Richmond First United Methodist News and Events
We plan to joyfully receive new members during the September 13 worship service.
Finding a Place, Mark 7:24-37
Pastor Dan Damon, Richmond 1st UMC, 9-6-15
When we were planning a hymn festival at Epworth United Methodist Church in Berkeley celebrating lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender musicians in the church, Jim Mitulski, pastor of Spirit Church in Berkeley in 2010, asked me to write a hymn using the goddess image. He said in their church on “holy hill” they often used that name in their prayers. His congregation was open to all. Last year I got an email from a church in Massachusetts that wanted to use the hymn, but didn’t want to use the word “Goddess.” I told them they could use “Spirit of love” instead, and the hymn is now available from Hope publishing Company’s online hymnody in both forms. Please use the language and imagery that works best for you.
Retell the Scripture Story
The hymn text is not really about God language. It is about the people who have often been excluded from the church. The opening stanza is drawn from our gospel reading for today. “We want to worship—not as outsiders waiting for crumbs, but as your children—part of your body. We long to praise you—part of your church.” Are there people we still exclude from our reconciling church? Inclusion is a daily and weekly choice that we make as individuals and as a body. Have you reached out to a visitor lately? Do you feel yourself to be on the inside or the outside of our little faith community? Do you feel that the halls of power are open to you here?
Jesus had slipped away from the crowd for a little rest. He was getting popular with the poor, the vulnerable, with Jewish peasants in a conquered country. He needed a break from his ministry with the people of Palestine, but he could not escape notice. According to the story, a woman, a Gentile, whose daughter had an unclean spirit came and bowed down at his feet. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. But Jesus, being exhausted, said, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” Jesus was uncharacteristically rude to the woman, and tried to get her to go away. But the woman was not to be put off. She said, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then Jesus had a moment of awaking to his larger mission. The woman from “the wrong side of the tracks” acted as a prophet to Jesus, and he said, “For saying that, you may go the demon has left your daughter.” Jesus learned something from the woman who would not give up.
Did you grow up on the “wrong side of the tracks?” Perhaps you will yet become a prophet to the great and mighty. Perhaps you will take your place at the table. Do you not speak well? Neither did Moses, but God made a way for him through his brother Aaron. The woman in our story did not give up. She pushed through the crowd to achieve her goal. Each of us has been given gifts by our Maker. Some of these gifts are obvious from an early age. Some gifts are discovered during our school years. Some of our gifts emerge in our later years. How are you using the gifts you have been given? Are you good enough to speak to the teacher? Are you daring enough to enter the house and confess your deepest need? Here ends the retelling of the gospel reading for today.
Now I move back in time five years in my own life. I was just learning to speak to the powers in a larger setting. I spoke for an hour in a large church in front of four hundred scholars and lovers of church music. After receiving a standing ovation for my 2010 lecture at the Hymn Society conference in Birmingham, Alabama, I received a critique from a hurting mother who had heard me speaking about children with disabilities. I said there were few hymns on the topic, but I had found one to share. The text I shared, by Carolyn Winfrey-Gillette, spoke of a child who could communicate by fingerspelling. The hurting mother told me that her child could not finger spell.
Since then I have been trying to write a hymn text that would be of help to this woman. I did not get her name. I asked her to send me an email, but I have not heard from her.
Fran sent me information on disabilities in 2010, and I made some efforts at a text, but never found anything worth sharing. Information is not enough. We need a personal, caring connection with the people who are suffering. Finally, after a five year struggle, I heard some things at the United Methodist retreat at Mid’s cabin above the Russian River. I heard, “My child is not broken. My child does not need to be fixed.” “Safety is not the goal.” “She was her own work of art.” I took notes while the women shared, and later crafted this text:
My child is a flower,
a joy to be shared.
My child has been labeled
I have no instructions
but nurture and care.
Come see, in my garden,
a flower so rare.
My child has emotions,
a will, and a name.
The needs of God’s children
are always the same:
to live to the fullest,
their own work of art,
with faith and forgiveness,
deep gifts of the heart.
A child, when supported
by wisdom and grace,
can teach many lessons,
can love and embrace.
So nurture the body,
the spirit, the mind,
and trust that our Maker
is loving and kind.
Our goal is not safety,
our goal is to live,
to touch one another
with love as we give.
Come celebrate with me
and learn something new.
This flower is blooming
for me and for you.
Daniel Charles Damon
WORDS and MUSIC © 2015 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
The tune is still under construction, but we will sing it soon.
My father, Robert Bruce Damon, was born with cerebral palsy. He struggled to talk, read, and walk. I think of him when I read this poem.
Robert Alter is a professor of Hebrew and comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley. He has written The Art of Biblical Narrative and The Art of Biblical Poetry. He says, “Poetry…is not just a set of techniques for saying impressively what could be said otherwise. Rather, it is a particular way of imagining the world.”
Let us imagine a better world as we pray, as we study, and as we work.
Joys and Concerns
Our dear church friend, Pat King, is requesting prayers for healing. She is slowly recovering from surgery and anticipates further surgery later in the fall. Her spirits are good and she hopes to come to church soon.
