February 19, 2019

Family,

On Sunday evening I sent several members of the OUSD Board an email saying that they and the entire school community: teachers, staff, students, parents, are in my prayers and the prayers of our congregation in this week of negotiation in face of an impending teacher strike. Board member Gary Yee (a good friend) thanked me for our prayers, as did Aimee Eng and James Harris, and included with his thanks a copy of a speech OUSD Marcus Foster made to Oakland educators as the school year opened in 1973, just two months before he was assassinated. That speech began:

Research points out that the child’s self-concept begins to form in the home setting where the parent picks the little one up and cuddles him and talks to him and makes him feel wanted, as part of the family. But when he moves out from the family the next most important person in helping to shape his self-concept is the teacher. Research indicates that these little children come to us after having their experience at home, some in a family which loved and supported them; others from families who rejected them; but whatever has been done; every child comes to us with a kind of invisible tag attached to his sleeve. One tag may say ‘damaged goods, reduced in value.’ Another tag may say “of surpassing worth, priceless.”

Whatever we do, we write on those tags-what you do as a teacher, what I do as superintendent, what you do as cafeteria workers, secretaries and all the rest. You are writing another line on that tag. It might say “further damaged, further reduced in value,” “discarded,” or it might say “increased in value, priceless.” What we write on that tag is important and if children are feeling that we don’t care -80 percent of us going through the motion or 10 percent who just don’t care at all-that’s a scathing indictment because we are writing on those little tags.

Dr. Foster’s words stand as a reminder of the importance of education, our educators and the need regard our children as a priceless gift.

Prayers of the Congregation

The family and friends of Wayne Hutton and all who are grieving, The people of Haiti, the people of Venezuela, the people of Nigeria, Amber and Aries (discernment), Don Dresser (health), Jamie Reid (health), Cynthia Nelson (health), Jewelle Gibbs (health), Cecil White (health), Sandra Dunn (health), Gloria and Phil for June, Billy, Jane, Tiffany, Alfonso, Linda and granddaughter Arielle (health), Mary Karne for daughter Maryla (health), LeAnn Flesher for her dad (health), Rafael Soto for his work colleagues and for the people of Puerto Rico, Julio Cash for his mother, the homeless residents of the Bay Area, all our students, teachers and school employees, all our young adults, Margaret Oladoja, thanksgiving for the LABC office staff and volunteers, Bjoe Morris (health),  Jeanne Robinson for her sister-in-law Laurlee, Celestine Bennett as she cares for her sister, Dale Edmondson for his family, Christopher Thom, Rita Jennings (health), John and Laura (health) Landgraf, Al Johnson and Roy Browner, Lloyd Scott,  a fair contract for OUSD teachers, Brian Byamukama, Jesse Lucas, Sydney Webster (work demands), Father Mike Mautner (St. Peter’s Episcopal) for his mother, Carole Lee for her husband Henry, Toni Daniels, thanksgiving for the ministry of Pastor Pete Shaw and the congregation of Crosswalk Church (formerly FBC Napa), Alice Butler for her sister Pat Miles (health), Maya Hart for her family, Clyde Sotomey (health), George Harper for his brother Otis (health)

Announcements

Soul Food Sunday!!!!!

This coming dinner is Soul Food Sunday. You are warmly invited to worship and feast with us.

Be a Blessing to Someone Else

Our Department of Worship and Congregational Care, led by Rick McKillop and Chuck Johnston is recruiting people to help serve communion on the first Sunday of the month. Let the church office know if you could help serve.

Preparing for Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday and our Ash Wednesday Vigils (7 a.m., 12 p.m., 5p.m.) will be March 6th this year. In preparing a reflection guide for the participants I would appreciate if, in no more than 200 words, you would tell me what these words of Jesus mean to you:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:43-45

Email me your response to jim@labcoakland.org by February 28.