God is with us in this place. God is with us in this time. Thanks be to God for the gathered community, seeking and finding the love and mercy of God. In prayer we listen more than we speak. In service we seek to help others. Day by day, and moment by moment, we live in the presence of God and learn to trust the movement of the Spirit in our midst. Like Jesus, we care for others, and tell the good news. The kingdom of God is here; it is now within us and beyond us. Our faith is both personal and public. It is an inheritance from the past, a gift in the present, and a hope for the future.
Retell the Scripture Story
It is interesting to notice the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry as told by Luke in the gospel lesson today.
And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee:
and a report about him went out through all the region.
And he taught in their synagogues, being praised by everyone.
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up:
and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day,
and stood up to read.
And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. Jesus unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he hath anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
to preach deliverance to the captives,
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are bruised,
to proclaim the year of God’s favor.
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the minister, and sat down.
And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him.
And he began to say unto them,
“Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell the story of Jesus’ teaching in the synagogue (meeting house) in his hometown of Nazareth. They tell of his rejection by the folks who had known him as a child. But Luke gives the fullest account of the story. Luke places this story at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, immediately following his baptism and temptation in the wilderness. Luke also gives us the content of what Jesus read and said. In his comments on Luke Fred Craddock notes, “Luke places the Nazareth visit first because it is first, not chronologically but programmatically. That is to say that this event announces who Jesus is, of what his ministry consists, what his church will be and do, and what will be the response to both Jesus and the church.”
There is a story here of a young man who has grown beyond the community that birthed and raised him, and is therefore rejected by the hometown folks who cannot value what he has become. But there is something more. The challenge in the story comes from the content of what Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah, and from his comment, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus mission to the poor, the sick, the hurting, the prisoners, and the most vulnerable of society is proclaimed. This becomes, by extension and connection the mission of the church on earth. The followers of Jesus through the centuries, through the generations, get their reason for being and acting here in these lines from the ancient prophet. Jesus brings them alive in his time, as we are called to do in our own time.
Our understanding of our mission in the world, the choices that give our lives meaning, is based on the mission of Jesus. This passage is essential to our understanding of Jesus’ understanding of his purpose and mission. How well do our goals and budgets, our welcome statements and actions follow the purpose of Jesus, our teacher, our Lord and Savior? Have you read our welcome statement recently? It is framed and displayed in the narthex. Here it is:
We, the people of Richmond First United Methodist Church, strive to embody God’s love for all people through our worship and the many ways we nurture and serve our community and the world. We welcome everyone and celebrate the ways we differ in age, race, ethnicity, culture, gender identity, and sexual orientation. We preserve and embrace the beautiful diversity of nature. We cooperate with other congregations and organizations to participate in Jesus’ mission of peace, justice, and unconditional love. August 8, 2013
The church lives out a public witness to the love of God in the local community and in the world. Our publicity committee is meeting after church today to discuss the many ways we get the word out about our church and the ministries that make it an important part of the community.
Our church would be greatly missed if it were to cut back or to close in the years ahead. We have been engaged in a public ministry since the first Richmond Methodists walked into the railroad car for the first Christian worship service in what would become the diverse city of Richmond.
You have chosen to be part of a public ministry, a witness of God’s love in the world. Thank you very much for all you do to make the church come alive in our generation. We are beginning to think also of the future generations we hope will come to worship here. Will they have a roof that keeps out the rain? Will the musicians have good instruments to play? Will there be a choir and a full time pastor? Our choices now affect what will happen here in future generations. Let us plan for the future as we live in the present with love, joy, hope, and faith.
Let us be in prayer.
Joys and Concerns
Linda WoodyWood had hip replacement surgery on Wed., December 2. Update: Linda is doing well. Walking with a walker for stability but is pain free! She is staying with an aunt and uncle who need assistance to stay in their home because of aging issues. She is thankful for our prayers and good wishes and hopes to get back to church soon. Cards may be sent to Linda at 5584 Circle Drive, El Sobrante, CA 94803.
Susan Wickesser, Doris Swope’s niece, has been cancer free for two years and living life to the fullest. She has just sent a message that new tumors have been found on her lungs. She has started chemotherapy. Please remember her in prayer for healing.
Our dear church friend, Pat King, is sending thanks for the warm wishes and prayers for her recovery. She will be having further surgery February 1st.
Kathe Kiehn is asking for healing prayers for her daughter, Karen Gagnier. Karen has survived breast cancer once and is now facing treatment for a new aggressive cancer in her other breast. Karen is currently undergoing a 5-6 week course of chemo and once that is completed she’ll have a second round with different drugs. She is trying to live her life as normally as possible and your prayers are welcome.
Please keep Katherine Parker, our missionary, and the people of Nepal in your prayers.
Deby McFadyen is requesting prayers for two young friends who are battling cancer. Please remember Sarah Talkington and Jimmy Lowe in your prayers.
