Richmond First United Methodist News and Events
We plan to joyfully receive new members during the September 13 worship service. Please let Pastor Damon know if you’d like to join the church.
Come Away, Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Pastor Dan Damon, Richmond 1st UMC, 8-30-15
Mid taught the membership class this morning. She read a story from her book, Point Faithful, 2002 that is so good I just have to share it with you.
Rev. Calfee Baptizes Woman, 1906
Rev. D.W. Calfee was five feet seven inches, weighed a good two hundred pounds, and wore a Prince Albert hat ample enough to go one and one-half times around his ample form. In those days Methodist ministers went to Preachers’ Meeting Monday morning almost as regularly as they had gone to church the day before. He was one of the then few remaining frontiersmen for God. During one of these meetings he said, “Boys, I want to warn you—I narrowly escaped with my life yesterday!”
He went on: “A woman wanted to be baptized—by immersion. All right, Sister,” I told her. “There is God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; all different, but all the same. There is baptism by sprinkling and baptism by pouring, and baptism by immersion; all different, but all the same. Only if you want to be immersed we will do it in God’s open water.” She agreed. So I said we’d do it in the Bay Sunday at 3.
“But boys, there was my downfall—I forgot to check on the tide—and it was out. I said to her, “Sister, I think we’d better wait till some other time.” She said, “No, all my friends are here today (the hill was half covered with them) and we must do it now.” So we started out.
“That water looked a mile away, and in between nothing but the bay’s stickiest mud! I was twice as heavy as she, and sank in at least twice as far. I didn’t know whether I could make it. By the time we reached the water I was clean done out. We managed to get out to where it was ankle deep. I said, “Sister, do you think this is deep enough?” “Oh, no,” she said, “I could never get under here.” Pretty soon I said again, “Sister, don’t you think it is deep enough now?” But she said, “Oh, no, I’m sure it’s not.”
Finally the water was nearly six inches deep, and I was plumb tuckered. I had learned my lesson. I didn’t ask her again. I was too tired to take any chances. I just said, “All right, Sister, here’s where we go ahead.” I believed I could get her down deep enough in the mud so that the water would cover her. I tell you it was some job, BUT I DID!”
“But, boys, learn from my downfall. In all your ministry be sure you work WITH God’s tides, not against them!”
Retell the Scripture Story
Norah Jones sang “Come Away with Me” on her debut album in 2002. It is a lovely romantic song. Here are the first lines:
Come away with me
in the night
and I will write you a song.
As you know, romance has been around for a long time. Maybe you didn’t realize we have some love poetry in the Bible. Some time you might try reading the Bible book The Song of Solomon. It is also called “The Songs of Songs,” which is Solomon’s.
Scholars tell us that, like many books of the Bible, this book was attributed to Solomon, but not actually written by him. It is a collection of poems from different writers. This always makes the Bible more powerful and interesting to me—not less. I like to think that God works through people like me— people like us.
The Song of Solomon is similar to other writings in the ancient Near East. Marc Brettler is a Jewish scholar who cites some of these poems in his book, How to Read the Bible. [Jewish Publication Society, 2005]
It was not written as an allegory, but it has been interpreted that way in both rabbinic and Christian traditions. Brettler writes, “Its hearty approach to sexuality does not fit most depictions of love and sex elsewhere in the Bible; but given the nature of the Bible as a diverse collection itself, this should not be surprising. The ambiguity of the imagery in this book contributes to its beauty.“
The Song may have become part of the Bible through its allegorical interpretation [Christ’s love for the church] while at the same time it was treasured by ancient Israelites as a secular work that celebrates human love.
In our lives we need a mixture of work and rest, of service to others and care for ourselves. If we get the balance wrong, everyone suffers. The Song of Songs is for those lovely times away from it all. The letter from James reminds us of the service that accompanies true faith. Faith without works is dead. [James 1:22] On our own we can do little. With God’s help, in communities of faith, we can do much.
James reminds us to be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. If we hear the word and do not respond with loving actions, we are like people who look in the mirror and go away forgetting what we saw. When we leave the sanctuary to enter Friendship Hall for the coffee hour let us remember what we heard and saw and experienced in our time of worship and prayer. Let us not go away unchanged, unmoved. When we depart from the hall into the world, let us take the light and the hope of this moment with us into the world. Our students need us. Our customers and employees need us. The people on the street need us to carry the light at all times.
James also gives us the practical reminder, “If anyone seems to be religious, but bridles not his/her tongue, this person’s religion is in vain. We all have many thoughts that we do not speak. These thoughts come and go at an amazing rate day after day. Be slow to speak. If the thought is not from love, if the word is not kind, let it pass unvoiced. Build up the community of faith. Do not tear it down with your words or your actions.
Pure religion is this, James says, to visit the orphans and the widows. A simple act of kindness is better than many words spoken in haste.
John Wesley is credited with these words:
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, as long as ever you can.”
These words are a call to loving action.
In faith communities we need people who are willing to wash the pots and cups. These are mentioned in the gospel for today [Mark 7:1-23]. I did not select that for reading in the service today, but I have preached on it in the past. Jesus and his followers were being criticized for eating with unclean hands. Jesus responds that some Jews were following the letter of the law by carefully washing their hands, their pot, and their cups, but they were forgetting to follow the spirit of the law, which is love— always love.
As we perform the necessary tasks of community life, whether greeting, making coffee, teaching, or painting, let us always remember to love. When we love and care for ourselves first, then we are able to joyfully and effectively care for others. This is the balance we seek.
Charles Wesley, the hymnwriter, wrote “Come Away to the Skies” for his wife’s birthday. I close today’s sermon with the first of the seven stanzas:
Come away to the skies,
my beloved, arise,
and rejoice in the day you were born.
On this festival day
come exulting away,
and with singing to Zion return.
Let us be in prayer.
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.
Sandra Kokoruda (Fran Smith’s daughter) The Latest and Best! Sandra has completed chemotherapy and her scan shows no presence of cancer! She thanks us all for our prayers and she is ecstatically happy.
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, is home with attendant care.
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.
From Jean Reynolds: I am serving lunch for the CA-NV Philippine Solidarity Task Force basketball tournament Saturday, September 12. Norm and I will make spaghetti sauce for about 150 people. Can you provide 2 – 4 lbs. of plain, cooked and drained spaghetti packed in one-gallon ziplock bags? You can bring it to the church early Saturday morning, or I can pick it up. Thanks in advance for anyone who is able to contribute!
Everyone is invited to the tournament at Alameda Point Gym, 1101 West Red Line Ave, Alameda. During the lunch break, between 12 noon and 1:30 PM, people who went on the Pastoral and Solidarity Visit to the Philippines in July will share what part of the trip impacted them most. Proceeds from the event benefit the Philippine Solidarity Task Force. Task Force members plan annual solidarity visits to the Philippines, share stories of hardships Filipinos face, and advocate for human rights here and in the Philippines. Entry and lunch is just $10.
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 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.
UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) has donated a $10,000 grant to victims of the fires in Lakeport County. The Lakeport United Methodist Church has opened their Thrift Shop to victims of the fire who may choose donated clothing for free. Two of the three firefighters who died in the fire last week in Washington State were United Methodists.
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.
New Membership Class starting 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. Regular Sunday School attendees are encouraged to come as well. We will welcome new members on September 13.
Thursday, September 10, 7 pm, Administrative Board Meeting in Friendship Hall. All interested parties are 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.
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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