Richmond First United Methodist News and Events
A Loving Heart, John 15:9-17
Pastor Dan Damon, Richmond 1st UMC, 5-10-15
Here is a Mother’s Day card that Heather sent this week, on time, to Eileen Johnson, her step-mother since July 9, 1999 when Eileen and I got married in Chicago, IL.
“How do you learn to be a mom?” asked Pooh.
“You just follow your heart,” answered Kanga.
Happy Mother’s Day with Love.
Heather writes a personal note:
Eileen, Thank you for following your heart and learning to be a mom. You made it look easy. Thank you for continuing to be there for me and for being such a stable and consistent source of light and love in my life!
I love you! xoxo Heather
Sometimes we get it right. Eileen and Heather are enjoying the fruit of a loving relationship formed not from infancy, but a little later.
Retell the Scripture Story
The language in our gospel reading today talks about the Father’s love for Jesus. We know there are feminine images for God in the Bible, but we have to dig a little to find them. Jesus prays for Jerusalem saying, “Like a mother hen, I would gather you under my wings, but you would not.” Hymnwriter, Brian Wren, gave us the text we just sang, with the image of “Grandmother God.” Many of us may remember our grandmothers as people who taught us about love, about Jesus, about going to church. Jesus says, “Abide in my love.”
John’s gospel goes on to say, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love… I have said these things so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
And what is the commandment? “This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.
I no longer call you servants, but friends. You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.
I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”
If we abide in love, we will bear fruit. We notice the gardens at this time of year. The apples are forming on the tree by the Peace Pole. The light of the sun and the soil of earth, with a bit of rain, and some watering, will help the apple tree bear fruit. What kind of fruit is your life bearing?
If a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it can bear its fruit in due season. This is an Easter image, an image of our resurrection faith and hope. It is hope that moves us forward through life. It is faith, our own, and the faith of our community, that sustains us in the most difficult times of our lives.
My mother didn’t always understand the choices I made, but she always loved me. (My father did the same, but this is Mother’s Day.) She didn’t understand my decision to leave the church of my childhood to become a United Methodist. She didn’t know why I played the piano in bars. She died after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. We loved each other, but did not always understand each other. We are mortal. We are finite. There are many things we will never understand.
The loving heart is one of the great mysteries. The loving heart of a God who transcends gender, race, and religion is more than we can understand. Eternal love does not fit between our ears. It is felt in the heart, in the silence, and in the songs of faith and hope. The music of the heart takes us to that place of love.
We love imperfectly, but deeply and truly. Our lives bear the fruit of love. We test all things by this love. When something, or someone is gone, we love even more. The love hurts, but it does not die. Love is eternal.
In Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth we read, “whether there be prophecies they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” But love abides forever. Now abide these three: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.
*It is in the simple complexity of our hearts that true religion rests and rises to the need. The devoted people of South Dakota, including my mother and father, lived their hope that all would be well. Their earthly stories are ended, yet they live on in me. They taught me generous love, mercy, and forgiveness. They communicated the raw simplicity of their faith in heart language, connecting generations. The life of faith and the loving heart beat on in us as we gather in a wooden church, a stone cathedral, a forest meadow, or an urban park, and our faithful lives bear the fruit of love.
Let us be in prayer.
*Concluding thoughts adapted from Hidden Biscuits (Tales of Deep South Revivals Told by Heart) a memoir by Audrey Ward, foreword by Fred Craddock, Resource Publications, Eugene, Oregon. © Audrey Ward, 2015
Joys and Concerns
Please keep Katherine Parker, our missionary, and the people of Nepal in your prayers.
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 than she has been in months. Sandra has undergone 5 chemo treatments and feels good. 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 stronger, able to stand and transfer to her wheel chair after the removal of medications that were confusing her and making her weaker. She is calmer. She is mentally alert and more verbal. Do stop by for a short visit if you can.
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 doing better. She is still in the Residential Treatment area but has been able to return to her own apartment for parts of the day and has been able to play the piano again! 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.
The Iranian American Community of Northern California is holding a rally Sunday, May 17, 2:30-4 pm in Union Square, San Francisco to protest the death of a woman who jumped from a fourth story hotel room to avoid being raped by an Iranian soldier and the uprisings that have occurred as a result. To protest the over 350 hangings of political prisoners and drug abusers this year. Over 800 people were hanged last year. To protest the arrest of Narge Mohammdi for crimes against the state. She is a human rights defender. To protest the inhumane treatment of prisoners. Join them if you can.
Circles Orientation and Training, Wed. and Thurs. May 20-21. Circles is a program that breaks the cycle of poverty by training members of the church community by following poor families over a two to three year period and giving them the skills to make choices that help them break the cycle of poverty. Carson City UMC is one of the first in the country to participate in the program by walking in solidarity with the poor, giving a hand up not a hand out and by using a hands on approach. First United Methodist Church Carson City, Nevada. Contact rob Jennings or Steve Shaw at 775 882 1436 learn how the system works and how your congregation can introduce Circles into your community.
