Richmond First United Methodist News and Events
Here is Jean Reynolds’ Sermon from last Sunday.
The scripture I picked today is not the one from the lectionary, but it is one that has been on my mind lately. The Bible passage from Matthew 4: 8-22, tells about Jesus calling people to be his disciples. A similar story is told in three of the gospels – Luke 5: 1-11 and Mark 1: 16-20 are the other two places. Luke prefaces the tale by telling that the fishermen had been unsuccessful during a whole night of fishing, with not even a minnow in their nets; they quit work discouraged. Jesus asked them to try again. Under his watch, their net contained so many fish it nearly sank the boat. When they emptied some of the fish into a second boat, it nearly sank, too. Later, they came ashore, and Jesus asked them to follow him. “SURE!” They immediately took action and went with him. They witnessed Jesus’ power before they gave everything. Luke included more details in his story to convince the listener that James, John, Simon and Andrew might rationally leave behind work, families, and their past lives at Jesus’ invitation. The disciples in the other two versions seem to leave their work without a previous relationship with Jesus. It’s harder to understand their decision.
I recently attended a service of remembrance for people who have been martyrs for their role to seek peace and justice in the Philippines. I helped pick the theme: “Committed to Community.” Often the focus of analysis of the scriptures about the disciples being called is from the perspective that we should be fishers of people, like the disciples became. But at our gathering that evening, we explored what it means to be the ones who are fished. We considered what keeps us in the net – or as Jonathan and Diane would phrase it “caught in the spider web of love.” Each of us wrote on a fish shape one reason we continue to be committed – a reason we keep our commitment to care.
I have been to the Philippines twice. The last time was in 2013. One of my Filipina-American “kasamas,” or partner in the peace movement, says that the pastoral visits she has made to the Philippines in solidarity with those who struggle make her feel closest to being like Jesus and the way he lived. She feels like she is aligned in Jesus’ path when she listens to and stands with people treated unjustly by their government.
I look at it a different way. I have learned from the activists in the Philippines what a life of commitment looks like. People of all ages there are involved in the peace and justice movement. They have been touched directly by Extra Judicial Killings, False Imprisonment, and Forced Disappearances of themselves, their friends, or family. [Aside: There is no capital punishment in The Philippines. A person cannot be sentenced to death through the legal system. If a powerful person wants you dead, they hire someone on the side or enlist private military.] The people I met are sensitive to the waste of resources fueled by consumerism. They are willing to sacrifice their time and money to care for others in need and to work for a more just government. I don’t feel like Jesus when I go there, I feel like I see him and his influence everywhere in the faces of the people I meet.
So, here’s where the rubber meets the road:
A week ago on Friday, March 6, I got an email from one of my team here that an emergency fact-finding mission to Mindanao, an island in the southern part of the Philippines, was scheduled for the next week. The emergency stemmed from an attack by the military on some people in Mamasapano recently: scores of people were killed in an operation to catch one rebel leader. My Philippine Solidarity Task Force group wanted me to go, and I would have to take a flight Saturday (the next day) in order to arrive in time to join the others on the mission. I don’t know how your lives are, but I had made quite a few prior commitments. The most immediate commitment was for the Saturday I was being asked to leave: I was hosting the “Journey Farthest Out” one-day retreat at our church, and was responsible for leading “Creatives.” I won’t bore you with a list of other things I had planned. When I got out my passport, I realized travel was out of the question. My passport is near its expiration date, and renewal would take longer than a Friday evening. I did not have to choose whether to leave behind my other activities. Since then, I have had to examine the extent of my commitment to community. Do I just think that community is important to me, and take comfort that I am one of the people who care, or am I ready to drop my nets (or in this case, my crayons and water colors) to go where I am needed, even if it conflicts with previously made plans? I find it so easy to live in a kind of gray zone of solving today’s SUDOKU, Jumble, Crossword Puzzle, checking FaceBook, Nextdoor, email, or reading the local news. I know other things have more value: making a phone call, engaging in direct face-to-face conversations with people to share ideas and deepen connections, reading good books, attending live theater, and taking time to write and reflect.
