Richmond First United Methodist News and Events
Tanya Cothran from Spirit in Action spoke last Sunday. Here is her message.
In my church at home, part of the covenant we say every week include the line, “service is our prayer.”
Our name, Spirit in Action, is another way of saying this. It’s prayer AND it’s service. It’s Spirit AND it’s action.
Del: In the past all too often we have equated spiritual health with being good and feeling good. We didn’t see that part of our spiritual path is not just reaching a goal of morality but a process of daily unfolding, and openness to change, grow and trust God’s process.
Dag Hammerskjold [Dog Hammer-hweld] (secretary general of the United Nations in the 1950s) said, “In our era the road to holiness must pass through the world of action.”
We do have guides on this unfolding path. Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., humanitarian aid workers, Ebola doctors – who are expressing God by being and doing, living spirituality and service.
Those are good guides and they can also be daunting guides. Can I really be as good as Mother Theresa?
Sometimes I get caught in what Tara Brach calls the Trance of unworthyness. It’s when I judge myself for not doing more and then I get paralyzed into inaction.
We think of service as big. Some amount of sacrifice. But Mother Theresa said: “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” When I get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of need in the world – what I see around me, and what I know is happening in other places, this quote comforts me.
Service can begin with a single step. Helping the person right in front of me: the person I see on the street. Welcoming the new person to a dance. Sending a book to someone I know will like it. Smile at someone. Caring for a child, or nieces/nephew, or a friend’s child.
SIA is part of my affirmation of the “if you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” Our programs might not (actually they don’t) help every single person in Kenya, but they do help one more person at a time.
This summer I did meet over 100 people that SIA has supported over the years. We’ve been giving our Small Business Fund $150 grants since 2003 and since then we have supported over 600 families.
It happens one at a time.
Steria Lungu is a widow in Manyamula Village in rural Malawi. She received a grant from SIA in 2010. (Our grants are $150, given in two installments, along with mentoring and training.) She bought some materials and ingredients to start baking and selling donuts. And she is still doing that today. She attends 3 markets a week, some days walking 8 miles, leaving at 4am, to reach bigger markets.
As a widow she didn’t have a lot of support before. [Often skipped meals. Hungry season. Sometimes roof leaked.] Now she can fully provide for herself and her family. And her daughter, Effie, who is a sophomore in High Schoo, goes to a good school.
I got to visit Steria this summer and sit inside her house – the house she built with money saved from her donut business. We sat on the puffy couches with crochet doilies on the arms. We saw a photo of our last visit, from 2011. She said “thank you for coming under my roof.” And she told us that she now has “no problem with food”; that she and her family are still eating from last year’s maize harvest. That is a huge accomplishment.
And more than that: she and 4 other women came together to do their own bit of helping a neighbor. We call it “sharing the gift”. The 5 women all contributed some flour and sugar and took turns helping another woman sell donuts at the markets. (they are popular items!)
Importantly, she contributed to Sharing the Gift because she saw in our local coordinator a model of generosity.
[Canaan Gondwe: mentor, trainer] Because Canaan is generous with his time and with sharing his expertise, Steria and the other women were also willing to give.
Not only was it inspiring to see Steria’s house – one with tin roofing sheets, which she was saving when we visited in 2011, and with stronger bricks – and knowing that her daughter can now attend a good high school. It was also good to affirm that when we are caring and generous (like Canaan is) – when we are being spirit in action, or serving as a form of prayer – other people see that, notice that, and they want to give and serve also.
In a way, we were just helping one person when we gave Steria a grant. In another way we were helping her daughter, her other children, her neighbor, her community (because it is a grant, all the money stays in the community), and all the people who get to eat her yummy donuts!
Maize Mill – COMSIP
- collective savings and loans group
- helping with low interest loans
- Also Sharing the Gift; helping the one person in front of them. Each zone raising 2 piglets collectively.
- To give to most needy in zone. Then the piglets from those passed on too.
- Drop à Ripples
- 1 grant à feeds many people
Keeping service small;
- honoring the truth that there is value in helping one person;
- “If you’re working for justice and you’re living with compassion and integrity, you’re probably making a difference in peoples’ lives every day. You just might not realize it.”
- and living a life that reflects prayer – service is my prayer – are all part of my core, real world work as a Christian.
Sum up: just start somewhere. If you can’t help 100 people, just start with one. Know that intention matters over volume. Be that model of spirit in action. Inspire others. Live with compassion for others. And you might be helping more than you know.
So maybe just start with welcome someone into community. Really showing someone that you love them unconditionally. Cook dinner for someone in need. Say yes to helping. Say no to ignoring need and injustice. Listen to someone’s story who is different from you. And, don’t be afraid to state your needs and accept gifts from others. This is how peace on earth begins with each of us.
Joys and Concerns
Lauren McLeod welcomes your prayers for healing.
Sandra Kokoruda (Fran Smith’s daughter) up date: Sandra went home this week with Visiting Nurse assistance. Please keep her in your prayers for healing.She thanks us all for our prayers.
Molly Smith is requesting prayers for her brother who has been treated for a brain tumor for several years and has recently entered the Hospice program. Prayers for his family and her brother as they go through this very difficult time.
Deby McFadyen is asking for prayers for her father, Jack McFadyen, who has lung cancer and has started chemotherapy and radiation and is suffering from the side effects of the treatments.
