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The Stone News for March 2006

Links to Stories
Lent and Easter
Taizé Services
Westminster Woods
Beatitudes Concert
Cioppino Dinner
Denise Roy Coming
Spirituality Lecture
Christian Education
Adult Education
Valentine's Day Event
Library News
Presbyterian Women
Interfaith Benefit
Health Care Advocacy
Church and World
Mission Study Finished
Session Beat
Social Hall is "Floored"
Lastly ... Fat Tuesday!

Iona Cross

Lent and Easter Schedule

  • 3/1 Ash Wednesday Service at 7:30 pm
  • 3/7, 3/14, 3/21, 3/28, 4/4, 4/11 Taizé Services at 6:45 pm
  • 4/9 Palm Sunday Service at 9:30 am
  • 4/13 Seder Dinner and Maundy Thursday Service at 7:30 pm
  • 4/14 Good Friday Service at noon
  • 4/16 Easter Service at 9:30 am

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Taizé Services Provide Beautiful, Spiritual, and Loving Experience

We Presbyterians can be a bit shy about testimonials, yet there is something compelling in hearing about a heartfelt experience of God. It is in that context that these reflections are offered.

From Dr. Mario Giorgianni:

"I started attending Taizé services at Stone Church in April of 2005. I found Taizé to be very helpful, especially as I had just lost my mother and my sister, and a close friend was near death from cancer. Taizé offered me a place to sort out my thoughts and feelings. I could vent my grief, my anger and my frustration in a safe and spiritual environment. As those immediate emotions were expressed, I was better able to feel a deeper connection to self and others. For one who does not attend church, I have developed a deep sense of and acceptance of my spirituality.

I have recommended Taizé to my patients who, through the frustrations of disability or loss of loved ones, needed someplace to go to sort out their own thoughts and emotions (three have attended so far). I will continue to tell my patients about Taizé and how it might benefit them. It's a safe place to go, to be alone with yourself or to reach out to others. The structure of the service offers an environment to explore who you are, to focus energy on the plights of others, to find a spiritual connection, to help resolve the challenges of life."

From Carrie Moncrief Giorgianni:

"I never know what to expect; I've experienced joy, sadness, grief, awe, thankfulness, and always love. Sometimes I sing, sometimes I just let the beautiful music wash over me. It always moves me intensely."

During the Lenten season there will be a Taizé service every Tuesday evening at 6:30, beginning March 7. Perhaps this would be a place where you too might have an experience of God. We urge you to include Taizé as part of your own personal spiritual discipline for Lent.

    - Mary Alice Collins

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Westminster Woods Camp Promotion Day March 26

It's time to put dates on your calendar to be sure that Summer Camp can be a highlight of the summer for your young people. First in early March, more information about Westminster Woods will be sent from Stone Church, including the dates we've reserved, mostly in late July. Those who attended in the past three years will receive a brochure from the camp, but more copies are available in the church office. Camps are offered from June until August.

Secondly, we will have a CAMP PROMOTION DAY at Stone Church on Sunday, March 26. A Westminster Woods rep will visit church school classes to get them excited about camp and will be available to talk with parents at a table in the Social Hall after worship.

Their "spirited summer program offers young people the space and safety to ground themselves in their relationship with God, and to learn to draw on it to become stronger - more whole, more self-confident, more capable of relating to others and to the challenges before them. Campers participate in a wide range of activities designed to foster teamwork and unity. As they worship and play together, campers at The Woods develop the connection between their beliefs and actions."

If you want to claim a space reserved by our church and save $25, you must register by April 1. Information and easy online registration is available at their website, which may be reached by clicking Here. Please register on your own, but let us know, so we can help get families together for carpooling. Scholarship help is available from our Presbytery and from The Woods; call me for an application.

I hope you will begin planning now, so your young person can have the mountaintop experience of summer camp at Westminster Woods.

    God bless, Miriam

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World Premiere Concert Coming Mar. 31 and Apr. 1


The accompanying graphics tell the full story - the San Jose Symphonic Choir, in which many Stone Church members take part, is presenting the world premiere of the Beatitude Mass, written by Henry Mollicone. The event is to benefit the homeless of Santa Clara County.



