The Stone News for May 2005
Message for May
When I retired ten years ago in New York, I never dreamed I would live in California nor did I expect to assume pastoral responsibilities in a major way again. But God works in mysterious and wonderful ways, and the Spirit seems to have guided me to Stone Church. Bill and I made this our home church for many reasons including the warmth of the congregation, the commitment to social justice, and the extraordinary lay leadership. When I was asked if I would be interested in being considered for the position of Stated Supply/Head of Staff, it didn't take me long to "throw my hat in the ring" as I felt God tugging at me once again! It's a great honor and privilege to serve Stone Church in this way, and I will do my best, along with my usual pastoral duties, to guide and support you as you go through the process of calling a pastor.
Because Presbyterians always do things "decently and in order," calling a pastor often takes a year and a half to two years. First, there needs to be a period of time for the congregation to adjust to the loss of the former pastor. Then, a Stated Supply pastor needs to be put in place, and that person needs some time to settle into the job. After a reasonable length of time, a Mission Study Committee is appointed by the Session. This committee will be broadly representative of the congregation, and its purpose is to study and determine the goals of the church and what God is calling us to do in the next phase of our ministry. You may be asked to help in this study by filling out a questionnaire, or in other ways as the committee determines.
After the mission study is completed, a Pastor Nominating Committee is elected by the congregation at a special congregational meeting. Names will be submitted by the current Nominating Committee and names can be presented from the floor with the consent of the person to be nominated. The Pastor Nominating Committee will send out our Church Information Form, which describes our church, and will receive Personal Information Forms of ministers interested in Stone Church.
Finally, the Pastor Nominating Committee will bring their choice of a candidate to the congregation. The candidate will preach and the congregation will vote. The Presbytery will be involved in the process through the Executive Presbyter and the Committee on Ministry.
This is essentially what will be taking place during the next many months. In the meantime, we will continue to be the church as we worship together, minister to each other and the community, and enjoy fellowship with one another.
- Faithfully yours,
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Stone Church Library Beautifully Restored - Come and Browse
You are cordially invited to visit and use our newly relocated library any time that Lincoln House is open and the conference room isn't being used for a meeting.
When you enter the very pleasant room, you'll see many things that look familiar. On the first wall to your left is the beginning of the adult section - the psychology, philosophy and religion books, as Dewey arranged them. On the next wall is almost all of the remaining adult section, beginning with social sciences, art, literature, history and geography. After that come our special sections, which are identified by shelf colors, signs and spine labels - Biography, Ecology, Family, Social Issues, Special Needs, and Women. Our Fiction collection and video and audiotapes occupy the nearby book cart.
On the other wall, we have the Young Adult books, starting with Biography. Then come YA Fiction, followed by the Non-Fiction books, which are YA and Juvenile combined. On the shorter bookshelves, we have Read-Aloud Books, First Books and Juvenile Fiction, as before.
The place to check out books is on top of this shorter shelf unit, near the door. Just write your name and a due date 3 weeks or so distant on the book cards and leave them in the box.
If you're available on Tuesday mornings and would like to help with library work, we'd be happy to have you join us any first or third Tuesday from 9:30 am to noon.
- Sue Williams, church librarian
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High School Mission Trip:
Hard Work but Truly Rewarding
The Stone Church High School Youth Group
spent their recent spring break (March 28 - April 1) helping to build
houses for Self-Help Enterprises, a non-profit organization dedicated
to self-help housing, sewer and water development, housing rehabilitation
and multifamily housing in the San Joaquin Valley.
On the first day of their trip, the group traveled to the central valley
and set up camp at the Visalia KOA. After a good night's rest, they
arrived at their designated work site in Del Rey (about 30 minutes from
Visalia). Within ten minutes, they were nailing off the first of five
sets of roof sheeting that day. They worked for four days almost non-stop.
Three of the boys worked with cement and, over a two-day period, helped
to build slab floors for two houses.
The kids did their own cooking and clean-up. Evenings were spent sharing and playing games. The kids worked side-by-side with people working on their own homes, whose appreciation was told by the looks in their eyes and their words. The support from Stone Church made the adventure happen. We all thank you.
- Lawrence Summers
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Two wonderful, special events were held at Stone during the first half of April.
