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The Stone News for February 2005

Links to Stories
Dates to Save
Our Jerusalem
Capital Campaign
Women's Retreat
Free Lecture
Church School Stars
Youth Projects
Children's Theatre
Arts & Crafts
Zephyr Experience
Church & World
Adult Education
Presbyterian Women

Save the Date!

Dinners and Lunches for 8

Let's get together! The Dinners and Lunches for 8 program is happening on Saturday, February 12, and Sunday, February 13, 2005. Sign up on January 30 or February 6, or contact June Tablak to host or be a guest.

Perdue Memorial Lectures

Tickets for the April 1 - 2, 2005, lectures by acclaimed Jesus scholar and author, Dr. Marcus Borg, are currently on sale. Cost is $10 for Friday evening, $15 for Saturday, and $20 for both events. Contact the church office or Pat Magee for more information.

Vacation Church School

Vacation Church School this year will start on a Sunday with a family gathering after worship. Please mark your calendars for Sunday - Thursday, June 26-30, 2005.

Summer Camp at Westminster Woods

Many different camps are available at Westminster Woods for the weeks beginning July 17 and 24, 2005. See Christian Education Associate, Miriam Kishi, for more details.

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Stewardship Board Encourages Your Commitment in the Form of an Annual Pledge

The Stewardship Board stated its goal last month that all members have a financial pledge on file. The December 2004 Membership Directory listed 275 potential pledging units. As of January 10, 2005, 53% or 146 pledges had been received, totaling approximately $300,000.

Another 11% who pledged last year have not turned in a pledge for 2005. Each of these pledging units has been contacted by phone or by mail. Of the remaining 36%, 8% are youth who may be involved with the CE giving program, and 8% are members who have moved out of the area.

The 20% on the roster who do not have a pledge on file will be encouraged to make a pledge even if they have been contributing in the loose offering.

Now for the good news: the amount received as pledge income for 2004 was slightly more than pledged. This is an outstanding accomplishment.

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Worship Committee Reports on Liturgical Arts Subcommittee's Intensive Work on Lent

The Liturgical Arts subcommittee of the Worship Committee began their work on Lent just as Advent was beginning. The architects of the concept for Lent began to read sections from Luke 9:51-56. The process continued through several discussions in person and over the internet and the idea began to take shape. Heather and Andrew Reynolds, Gail Chaid, Art Mills, and Rebecca Kuiken all contributed thoughts. Heather wrote some beautiful pages about what she felt Facing Our Jerusalem meant to her. When Rebecca was asked about how the structure of the six weeks of Lent would be formed she wrote, "I incorporated Heather's great thoughts and last year's Lent concepts." The result is the wonderfully written article, Congregation is Asked to Consider "Facing Our Jerusalem" for Lent 2005 (below).

The design for Liturgical Arts for Lent is still in formation at this time and will go from concept to reality as Lent approaches. The congregation is always welcome to lend a hand to the designers for Liturgical Arts (Karen and Tom Scott, Donald Foster and his family, Jeanette Rapp, Cathy Marshall, Janice and Mel Goertz and others) who work to make the concept a reality.

The Worship Committee invites any member of the congregation interested in working on these special events to contact Gail Chaid, Worship Moderator. We welcome you!

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Lenten Cross

Congregation is Asked to Consider "Facing Our Jerusalem" for Lent 2005

And it came to pass, when the time was come that Jesus should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem ... (Luke 9:51)

This Lent, Stone Church is invited to join Jesus on the journey of discipleship. What Jesus faced in Jerusalem was his death, and also his resurrection.

When we face our death, we also face our life. This Lent we are invited to reflect upon and examine the foundation our faith is built upon. We are invited to feel the urgency and to find the courage to face our own truths. The invitation is offered there in the shadow of Jerusalem. The gift is that when we are willing to face our cross, we have the promise of the Resurrection. We get a new beginning.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (February 9, 2005) and ends on Holy Saturday (March 26, 2005). During the Ash Wednesday ceremony, ashes made from the palms of the previous year's Palm Sunday are placed on the foreheads of believers. While making the sign of the cross in ashes, the pastor says, "Remember your Baptism and be faithful." Our focus in Lent is to offer a time for community and individual preparation for following Jesus on the most difficult of paths - the path of self-sacrificing love.

