The Stone News for January 2003
Pastor's Message for January
Epiphany is the festival of the manifestation of God's Word made flesh, honored by the gifts from all nations and peoples. The central images of the Magi bearing gifts - an emphasis upon our joining the whole world in adoration and self-giving.
--The New Handbook of the Christian Year
"I just want to make sure I'm on the right path."
These words emerged from a faith-filled and earnest 15-year old boy. He was concerned about matters of Christian proclamation. He was curious about the many kinds of Christians and wondered where Stone Church fit in. My heart went out to him, delighting in his longing and intensity.
Too many of us become ambivalent with age. After a few religious false starts and spiritual twists, we are lost and hesitant about offering our gifts to the Christ child. We have become shy and wary about bold initiatives in Christian adoration and self-giving.
Others of us find the path to the Holy hardened, packed-down, and paved. Our problem is familiarity. We have forgotten the freshness of holding the newborn Gospel in a weary world. We are all too sure, secure, and clinging to a Christian faith that no longer gives new Life and witness.
May the Light of Christ shine upon you, bringing you out of a shy faith in the shadows to a Bold proclamation. May the Light of Christ shine upon you, pointing out a new and fresh path for 2003.
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Deacons At Stone Church
What do you feel is the most important thing that a church can provide its members? If your answer is a caring and supporting community, especially when people are in times of need, then you should consider joining the Board of Deacons at Stone Church.
As a member of the board of Deacons, you will be in the best possible position to assure that Stone Church will be a congregation where its members feel supported and loved by their church, especially when they are ill or disabled, getting older and less able to get out, or just going though a particularly tough period in their lives.
Deacons at Stone Church are asked to pray daily for those on the Prayer Chain. On a monthly basis Deacons visit and perhaps take communion to homebound members, assist in greeting Sunday worshipers, and attend the Deacons' meeting. Throughout the year, Deacons participate in delivering flowers to homebound members at Christmas and Easter, provide food and other services for families in need, provide a reception and spiritual support for bereaved families at all Stone Church memorial services, and organize and assist with special Deacon events, such as the Senior Picnic, Senior Tea, and Parents' Day out.
Deacons are elected for a term of 3 years, starting in July. The Church Nominating Committee is currently meeting to begin drafting a slate of Deacons for the class which will be installed in mid-2003. We hope you will find it in your heart to help make Stone church the caring and supportive community that Jesus envisioned for His followers.
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Elders At Stone Church
Have you ever considered serving as an Elder? Elders are called to serve in the leadership of the church through the Session and through various boards and committees. Session has authority over all affairs and activities of the church, both spiritual and corporate, except those within the jurisdiction of the pastors, the congregation or a higher governing body. Elders are elected for a term of 3 years, starting in July. The Church Nominating Committee is currently meeting to begin drafting a slate of Elders for the class which will be installed in mid-2003.
Elders carry out the policies and activities of the church by serving on one of the boards or committees of Session: Budget & Finance, Buildings & Grounds, Christian Education, Church & World, membership & Evangelism, Personnel & Administration, Worship, or Nominating. The time commitment of an Elder includes two meetings each month, one for Session and one for a board, totaling 4-6 hours.
Many current and past Elders in our church have found the experience of leadership to be satisfying and encouraging of spiritual growth. The rewards far exceed the sacrifice, and the gifts you bring to this service benefit the entire Stone Church Community.
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No Fail Meditation
"The process you are about to learn cannot fail. Having made that somewhat outrageous statement, there is one thing you have to do, you have to be engaged. If you don't spend any time engaged in the process, you won't be able to say that you've tried. Your job is just to observe without judgment!" says Jim Charlton.
Fifteen years ago, Jim experienced triple bypass surgery. Once a hard charging middle manager, he changed professions so that he could devote himself to discovering and sharing techniques that would help people like himself lead less stressful and happier lives, giving the body the optimum chance to heal itself.