On Friday evening, April 1, 340 people jammed into the Sanctuary to hear Dr. Marcus Borg speak on "Two Visions of Christianity." (See photo above.) The following day, over 200 returned for Dr. Borg's three-lecture series, "Seeing Jesus Again." Tapes of the four lectures will soon be available in the conference room/library for check-out.
Two weeks later, on the afternoon of Saturday, April 16, the weather was gorgeous and everyone came for the Stone Church Renewed: Celebration and Open House featuring the formal dedication of our renovated facilities.
concerts were held in the Sanctuary that day: the VIVACE Children's
Chorus, the Chancel Choir, and a recital by our Chancel organist, Joyce
Rhodes. Beautiful piano music was provided in the Social Hall by Janice
The Social Hall was bright with paintings by six Stone artists: Jean Collet, Barbara Gleichman, Lyn Johnson, Serena Murray, Vivian Shimmons, and June Tablak. Also in the Social Hall were displays by Presbyterian Women, the Youth Mission Trip, Church & World Board, and historian Alice Thorn.
Children's activities were continuous in the new Simpson Education Wing. The kitchen was also in use as the children baked prayer pretzels. The Nursery experienced a constant flow of little ones.
The food on the Patio seemed never-ending.
Many thanks to all who made these events possible.
- Pat Magee
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InnVision Interfaith Choral Concert a Huge Success
The second annual InnVision Interfaith Choral Concert, held January 30, was a big success this year; the concert netted over $4,000 for Community Inns, and the Stone Church choir is sincerely thanked for their participation.
The planners for 2006 are getting a good head start; they have already selected the date and place for the third of these very worthwhile events: Sunday, February 12, 2006, from 4 to 6 pm, at Campbell United Methodist Church. Barbara Day Turner will be the coordinator of the 2006 event; Maestra Turner is the founder and music director of the San José Chamber Orchestra, which is in its 14th season.
The Stone Church choir will again participate for the third year.
Please mark your calendar for this event, and contact Fred Oliver, choir president, for more details.
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All-Church Mission Workday
Saturday, May 14 from 8am to barbecue!
Stone Church's second annual All-Church Mission Workday will be Saturday, May 14. Sign-ups will be held after worship on May 1 and 8. The workday will begin at 8 am, and lunch will be provided. A barbecue will be held at 4:30 pm at Stone Church to end the day together.
Contact John Lococo for more information.
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Art and Handicraft Festival
Saturday, May 21 from 10am to 4pm
Help make our first-ever art and handcraft festival a success! Invite your family, friends and neighbors to come and check out the hundreds of items for sale and display - all created by members of our own Stone Church family, as well as talented artisans throughout the community. Here's your chance to buy something for your favorite graduate or get a jump on birthday or holiday shopping. We'll have fine art, ceramics, jewelry, scarves and hats, photographs, greeting cards, woodworking and more! And don't miss the Kinder Gallery featuring artwork by our youngest members.
Contact Pat Patterson with questions or to volunteer to help.
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Stewardship Board Presents "Wills Emphasis Month"
When Jon retired, we took a hard look at our finances and realized we had been blessed by our conservative and steady investments. We had our health, and our adult children had families of their own, explained Mary. As we became more active in the daily workings and mission of our church, we realized how little we really knew about keeping a healthy congregation going.
During a seminar to discuss the endowment of a new fellowship hall, the Matthews said they felt like a light came on. "We knew we had been called to make a difference." After deciding what they could give immediately for the fellowship hall, they made a much greater commitment when they talked with their attorney to create a charitable bequest in their will. They decided a bequest giving a percent of their estate to the endowment fund would still leave their children with a significant portion of their estate. But, more importantly, through their bequest, they would declare a last testament to their faith and the values they had shared throughout their lives.
The individuals in the story are not actual donors, but represent the real-life situations of many Presbyterians who give as they live and make the church a part of their financial plans. Including a charitable bequest in your will or trust, giving of your resources as well as your time and talents, is part of being a good steward and a faithful Presbyterian.
- Stewardship Moderator, Dean Helms
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Men's Book Club
The Men's Book Club welcomed Laurel Doud, a noted local author to its meeting on April 18. Everyone was fascinated by her talk on her book, This Body: A Novel of Reincarnation, and her incredible journey to get it published.