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 a Jimmy Lowe in your prayers.
Pat Dornan and Linda Pereira continue to need your prayers of support. Update: Hospice services continue. 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, is home with attendant care.
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.
From Jean Reynolds:
This Sunday, September 13, we welcome the Sunday school youth, their families, teachers, adult class, and anyone who wants to celebrate with us.
- Everyone is invited to breakfast starting at 9 AM
- Sunday school for all ages starts at 10 AM
- As a double bonus, we welcome new members during the 11 AM worship service
You are invited to any or all of these events. Bring a friend!
From Debbie Benko re: Art Auction
Short meeting after church service on Sept.13th to organize auction day. Please come to see how you can help. We need volunteers for various tasks including setup and clean up. All are encouraged to attend. Thank you.
Pinole UMC is celebrating 125 Years of Blessedness with events throughout October. October 3 Walkathon; October 10 Concert; October 18 Worship Homecoming; October 30 Trunk or Treat. See attached flyer. 2000 San Pablo Ave., Pinole. Support our sister church if you can.
Pastor Dan will be away at Journey Farthest Out Camp at lake Tahoe, Sept. 27 through Oct.4. Fran Smith will be speaking about her experience regarding reconciling ministries at the San Antonio conference “Gather at the River”. If you are interested in attending the JFO Camp at Zephyr Cove, contact Carol Horn at 530 595 3290 to see if any spaces remain.
News from Camp Liberty in Iraq: Since July 13th the Iraqi government has stopped supplies from entering Camp Liberty. They have prevented supplies of food, fuel and septic tank trucks from entering the compound. The lack of fuel means that the generators can not function so there is no electricity, no sewage system, no air conditioners with the temperature reaching 120 degrees. The United States Committee for Camp Ashraf is asking our Secretary of State, John Kerry, to intervene as well as the United Nations. Please remember these people in your prayers and that actions are taken to reverse this situation. One man has died due to refusal to allow his treatment for cancer.
Katherine Parker, missionary in Nepal: Katherine reports that the emphasis now will be on long-term recovery.
Update from Katherine’s mother, Martha:
Thank you for asking about Katherine. The work goes on, not as dramatically but the recovery will take a long time as the areas UMN is working in is quite remote and getting building materials to these remote areas is challenging in the best of times. Katherine also says the government is struggling at this time so there are many strikes happening which also make some of the work challenging. Over all there is much to do but she will be taking a break in October, so we hope she will be rejuvenated and continues to serve in the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. I will pass on your greetings. She will be in itineration here in California in the Spring 2016, she will be contacting you in the near future for a visit. Thank you for your continued support of the mission in Nepal and Cambodia.
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. We are about halfway to our goal.
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.
Saturday, September 19, 1-3 pm United Methodist Women’s meeting at Mid Dornan’s home, 220 Bishop Alley, Point Richmond. We will be planning food for the Art Auction and our upcoming Korean Tea.
Sunday, September 20 Susan Peters, Executive Director of the California-Nevada United Methodist Foundation will be our guest preacher. During the coffee hour she will talk to people who are interested in learning how to set up an endowment for our church as part of our planning for the future of our church. Kristi Johnson is organizing a pot luck lunch.
Sunday, September 20, 7:30 pm, the Dan Damon Quartet with Eileen Johnson will present a jazz concert, “Down By the Riverside” with jazz and congregational song. Suggested donation $15. This is a fundraiser for the church. First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St., Point Richmond.
Friday, September 25, 7:30 pm, the Point Richmond Jazz series starts the season with Paul Anastasio and Tony Marcus. Tickets online prjazz.org, $20, at door $25. First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina St., Point Richmond.
Saturday, September 26, 4-7 pm, 7th Annual Jean Eakle Art Auction and Gala, Point San Pablo Yacht Club, 700 W. Cutting Blvd. Richmond. Bring your friends! Up for bid will be door prizes, arts and crafts and jewelry. We will have live music, hors d’oeuvres and a no host bar is available. Suggested donation $10 at the door. Tax deductible Donations needed: Arts, crafts, jewelry, pottery, photography, cash or gift certificates for auction and door prizes. Contact Diane, firstname.lastname@example.org or Debbie, email@example.com. 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.
Friday, Oct. 9, 7:30 pm – Point Richmond Acoustic Series returns with Reid Jamieson and Carolyn Mill to open the 2015-2016 season. This duo excels with beautiful voices, incredible harmony & award-winning songs. Jaspar Lepak opens this show. This Americana songstress has a gift for melody that is only surpassed by her poetry. For more info & to get $15 tickets online, see www.pointrichmondacoustic.org , $20 tickets at the door the night of the concert.
Saturday, October 10: You are invited to a Korean Tea. There are two seatings: 11:30 am and 1:30 pm. We will have three people in authentic Korean dress. Come and enjoy yourselves and learn more about Korean culture and tradition and feast on authentic Korean foods. This should be a fun event for all ages. Bring your friends and children. $20 adults, $10 children. For reservations contact Doreen Leighton at 510 307 5461 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a fundraiser for the United Methodist Women to continue their good works in the church and community. First United Methodist Church, 201 Martina Street, Point Richmond.
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