Lent leads to Holy Week, the week in which Jesus enters Jerusalem and faces death. It begins on Palm Sunday with Jesus' entrance into the city. We celebrate by singing loud Hosannas and waving palm branches in worship.

On Maundy Thursday, we hold a tenebrae (Latin for darkness) service at Stone Church; during this service, the candles and lights of the church are gradually extinguished until the church is in total darkness.

Finally, witnessing Jesus death on the cross on Good Friday, we remember the reality of the cost of discipleship during a simple vespers service.

Lent is a time of intensive spiritual preparation for all of us. It is a time to face the world in its reality - its temptations, its shadows, its seduction and its betrayals. We pray and engage in spiritual preparation to follow Jesus faithfully to the end. We open ourselves to Jesus' love.

Stone Church Lenten Calendar

Ash Wednesday service: Wednesday, February 9 at 7:30 pm

Palm Sunday service: Sunday, March 20 at 9:30 am

Maunday Thursday service: Thursday, March 24 at 7:30 pm

Good Friday service: Friday, March 25 at 5:30 pm

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After 18 Months, 40% of Capital Campaign Pledges Realized for Facility Renovation

The five-year Capital Campaign to pay for the nearly completed facility renovation is on track to successfully raise the amount pledged.

As of January 1, 2005, 18 months since the official start of the Capital Campaign, $542,808 has been received. This is 40% of the total pledge of $1,350,430. Pledges completed (one-time and one-year pledges) total $81,325; an additional non-pledged $3,911 has been received.

All are encouraged to continue their faithful giving. Financial statements are sent out quarterly to those pledging on a monthly or quarterly basis, and semi-annually to those pledging on an annual or semi-annual basis.

In addition, the Capital Campaign Committee is contacting new members - those who joined after the beginning of the Campaign in June 2003 - to offer them a chance to participate in the future of Stone Church by making a pledge for the remainder of the campaign.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Mel Goertz, chairman of the Capital Campaign.

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Stone Church Women's Retreat Considers "Listening Hearts: The Ways of Discernment"

What is God's will for your life? What is your heart's true desire? These are two of the questions that will be explored during the Stone Church annual women's retreat February 25-27 in San Juan Bautista at the beautiful St. Francis Retreat Center. The Reverend Suzanne Seaton will lead the retreat, whose theme this year is "Listening Hearts: The Ways of Discernment."

Those who have participated in the past have experienced not only spiritual rejuvenation, but a renewal of friendships and new friendships formed. As in previous years, there will be a balance between time for reflection, conversation, and play. This year we are bringing back the popular talent show. What talents have you buried? What a perfect time to dust them off, drag them out and show them off to the nurturing and supportive women of Stone Church! In addition, please bring an item for the white elephant silent auction to benefit the scholarship fund for future participants.

The retreat will begin with dinner on Friday evening. Saturday will include free time, time for art and the talent show. We will conclude Sunday after breakfast and a time for worship in the beautiful chapel.

The cost for the weekend is $190.00. This includes two nights' accommodations and five meals. Spaces are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, and you are encouraged to register as soon as possible. Please contact the registrar, Leslie Cromwell to sign up. There are also a few registration forms in the church office. Contact co-coordinators Deborah Crim or Jan Keifer with any questions.

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A Special Free Lecture

From Jewish Message to Gentile Mission: How Peter, Paul and James Invented Christianity, with Amy-Jill Levine E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies Vanderbilt University, Nashville at the First Congregational Church (1980 Hamilton Ave.) on Sunday, March 6, at 4:30 pm.

This is the third annual lecture in the Adult Education Roundtable project sponsored by the United Disciples Fellowship in partnership with First Congregational Church.

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Church School Stars

Preschoolers celebrating Epiphany

A great team leads this growing class, sharing Bible stories and offering fun, related activities. Sheri Cunningham works with Sarah Hedayati and Emily Mertens; Alisa Balao is aided by Joyce Summers and Rachel Buckley.

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Stone Church Young People take on Compassionate Projects, Ask for Your Help

As 2004 drew to a close, church school offering and "Read to Feed" efforts brought in $1,733.59 to buy goats through the Heifer Project. The young people began the year learning about Beatrice, a young girl from Uganda whose family received a goat, which allowed her to go to school for the first time. On January 30, they were to view part of a recent "60 Minutes" television show, in which Beatrice, now a college student in the U.S., prepares to return to help the people of her country. The young people were also to vote that day for the kind of animal to buy in 2005.

