February 18, 2014

All the preparation, all the planning, all the hard work has again resulted in a magnificent celebration of African American History month. Our experiences on Sunday were testimony to this fact. Preacher Damita Davis-Howard, soloist Robert Sims, our Childrens Choir, our worship leaders and Forum leader Sydney Webster were superb.

This coming Saturday, February 22, I hope you will get up early and join LABC Reads in the Library at 9:00 a.m. to discuss “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.” Author Alexander’s thesis is that the “War on Drugs” that began in the Reagan Administration has served to consign communities of color to poverty, despair and absence of opportunity. She notes, “The impact of the drug war has been astounding. In less than thirty years, the U.S. penal population has exploded from around 300.000 to 2 million, with drug convictions accounting for the majority of the increase…The racial dimension of mass incarceration is its most striking feature. No other country in the world imprisons so many of its racial or ethnic minorities.”

On Sunday I invite you to bring out your best headdress for Hat Sunday and your best potluck offering for our Soul Food Dinner. In worship I will do something I do very infrequently, I will preach from the book of Leviticus. In fact, the sermon I am working on is titled “Loving Leviticus.” I will note that Leviticus is a lot like each of us, sometimes difficult to love, but worth getting to know. It is worth remembering that when asked to summarize his teaching, Jesus quoted, at least in part, Leviticus 19:18, “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”

Prayers of the Congregation

  • Cecil White and Ruben Artery on the death of Cecil’s brother, Sam
  • Gloria and Phil Meads on the death of their brother in law, Carlos
  • Carol Leichter for her mom
  • Charlene Wolf for her mom
  • Johanna and Paul Wilkinson as their housing search continues
  • Paul Keener for Yan Li Becher, Erik Lawson, Gertrude Keener and H.G. Prince
  • Alean Saunders-Coffey for Clare Chase Tanner
  • Kay Baxter, continued prayers for Stacey and Jamie, prayers of peace and strength for self
  • Ted and Doris Evans for their family
  • Sandra Dunn for her father in law
  • All who are traveling
  • Jubilee USA as it works for policies that alleviate the debt of some our planets poorest nations
  • Sydney and Gigi for their aunts (and great aunts)
  • All who are dealing with the flu
  • George and Sylvia Lee
  • Connie Hector as she cares for her mother in law
  • Thanksgiving for the safe (thus far) and beautiful Winter Olympics

Announcements

  • I will be in Atlanta next week for a meeting with the leaders of the PICO National Network so these announcements are for the early days of March. The Midweek Message will return on March 4.
  • Memorial Service – The memorial service for Hershall Vinson will be  Saturday, March 1, at 1:00 p.m..
  • Ordination Council – The Shell Ridge Community Church of Walnut Creek and the Pacific Coast Baptist Association invite all members of PCBA Churches to an Ordination Council for Chris Shade, Minister of Youth at Shell Ridge. The Council will be held Sunday, March 2, at 3:00 p.m. Contact the church office for a copy of Chris’s Ordination Paper. Shell Ridge is located across the street from John Muir Hospital, 200 La Casa Via, Walnut Creek.
  • Ash Wednesday  Vigils – The Sanctuary will be open, and Pastor Hopkins will be present, three times on Ash Wednesday, March 5,  for self-guided times of worship.( 7:30-8:00 a.m., 12:00-1:00 p.m. and 5:00-6:00 p.m.)
  • Back by Popular Demand –  Jim McAllister will be again be leading a Lenten Forum Series this year. The series, based on the DVD “The Jesus Creed” will begin on Sunday, March 2 and continue through Palm Sunday, April 13. The series will consider the ways in which Jesus engaged his disciples in the work of spiritual formation.