Richmond First United Methodist News and Events
All are welcome to the membership classes this summer, members, friends, regular attendees of the Adult Bible Study. Come and get acquainted with our faith stories.
Here are my notes from Sunday.
Moving On to Perfection, Psalm 130
Pastor Dan Damon, Richmond 1st UMC, 6-28-15
This week our bishop sent this letter to the churches called United Methodist in the California-Nevada annual conference:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Mark 12:31 says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Throughout the history of the United States, the Supreme Court has been called on to ensure equality, liberty, and justice for all people. This can be seen in the abolition of slavery, the women’s movement, the civil rights movement of the 60s, and now in the fight for marriage equality. Today, in a 5 to 4 decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality for all people.
For decades, the United Methodist Church has debated this issue. Next year when General Conference gathers in Portland, Oregon, the decision to change, or reaffirm the church’s historic position will be considered. Pastors and congregations within our annual conference hold opinions across the spectrum of this decision. But, throughout the years, the California-Nevada Conference has consistently stood for full inclusion, and equal rights, for all people in our denomination, and secular society.
In our Social Principles, United Methodists have stated our common belief around this value:
We affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God. All persons need the ministry of the Church in their struggles for human fulfillment, as well as the spiritual and emotional care of a fellowship that enables reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self.
This Supreme Court decision calls attention to the difference between the laws of the United States, and the policy of our church. The law does not require anyone to violate their conscience of what God has called them to do, or their theological understanding. But, if we seek to be an inclusive church that serves all of our parishioners, and all of our neighbors, we will have to consider how we treat all people equally. The heart of our call to ministry is to be pastor to the people of the congregation, and the community, we serve. May we continue to be a people of prayer, and hope, as we work towards a day of equality and inclusion for all people created in the image of God.
Alice Stokes Paul, women’s rights activist and leader in getting women the right to vote says, “I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems are complicated. But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.”
Grace and Peace,
Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr.
Retell the Scripture Story
Out of the depths have I cried to you. O God, hear my voice: let your ears be attentive to the voice of my prayers. If you marked our shortcomings, O God, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be loved.
I wait for you, my soul waits, and in your word do I hope.
My soul waits for the God more than they that watch for the morning, more than they that watch for the morning. Let us hope in the God: for with God there is mercy and great redemption. God will redeem us from all of our sins.
Psalm 130 (KJV, para. DCD)
As in the blues, in the Psalms of lament we come from a place of deep and desperate honesty as we approach the throne of grace. Out of the depths we call to God, and God hears our cry. We have both a personal relationship with our Creator, and a community relationship through the body of Christ, the church. God always hears our prayer. It always takes longer for the prayer and work of the church to make a difference in the wider world, but we continue the prayer and the work for justice. We make progress every day toward the large goals for which we yearn.
The Methodists often say, “We are moving on to perfection.” We are not perfect, but are moving in that direction. It has been an eventful week for our country. President Obama quoted the preamble to the 1787 constitution of the United States this week as he said, “We’ve made our union a little more perfect.” Also this week, to comfort the grieving families in Charleston, South Carolina, he led the congregation in singing “Amazing Grace,” a hymn text written by John Newton, a slave trader who had converted to Christianity. We don’t have a magic wand to wave, but we have letters to write, prayers to pray, work yet to do. Shirley Murray, a Presbyterian hymnwriter from New Zealand, puts it this way:
This thread I weave,
this step I dance,
this stone I carve,
this ball I bounce,
this nail I drive,
this pearl I string,
this flag I wave,
this note I sing.
This pot I shape,
this fire I light,
this fence I leap,
this bone I knit,
this seed I nurse,
this rift I mend,
this child I raise,
this earth I tend.
This check I write,
this march I join,
this faith I state,
this truth I sign,
this is small part,
in one small place,
of one heart’s beat
for one great Peace.
Shirley Erena Murray
Words © 1992 Hope Publishing Company
Let us be in prayer.
Joys and Concerns
Please keep Katherine Parker, our missionary, and the people of Nepal in your prayers.
Megan Timberlake is asking for prayers for her ex-husband, Ernest R. Style III, as he struggles with serious illness.
Deby McFadyen is requesting prayers for three young friends who are battling cancer. Please remember Sarah Talkington, Carolyn Thomas and Jimmy Lowe in your prayers.
Sandra Kokoruda (Fran Smith’s daughter) update: Sandra thanks everyone for their prayers and concerns. Fran reports that Sandra is more animated and cheerful. She is having chemotherapy every two weeks and it should be completed the end of August. Both Fran and Sandra ask that prayers continue.