Beatitudes Flyer 1
Beatitudes Flyer 2

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Cioppino Dinner April 22

Indulge in Delicious Cioppino to Help the Men's Workgroup

To help raise funds for their very worthwhile endeavors, the Men's Workgroup invites you to a Cioppino Dinner, on April 22, in the Social Hall. Led by Leland Wong, Mike Wyllie, and Lawrence Summers, the dinner features a special molto bene Cioppino made from scratch. If you're not familiar with this Italian delicacy, it's a fresh crab and seafood stew in a tasty Italian tomato sauce - served with sourdough bread, it just doesn't get any better! There will also be other great foods, so please come even if you or the kids are not seafood fans.

This feast is a fundraising effort by the Men's Workgroup to support their mission outreach efforts. This group has helped Westminster Woods and other Presbyterian camps and community non-profits over the years with hundreds of hours of labor and skills needed to demolish, rebuild, and restore everything from complete buildings to decks. You'll want to hold this date on your calendar to come out for food and fellowship - for a great cause. More specific details and tickets will be available later in March and April.

    - Mike Wyllie, Men's Workgroup

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Denise Roy

Nationally Renowned Author Denise Roy Coming to Stone Church

God is for more than Sundays ... enlightenment can be found in the everyday ... and there is holiness in humor ...

Denise Roy, LMFT, M.Div., author of the award-winning book, My Monastery is a Minivan, will speak on Creating Family Spirit - Strengthening Family with Everyday Rituals, on Sunday, April 30, from 11 am to noon, at Stone Church.

Denise will present the idea that parenting is a sacred task and will explore the ways that families can be strengthened through rituals that bring them closer to each other, and to God. With a unique gift for helping people bring more depth and meaning to the heart of their family lives, Denise will reveal the grace that exists within our everyday lives.

You will learn how to make ordinary moments extraordinary, identify upcoming rites of passage in your family, and learn creative and practical ways to celebrate life, love, and faith at home. Denise will show you how the divine is always present, even in the carpool lane!

In addition to being a highly recognized author, Denise is a psychotherapist, popular speaker, and mother of four. She received a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University and was one of the first women to receive a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, where her thesis was published as her first book, Bringing Forth in Hope.

Denise has been quoted or featured in numerous publications, including: Real Simple, The Washington Post, Woman's Day, Redbook, San Jose Mercury News, and Spirituality & Health.

For more information or to register, please contact the church office (269-1593). A $10 donation is requested. Childcare is available, and advance notice is appreciated.

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Philip Newell

J. Philip Newell, Authority on Celtic Spirituality, to Lecture at Stone May 5-7

J. Philip Newell, an internationally acclaimed poet, scholar and teacher of Celtic spirituality, will be guest lecturer for the Henrietta Perdue Memorial Lecture Series the first weekend in May.

On Friday evening, May 5, Dr. Newell will present a lecture, "Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality," exploring the major themes of the Celtic tradition as a spirituality for today. Saturday morning, May 6, he will lead two workshops, "Matter Matters: Listening for God within the Body of Creation" (9-10:30) and "Love-Longings: Listening for Christ within the Human Soul" (11-12:30). Dr. Newell will also be the guest preacher on Sunday morning, May 7.

Formerly Warden of Iona Abbey in the Western Isles of Scotland, Dr. Newell is currently Writer Theologian for The Cathedral of The Isles on Cumbrae. He is internationally acclaimed for his work in the field of Celtic spirituality, including his best known titles Listening for the Heartbeat of God and his poetic book of prayer Sounds of the Eternal. He is an ordained Church of Scotland minister with a passion for ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. Canadian by birth, he lives in Edinburgh with his family where he undertook his doctoral research in Celtic Christianity. Since then he has played a leading role on both sides of the Atlantic in the re-birthing of a creation spirituality for today.

Cost is $10 for the Friday night lecture, $10 for the Saturday workshops, or $15 for both programs. Tickets will go on sale Sunday morning, March 5.

    - Pat Magee

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Sign-ups Ongoing for Stone Church Summer Camping

You can still sign up for Stone's summer camping trip, August 11 - 13, 2006, to the beautiful Costanoa resort: a few tent-camping sites are available. Costanoa is on the coast between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay, surrounded by Ano Nuevo State Park. There are beautiful hiking trails starting at Costanoa and going inland, and going coastward to beach and tide pool access. For more information, visit their website by clicking Here.

Tent sites are $52 per night (for up to four people). Additionally, luxury tent-cabins are available for $135 per night, but will be reserved only by specific request. A one-night deposit is due at sign-up. We will be doing our own cooking, at a cost of about $25 per family for food. See our sign-up table during coffee time, or contact Maureen Searing.

