We are all familiar with the passage from the book of Ecclesiastes: "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." One of the certainties in our lives is that the seasons come and go with regularity, and nature reminds us of when the seasons turn. We know that fall or autumn is arriving as we don our sweaters and the days get shorter. Every season has its marker - its own characteristics - and yet is part of the annual rhythm that we expect and rely on year after year. Such certainty is part of God's creative process and God's gift to us.
The focus of the Presbyterian Women's Horizons Bible Study this year has to do with the seasons, not the seasons of nature, but the seasons of the church or the Liturgical Calendar. This is not a subject that most people spend a lot of time thinking about (except pastors and Worship Committees!), but it forms the basis for our worship throughout the year.
The Christian Church has, for centuries, observed the following days and seasons:
Advent, a season for anticipating the birth of Christ;
Christmas, a celebration of the birth of Christ;
Epiphany, a day to remember God's manifestation to all people, symbolized by the arrival of the Magi at the manger of the baby Jesus;
Lent, a season of spiritual discipline and preparation for the death and resurrection of Christ. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday;
Holy Week, a time of remembering the suffering and death of Christ;
Easter, the day celebrating the resurrection of Jesus;
The Day of Pentecost, the celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit to The Church.
Just as each season of nature has its own marker or characteristic, so each season or special day of the church has its own marker, that is, each season is designated by a different color. I'm sure you have noticed that the paraments (scarves and stoles) on the pulpit, lectern and communion table, as well as the stoles of the pastors and choir, change from time to time, from season to season.
The color white is used Christmas Day through Epiphany (Jan. 6) and Easter Day until Pentecost. Purple is used for Advent and Lent and Holy Week. Red is the color for Pentecost and sometimes for Palm Sunday and for Ordinations. Green is for Ordinary Time, that is, the time when there is no specific season or day, the longest period being from Pentecost until Advent.
God was gracious to us in creating the seasons and the Church gave us the gift of the Liturgical Calendar, both of them lending us structure and certainty in our often chaotic and insecure lives. Thanks be to God!
The Mission Study Committee has begun work on the various ways
it will gather information from the congregation, as well as the survey
topics, in its role in the pastoral search process.
Individual members, boards, committees and other congregational groups have been asked to submit questions and topics to be surveyed. Paper copies may be deposited in the blue Mission Study Committee box in Lincoln House. Alternatively, you may e-mail these items to the Study Committee by clicking
The Mission Study Committee anticipates distributing a survey form to
the congregation, as well as beginning other information-gathering
methods, later this fall.
Sometimes it seems that we are slow to learn how to make peace. When
complex threats confront both our nation and our cities, it is likely
that we will respond to violence with violence and unleash more
resentment and fanaticism. There's got to be a better way. Partly, it
will involve learning new responses to tension, and partly it is
willingness to commit to what Jesus taught.
Each year on the first Sunday of October, we collect a special
Peacemaking Offering. Three-fourths of the offering goes to the
national Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, which launches interfaith
listening projects bringing Muslims, Jews, and Christians together. The
national program also conducts seminars for youth and adults, funds the
Presbyterian United Nations Office, and publishes resources that
demonstrate new ways to peace. Church and World Board designates the
remaining one-fourth of the offering; this year the beneficiary is
Clean Slate, a San Jose tattoo removal program that helps young adults
put gang life behind them.
Please bring your Peacemaking Offering contribution on October 2 as
part of World Communion Sunday.
Screening of "The Gold Rush" Benefits Community Inns
Are you ready for some good old-fashioned fun? Come to a rare screening
of the classic silent movie, The Gold Rush, starring Charlie Chaplin,
complete with rousing and lively organ accompaniment and delicious
St. Francis Episcopal Church is hosting this Silent Movie Night to
benefit InnVision's Community Inns (the Rotating Faith-based Shelter
program in which Stone has also participated for many years).
