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Archive for April 2011

WEEKLY WORSHIP RESUMES

Please Join Us

Sunday

May 1st

4:00 pm

You are invited to join with other members and friends  as we resume

our informal weekly worship gatherings. 

We will share readings, pray and sing together, and share communion,

as we come together to grow

as a more compassionate and loving community of faith.  

 We will meet each Sunday at 4:00 p.m.,

but this first Sunday will be a special celebration! 

We will gather afterwards for a simple supper —

food and friendship for all! 

Supper is provided, and all are welcome.  

Please contact the Church Office (info@FirstChurchRWC.org or

650-369-0344) if you have questions.

April 20, 2011

Click here for this week’s Newsletter (4-20-11)

This Week’s Message

I was sitting on the front steps of the chancel at church, leading the children’s’ section of the worship service.  Everything seemed to be going fine, the kids were (mostly) engaged, and we were about to say our prayer together, when I noticed James looking at me a little – funny.  His eyes were big, his face looked panicked, and when I motioned for him to scoot up a little closer, he frantically shook his head.  I couldn’t tell what was wrong until I moved down to where he was sitting and noticed that his hand was firmly wedged in between the risers of the steps on which we sat.  He had apparently dropped his offering coins down the crack and had reached in to grab them back, only to find his hand stuck, from the wrist down.  I tried helping him pull it free, but to no avail.  I made eye contact with my husband, thinking he might have some trick to help James get unstuck, but he couldn’t do it either.  By this time, it was apparent to everyone at church that something was wrong, and a small crowd of “helpers” began to gather up front.  “Turn him sideways,” suggested one.  “Get some oil from the kitchen,” advised another.  “Call 911 and have them bring the jaws of life,” shouted someone helpfully from the back.

Before the actual call could be made, however, James’ great-grandmother, who had been sitting in the front pew, stood up, grabbed her cane, and made her way to the steps.  Taking one look at her great-grandson’s predicament, she said, “Oh for heaven’s sake, James.  Just let the money go and pull your hand out.”  He did.  We prayed.  The service went on.

I have thought about James and his great-grandmother many times since that day.  There we all were, absolutely certain that we were in an impossible situation, when the solution lay in front of us all the time:  Just let go. 

Letting go can mean many different things.  It can mean letting go of a fear or prejudice that keeps us from being free.  It can mean shaking loose from old expectations in order to make way for new ideas and experiences. It can mean accepting the “new normal” of an unwelcome circumstance, only to find strengths within ourselves we never knew we had.  It can mean letting someone we love die in peace, even when we want to cling to them and beg them to stay.  For each one of us, it means something special right now. 

All of Holy Week, from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday to Good Friday to Easter itself, is an exercise in letting go.  Every character in the story thinks he or she knows how it will be/should be/must be, and ultimately every character must let go of the old expectations and lean into a new hope.  The letting go was painful for Jesus and his followers, just as it is painful for us in our own lives, because in the midst of the loss of an old way of being, there is not yet a sense of what is to come.  How could they have expected the Resurrection when all they knew was what they had had before?   How can we have faith that God will see us through our current troubles or confusion, especially when we don’t have the script in front of us?  

In John 20, Jesus says to Mary Magdalene:  “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”   Let go, Mary, he seems to say.  Let go of the need to keep me as I was, and let me be who and where I am now.

Every Easter we get to be reminded again that it is only in setting ourselves free from our old expectations and ways of life that we are able to be free.  James clung to his coins, Mary clung to her old experience of Jesus, we cling to our need for security or certainty.  New life always comes at a cost, but the cost is never too great.  Just take a deep breath – and let go.

~ Kim

April 13, 2011

Click here for a pdf of this week’s Newsletter

This Week’s Message

“How do you ride a bicycle while you are still designing the bicycle?”

 That sounds like a Japanese koan, doesn’t it? — a paradoxical statement that requires us to pull out our intuition and imagination as a way of unraveling the puzzle.  Jesus used several similar kinds of statements in his teachings; we call them parables, and they usually shock us with their impossibility before we can begin to get close to understanding his meaning (think about faith the size of a mustard seed and moving mountains, for example).  

