April 20, 2019

Family,

I am often tired after a cross country journey so it is always good to come home to good news. Such was the case Sunday night as I was landing at OAK. When I turned on my phone there was a text from one of our members praising the beauty and power of Sunday’s worship at LABC. I am always happy to receive confirmation that our congregation is community where the gifts of many are honored rather than a stage where the skills of a few are displayed.

There were many good sermons, services, presentations, workshops and discussions at “What is Liberty Without Liberation?”, the Annual Gathering of the Alliance of Baptists held this year at Calvary Baptist Church in Washington D.C. The words that keep rattling around in my mind are from Corey D. B. Walker of the University of Richmond. At the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty Dinner, while discussing the sad truth that while many Baptists, while championing the liberty of the human soul, have completely disregarded the terrible bondage of millions of human bodies, Walker said – “We need to desegregate God.”

While at the conference word came of the shooting at the Chabad Synagogue in Poway. Thus, via text and email, I was involved in drafting this statement by the Interfaith Council of Alameda County.

While Christians gather to worship this Sunday we continue to mourn the attack on the Muslims of New Zealand, the attack of the pedestrians who were thought to be Muslim in Sunnyvale, the Easter Sunday attacks on the Christians of Sri Lanka and we mourn anew the violent attacks on the Jewish community, this time a Sabbath day attack on Chabad Synagogue in Poway. We pray that all who worship today will do so freely and safely. May our faith, and the diverse faiths of the people of Alameda County, lead us to recommit to a world in which all can worship safely and freely. We long for the day when the guns that are used to kill our neighbors are melted and molded into instruments of peace.

This Sunday we will gather at the Table of Communion while celebrating Earth Sunday. After worship we will gather on the Church Lawn for Coffee Hour and a service of Dedication for our recently installed solar panels. State Senator Nancy Skinner will be one of the guests at the dedication.

Peace,

Jim H.