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Christian Education Notes

Kids Ad

Information Available about the Hazards of Advertising to Children

Are you concerned about the onslaught of advertising and marketing targeting children? The amount spent increased from $6.2 million in 1992 to at least $15 billion a year at present.

Pick up information Sunday in the Social Hall at the Church School table including:

    "Marketing to Children: an Overview,"
    "What Parents Can Do At Home," and
    "How Parents Can Limit Television and Why It's Important."
Students in the Rotation Video Workshop are seeing
    "Buy Me That! A Kid's Survival Guide to TV Advertising" and taking home
    "8 Tips to Keep in Mind"
to help them be smarter viewers and consumers.

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Sunday Morning Adult Study

Lenten Adult Study: Conversations with the Preaching Pastor

As is the custom at Stone Church, the adult study hour each Sunday during Lent will be a time for in-depth Conversations with the Preaching Pastor and reflections on the morning's worship service. Discussion is encouraged to be free-wheeling and wide-ranging.

The class runs March 12 - April 2, from 11 am to noon with nursery care available during the hour.

There will be no adult classes on Palm Sunday, April 9, or Easter, April 16.

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Couples in Love

Valentine's Day Abounded with Love, Food, Fun, Music and Dancing

This year, in honor of Valentine's Day, Stone Church presented a daylong series of loving activities for couples of our church on February 11. Beginning with a special retreat conducted by family therapist, Ed Brackenbury, eight couples shared the Social Hall setting to explore in workshop fashion various aspects of being in relationship. Later in the afternoon, a number of these couples renewed vows in the Sanctuary with the Rev. Marge Palmer. How's that for romantic!

In the evening, under the careful supervision of church chefs Walter and Debbie Roach and Mary Johnson, a Mediterranean feast was prepared with over 56 participants enjoying a gourmet spread from appetizers to soups to salads to dessert. The icing on the cake was at the end of the dinner when our fabulous church family musicians, Bob and Karen Johnson, provided a stream of classic love songs on saxophone and keyboard that were perfect for dancing.

Many thanks to John and Sandi Lococo for organizing and helping direct the event and to all those many people who helped set up, prepare, decorate, grill and clean up - it was a huge team effort. And be sure to attend this special event next year in February!

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News from the Library

New books for our younger folks include:
  • Busy People All Around Town by R.W. Alley (Read Aloud J All), given by Vivian Shimmon
  • Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis (1st Books J Cur), given by Nancy Weiss
  • When Emily Woke Up Angry by Riana Duncan (J Dun), also from Vivian
  • Birds of Antarctica: The Wandering Albatross by Jennifer Dewey (J 598.4 Dew)
  • A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein (J 811 Sil), given by Betty Spicher
Additions to our adult side include:
  • Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths by Bruce Feiler (222.11), given by Dean Helms
  • Strength for the Journey: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living, a new collection of sermons by Peter Gomes (252 Gom)
  • Little Book of Prayers edited by David Schiller (291.43 Sch), given by Kate Williams
  • A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara Tuchman (944 Tuc), given by Rosaleen Zisch
New books in our adult special sections include:
  • Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage by Madeleine L'Engle (Biog L'Engle), given by Alice Thorn
  • Help, Lord! I'm Having a Senior Moment: Notes to God on Growing Older by Karen O'Connor (Spec. Needs 242 OCo), from Joan Helms
  • Gettin' Old Ain't for Wimps: Inspirations & Stories by Karen O'Connor (Spec. Needs 248.5 OCo), also from Joan
  • In the Shadow of God's Wings: Grace in the Midst of Depression by Susan Gregg-Schroeder (Spec. Needs 248.8 Gre), highly recommended and given by Rhonda Lakatos
  • The One-Hour Activist: The 15 Most Powerful Actions You Can Take to Fight for the Issues & Candidates You Care About by Christopher Kush (Soc. Iss. 322.4 Kus)
Come browse the library in Lincoln House and see what you'd like to read!
    - Sue Williams

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News from Presbyterian Women

Presbyterian Women in the Presbytery

The Spring Gathering of PW in the Presbytery will feature Sister Marilyn Lacey, the long-time director of refugee ministries for Catholic Charities. The Rev. Bill Palmer, Refugee Ministry Coordinator for the Presbytery of San José, will join her. Sister Marilyn is an engaging speaker whose stories of refugees make you feel that you really know the people she works with.