The event will be held Saturday, October 8, at 7 pm, at St. Francis,
which is located at the corner of Newport and Pine. Tickets are $5 for
children under 12, and $10 for children from 12 to 100.
It's getting to be that time of the year again - time for Stone Church's Annual Golf Tournament. The date for this year's tournament at The Villages Golf and Country Club is Saturday, October 8, at 1 pm. Everyone is welcome to play: the cost is $70 for those over 19 and $60 for those 19 and under. This covers green fee, cart, prize fund, and snacks. We use the scramble format and give out lots of prizes for all levels of golfers. We're looking for prizes, so if you have something appropriate, call Maureen Ryan. Sign-ups will begin in early September. If you haven't already, mark that date! Got questions? Call Mike Donald or Ed Tablak.
Walter and June Keener Wink to Lecture at First Pres Palo Alto
Walter Wink and June Keener Wink will lecture on Jesus and the Spiral
of Nonviolence during the Robert McAfee Brown Annual Lectureship at the
First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, the weekend of November 4 - 6.
The Winks are both on the faculty of Auburn Theological Seminary in New
York City. Because the lectureship is funded by a bequest, there is no
charge. For more details, click here to visit the
First Pres. Church webpage.
Changes to Christmas Services, and a New Tree Decorating Event
There will be only one Christmas Eve service this year - a family service on Saturday, December 24, at 7:30 pm. On Christmas
Day, which occurs on a Sunday this year, there will be one service at
The Worship Committee invites everyone to help put up the church's
Christmas tree and hang the liturgical arts for Advent on November 22,
from 6 to 9 pm. This intergenerational event will also include
Please let Gail Chaid, Worship Moderator, know you are coming so enough
materials and food will be on hand.
Spring will be here soon! So please mark your calendar and plan
to attend the Women's Retreat on March 17-19, at the St. Francis
Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista. Our own Mary Alice Collins
will be our leader, and she has some inspired ideas for an interesting
and fun adventure. In fact, if you would like to serve on the
committee, please contact Deborah Crim or Jan Keifer. We have a very
enthusiastic committee, but we would enjoy including a few more women.
At its regular meeting on September 13, the Session:
Heard a report from Tina Luebcke, co-moderator of the Mission Study
Committee, on progress to date;
Heard from Marge Palmer that the offering for Hurricane Katrina relief
had reached $7,085 to date;
Revised the Guidelines for Faith Sharing to give Moderators of Boards
and Committees responsibility for working with "sharers" on content and
on meeting deadlines;
Heard that Karen Hagan Webster, who grew up in Stone Church, will be
ordained here on October 2; and heard that Butch Washington, who was an
intern at Stone Church, has received a call to Swan Valley, Idaho, and
will be ordained at First Presbyterian Church, Hollister, on October 9.
Gave responsibility for oversight of the StoNews and the Web site to
the Membership and Evangelism Board, rather than to Personnel and
Arranged to have Board and Committee charters, and the Stone Church
Gave permission for money to be taken from the Royce Hubin Memorial
Fund to purchase a used piano for the Live Oak Adult Day Care Center.
Deacons have a regular music ministry at the Center but have a great
need for a playable piano. The Hubin Fund was designated for music
ministry in nursing homes;
Heard that Stone's participation in InnVision's Community Inns
(rotating faith-based shelter) has volunteers in place for the month of
Heard that there will be a meeting of the Budget Review Committee in
October to begin work on the church budget for 2006 and to review
When we focus on our own problems, our own despair, our own sources of lack and want, we rarely find resolution. There are always those things, just out of our reach, that make our lives a little, or a lot, unfinished and incomplete.
Something that helps to "finish and complete" our lives is helping others, especially members of our own church family. When someone in our church is sick or bereaved, we need to take meals to them. When someone in our church needs a ride to the doctor and can't drive, we need to drive them. When someone in our church needs help with anything within our abilities, we need to help them.