On May 16 at 7:30 pm, at Bob James' home, the Men's Book Club will discuss Coast of Dreams, by Kevin Starr. Here is a review of the book from amazon.com:
In this extraordinary book, Kevin Starr - widely acknowledged as the premier historian of California, the scope of whose scholarship the Atlantic Monthly has called "breathtaking" - probes the possible collapse of the California dream in the years 1990 - 2003. In a series of compelling chapters, Coast of Dreams moves through a variety of topics that show the California of the last decade, when the state was sometimes stumbling, sometimes humbled, but more often, flourishing with its usual panache.
Please contact Bill Ribble for more information.
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At its regular meeting on April 12, Session welcomed new members, Mark McKee, Angela Kobel, and David and Donna Hill.
Moderator Marge Palmer passed out Ten Year Trends, information on Stone Church membership compiled by the Research Services of the PC(USA). Unfortunately, those trends show that Stone has had a membership decline from 450 in 1993 to about 350 in 2003. (Our reported membership at the end of 2004 was 356.)
Session viewed a beautifully carved wooden cross, the gift of Art and Thea Mills to the church. The Worship Board, under Moderator Gail Chaid, will be considering a good place for it.
Session finalized the 2005 budget, which had been delayed this year because of the pastoral change. Stone Church's Annual Financial Review was held, with no serious problems in the handling of our church finances.
Three Session boards (Personnel & Administration, Worship, and Buildings & Grounds) will consider the use of the new spaces created by our remodeling. Bulletin boards and use of storage areas are two of the topics to be considered.
Session was asked to support the idea that the new Nursery and restroom be kept for Nursery use only; cleanliness is a major concern in a facility for small children.
Session learned that Presbytery concurred with our choice of Marge Palmer as Stated Supply Pastor.
The Church & World Board presented a resolution for a moratorium on executions in California, asking that Session read and sign it as individuals.
The Christian Education Board reported that 340 people attended the Marcus Borg lecture on Friday, April 1, and over 200 attended Saturday, April 2. There was a profit of $1500 on the series.
Marge Palmer asked that for church business we use only her Stone Church email address, which is available to us on the "Contact Us" page on the web.
- Clerk of Session, Alice Thorn
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Adult Education Provides Rich and Enlightening Opportunities During May
Here are summaries of the excellent adult education opportunities for May. Come and join us for fascinating discussions and personal growth.
May 1 (11am to 1 pm): Parenting Class: Setting Better Boundaries, leaders: Lynne McManus and Rosaleen Zisch. Plan to pick up tips you can take home and apply to your family. There will be time to meet and share with other parents. Refreshments, as well as care and activities for your children, will be available. (For more information, see the article on page 5.)
May 1, 8, 15 (11 am to noon): The Heart of Christianity with Dr. Pat Magee as leader. This class on Marcus Borg's book provides an in-depth exploration of key ideas presented in the April 1 Perdue Memorial Lecture by Dr. Borg.
The Heart of Christianity describes and contrasts two competing ways of viewing Christianity: the "earlier, traditional paradigm" and a new "emerging paradigm." For millions of people who have turned away from many traditional beliefs about God, Jesus, and the Bible, but still long for a relevant, nourishing faith, Dr. Borg shows why the Christian life can remain a transforming relationship with God.
May 22: Annual Congregational Meeting, No Adult Education Classes.
May 29: Movie: Palestine is Still the Issue.
- Pat Magee
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Celebrating and Planning Ahead for our Young People
Church School is Happening!
Yes, church school is happening in our new and spiffed-up rooms! Maybe you have visited the Simpson wing to see the Preschool and Rotation workshop classrooms, as well as downstairs to see The Mouse House (computer lab), high school, and middle school rooms. Rotation classes will look at the Parable of the Sower on May 1 and then begin workshops on Paul, the Missionary. Everyone will join in a celebration of Pentecost on May 15.
After "Family Worship" on May 29, we'll gather on June 5 to recognize those who helped with church school during the past school year and kick off our Summer Church School, which will take us to even more countries, continuing the popular classes we had last summer. Sign up to make one of those visits with us.
Parents will gather on May 1 to consider "Setting Better Boundaries," as Christian Education looks for more ways to strengthen our family ministry - ways our church can work with and support parents in nurturing the faith of their young people. If you are interested in helping envision what that might mean in the future, let me know.