On February 6, the Kindergarten-Grade 5 classes will contribute to the community by participating in the "Daffodil Days" project that brings hope to cancer patients. They will decorate vases to be delivered by American Cancer Society representatives.

The Middle School class is coordinating our February 6 Souper Bowl Sunday. Here is their message to you:

Many in Stone Church will gather around their TVs to watch the Super Bowl, but on that same day, we will be busy with the Souper Bowl of Caring. We will join thousands of young people around the country who are asking you to love your neighbor by bringing $1 or a can of soup to church. Last year, $4.25 million was raised by thousands of young people who want to help feed the hungry in our nation. Thirteen million children in the U.S. live in households where hunger is an every-day reality. That is just not acceptable in a nation of such plenty! Help us make a difference. We will be at church with huge Souper Bowls to fill on February 6.

Will you be ready to help them?

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Stone Partners with California Theater Center for Children's Drama Program

Stone Church, in partnership with the California Theater Center, will offer a 2005 Lenten Midweek Drama Program for children ages 7 to 13 (2nd to 8th grade). Working with CTC staff, the children will develop a playlet based on one of the Lukan parables. Performances will be given on Saturday morning, March 19, at a senior center, and on Palm Sunday (March 20).

For 25 years, the California Theater Center has trained kids to love theater and to learn all of its aspects. "I'm so excited that CTC will be partners with Stone Church to create a drama experience during Lent," said Rev. Rebecca Kuiken, whose daughter was in one of CTC's plays last summer.

The 2005 Lenten Midweek Drama Program is open to Stone Church children and friends from the Willow Glen community. The program will take place during the six weeks of Lent (February 9 to March 16), on Wednesdays from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm. The cost is $90 per child, but scholarships (up to 50%) are available (for Stone Church members' children).

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Art Festival Logo

Stone Church Art and Handcraft Festival

Been dabbling at watercolors in your spare time? Caught up in the knitting craze that's sweeping the country? Now's your chance to showcase your creativity and earn a little spare pocket money at the same time.

The Membership and Evangelism Board is sponsoring an Art & Handcraft Festival on Saturday, May 21. The festival is open to anyone in the congregation (and their friends) who has handmade items they'd like to sell. We're looking for artwork, jewelry, quilts, embroidery, knitwear, baked goods, and more. Or if you'd just like to display your handiwork, that's OK too. We'll advertise the event to the community to give all of Willow Glen the chance to see what talented folks worship here at Stone Church.

Look for more details as the festival date approaches. We wanted to give plenty of advance notice so you can get those hands busy! Please contact Pat Patterson if you're interested in participating.

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Zephyr Experience Provides Wonderful Opportunities for the Whole Family

The Zephyr Experience, an annual weeklong intergenerational conference for families, singles and couples, will be held July 3 - July 8, 2005, at the Zephyr Point Conference Center. Join in this stimulating and enriching experience, surrounded by the unparalleled splendor of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra. Attendance is limited. Enroll now for this exciting week at Lake Tahoe. Registration forms are available in the Stone Church office. Here is an outline of the courses and youth programs.

First Period Classes (8:45 am)

1) Bible - The First Century Bible in the 21st Century Church - Chandler Stokes, Pastor, First Church, Oakland, Adjunct Faculty SFTS

2) Spirituality - A Way of Seeing - Jo Vaughn Gross, Funding Director of an ecumenical feeding program, conducts spiritual direction retreats.

3) Church and Society - What We Ought to Have Learned from the Israel/Palestinian Conflict - Allan Solomonow, directs Middle East Peace Program for the American Friends Service Committee, works with Interfaith Witness for Peace in the Middle East.

Second Period Classes (10:45 am)

1) Bible - Fear at the Threshold of Faith: The Gospel According to Mark - Cornelia Cyss, Interim Associate Pastor, Community Pres. Church, Vallejo

2) Spirituality - Spirituality of the World's Living Religions - Howard Rice, Interim President, Cook College and Seminary in Arizona, Professor Emeritus on Ministry, San Francisco Theological Seminary

3) Church and Society - Virtues and Issues: A Character-based Approach to Making Moral Decisions - Lisa Fullam, Assistant Professor, Moral Theology, Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley

Children's Programs (both Periods)

Leaders for children, ages 4 - 9: Janice and Mel Goertz, Stone Church

Leader for children, ages 10 - 13: Walter Roach, Stone Church

Leader for youth, ages 14 - 17: Julie Ludwig, Stone Church

Deans of the Conference

Linda Buckley, Santa Teresa Hills, San Jose, and Cynthia McDougle, First Church, San Anselmo

Costs Tahoe Center* Hubbard Lodge*
Adults $375 each $260 each
Youth (10-17) $160 each $110 each
Children (3-9) $11 each $110 each

* Fees are higher if received after May 15.

