Richmond First United Methodist News and Events

March 1, 2014

Pastor’s Perspective
Doing the Opposite, Matthew 5:38-48 Pastor Dan Damon, Richmond 1st UMC, 2-23-14 Doing the opposite… the opposite of what, you might well ask… in our continuing study of the Sermon on the Mount we notice that Jesus again gives us some commands the go against the grain, that are counter to common human reactions, that are opposite our knee jerk reactions to things. We may find, however, that Jesus is right again, not easy, but right.   Let’s take a closer look at the passage in the New Revised Standard Version (the version I use for study):  
Concerning Retaliation

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.   Can you hear the good news in this gospel reading? I can. Jesus calls us to a radical hospitality: turn the other cheek, go the second mile, love your enemy, be radically generous, err on the side of goodness, and finally, as if that were not enough: be perfect.   Of course we know we fall short of these commands. We sometimes give in to fear and despair, to selfishness and separation. We need weekly and moment by moment reminders of the challenge and the command to love our neighbor and even our enemy as we love ourselves.             Perhaps some of you remember this chorus of the 19th C gospel song by Daniel Whittle and May Moody: Moment by moment I’m kept in his love. Moment by moment I’ve life from above; Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine, Moment by moment, O Lord, I am thine.   We come regularly to church because we need these regular reminders of God’s care and love.   Have you ever thought of doing the opposite of an unjust law? Our church, Richmond First United Methodist Church, in Point Richmond, serving Richmond since 1900, has recently taken a stand against our own denomination’s rule against LGBT marriage and full inclusion in the church. We are choosing to follow the higher law of love. Maybe this isn’t a polar opposite to our denomination. I pray that we will as an institution one day vote for the changes that love requires. In the mean time, we will work from within to create a just and welcoming church here and now, right here in the Point.   Have you ever thought of doing the opposite of your natural reaction when some one cuts you off while you are driving on the freeway? Fear is the knee jerk reaction, followed by anger and a desire for revenge. We may feel powerless and express our frustration in basement language. Next time you are frustrated in a situation that makes you afraid, try praying for peace. You might use the ancient Greek prayer from the liturgy: Kyrie eleison, Lord have mercy. You might simply cry, “Help!” You might sing a short prayer song. You might pray:   God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.   Try doing the opposite of the fearful reaction. Practice acting in faith, hope, and love, until we meet again. God bless us every one. Amen.
Joys and Concerns
Pat Dornan and Linda Pereira continue to need your prayers of support and healing. Linda has been in and out of the hospital this past month  with multiple problems including fluid around her heart, fluid in the lungs and currently with septicemia (infection of the blood stream). She is physically weak and very discouraged. She will be going to a skilled nursing facility for rehab so that she can return home.
Doris Swope’s niece, Susan Wickesser, who has been recovering from pancreatic cancer and had a clear scan in December after chemotherapy and radiation treatments, had a follow up scan this month which is showing some hot spots in her lymph nodes near the pancreas and lung. The doctors don’t think it looks like typical cancer and want to biopsy one of the hot spots to see. She is encouraged by this and she welcomes your prayers for healing.
Sandra Kokoruda (Fran Smith’s daughter) continues to wait for surgery. Please remember her in your prayers.
Barbara Haley’s friend, Pat Cahill, fell and had a torn shoulder cuff with surgical repair. She is now in outpatient rehab and is slowly gaining strength and movement in her arm and shoulder, Prayers for healing are welcome.
  • The American Institute of Architects, California Council has awarded Tom Butt, the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2014. Congratulations Tom!
Thomas Butt, FAIA, of Richmond, received this award for outstanding contributions to the improvement of the built environment. Butt has been a Citizen Architect for the last 40 years and an AIA member since 1973. His active involvement in the political and civic arenas is considered admirable and inspirational. One reviewer commented, “He reached out to society while simultaneously showing the relevance of the architecture practice.”