So, take a moment with me this morning, if you will, to think about the things you say you care about: the things you like to think are most important to you. And consider just how much you are willing to do to live out that commitment. Jesus disciples left their jobs behind, and their families. I do not know if they liked fishing, but it was their life work. It was what they knew would support them. It was a connection to their families. They didn’t achieve success as some people would measure it, but the world was changed from their work. If we can jar ourselves out of our comfortable habits once in awhile, the rewards and results can be remarkable and can change the world.
Update: An International Peoples’ Tribunal (IPT) is set to convene on July 16-18, 2015 in Washington DC. Former US Congresswoman and peace advocate Cynthia McKinney will be among the distinguished panel of jurors who will hear live testimonies of witnesses from the Philippines. Organizations who called for the IPT include: the National Lawyers Guild, International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and IBON International.
The IPT will focus on the ongoing human rights violations in the Philippines and hold actions of President Aquino and the United States government accountable before the international community. The IPT will also probe the role increased US military presence and intervention in the Philippines plays in worsening the state of human rights in the country.
Joys and Concerns
Mid Received a call on 3/9l from Joanne Cheyne saying her sister, Betty Ellis, died. She lived in Issaquah, WA.
Joanne commented that Betty loved this church where she was once a member. She taught Sunday School, played the church piano, sang in the Choir active and Joanne repeated, “She loved this church”. Refer to page 119 in Point Faithful, the 100 year history of this church.
Joanne is asking for prayers for Betty.
Lauren McLeod welcomes your prayers for healing.
Sandra Kokoruda (Fran Smith’s daughter) up date: Sandra thanks everyone for their prayers and concerns. Fran reports that Sandra is more animated and cheerful than she has been in months. Sandra has undergone 3 chemo treatments and feels good. Both Fran and Sandra ask that prayers continue.
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. Currently he is doing well.
Pat Dornan and Linda Pereira continue to need your prayers of support and healing. Update: Linda is now at Greenridge Nursing Home, room 2.
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.
Arpha MacIntyre is requesting prayers as she comes to the end of her life with a terminal illness. Arpha played the piano at our church for many years. If you wish to send a card: Sierra View Homes Retirement Community, 1155 E. Springfield Ave., Reedly, CA 93654. Jane Carnall has spoken with Arpha several times and Arpha is thrilled to be getting cards and messages of love from our church community.
Please keep the people of Camp Liberty in your prayers as chaos reigns in Iraq and near the camp.
Kathe Kiehn and Heinz Lankford have been ceremoniously installed as our new Sweethearts. Robert Love, emcee, roasted them in a fantastical and funny story of their lives which generated much laughter. Other friends made more sincere remarks attached to stories of their commitment to the Point Richmond Community. Tammara Plankers passed on the Sweetheart Standard. Our cook, Ingrid, made a scrumptious dinner for us to enjoy. Pastor Dan played the piano as we gathered. Our gratitude and thanks to Fran Smith for organizing this event and decorating festively with hearts and flowers.
CA/Nev Annual Conference registration is open at www.cnumc.org/acs15.
Imagine No Malaria has received the Care2 Innovator Award, an honor given to nonprofit causes that make a difference, by the Nonprofit Technology Conference on March 4 in Austin Texas for their 2014 World Malaria Day Campaign.
Imagine No Malaria receives a “Superhero Award” from the Rotarians Action Group on Malaria at the annual meeting of the Alliance for Malarial Prevention in Geneva, Switzerland. Imagine No Malaria, the only faith based organization to receive the Superhero Red Cape, was recognized for its efforts in reaching rural and hard-to-reach areas with its prevention methods. The award honors the size, breadth and ongoing dedication of the UMC’s work in which thousands have donated, resulting in thousands of children’s lives saved.