Pat Dornan and Linda Pereira continue to need your prayers of support and healing.
Update on Linda
The cancer is NOT active at this point but the serious side effects of the aggressive radiation are growing and will continue to increase. She is deeply depressed and tired of me in case anyone has 10 minutes to just pop i and say hi
no huge commitment just needing other faces and other conversations
Robbie Robinson would appreciate your prayers.
Helen Wysham welcomes your prayers for healing as she undergoes chemotherapy.
Please keep the people of Camp Liberty in your prayers as chaos reigns in Iraq and near the camp.
Our dear friend, Ensieh Yazdan has created a Kickstarter site to protest the throwing of acid in the faces of Irani women. In Oct. and Nov. of this year many women were accosted by men on motorcycles who threw acid in their faces because their faces were not properly veiled. Please visit the sites below for information and opportunities to help.
Sarah Weems is collecting new unwrapped toys for the Hilltop Richmond YMCA to give to needy children. You may bring your gift to the church and Sarah will pick them up. They also are collecting warm coats. Check your closets for coats you never wear and bring them in!
Pat Dornan thinks you might like to help her with donations for GRIP:
I have 14 people from the GRIP shelter and have found people to purchase for most of the members but I am wondering if people of the church might be interested in assisting with what I have left.
2 month old girl, 16 year old girl and 17 year old boy
I have information on the parents but I have already gotten coats and shoes
I love to shop and wrap so that is something I can do if people want to just hand off $$$ LOL
Another opportunity to give to the Richmond Childhood Mental Health Program is their constant need for disposable diapers in small sizes (infant through two years) for the parents who have difficulty affording them. They may be left at the church as well.
Imagine No Malaria: At the 2013 Annual Conference we pledged to raise 2 million dollars to fight malaria in Africa. We have raised 1.5 million dollars and need 500,000 dollars to meet that pledge by June 2014 which breaks down to 100,000 dollars for our district. The $100,000 Challenge is on in amusing ways. Rev. Schuyler Rhodes, our district bishop, will publicly shave is head at the Annual Conference if the goal is met! The break down for our share is $4 per member and $11 per worshiper per month. Let’s do our share. Checks made out to FUMC with Imagine No Malaria will get there. Check out the website for other challenger promises and follow the contributions: calnevimagine.org.
umcmarket.org is hoping you will shop for the holidays through their website if you do your shopping on line. Go to the site and go to the store of your choice from there. A percentage of your order (no cost to you) comes directly to our church. This is a painless way to help us meet our budget!
Please join us this Sunday, December 14th for selections from Handel’s “Messiah” performed by the Joyful Noise Choir with a string quartet, piano and organ, conducted by Pastor Dan Damon, during the 11 A.M. Worship Service.
Annual Church Conference, Sunday Dec. 14 after church, to complete Lay Leader and Membership Reports and to authorize the Pastor Compensation Package. Rev. Mark Zier will chair the meeting. This should only be a 30 min meeting. Come and participate.
Saturday, Dec. 20, 9 am to 3 pm, Bake and Crafts Sale at the Point Richmond Community Center, 139 Washington Ave., Point Richmond. There will be a sign up for goodies in Friendship Hall. Cookies and pies are the best sellers. If you would like to donate, let Barbara Haley at email@example.com know. Bring your baked items or craft items to the Community Center between 8&9 am if possible. We always appreciate help with set-up and clean up. If you would like to help at one of the tables, let me know. This is a fundraiser for the First United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Women
Christmas Pageant, Sunday, December 21 at 11 am and 7 pm. This is the Christmas story in word and song with Masquers Playhouse volunteers. We have good singers, costumes, Angel Choir and fun! We already are hearing the rush of angel wings on Sunday mornings as the children come to rehearse carols under the direction of Tammara Plankers.
Christmas Eve Jazz Service, December 24 at 7 pm with the Dan Damon Quartet, Dan Damon, piano, Kurt Ribak, bass, Lincoln Adler, sax and Bryan Bowman, drums and , congregational singing with the band, soloists and the Christmas story. Come early, seats fill quickly as people have made this a tradition to share.
Friday, Dec.26 at 7:30 pm, Point Richmond Jazz presents brothers Matt and Kit Eakle in a Celebration of Boxing Day. Matt plays the flute with the David Grisman quintet and Kit plays the violin and is the presenter of Point Richmond Jazz. Join them for a fun evening of eclectic music. Tickets are $15 thru prjazz.org or $20 at the door. First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St., Point Richmond.
Wednesday, Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve Celebration, 5 pm at Epworth United Methodist Church, 1953 Hopkins St., Berkeley. The Dan Damon Trio leads a worship service for the new year.
Friday, January 9, 6 pm Easter Hill UMC United Methodist Women are presenting missionary Carol Partridge. Carol has been the Director of Christian Education in Macedonia for the past fifteen years. Carol will speak about her experiences and show some videos. Please contact Arinel Greene at 510 223 4226 if you plan to attend. There will be light refreshments so they would like to know how many people are attending. There will be an offering to support Carol’s work if you care to donate. Easter Hill UMC, 3911 Cutting Blvd., Richmond.
Please send submissions for FUMC News and Events to Barbara Haley, editor: firstname.lastname@example.org.