However, the above statement wasn’t given to us by a Zen master or by Jesus, as you probably guessed. Our new Interim Conference Minister, Phil Hart, said that to the group of folks gathered in Kathleen Matheny’s living room last week to discuss possible next steps for our congregation.  I thought it summed up quite well the challenge we are facing:  how do we live, fully engaged in the present, doing the work of the church now, even as we look ahead toward new visions and as yet unthought-of plans for the future?      

I think that is the call we are hearing today, as a community. We are called to continue with the activities that define us (our small groups, such as the weekly Prayer Circle or the Youth Group; our service work, such as the Hillcrest Ministry) and at the same time keep our hearts open to new possibilities for growth in the Spirit.

The two most commonly expressed desires that I have heard from various members and friends of FCC are these:         

1.  That we be a community that nurtures deep and meaningful relationships, with each other and in the broader community.

2. That we be a community that serves together, in active and concrete ways that make a difference in Redwood City and beyond.       

  As we go through the next weeks and months, gathering new ideas, looking at different congregational models, and getting input from one another, we will simultaneously be living out our mission and call in the present.  We will be adding in some new opportunities for service and relationship building, such as the weekly May worship gatherings starting on May 1st and we will be looking for new ways to serve together.

 It is up to each one of us to be prayerful and even courageous in stepping forward to give ideas and to participate in something a little different.  As we focus on community and service, we bring with us the understanding that every interaction we have with one another, no matter how structured or informal, whether it is an on-going event or something completely new, is an opportunity for both of those things to happen.  In fact, every interaction from here on out, will be judged successful only if one or both of those things are strengthened.    And so, we will ride the bicycle and design the bicycle, knowing that even as we teeter and tip, we are being guided by a loving hand, just next to us, spotting us and cheering us, picking us up when we fall, and setting us on our path again.

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* DANCING with the CHAIRSDANCING with the CHAIRS

Time: 10:30 am

Join us for Free, Fun, Fitness for all ages and abilities every Monday morning.

4
* Good HopeGood Hope

Time: 12:30 pm

Monthly Luncheon

* Hillcrest MinistryHillcrest Ministry

Time: 5:15 pm

Monthly Bible Study at Juvenile Hall; meet at Church Office at 5 pm.

5
* Prayer CirclePrayer Circle

Time: 11:00 am

Join us for informal prayer every 1st, 3rd, and 5th Wednesday morning at 11am.

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* Soul SparksSoul Sparks

Time: 3:30 pm

Lenten Study Group - Politics, power and faith.

* COMMUNITY SUNDAYCOMMUNITY SUNDAY

Time: 5:00 pm

Join us for worship followed by an informal supper.

10
* DANCING with the CHAIRSDANCING with the CHAIRS

Time: 10:30 am

Join us for Free, Fun, Fitness for all ages and abilities every Monday morning.

11
* Church COUNCIL MeetingChurch COUNCIL Meeting

Time: 6:30 pm

Join us every second Tuesday as we plan and strategize our role in the community. 2668 Washington, RWC

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* SUNRISE SERVICESUNRISE SERVICE

Time: 6:15 am

Join us for a sunrise service in the parking lot followed by brunch inside. All Welcome!

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* DANCING with the CHAIRSDANCING with the CHAIRS

Time: 10:30 am

Join us for Free, Fun, Fitness for all ages and abilities every Monday morning.

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* Prayer CirclePrayer Circle

Time: 11:00 am

Join us for informal Prayer every 1st, 3rd and 5th Wednesday.

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* COMMUNITY SUNDAYCOMMUNITY SUNDAY

Time: 5:00 pm

Join us for worship followed by an informal supper!

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* DANCING with the CHAIRSDANCING with the CHAIRS

Time: 10:30 am

Join us for Free, Fun, Fitness for all ages and abilities every Monday morning.

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