council of Alameda County, gather today (or unite, join together) to voice an urgent and collective spiritual plea in response to the housing crisis in our communities. This crisis makes itself known in many ways: in the tent cities that continue to spring up on our sidewalks, in people forced to leave their longtime homes because they can no longer afford them, in official reports putting the statewide shortage of housing at more than one million. This crisis is not an abstract idea. At this very moment it is causing people pain. At this very moment it is hurting real people and real families. This crisis is economic. This crisis is political. Perhaps most importantly, this crisis is moral, spiritual and religious. Many faith traditions are united in teaching that safe and secure housing is a fundamental human right, that a place to call home is the will of the Divine for every human being. An example of this is the promise of Psalm 68 in the Hebrew Bible, “God gives the desolate a home to dwell in.” Thus, speaking from the very heart of our faith traditions, we join with our partner, the East Bay Housing Organizations (ebho.org), in urging the voters of the East Bay to support County Bond A1 which needs a 2/3 majority vote. We also ask that voters go to EBHO’s website and study city measures that seek to embody housing justice. Those measures are: Oakland – II, JJ and KK, Berkeley – AA, U1, Alameda – M1 and Richmond – L.

Peace,

Jim H.