Bill Palmer will bring an example of a backpack prepared and given to new arrivals in the San José program. There will also be a display of a kitchen kit, a project of the Fresno Inter-denominational Refugee Ministry. A gift of $50 will buy a kit for a newly arrived refugee family. Fresno has recently had an influx of Hmong refugees. The PWP is in its third year of having FIRM as a mission project.

The meeting will take place on Saturday, March 11, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm at Santa Teresa Hills Presbyterian Church.

PW Calendar

  • March 1, 1 pm, Amethyst Circle, in the Lincoln House Conference Room.
  • March 2, 9:30 am, Emerald Circle, at Janice Goertz' home.
  • March 3, World Day of Prayer, Church Women United.
  • March 7, 9:30 am, Focus Group, at Liz Shandera' home.
  • March 13, 7:30 pm, Sapphire Circle, at Dulcie Janzen's home.
  • March 14, 11:30 am, Lunch Bunch, at the Taiwan Restaurant; contact Ida Raby for further information.
  • March 20, 2:30 pm, Book Group II, at Kathy Lloyd's home, to read The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason.
  • March 23, 9:30 am, Bible Study with Marge Palmer, in the Lincoln House Conference Room.
  • March 27, 1 pm, Book Group I, at Liz Shandera's home, to read The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad.

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Interfaith Choir Concert Was a Wonderful Experience

The Interfaith Choir Concert on Sunday afternoon, February 12, was an event not to be missed. In fact, many from Stone Church scurried over to Campbell United Methodist Church right after the PW Valentine Tea. The seating was filled to overflowing, and the participating singers were magnificent.

The Stone Church Brass and our beloved Chancel Choir outdid themselves at this concert whose proceeds went to support the Community Inns program, which is so dear to our hearts.

Men currently in the program helped to set up the reception hall with decorations befitting the love we all share and were also happy to clean up after we finished spending time together with delicious refreshments to celebrate the cause.

Be sure not to miss this event next year: a mere $10 donation provides so much.

    - Sheri Cunningham

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Church Women United Presents Opportunity to Change US Health Care

Church Women United, a national movement of Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox and other Christian women, is alerting everyone to an opportunity to be involved in changing the way health care is paid for and delivered in this country.

As part of the "Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act Of 2003," the US Congress created the Citizens' Health Care Working Group, whose mission is to develop a plan of action that will result in Health Care that Works for all Americans. For the next nine months, they are seeking ideas from ordinary Americans on how to do this.

Here is what you can do now to help form the recommendations the working group will make to Congress and the President:

  • If you use a computer, go to the Citizen's Working Group website, by clicking Here. Once there, select "Tell us what you think," and then "Public comment center."

  • If you do not use a computer, answer the following questions, and send your answers to the church office, addressed to Presbyterian Women:

      1. What concerns you most about health care in America today?
      2. Our current way of paying for health care includes payments by individuals, employers, and government. What changes would you make to this plan?
      3. What trade-offs do you think the American public is willing to make in either benefits or financing to ensure access to affordable, high-quality health care?
      4. What is your single most important recommendation to improve health care for all Americans?

Let's make our voices heard!

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News from the Church and World Board

Men's Workgroup

Leland Wong reports that the Men's Mission Workgroup traveled to Westminster Woods to do some wire-pulling that saved the camp $1500 in labor costs. Many thanks to our able workgroup!

"First Sunday" Food Collection

Every first Sunday of the month (also Communion Sunday) will give the congregation the opportunity to help fill the dry food larders in our community. Our first collection will be Sunday, March 5. For questions, contact Deborah Crim.

Recycle Electronics for a Cleaner Future

You can recycle computer and other electronics at Amerturk Inc., 1050 East Duane Ave, Suite M, Sunnyvale, Monday - Saturday, 9am to 6pm. For more details, click Here to visit their website.

EHC Spring Clothing Drive

EHC Life Builders, better known as Emergency Housing Consortium, is having a spring drive for new underwear and socks for men and women. Watch for notices in the Sunday bulletins during March and April for drop-off places.

Bill Wilson Logo

Bill Wilson Center

Those of us who have visited the Bill Wilson Center encourage you to see the work and caring of this organization with young people in crisis. You have an opportunity to visit this facility on The Alameda in Santa Clara on Tuesday, March 28, between 5:30 and 6:30 pm.

Independent Living Skills Program

You are also invited to visit the Independent Living Skills Program on Wednesday, March 8, between 5 and 6:30 pm. This program is designed for young people who have turned 18 and "clocked out" of the system, that is, they no longer have the benefits they received as a foster child. The home is located at 693 South 2nd Street in San José. Parking, which is within 100 feet of the facility, is under the 280 overpass.