  • After months of the Administrative Board searching for a reasonably priced person to wash and wax the floors in Friendship Hall and the kitchen, Fran Smith contacted Linda Pereira, who has done it for several years, found out the equipment needs and with the able assistance of her grandson, Robert Brausch, and his friend, Alex Blas, the job got done on president’s Day! Praise the Lord and Thank you to Fran for organizing this.
  • Our missionary, Katherine Parker, states that 60 years ago this month, United Missions in Nepal opened the first hospital under the direction of missionaries Drs. Bethal and Bob Fleming. Katherine states, “I am honored to continue to serve on behalf of UMC with this ecumenical partnership.”
UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) has sent out a request for School Supplies Kits. UMW (United Methodist Women) are spearheading a request for items from you to fill 10 kits by April 1st. Kit supply lists are in Friendship Hall. UMCOR is very specific about the supplies needed and will remove items that do not meet the list requirements. UMCOR has been continuing to help in the Philippines after the devastating typhoon. They are sending a shipment of health kits and school supplies kits this month and need to restock their supply, This is an easy way to help. A carton will be in Friendship Hall for your supplies. UMW will assemble the kits at their April Meeting.
February is here and in honor of Helen Valentine, we are collecting all the coins you have saved over the past year (paper money and checks accepted) for Heifer International. Please donate generously so we can buy a variety of animals or trees to improve the lives of the less advantaged. The children love choosing the animals! We will be collecting until mid-March.
  • Ash Wednesday Service, March 5, 7:30 pm at First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St., Point Richmond. Observe the beginning of Lent with our circuit United Methodist Churches. Music by Dan, Eileen, Alice, and the Joyful Noise Choir
  • Second Ash Wednesday Service-if you are unable to attend our service in the evening, El Sobrante United Methodist Church has a service at 12:30 pm. ,670 Appian Way, El Sobrante. best parking entrance at 5151 Argyle Road.
  • Friday, March 7, Sweetheart Dinner-Tammara Plankers will be installed as our Sweetheart for 2014. Gathering music at 6:30 pm, dinner at 7 pm at the Point San Pablo Yacht Club, 700 West Cutting Blvd., Point Richmond. Tickets are $45. For reservations: mail reservation requests and payment to Fran Smith, 2149 Beaujolais Court, Fairfield, CA 94533. This is always a fun night with good food and companionship. Fundraiser for First United Methodist Church.
  • Monday, March 10, 6:30 pm, Prayer and Self Denial Supper and Program, for United Methodist Women, at The Open Door (Good Shepard) United Methodist Church Hall, 6226 Arlington, Richmond. This is a simple supper of soup and a program to center our thoughts at the beginning of Lent. Please let Jean Reynolds know if you plan to attend so there’s enough soup! 510 235 2988 or We plan to carpool.
  • Friday, March 14, 8 pm Point Richmond Acoustic presents Karen Savoca and Pete Heitzman in Concert. The have won 7 Sammy Awards. Karen is described as a soulful singer/songwriter and Pete as a fantastic guitarist. Katie Dahl opens the show. She is a singer/songwriter with a pure voice and style reminiscent of Pete Seeger and Dar Williams. Tickets $18, students and seniors $15. First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St., Pont Richmond. Further information:
  • Saturday, March 22, 9:15 am-2:30 pm Bridges District United Methodist Women is having a day of spiritual growth, “Open My Ears That I May Hear God’s Call”. Rev. Dorothy Williams is the main speaker. Eater Hill United Methodist Church, 3911 Cutting Blvd., Richmond. Advance tickets $15, after March 7, $17. It is an opportunity to attend a District presentation that is close to home! Lunch included. Come meet your district leaders. Sign-up forms are in Friendship Hall.
  • An Evening with Dan Damon, Saturday, April 12, 7:30 pm, First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St., Point Richmond. Suggested donation $15, choir members free, Come and sing new hymns written by Pastor Dan Damon. The session will be recorded for our new website. Join your voice with ours, no rehearsal needed. Experience congregational song at its best, singing hymns of peace, justice and joy.
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