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Church and World Board Supports Moratorium, Considers Worldwide and Local Mission

The Church and World Board reported the following news items from its January meeting.

Support for the Death Penalty Moratorium

The Church and World Board formed a consensus to support, and to recommend that the Session endorse, the "Resolution for a Moratorium on Executions in California," supported by the California People of Faith Against the Death Penalty. Terry McCaffrey of that organization met with the board and led a valuable discussion of the Christian principles and political realities surrounding this complex issue.

Worldwide mission report from the Congo

Fraternal workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo report an exciting ministry of feeding 6,800 undernourished children. The discovery of high protein and calcium content in the leaves of the rapidly maturing Moringa tree provides a new source of nutrition in the Congo and in Senegal.

The program has children talking about planting cookie trees. They bake cookies using these leaves as a major ingredient and also replant trees and export them to other mission areas to extend feeding programs throughout certain sections of Africa. All of this has become possible because of the creativity of our fraternal workers, working with indigenous agriculturalists and nutritionists and supported by mission funds funneled from congregations through the general assembly offices of our denomination.

Local mission recognition

Moderator Ed Tablak distributed letters of thanks from the service organizations supported by local mission funds in 2004. Individual members of the Church and World Board will follow up with each organization to see if there are opportunities for greater involvement by church members and to evaluate future funding directions.

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Varied Adult Education Opportunities Offered in February

Here is a description of the Adult Education programs for February.

February 6: Church and Society - Religion and Race in America - the Rev. Jim Bennett, Santa Clara University, leader

The role of religion and the role of race form two of the most persistent themes in American history. They have also had a complex and intimately intertwined relationship with each other. The class will explore some of the ways that religion and race have interacted to shape religious, racial, and national identities in American history.

Jim Bennett is an ordained Presbyterian minister who teaches in the Religion Department at Santa Clara University.

February 13-27: Sermon Feedback and Conversation with the Pastor. Discuss the morning's sermon and share your thoughts with the pastor.

Please note that Dale and Barbara Bracey's class on Hosea has been postponed to April.

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PW logo

Presbyterian Women News

Valentine Celebration

Due to the ongoing construction, the annual Valentine Tea will not be held. Circles are instead encouraged to have a Valentine theme as they gather this month. A suggestion is that each woman bring an unaddressed Valentine card containing something she would want to share with a friend - a poem, a wish, a scripture.

Presbytery PW to meet at Stone Church

The Spring Gathering for the Presbyterian Women in the Presbytery of San Jose will be held at Stone Church on March 7 from 9:30 am to 12:30 am. Construction should be complete enough to provide a great setting for a stimulating meeting.

Hudspeth Trust Gifts

At its most recent meeting, the Stone Church PW Coordinating Team decided to give, from Hudspeth Trust income, $200 each to Planned Parenthood Teen Success, San Francisco's Network Ministries, the Bill Wilson Center/Contact, FIRM (Fresno Interfath Refugee Ministries), and House on the Hill (providing housing for mothers in recovery and their children).


Here is the Presbyterian Women calendar for the month of February.

Feb. 1, 9:30 am, Focus Group, at the home of Liz Shandera.

Feb. 2, 1:00 pm, Amethyst Circle, at the home of Hazel James.

Feb. 3, 9:30 am, Emerald Circle, at the home of Alice Thorn.

Feb. 8, 11:30 am, Lunch Bunch at the Taiwan Restaurant; call Ida Raby for reservations.

Feb. 14, 7:30 pm, Sapphire Circle, at the home of Ida Raby.

Feb. 17, 9:30 am, PW Coordinating Team, in the Conference Room, Lincoln House.

Feb. 21, 2:30 pm, Book Group II, at the home of Marcia Ludwig.

Feb. 24, 9:30 am, Bible Study with Marge Palmer, Conference Room, Lincoln House.

Feb. 28, 1:00 p.m., Book Group I, at the home of Liz Shandera.

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