The Deacons' Ripples program has addressed needs of all sorts during its almost decade-long existence. But we Deacons cannot fill all the requests ourselves - we always need volunteers to help, especially with meals and transportation on weekdays.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others ... Christ Jesus ... emptied himself, taking the form of a servant. (Philippians 2:4-7a)
Please contact Gretchen Keagle or Claire Ribble (Ripples coordinators) to let them know how you can help this most worthwhile endeavor.
"Helping Hands, Giving Hearts" is 2006 Stewardship Theme
Helping Hands, Giving Hearts
is the theme for the annual Stone Church stewardship campaign. The 2006
kickoff will be Sunday, October 9. The Rev. David McCreath, Honorably
Retired, of the Stewardship Board, will present the Sunday morning
message, and a representative from the Worship Board will provide the
Moment for Stewardship.
Please join us, after the Sunday morning service, for coffee, punch,
and cake in the Social Hall.
Like any family, your church has responsibilities. Your financial
contributions from your annual pledge help pay for:
expenses incurred in having a sanctuary conducive
to a meaningful worship environment
teaching materials in Christian education
salaries and benefits for pastors and staff
building and grounds maintenance and repair
basic utilities such as heating, lighting, and water
contributions to Presbyterian General Mission
local mission giving and support.
This is an extensive list of expenditures and like those at your home
they are going up for 2006. We encourage all supporters of Stone Church
to put their contributions to Stone in their list of priority
expenditures, such as food and housing.
Approximately 90% of our annual income is derived from annual pledges.
Therefore, show that you care by sharing a significant portion of your
resources with Stone Church.
Adult Education Runs Gamut from Bible Study to Spiritual
Sunday morning adult study classes are being offered this school year
in two broad areas: (1) Bible study and church history, and (2)
spirituality and Christian life. In addition, special classes will be
offered to assist parents in being Christian educators. All classes run
from 11 am to noon with nursery care available during the hour.
and Christian Life
October 16 - December 11 - The
Way of Blessedness
Would you like to go deeper into Christian Spiritual Formation in a
small group setting? The Rev. Rebecca Kuiken will lead a nine-week
exploration of Jesus' teachings from the Sermon on the Mount. Each
participant will be invited to discover Jesus' vision of the Kingdom of
God on earth and to develop and live a personal "rule of life" that
helps us reside in that kingdom. The resource book, Companions in
Christ: The Way of Blessedness, will be available for review and
and Church History
October 16 & 23, December 11
& 18 - The Book of Genesis: Its Meaning for Today
The Book of Genesis is filled with strange, unbelievable stories:
creation of the universe in six days, expulsion from paradise for
eating a forbidden fruit, a worldwide flood, and an old man who tries
to sacrifice his son. Can these 3000-year-old myths have any meaning
for our lives today? Pat Magee will lead this fascinating Bible study.
October 30 - December 4 - Birth
Pangs of the Church: The First Years
When the church was being formed, Christians faced huge decisions about
what would become our evolving faith. Dale and Barbara Bracey will
probe evidence from the New Testament and extra-Biblical writings,
including the Apostolic Fathers, the Gospel of Thomas, and the Gospel
of Mary Magdalene, about hot-button issues such as: (1) Did you have to
become a Jew first to become a Christian?, (2) Whose moral standards?,
and (3) What was the true nature of Jesus?.
- Pat Magee, Adult Education Coordinator
And just a reminder: nursery care is always available during
the adult study hour.
In the parent's class in September, participants heard that an
important role parents need to play in their children's spiritual
development is as prophet for their children. Parents need to
help them see God's hand in their lives and the world. What does that
mean when events like the memorable 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina happen,
and the world seems scary to children and even adults?
I believe that these events give us a special opportunity to point out
I've been bothered lately by cartoons that question God's goodness and
"intelligent design," apparently because the cartoonist thinks a
benevolent creator would not let bad things happen to the
creation. The God I know allows us to care for that creation and
grieves when any of those creations, particularly people, are
harmed. But, most importantly, God is faithful in fulfilling the
promise of being with us. Parents can share the stories they hear
of people helping each other, of people enduring in spite of hardships,
and of people finding the strength they need.