Vacation Church School
We're also in full swing planning for Vacation Church School, led by Director/Engineer Virginia Holtz and Conductor Walter Roach. We hope you'll sign up to be aboard for an exciting train ride through the wonderful world of mission! Sunday, June 26, is for all ages; join us for a trip to Taiwan complete with a Chinese lunch. Jeanette Rapp will help make Chinese paper cutouts, and we will learn more about that country, as well as what the Presbyterian Church is doing around the world.
Children age 4 through Grade 5, assisted by those in Grade 6 and up, plus many adults, will continue the train ride Monday through Thursday, June 30, with stops in Northern Ireland, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Nepal. The week will be full of Bible and mission stories, related crafts, songs, games and snacks.
- God bless, Miriam Kishi
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Church and World Board News
Mayo Bailey Ark Endowment
You may give gifts in honor of Mayo Bailey directly to the Heifer Project, designated to the "Mayo Bailey Ark Endowment." One ark has already been purchased. The remaining balance and new funds will remain in the endowment at the request of Mayo and Alice, and each year 5 1/2% of the endowment fund will be used toward the purchase of an ark. This endowment will be on-going.
Dale's Mission Trip Report
"How was your trip to El Salvador?" I'm asked. My mind and emotions sift through an array of images. As through a kaleidoscope, I see: delighted faces of children unpacking the toys, puzzles, and classroom supplies you sent; the Health Promoter putting away medicines and supplies you sent; the community council sharing their dreams and hopes for the village; the fervent eyes of lay leaders sharing their faith in a celebration of the Word; sleeping in a hammock and bathing outdoors at night; adults and children slogging through mud to pastures and school after a rainstorm; proud resolve in the faces of the Women's Cattle Co-op, who are budding entrepreneurs.
Then, back in the capital: my memory is of tens of thousands in a candlelight procession to mark the 25th anniversary of Archbishop Romero's assassination; the determined doctor and staff of an international organization bringing health care to the poor because the Salvadoran government will not adequately fund public healthcare; hospital union leaders at El Salvador's main specialty hospital explaining that a nurse-to-patient-ratio of 4 nurses to 60+ patients is the best they are allowed; the American Ambassador and staff trying to put a good face on our administration's trade and job policies, which serve to further enrich El Salvador's wealthiest families and to further oppress the lives of ordinary workers, farmers, and small businesses.
These are the images that first come to mind. I'm eager to tell more with stories and slides.
- Dale Bracey and Alan Decker
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After the prescribed seven years at Stone Church, the Rev. Rebecca Kuiken began her 4-month sabbatical in mid-April, bidding a temporary goodbye to the routine (and not-so-routine!) life at Stone Church. She'll be visiting friends and family, attending a number of retreat centers here and in Europe, doing a lot of reading and writing, and generally recharging her spiritual batteries.
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Presbyterian Women News
Presbyterian Women (PW) of Stone Church will hold its Annual Meeting and Picnic at the home of Evelyn Radunich (1569 Willow Oak Drive), on June 2, at noon. The meeting will again feature the Santa Clara County Public Health Nurses, and members will present layette items for use by low-income new mothers. Officers will be elected, and selected PW women will be honored with a Lifetime Membership. The Birthday Offering, one of two mission offerings taken nationally by PW, will be presented.
The Gifts of Women will be celebrated during worship on June 5. The focus will be on the 75th Anniversary of the Ordination of Women elders, and all women elders at Stone Church will be honored. The first woman elder at Stone was Ruth Starkenburg.
From a recent survey taken by the PW of Stone Church: "[PW has] been a way for me to meet and develop relationships with other women at Stone Church. It's been a source of leadership development and a way of connecting to the whole of Stone's community."
PW May Calendar
May 3, 9:30 am, Focus Group at the home of Liz Shandera
May 5, 9:30 am, Emerald Circle at the home of Tina Luebcke
May 9, 7:30 pm, Sapphire Circle at the home of Sue Evans
May 10, 11:30 am, Lunch bunch meets at Taiwan Restaurant; call Ida Raby.
May 11, 1:00 pm, Amethyst Circle at the home of Jan Keifer
May 16, 2:30 pm, Book Group II; call Claudia Hamm for place and book title.
May 22, 2:00 pm, Presbyterian Women in the Presbytery Annual Meeting, St. Philip's Presbyterian Church, Salinas, celebrating the ordination of women elders.
- Alice Thorn
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