Another opportunity to learn about this program occurs April 27 at noon, when a luncheon will be served at the Wyndham Hotel. Past clients of some of the facilities will speak, and a video will be shown to acquaint you with all that they do for the betterment of their clients. Call Kathy Sheely at 850-6129 to make your reservations for any of these appointments.

    - Bea Groppuso, Church & World

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Mission Study Completed

Stone Church has reached a key milestone in its process of finding and securing a new pastor. After six months of work, the Mission Study Committee has completed the Mission Study Report - an in-depth analysis of comprehensive information provided by many members of the congregation.

The report focuses on the purposes we see for our church and the nature of pastoral leadership that will be best for our next years of life together. The results of the Mission Study Report let us express collectively the type of church we expect our new pastor to lead.

The Mission Study Report prepares the way for the election and activation of the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) and preparation of the Church Information Form (CIF). PNC members will be nominated and presented to the congregation this month. The PNC will search, interview and present the person to be called to our ministry. Launching this group into action with a comprehensive profile (CIF) of the church's needs (derived from the Mission Study Report) will be yet another milestone to celebrate.

After our new pastor is called, one of his or her first tasks will be to review, with the Session and congregation, how our ordained staff and lay leadership is organized and chartered. The positions and priorities will also be keenly influenced by the reality of our budget and the collective will of all of us to support the church that we envision for the future.

This process requires patience and diligence; we are a blessed congregation, and the results will be well worth all of our efforts and energy.

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Session Beat

The Session began its St. Valentine's Day meeting munching on chocolates courtesy of Marge Palmer, who thanked members for their faithfulness to church business on a special day.

Session heard a letter from the Stewart Tartan Pipes and Drums thanking Stone Church for the relationship over the last ten years, and informing us that they will be searching for a more suitable venue.

In an upbeat report, Stewardship Moderator Dean Helms gave good news about the Pledge Campaign:

  • There were 14 first-time pledges totaling $19,145;
  • 71 pledges increased over 2005 by 14.4%;
  • Total pledge money for 2006 equals $331,920 for an increase over 2005 of 8.1%. The 2006 church budget calls for $328,000 in Pledges.
  • The average pledge at Stone Church for 2006 is $2,198 for a 10.3% increase over 2005.
Deborah Crim reported that the Women's Retreat is fully subscribed. Mary Alice Collins is returning as leader after a number of years.

Alan Decker reported for the Budget & Finance Committee that Chris Nilson is responsible for scheduling the annual audit of our finances on April Fools' Day.

Fred Oliver reported on the Social Hall floor.

    - Clerk of Session, Alice Thorn

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News from the Stewardship Board

Steward Covenant

Lent Reminds Us to Honor All of Our Commitments

The food and festivity of Fat Tuesday is past, and Ash Wednesday has ushered in a more sobering period in the church year. Most people approach the season of Lent with thoughts of rededicating themselves to a relationship with God.

Responding to God's presence in our lives can take many forms, from prayer and repentance, to reflection and generous giving. Keeping your pledge to Stone Church current is one way to respond to the joy of a relationship with our Lord. Please remember to honor your monetary commitment to the church.

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Social Hall Floor to be Replaced

Many of you have noted that the cork flooring has not settled in well for us since being installed last spring. While beautiful and rich in feel, it has been problematic as a material. We have experienced severe color fading of the darker tiles near the windows and glass doors, and also unacceptable shrinkage and gaps developing between tiles. Our contractor, Blach, and their flooring subcontractor, Mancini Flooring, have consulted with the cork material manufacturer, and there is not an easy solution. Sometime this summer, without any expense to Stone, they will remove the cork and replace it was a quality synthetic material called Marmoleum. This material is used in a number of high traffic public buildings, including schools and institutions. It will have a similar color scheme and layout to our current cork tiles, but will withstand our hard use conditions better.
    - Fred Oliver for Buildings and Grounds

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Fat Tuesday Came and Went - What a time we had!

Chris with Guitar
Old Car
Derk with Guitar
Chris plays guitar to the delight of old and young alike
Will that old car EVER run?? they ask, as choir (not shown) sings its sympathies.
Derk, playing guitar here, was also Master of Ceremonies.
Watching Show
Over one hundred members and friends gathered to enjoy dinner, desserts and the festive talent show afterward.


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