Jim has studied Hypnosis with Dr. Freda Morris of UC Berkeley (Berkeley, CA); Neo-Cognitive with Dr. George Pransky (Berkeley, CA); Process Therapy with founder Don Hadly (Los Gatos, CA); Nuro-Linguistics with Bander and Grinder (Santa Cruz, CA); Meditation techniques with Roy Eugene Davis (Lakemont GA) Stress reduction with Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn (University Mass. Medical Center)
Friend of Stone Church, Jim Charlton, a meditation instructor for more than twenty years will offer instruction and tips during a three session workshop Friday, January 17, 7:00-9:00 p.m., Saturday, January 18, 9:00a.m.-noon and Tuesday, January 21, 7:00-9:00 p.m. Come to all three sessions and begin a meditation practice or deepen one you already have. The fee is $50 and includes the pamphlet "No Fail Meditation" and consultation by phone with Jim after the class is completed. Registration will begin mid-December on the patio after church. Call Rhonda Lakatos or Bill Ribble for more information.
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Stone Church Women's Retreat 2003
Leader and Theme selected
The leader for our annual Stone Church Women's Retreat 2003 has been selected. We are happy to announce that Ruthanne Svendsen has agreed to lead us on what promises to be a truly special and blessed event.
Ruthanne has selected The Road to Emmaus as our theme. We will use this scripture story to trace our spiritual journeys, from disappointments and longings, through our hopes and realizations, to transformation and resurrection. The prayer forms of Lectio Divina, Taizé, labyrinth, and art will be woven into our weekend to provide everyone with a form that will speak especially to them.
Ruthanne describes herself a Spiritual Director with an emphasis in Ignatian Exercises and groups. She is currently a Senior in the Masters of Divinity program at San Francisco Theological Seminary, and a Companions on the Inner Way musician and staff member. Several of our Stone Church women have highly recommended Ruthanne from their memorable experiences with her through Companions on the InnerWay.
Please save these dates - March 28 to 30, 2003 - and if you have any questions or requests, be sure to contact Emily Meacham.
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Stone Church Doer's Profile: Catherine Edwards
Myra Aronson, Catherine's best friend and a visitor to Stone Church, was a bridesmaid in her 1990 wedding to Andrew. On September 11, 2001, Myra was aboard the first plane to hit the World Trade Center in the terrorist attack. So while joining our nation in grief and outrage, Catherine also had to deal with this personally.
She turned grief into something positive by changing her career direction. The time had come to do what she loved doing, which is building brand equity and creating presence for an organization that makes a difference to others. Soon she had scheduled an informational interview with fellow church member Linda Appleton, Program Officer for The Health Trust. As luck would have it, they had an opening for someone with Catherine's skills. She was hired in late October 2001 and is Vice President of Communications. She brings 20 years experience in high tech executive, managerial and marketing positions to this new track.
Many non-profit organizations struggle with little name awareness, fragmented programs and slim budgets, and THT was no exception. It was formed five years ago as one of the conditions of the sale of Good Samaritan Hospital, then a non-profit facility, to a group that changed it into a for-profit entity. In these five years, THT had been issuing grants and providing services together valued at $12 to $13 million annually, helping indigent children, frail elderly and vulnerable adults by these means.
Catherine quickly got to work building a brand that has become well known in the community. She created an easily recognizable logo that focuses on health and a tagline about the at-risk populations served. With the new brand, Catherine was able to create a complete business identity and comprehensive collateral system that became the cornerstone for building brand equity. New collateral materials were created for the public charity. The website was redesigned from scratch with fresh new content and it has received 15,000 hits each month.
Browsing her attractive, award winning web pages (http://www.healthtrust.org) one learns that: The Health Trust is a public benefit corporation committed to improving the health and quality of life for people in need in Santa Clara County. Focusing on children, frail elderly, and vulnerable adults, it issues grants, provides services and raises funds to solve community health issues. Recognized now as a leader in community health, it expands access to health and wellness services. THT was co-sponsor of last year's Speaking of Women's Health event.
