Richmond First United Methodist News and Events
A Resurrection Garden, John 15:1-8
Pastor Dan Damon, Richmond 1st UMC, 5-3-15
Yulia has been doing wonders in our garden. Have you noticed the many colors along the white picket fence? There is a poppy there that has an unusual color. There are the historic roses, and the new gazanias. There is social garlic, blue-eyed grass, and the unstoppable knot weed. There are many flowers that are new to me. They are an invitation to get acquainted, to learn the names and how to care for them.
Yulia and I have started to call the upper garden a “Resurrection Garden.” Sometimes we call it a “Rainbow Garden.” The lower garden I call the “Peace Garden” with the peace pole, “May peace prevail on earth,” in four languages, symbolizing all the languages of the world. The labyrinth in the peace garden is a pre-Christian tool for meditation and spiritual growth. With Yulia’s care and vision the upper garden has become for us a bright and blooming symbol of our resurrection faith and the rainbow of diversity which we celebrate in this local parish.
Yesterday the church and garden welcomed all who would come with the strong lure of finding a treasure to take home. There were many happy shoppers who found amazing bargains and a friendly and helpful staff to wait on them. Do we do deliveries? Yes. What could be better than shopping in a beautiful garden? The people enjoyed the experience and will remember the day and the place.
Retell the Scripture Story
In the gospel today we heard Jesus words, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, for apart from me, you can do nothing.”
In a vineyard, the best grapes are produced close to the central vine. That is where the nutrients are most concentrated. The vine is pruned to keep the branches from roving all over the arbor. In this image we see our need to remain close to Jesus who is our vine. When we act as if we are alone in this world, we can become depressed and self-destructive. When we stay close to the vine, we bear fruit.
Ours is a culture of the individual. Our faith tells us we are part of something much larger. We are part of the vine, planted in a great garden. You will remember that our origin story begins with a garden. Genesis, the beginning, tells of God’s good intent for creation. We are called to be peacemakers, justice-doers, and co-creators with God. We are branches of joyful divine work on this earth. As Christians we stay close to Jesus, the risen Christ.
Jesus’ parable suggests a living and growing community of faith. The growth benefits the whole community. As we abide in Christ, we grow and bear fruit that benefits others.
Our church supports Katherine Parker, a branch of the vine reaching out to Nepal, yet close to the risen Christ. Katherine invites us to pray for the people of that region suffering the loss of loved ones due to the recent earthquake. She invites us to pray Psalm 46 for the assurance of God’s continued presence and protection in the face of continuing widespread anxiety. She invites our prayers for those living outside, for protection from disease, and for the water supply. She invites us in prayer to reach out to those remote rural areas, and to pray that they will receive timely help. She invites prayers for the helicopter pilots, truck drivers, and porters who are bringing supplies. And she invites our prayers for all those who are trying to help. Our gifts can go to the Nepal Earthquake effort through the United Methodist Committee on Relief Advance #3021568. Katherine Parker is a branch growing and bearing fruit close to the vine of Christ, yet far from Marin County and the United Methodist church of her childhood. She is a flower in God’s garden.
In what ways are you connected to the vine? Is your life fruitful? What fruit does your life produce? The imagery of the vine speaks about discipleship and community over the long haul. What needs to happen for you and for this community to produce a bountiful harvest for generations to come?
Did you pick up a copy of Dr. Gawande’s bestselling book Being Mortal? I found out after last Sunday’s service that several of you have already read it. I am about two thirds through it now. It talks about making choices that will allow us to life full lives of faith and hope through every moment that God gives. I love the book and want to share it with others. Our lives are meant to bear fruit from birth till death. Our choices can make that possible.
I was inspired this week as I shared my hymns with sixty of our retired clergy at Christ the King retreat center in the Sacramento area. Our retired clergy still have a passion for the church, a desire to learn more about the Bible, and an appreciation for theology, poetry, and a singable tune with four-part harmony. It was a pleasure to hear them sing and discuss the holy books and the implications for our lives. Our retired clergy are close to the vine and still bearing fruit.
Along with Psalm 121, I read a little of Being Mortal to Linda Pereira this week. We prayed the Lord’s Prayer together, as we always do. She says it with me, and we have our small community. “Where two or three are gathered, there am I in the midst of them.” Jesus the vine is close to us always. We draw closer to the vine by our daily choices.
Our garden is now teeming with life. It is beautiful and diverse. It is fragile. It is getting watered only twice a week due to the drought. We are saving water from the house to pour on the garden where most needed. A garden is never finished. It is always developing. There is planting to do. There are weeds to pull. It will need pruning. It is like the church, a place of beauty and a joy to new generations. Let us make it so as we work and pray.
Make of us a healing garden,
planted in the cobblestone,
warmed and watered with compassion,
growing where your love has sown.
Joys and Concerns
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) 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 4 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 can no longer get out of bed, isn’t eating and probably has a very short time remaining. She is mentally alert. Pat requests that if you have been meaning to stop by, you do it soon. 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.
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 are hoping they can get supplies in by mule this week. They are also working on water sanitation and community mental health issues after the trauma of such devastation and loss. See attached for more information.
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.
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.
The Richmond Commission on Aging is presenting its 22nd Annual Senior Nite Out on Saturday, May 2, 6-10:30 pm. This includes dinner, 6:30-7:30 and live entertainment featuring Top Shelf and drawings for prizes. Richmond Memorial Auditorium, 403 Civic Center Plaza. Advance tickets through the Richmond Recreation Dept. 3230 Macdonald Ave. $25, at the door $30.
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.
Don’t forget that donations for Imagine No Malaria are always welcome.
Thursday, May 14, 7 pm Administrative Board Meeting in Friendship Hall. All are welcome.
Save the Date: Saturday, May 16, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, District Conference. 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. Donations $15 includes lunch and materials. First United Methodist Church, 502 Virginia St., Vallejo, CA 94590. To register: https://calnev-reg.betrapp.com.
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.
Saturday, June 6, 2:30 pm, Classical Music Concert featuring Dennis Johnson. Donations to benefit Spirit in Action: spiritinaction.org.
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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Accessing rural villages in Nepal affected by the massive April 25 earthquake remains a significant challenge.docx