Pat Dornan and Linda Pereira continue to need your prayers of support. Update: Hospice services have started. Pat says that Linda is more alert and has been able to be up in the wheel chair for short periods of time. Lorraine, Linda’s mother, fell last week and had surgery on a broken arm and elbow. She is currently in a Skilled Nursing Facility for rehab so that she can return home. As you can imagine, Pat is stressed with all the care demands.
Robbie Robinson would appreciate your prayers.
Helen Wysham welcomes your prayers for healing as she undergoes chemotherapy.
Bobby and Pamella Hall would like to be remembered in prayer as they go through some difficult personal times.
Please keep the people of Camp Liberty in your prayers as chaos reigns in Iraq and near the camp.
Pastor Dan will be away for vacation and the Hymn Society Conference In New Orleans, July 8-22.
Fran Smith went to South Dakota to visit Sandra and Robert last week. She was there for Robert’s birthday which pleased him greatly. Fran says that Sandra has an extensive support system there between family members and the good managed care workers. Fran has now met all the workers involved in Sandra’s care and she is so pleased that she can have Sandra so well cared for. Sandra is moving to an a new apartment that is one level which should be easier for her. Robert (grandson of Fran) has been able to find work.
Bill Medford from the General Board of Church and Society (gbcs.com) has held a phone conference and written a report on Racism and Gun Violence with references on how our church community can help. The General Commission on Religion and Race has resources for church communities at gcorr.org/resources. The recent killings in South Carolina have energized the greater Methodist Church and is asking for help from all of us who want to try to make a difference as a church community. Check out these websites. Bring your ideas and or commitment to change to the Administrative Board.
Our Father’s Day Jazz Service was a delight with the Dan Damon Quartet: Kurt Ribak, bass; Lincoln Adler, Sax: Rob Hart, drums:
and Dan Damon, piano. Sheilani Alix, Gill Stanfield, Bethany Reynolds, Heather Damon and Eileen Johnson singing for us. It was so good to see Kurt Ribak, having more use of his hand after multiple surgeries and his diligence with rehab. Our thanks to Pastor Dan for another memorable service through music.
Katherine Parker, missionary in Nepal: Katherine reports that the emphasis now will be on long-term recovery efforts in Dhang province. Katherine will continue to work with WASH, nutrition and psycho-social support. Non-earthquake work is resuming and Katherine will soon be traveling to Rukum and Rupandehi for the baseline survey of their community health program focusing on maternal and child health.
A couple of our church family have housing needs:
Lara Choe is looking for a single Christian woman to share a house in Point Richmond. Big bedroom, private bath, walk-in closet and bay view of three bridges within walking distance to downtown Point Richmond. Cost $12-1500/mo. Contact: email@example.com.
Mim Drake & Kate Gebhart are looking for a new place to live because their condo is being sold. They would like to stay in the Point. They have a sterling letter of recommendation from their current residence. They do greyhound rescue and would have an occasional dog or two around but would spend most of the day at work, Bark Stix. A yard would be nice but not necessary. Please call 415.595.4006 or 510.235.2430
New Church Brochure: The new brochure is here! Pick one up and share with your friends.
New Public Address System: Donations are coming in to support our new system. Donations are $45 for a whole piano key which you can color and sign and donations of any amount are welcome. Karen Merkle, who died early in June left a Memorial Donation of $500 to our church. The Memorial Committee has donated the money to our new sound system. Karen would be pleased since music was such a large part of her life. See the display of piano keys and further information at the desk in the back in Friendship Hall.
If you would like to donate for relief for the people of Nepal, go to umcor.org the Advance.
Don’t forget that donations for Imagine No Malaria are always welcome.
Please add donations to the church for Katherine Parker so that we can continue to sponsor her good work. It costs $250 per year to be sponsors.
New Membership Class starting this Sunday, June 28 at 10 am in Friendship Hall as part of the Adult Sunday School. Please let Pastor Dan know if you are interested in joining our congregation.
The Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) is meeting in San Antonio, Texas in conjunction with the Reconciling Ministries Network. Gather at the River, Thursday, August 6 to Sunday, August 9. The conference will be working on issues of justice throughout the church and resolutions they would like to see presented at the General Conference in 2016. Register at http://www.gather2015.org/.
Vacation Bible School will be the week of August 10 thru 14. Contact Jean Reynolds if you would like to help at firstname.lastname@example.org. this is always a fun event and much looked forward to by the children and the helpers.
Saturday, September 26, 4-7 pm, 7th Annual Jean Eakle Art Auction and Gala: Tax deductible Donations needed: Arts, crafts, jewelry, pottery, photography, cash or gift certificates for auction and door prizes. Contact Diane, email@example.com or Debbie, firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can be dropped off any Sunday morning 10-11 am and 12-1 pm at First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St., Point Richmond.
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