* Joanne Cheyne and Bob and Joanne celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on January 13th. Bob died suddenly and unexpectedly on January 14th. The Memorial Service to celebrate Bob’s life is Saturday, February 6 at 11 am at our church. If you would like to send a card: 4500 Meadowbrook, El Sobrante, CA 94803.
Change of Address: Judy Buhlis, a member here for many years, has moved to an assisted living home, which she is enjoying. New address: 2850 Estates Ave., # 321, Pinole, CA 94564. Phone: 510 758 0555.Email is the same: email@example.com.
Konevets Quartet, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 7:30 PM
Tickets will go on sale shortly for the Konevets Quartet who will be performing Tues, Feb. 16, 7:30 PM at the El Sobrante United Methodist Church
670 Appian Way, El Sobrante CA (510) 223-0790
Tickets are $15 each.
The Konevets Quartet was founded in 1992 by four young musicians from the St. Petersburg Conservatoire who were singing in the choir of the Konevets Monastery on the island of Konevets in Lake Ladoga. The members of the ensemble studied at the St. Petersburg Glinka Choir College. Trained in the tradition of Russian song, the Konevets Quartet is not just a group of individual soloists, but is in essence a chamber choir dedicated to creating a perfect harmonious ensemble sound.
We have a projected budget for 2016 of $114,344.20. This is an increase of about $3000 from last year’s budget. About 77% of our income is from the Sunday collections and 22% from fundraising.
Katherine Parker, missionary in Nepal: Update: Katherine will be here to speak with us on June 5, 6-9 pm.
The Blockade by Nepali dissidents near the Indian border is causing severe shortage of supplies, mainly fuel and medicines in Nepal. Many businesses have been shut down and hospitals will soon be running out of fuel to run their generators which means that surgeries and life saving incubators for babies will not be operational. The violence at the border has increased. Katherine is safe but electricity is dicey and life is harder. She is having to bathe in cold water and the team she is with are sharply curtailing driving. Hundreds of cars without fuel clog the streets of Katmandu. Winter is causing a crisis as is the loss of fuel for heating. Negotiations between the government and the dissidents is bogged down.
Parsonage and Church Sewer Line: The parsonage sewer line, which is a shared line with the church sewer line, is leaking and needs replacement. It’s a long line that connects to the main sewer below the Catholic Church. Estimated cost is $7,100. We are also asking our congregation for donations to help fund this project. City of Richmond has a grant program for installing sewer laterals. We are in the process of applying for the grant. Grants may be given for $3000. Kim Butt is applying for us. Our thanks to Kim and Bill Thompson for the work they have done on this project.
We are continuing to move ahead with plans for the long-term financing of our church for generations to come through an Endowment program. The California-Nevada United Methodist Foundation has a planned giving website for your information. The site is: firstname.lastname@example.org legacy.com. See what your options for giving are.
Imagine No Malaria continues to need your donations.
Saturday, January 30, United Methodist Women Meeting, 1-3 pm at Doreen Leighton’s home: 236 Castro Street. Let Doreen know if you are coming: 307-5461 or email@example.com.
Ash Wednesday Service, February 10: Open Door United Methodist Church at 7:30 pm. 6226 Arlington Blvd., Richmond.
Friday, February 12, 7:30 pm, Point Richmond Acoustic presents Rita Hoskins. Rita has been described as a captivating performer. Her country-folk has been lauded for story and sense of place. A descendant of Cornish miners who sang in the mines, Rita grew up with deep regard for folk music and the power of the voice. Advance tickets $15 (point acoustic.org) $20 at the door. First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St., Point Richmond. More info: pointacoustic.org.
Saturday, February 20, Sweetheart Dinner. Russ and Kristi Johnson are our sweethearts for this year. Come and honor them for their years of dedicated service and love of our church and church community. Pt. San Pablo Yacht Club. More info as it becomes available.
Sunday, February 21, 6 pm, San Francisco Munich Trio.
Friday, February 26, 7:30 pm, Point Richmond Jazz presents “Five Play” and the PRJazz String Quartet. first United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St., Point Richmond. Tickets in advance $18 (prjazz.org) at door $25.
Veteran Bay Area jazz Quintet, Five Play with guitarist Tony Corman, pianist Laura Klein, Dave Tidal on reeds, Alan Hall drums and Paul Smith bass, will be joined by the newly formed PR Jazz String Quartet with Anthony Blea and Kit Eakle on violins, Emily Onderdonk, viola, and Lewis Patzner, ‘cello, in an evening of original music by members of the 2 groups, including Tony Corman, Kit Eakle, Laura Klein, and Emily Onderdonk.
Good Friday Services, 7:30 pm, March 25: Pinole United Methodist Church, 2000 San Pablo Ave., Pinole.