God's promise to be faithful goes all the way back to the covenant made
with Abraham, which was renewed generation after generation.
God's faithfulness took special form with the gift of God's son and an
enduring form with the gift of the Holy Spirit. God is still with
us, in good times and bad, and God is still asking for the same
response asked of Abraham and the nation that grew from his
descendents; we need to be faithful to God.
I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to teach your
children about the special covenant that is extended to us. You
can also take advantage of the opportunity to do something together to
help people in need. I feel sure that the Health Kits assembled
in Vacation Church School went to Katrina survivors. How about
making a Personal Health Kit together and bringing it to church?
That's learning to put faith into action. It is also something
children will remember and has proven to have a positive effect on
their own spiritual development.
Our resident dumpster diver (aka Fred Groppuso) has offered to expand
his mission. If you don't know already, Fred collects soda cans and
water bottles (with CRV deposit) from around our Stone Church buildings
and takes them to a recycling center. He then donates the profits to
the children's Heifer International Project. There's now a recycle can
in the Social Hall by the back door. Bring in your bottles and cans,
and Fred will take them to a recycle center. You'll be helping out a
very worthy cause.
Community Inns (Rotating
Thank you to all who have been a part of preparing for the coming of
the men who will be housed at Stone Church from September 24 to October
28, as part of Community Inns, InnVision's rotating faith-based
shelter. Thanks for the furniture you have donated; for the place mats
designed by the children in the church school, for your hospitality in
welcoming the men as hosts at their dinner hour; for the calls you're
making to pull this all together; to the men of Building and Grounds
for their muscle in moving things around for us; and to all who have in
one way or another been supportive of this worthwhile outreach of
Church and World.
Health kits are used in disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, to
provide minimal necessities to people who have been cut off from their
usual support systems. These items should be included when
assembling such a kit. Each kit costs approximately $12.00.
1 bath towel
1 hand towel
1 wash cloth
Plastic toothbrush container
1 tube toothpaste (4-7 oz.)
2 bars soap (bath size)
Plastic soap container
1 container non-aerosol deodorant
1 container liquid hand sanitizer
Please seal all items in a one-gallon plastic bag with a zipper closure
in the bath towel.
Presbyterian Women begins their new program year with a renewal of
small group meetings. Circles are groups that use the Horizons study as the basis of
learning and discussion. The study is produced nationally and is the
best-selling curriculum piece in the PC (USA). Each year a woman
(scholar, pastor) is chosen to write the study. It is then "test
driven" by volunteer small groups across the country. Only after
testing and revision is the study published. This year's study looks at
the Liturgical Year, why we celebrate church seasons as we do, and how
this sense of God's time (kairos) can be understood in the midst of our
overloaded lives measured by clock time (chronos).
Other PW groups include the Focus
Group, which was begun in order to focus on issues vital to
women and children; the Lunch Bunch,
which meets over a meal for friendship; the Book Groups, which discuss a
different book each month with members choosing what to read; and the
monthly Bible Study with
Marge Palmer, which gives in-depth understanding of that month's Horizons study.
October 4, 9:30 am - Focus Group at Liz Shandera's home
October 6, 9:30 am - Emerald Circle at Tina Luebcke's home
October 10, 7:30 pm - Sapphire Circle at Olive Weller's home
October 11, 11:30 am - Lunch Bunch at the Taiwan Restaurant; call Ida
Raby for details
October 12, 1 pm - Amethyst Circle at the Lincoln House Conference Room
October 15, 1 to 3 pm - PW in the Presbytery of San José meets
at the Felton Presbyterian Church with a program focused on women's
October 17, 2:30 pm - Book Group II at Nancy Weiss' home
October 24, 1 pm - Book Group I, The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd, at
Liz Shandera's home
October 27, 9:30 am - Bible Study with Marge Palmer, at the Lincoln
House Conference Room