Katherine Parker, missionary in Nepal: Katherine reports that the main objective for United Missions in Nepal is to get supplies to Northern Dhading. Many homes have been ruined. They have gotten supplies to the people. As expected there has been a lot of ruin to homes and last year’s crops. last Sunday there was a 7.2 aftershock which caused more damage and deaths. Katherine is fine.
Junktique earned over $8000! We owe a huge thank you to Betty Graham, Fran Smith, Kristi Johnson, Diane Frary, Bill Thompson and Jonathan Swett who all worked very hard at the preparation work required to make Junktique a success. We also thank the many people both from our church community and the greater Point Richmond community for their participation on the day of the sale. You all made it a huge success.
New Church Brochure: Debbie Benko is putting the finishing touches on a new brochure for our church. Thank you to Debbie for making this long awaited project a reality! Keep your eyes open for it. The Administrative Board thinks you’ll like it.
Save the Date: Seventh Annual Jean Eakle Art Auction is Saturday, September 26. This is an earlier date than we have held the event before. Donators of art and craft items take special note.
Our friends at WriterCoach Connection are sponsoring a fundraiser on Saturday, May 16, 8 am- 6pm: 7th annual Read-and-Write-a-Thon.
Ten hours of non-stop writings from students and coaches. Come and make a donation or support with your presence. Longfellow Middle School Library, 1500 Derby St., Berkeley.
CA/Nev Annual Conference registration is open at www.cnumc.org/acs15.
United Methodist Women are starting a collection for 10 School Kits. We now have all our supplies for our school kit bags. A warm and generous thank you for your donations of supplies or money to get the supplies.
In conjunction with Point Richmond Acoustic and PRJazz we are hoping to have our PA System upgraded by fall. A Bose PA System with 2 columns for ear level multi-directional speakers, a bass speaker and a 1191 mixer with 14 channels is what is desired by Pastor Dan, Bruce Kaplan and Kit Eakle to improve our sound quality for many years to come. We would like to raise $4000 by fall. How you can help: We will be selling piano keys for $45 each to help us reach this goal. Doreen Leighton will have a chart of piano keys and you can color or sign your key when you donate.
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.
Sunday, May 17, 11 am: “Celebrate Tingley Day!” Come and enjoy the music of George Peter Tingley, our composer-in-residence. Hear original compositions and hymns written by George. It promises to be a very special Sunday. See flyer below.
Tuesday, May 19, 9:30 am, Church Women United present May Friendship Day. The program is focused on caregivers. We collect our pennies and offer prayers through the Fellowship of the Least Coin celebrated on May Friendship Day. Pot luck salad bar lunch; bring a salad or dessert to share. All are welcome. Easter Hill United Methodist Church, 3911 Cutting Blvd., Richmond.
Thursday, May 21, 1 pm, Memorial Service for Lauren McLeod. Come and celebrate her life and mourn the loss of her presence.
Sunday, May 24, 3 pm: The Multi-Cultural Music Fellowship presents the Triskela Celtic Harp Trio and the Bay Area Youth Harp Ensemble playing music from the British Isles, Latin America and California. Suggested donations: children $10, adults $20 except children under 12 $5 and seniors $15. Reserve tickets and more information about the group: email@example.com. Tickets also available at the door. First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St., Point Richmond.
Junktique II, Monday, May 25, 9 am to 3 pm the basement will be open. Furniture, appliances, books and more. Pancake Breakfast 8 am – 11 am. Our famous pancake recipe and sausages. juice and coffee for only $6. Lady Bug Booth for the children. We support the Masquers Playhouse. First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St. Point Richmond.
Friday, May 29, 7:30 Pm, Point Richmond Jazz presents Mads Tolling and Mads Men as the season finale. Mads Men take their cue from the cultural revolution of the 60’s and bring it up to modern day through jazz and elements of Rock & Roll. Mads Tolling, violin; Colin Hogan, piano and Sam Bevan, bass. Tickets on line $18, at door $25. First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St., Point Richmond. For information about next season ticket sales and the Saturday workshop go to prjazz.org.
Sunday, May 31, 7 pm showing of the film “The Healthcare Movie”. El Sobrante UMC is sponsoring the film and Healthcare For All, Contra Costa County which is advocating for a single payer healthcare system in California. El Sobrante UMC, 670 Appian Way, El Sobrante.
Saturday, June 6, 2:30 pm, Classical Music Concert featuring Dennis Johnson. Donations to benefit Spirit in Action: spiritinaction.org.
Sunday, June 14, 3 pm Kelly Hope (Bob Hope’s son) will be speaking about his father. This is a fundraiser for the Kitchen Revival Committee of El Sobrante UMC. This should be a fun event. Donations $15. El Sobrante UMC, 670 Appian Way, El Sobrante.
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/.
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