United Methodist Women are starting a collection for 10 School Kits. There will be a box in Friendship Hall for your donations. Lists of needed supplies will also be in Friendship Hall for pick up. Remember that you can only donate things that are on the list or UMCOR will remove them. Linda Woody-Wood is generously going to sew the school bags for us again. We would like to have our kits packed up and ready to go to the Annual Conference in June. Update: Rulers have been purchased so cross them off your list.
Pastor Brian Adkins from Open Door UMC has sent this message.
The director of Children’s Ministries at Open Door, Liza Schlosser, is heading to Palestine with deacon Mike Friedrich, et al. I’m sending along her fund raising information in case you have someone in your congregation who is passionate about the cause and cannot go on the trip but would like to help a young person get there.
I’ve copied Liza, in case you or others want to reach out to her.
Here’s the link to her fundraising page:
Don’t forget that donations for Imagine No Malaria are always welcome.
Saturday, March 21, 10 am to 12 pm, United Methodist Women are meeting with Lara Choe to discuss a Korean Tea in the fall. We will meet at Doreen Leighton’s home, 236 Castro St., Point Richmond.
Sunday, March22, Outreach Committee is meeting after church. the major business is Junktique. To refresh your minds, members of the committee are: Fran Smith; Chair, Pat Pearson, Betty Graham, Doreen Leighton, Tom Baynes, Steve Shank, Mim Drake, Scott Mclean, Robert Davis, Julio Osegueda and all who wish to help with Junktique plans.
Friday, March 27, 7:30 pm, PRJazz presents Christian Howes. Christian is a renowned violinist, performer and educator. he was nominated for Violinist of the Year, placed first in Downbeat Critics Poll, headlined six concerts at Lincoln Center and has toured internationally. First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St., Point Richmond. Tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the door, For tickets and more info: prjazz.org. The Workshop will be Friday, March 27, 4pm at the church address. to sign up for the workshop: prjazz.org.
Good Friday Service, April 3, 7:30 pm
This year the churches of our Circuit will be observing Good Friday at El Sobrante UMC. The service will feature a mass choir and “Golgatha,” a dramatic interpretation of the passion of our Lord. The drama involves 8 characters and a narrator. Those interested in participating in this dramatic interpretation are invited to contact Noel Stout, email@example.com, 510-754-1503. El Sobrante UMC, 670 Appian Way, El Sobrante.
Easter Sunday, April 5: 8 am garden service, 9 am free community breakfast, 10 am Sunday School and 11 am service with choir. Easter egg hunt after church.
Saturday, April 11, 9 am- 1 pm, CA/NV United Methodist Women Legislative Event presents “Seeds of Peace: Alternatives to Violence”. The focus issue is Peaceful Alternatives to Violence with Police Chief Ed Medina from our Richmond Police Dept. speaking. Affecting Change with Domestic Violence Offenders with Donna Pedroza who is working with domestic violence felons through restorative justice methods to help the healing. Registration deadline April 5. First United Methodist Church, 2100 “J” Street, Sacramento. Car pool if enough people are interested in attending. Cost $15. Registration forms in Friendship Hall.
Save the Date: Saturday, May 16, 10 am to 3 pm, District Conference. Location to be announced. Rev. Schuyler Rhodes has sent this reminder. The Conference includes a Mission Fair with displays by local churches, a fair trade marketplace, training opportunities for Staff-Parish Relations Committee Members, Trustees, church council and more. Plus a briefing on legislation coming up at the Annual Conference.
Ca/Nev Annual Conference, June 17-20 (Wed. thru Sat.). This year’s theme is ” Engaging Faith in the Public Square”. Registration is now open at www.cnum.org/acs15. San Francisco Airport Hyatt Regency, 1333 Old Bayshore Hwy, Burlingame, CA.
Save the Dates: June 14-20 for Mt. Lassen Journey Farthest Out Camp. The camp provides a time apart for spiritual growth and opening our lives to God physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. The vision is to provide a place where all people are accepted with the unconditional love that Jesus shares. All ages are welcome. Registration is open through “Mt. Lassen JFO”.
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/.
Please send submissions for FUMC News and Events to Barbara Haley, editor: firstname.lastname@example.org