Catherine worked to create awareness for THT by issuing regular biweekly press announcements and media alerts. It has been featured in all major media outlets, print and broadcast, multiple times. For instance, NBC#11 just featured Meals On Wheels this past Thanksgiving as well as on Christmas Day, 2001. In early 2002 its dental programs for low income children were featured multiple times on KPIX, KNTV and KSTV (Channel 48). Scores of articles have appeared in the San Jose Mercury News, the Willow Glen Resident, Vietnamese and Spanish newspapers, the business press and much more. During 2002, THT has been awarded with three highly coveted Public Relations Society of America compass awards for its website, press kit and corporate brochure, as well as an international Galaxy award.
Catherine and her family have been attending Stone Church for two years, officially joining during the spring of 2001. She is active on the Church and World Board, Amethyst Circle and Lunch Bunch. Her sons Greg and Jeremy have helped with one THT program by delivering Meals On Wheels to home bound elderly people during the holidays. Blessings, Catherine, for your work in making The HealthTrust better known to us all!
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Rotating Shelter Cookbook
The Church and World Committee will be creating a Rotating Shelter Cookbook that celebrates the fellowship and gift of nutritious and delicious meals. Please contribute your recipes for main dishes, side dishes and desserts that you have generously prepared for our rotating shelter. The recipes can be of meals provided during this past October or from previous years. Please provide the ingredients and directions to serve six or eight so that other members of the Stone Church congregation can more easily prepare your recipes at home and throughout the year. Please send your recipes to Catherine Edwards by email (contact the office or consult your church directory) by January 31st.
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Sweethearts In The Kitchen
Please join us for this special annual event - "Sweethearts in the Kitchen", on Saturday, February 15, 2003. This is your chance to prepare a wonderful dinner for your "Sweetheart". This opportunity is open to great cooks and nervous wanta-bes in the kitchen. You will be guided in your efforts by a gifted chef and your friends and the results will be wonderful.
You will arrive in the afternoon to prepare the dinner. Your "Sweetheart" will arrive at dinnertime to appetizers, wine and music, followed by a wonderful dinner and dancing. The cost for two is $40. Sign-ups in the fellowship hall after church January 11 and through the end of the month. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Chris Lee.
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2003 Pledge Campaign Report
There are only a few days left in this year for our congregation to complete two important financial
The first is to close the books on 2002. In order to complete this process and to receive full tax value for your contributions to Stone Church, please make sure your 2002 pledge is paid up by Dec. 31.
The second is to complete the 2003 pledge campaign. At the time of this writing, slightly more than half of the congregation's approximately 200 pledges for next year had been received in the church office. The total value of these pledges was two-thirds of the $353,000 pledged last year. If you have not returned a 2003 pledge card, please do so as soon as possible so that the Budget Review Committee can finalize the Stone Church budget for the coming year. Pledge cards are available in the church office if you need one.
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Feasibility Study for Facility Capital Campaign Nearing Completion
Some Questions on our New Design
Again, the FTF would like to thank everyone for your continued interest in our remodeling planning and for your participation in the Feasibility Study. This article follows up on the one from last month addressing some frequently expressed concerns or questions about our remodel.
Aren't We Designing Fewer Bathrooms than We Need?
When it comes down to building design fundamentals - it's hard to ignore the need for well placed and an adequate number of bathrooms. Whether it's a Sunday morning, or at a wedding or social event at the church, it is not uncommon to see people either standing outside of a bathroom waiting, or scurrying from one location to the next, looking for an unoccupied facility. Within the remodel, we are striving to provide modern bathrooms that are accessible to all and meet current code. At the same time, we still have space issues that mean we have to fit them into our limited square footage. The current design puts new facilities where the kitchen is currently located. The architects are trying to maximize the number of stalls ultimately in that space. Further, we are asking the architect to evaluate the impact of an additional bathroom on the near side of the social hall - this may, or may not, be possible. You can be assured that we are considering every possible option to put bathrooms in the right places, and as many as possible. However, we will continue to be challenged by the space and layout that we have to work within.
Fund Raising Study Completed and Reported to Facility Task Force
On Monday evening, December 9, the Facility Task Force received the completed Fund Raising Planning and Feasibility Study report from Jennifer O'Donnell. The report is now under review.
The Facility Task Force thanks all who participated in the study, either by direct interview or by returning the questionnaire.
Comments made by congregational members were insightful and valuable. They will guide the Task Force's effort as work moves ahead.
Elements of the conceptual design which received overwhelming support (90% or greater) were:
The congregation will be contacted in early January to explain the next steps in the process. The Facility Task Force and the Session anticipate a series of decision-making meetings will be held by the congregation (probably in March) to:
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Reverend Rebecca Kuiken opened the meeting with prayer. The consent docket was reviewed and approved, including the minutes of the Session minutes of November 12th and 24th, and the Congregational Meeting minutes of November 10th.
Tom Hurst gave a progress report from Facilities Task Force. The Task Force has received the results of the Capital Campaign survey taken by Jennifer O'Donnell. The Task Force is studying the information, and is optimistic the Congregation can forge a consensus around the needs of the Church.
June Tablak and Reverend Rebecca presented for first hearing a proposed communication policy. This policy would help significantly with the production of the Stonewall News, making it easier to produce and even more useful than it already is. Session will act out the policy in January.
Chris Nilson presented the 2002 Budget and compared to spending thus far. There may be a modest surplus, which would be carried over to help meet the needs for 2003.
Jody Meacham gave an update to the 2003 Stewardship Campaign. It's still too early to tell, but so far pledges are up slightly, and with half yet to go, we are hopeful the rest can carry forward with a Step Up for Stewardship.
All Boards and Committees reported.
Session was closed with prayer by the Reverend Art Mills.
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Men's Book Club
You are invited to participate in our informal, sociable discussion of books we select to read. We meet in each other's homes approximately every other month for refreshments and discussion. The books we choose reflect the varied interests of the participants. May we add you to our e-mail notification list? If so, or if you would like more information, please contact Bill Gum at or Bill Ribble. Mark your calendars and plan to attend our next meeting, which will be Monday January 20th at 7:30 p.m. at Jeff Senegaglia's home. Come prepared to suggest books you think we would enjoy reading and discussing.
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Presbyterian Women thank all who participated in our Toy Drive for Sacred Heart Community. A trunk full was taken to them the week of December 8th.
Our "Mending for Wholeness" project is in full swing, and many items have already been distributed to several agencies that assist the needy. 133 items have been sent to Emergency Housing Consortium and to InnVision.
Dates to Remember
Fair Trade Certified Coffee will be sold the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month.
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Jan 12 - Feb 23: Sermons You Always Wanted To Hear: Conversations with the Pastors
Leaders: Art Mills and Rebecca Kuiken
A chance to discuss the morning's worship service and sermon with the pastors following worship services.
Annual Congregational Meeting -- No class Jan. 19
Mar 2 - Mar 16 (3 weeks): Faith Journeys at Stone Church
Leader: Ed Tablak
Each week a different member of Stone Church talks about their faith journey, what brought them to Stone, how they have grown at Stone, their hopes, and the spiritual struggles they face today.
Mar 23 - Apr 13 (4 weeks): Church and World Focus
Leaders: to be announced
Easter -- No class April 20.
Apr 27: Population, Energy and Ecology
Leader: Pat Magee
Congregational Meeting -- No class May 4
May 11 - Jun 1 (4 weeks): Moslems: Our Neighbors in Silicon Valley
Speakers will be provided by the Outreach Division of the Moslem Community Association located in Sunnyvale. A chance to interact with and learn about our Moslem neighbors.
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Church School Welcomes The Messiah
During December church school students have been learning how Jesus fulfilled God's promise of a Messiah. Some of them "met" Isaiah and learned of his prophecy that a Messiah would come to save God's people. Some were surprised with Mary and Joseph as Simeon and Anna saw them in the Temple and recognized that their new baby was the fulfillment of the prophecy. A candle project illustrated how God's gift of Jesus helps us see God more clearly. On December 29 families are invited to share a special family worship service together.
When church school meets on January 5, we will celebrate Epiphany and the gifts the wise men brought to the Messiah king. In January students will be given new offering envelopes to help them develop a habit of giving. Students who have not yet returned their pledge cards are encouraged to do so. Their pledge allows them to offer not only a monetary gift, but a promise to help in other ways as well. This is an opportunity for parents and the church to work together in developing compassion and stewardship in our young people.
Our January Rotation Workshops will explore the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. She, too, recognized Jesus as the promised Messiah. This is a chance for our students to continue to learn how special God's gift of Jesus was. The workshops are for kindergarten through Grade 8.
The Preschool class, primarily for four year olds, continues to enjoy Bible stories and activities using Bible Quest materials. A special group led by Shari Cunningham has been faithfully teaching those classes. They include Marie Pierce, Mae and Lauren Rubida, Cham and Amanda Yean. The children know that's a loving place to be.
I want to express my thanks to them, as well as the nineteen caring people who have been workshop leaders and nine helpful youth and adults who have served as shepherds since September. They have taught our young people and shown them God's love in the way they related to them. We are also indebted to seven talented people who helped at various times to pull together ideas and write our lessons, with Rebecca giving guidance and focus to those endeavors. Very special thanks goes to Janice Goertz who has been especially faithful as Christian Education's Children's Chair, assisting in the ongoing development of all our workshops.
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2003 -- A Time For New Ideas And New Beginnings
This month we'd like to point out some books that may be new to you.
* Giving (1st Books Hug) * Tucking Mommy In (1st Books Loh) * Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (1st Books Tab) *
* The Gold Coin (J Ada) * Rabbit's New Rug (J Del) * Could Anything Be Worse? (J H) * Grandma Gets Grumpy (J Hin) * Lily's Secret (J Ima) * The Man who Kept His Heart in a Bucket (J Lev) * The Rag Coat (J Mil) * The Lily Cupboard (J Opp) * Warm at Home (J Sch) * Square Beak (J Sun) * Do I Have to Take Violet? (J Ste) * Someone New (J Sol) *
* Real Friends (YA 158 Var) * Peace Begins with You (J 172.4 S) * How Do You Spell God? (YA 200 Gel) * My Friends' Beliefs (YA 291 W) * What Do You Know about Racism? (YA 305.8 San) * How It Feels When Parents Divorce (Spec Needs J 306.8 Kre) * How It Feels to Live with a Physical Disability and How It Feels to Fight for Your Life (both Spec Needs J 362.4 Kre) * First Thousand Words in French, Spanish (TALL J440 A,460 Spa) *
* Liberating the Gospels (226.06 Spo) * Amazing Grace (230 Nor) * The God We Never Knew (231 Bor) * Good Goats: Healing Our Image of God (231 Lin) * Stages of Faith (234.2 Fow) * Freedom of Simplicity (234.51 Fos) * Living Simply through the Day (242 Edw) * Outward Signs: The Language of Christian Symbolism (246 Wes) * Turning: Reflections on the Experience of Conversion (248.24 Gri) * Sources of Strength (248.4 Car) * The Eye of the Storm: Living Spiritually in the Real World (248.4 Lee) * Building God's People in a Materialistic Society (250 Wes) * The Church with a Human Face (262 Sch) * Educating for Life (268 Gro) * Doorways to Christian Growth (268 McM) * Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity (277.3 Baw) * Presbyterians: A Spiritual Journey (TALL 285.1 Wie) * Finding Your Religion (291.4 McL) * Understanding Religious Conversion (291.4 Ram) * Peace Is Every Step (294 Nha) *
* When All You've Ever Wanted Isn't Enough (157 Kus) * Further Along the Road Less Traveled (158.1 Pec) * The Hunger for More (170 Sha) * Work and Integrity (174 Sne) * Connecting with All the People in Your Life (302.3 Dei) * At Long Last Love (306.7 Win) * Breathing Space (650 Dav) *
-- Sue Williams, Library Coordinator
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