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Archive for October 2013

Click here for 10-30-13 Newsletter

Standing on the Shore

all started with the birds.  At first it just seemed like there were a lot – more than the usual number swooping and gliding over the Santa Cruz shoreline.  Wow, I thought to myself, I don’t remember this many pelicans here.

By late Tuesday afternoon, people were talking about it:  what’s up with the birds?  The shoreline was crowded with various feathered creatures, landing in groups, then taking to the skies again, like fliers from an aircraft carrier.  By early the next morning, people were lining up on the beaches to watch, and the hundreds of birds had become thousands, and the skies were absolutely filled with them.

Then we noticed the whales.  Not just one, way out on the horizon, but several, with flukes and spouts in full display, easily seen from the shore.  On Wednesday, 30 to 40 were spotted just off the Santa Cruz shore, and I think I saw most of them.

But the whales weren’t alone.  The dolphins were there, too, of course, and within about a 36 hour period, the waves that usually host surfers were pretty exclusively inhabited by an explosion of marine life, unlike anything most of us had ever seen.


What we couldn’t see with the naked eye was the “Why” of it all.  What brought about this dramatic shift in the ecosystem?  What had created this “nature on steroids” event?  A tsunami someplace—an earthquake underneath the sea?

Nothing quite so big, it turns out.  A very little fish (a whole lot of them actually) had congregated in the bay because the water temperature was unusually warm andappealing for a brief time.  The anchovies, who hadn’t been in that area in such large quantities for quite awhile, were now there in huge numbers, and the rest of the marine life was responding.  The whales and dolphins stirred the water to find the fish, and the birds had their fill of  what was brought up to the surface.  It had some elements of a flash mob:  a sudden coming together for a well- choreographed dance, and then an equally sudden dispersal.

By Thursday, it was all back to normal.

Sometimes the world is so amazing you can’t help but notice.  Sometimes the world is so unusually charged with God’s grandeur, as Gerard Manley Hopkins would say, that even our tendency to overlook it is overcome, and we just stand on the shore in awe.  

But the rest of the time, we can forget.  So go outside or look out your window today.  What do you see – really see?  For me, it started with the birds.  What will open your eyes today to the surprising beauty God has waiting for you?



 Earth’s crammed with heaven
and every common bush
afire with God;
but only he who sees takes off his shoes;
the rest sit round it
and pluck blackberries.

~ Elizabeth Barret Browning

Click 10-23-13 for Today’s Newsletter

Water Conservation & Stewardship



Learn about environmental concerns relating to water usage and the

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

Our presenter is Tim Stroshane

(son of Ruth Stroshane)

We are delighted to have Tim with us because he grew up in this church and because his expertise can help us understand better how to be better stewards of our environment.

Please join us for worship at 4:00, as we reconnect with old friends and learn new things.

Bring your Questions


Bring your Friends


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At the headwaters of the Sacramento River is a small but lovely park.  It sits just inside the town limits of Mt. Shasta City, and is close to the towering peak of Mt. Shasta itself.  I found myself there this past week, on a perfect autumn day, savoring the crisp air and ancient trees, and listening to the water rush out of its natural underground passageway.  Just at the base of the pooling water is a small monument with these words, written a century ago by John Muir: 

                                      “…It is lined with emerald algae and mosses, and shaded with alder,
willow and thorn bushes, which give it a fine setting.  Its waters,
apparently unaffected by flood or drought, heat or cold, fall at once
into white rapids with a rush and dash, as if glad to escape from the darkness to begin their wild course down the canyon to the plain.”


Water.  Rushing, dashing, coursing.  Vital, life-giving, necessary.  It is an element of such profound significance that Jesus compared himself to it:  living water.  It is so fundamental to our lives that people have prayed for it, danced for it, and engineered for it.  And yet we often take it for granted, at least those of us who live in parts of the world where we are never thirsty.

Our first daughter was born during the drought of the 1980’s.  During those days we watered our lawns with our bath water, saved our shower water in plastic pitchers for house plants, and learned to turn off the tap unless it was absolutely necessary.  Likewise, we became more interested and aware of weather patterns and climate change, as well as water sharing and usage.  As the rains returned, we gradually loosened up and our awareness dimmed.  While we are still careful with water, we rarely see it and appreciate it in the same way.

So it was good to stop at the headwaters.  It was good to feel and taste the water, and to remember that we are indebted to those conservationists, like John Muir, who remind us of our sacred duty:  to care for the waters that bring life to our earth.

On Sunday, October 20, we will hear from Tim Stroshane about environmental concerns relating to water usage and the Bay Delta Conservation plan here in California.  We are delighted to have Tim with us because he grew up in this church and because his expertise can help us understand better how to be stewards of our environment.  Tim has spoken with the Sierra Club and other organizations, and we are grateful he is willing to bring us this conversation.  Please join us for worship at 4:00, as we reconnect with old friends and learn new things.  Bring your questions and your good will – and drink from the deep well of faith that sustains us all.

~  Kim

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FOR the 2013-2014 year




FAITH, IN Action

 Don’t miss out on this

wonderful opportunity.

We’ve been growing our Faith, In Ministry Fund for nearly a year and those contributions are being matched by the Besse Cook Fund.  Combining these two sources with the generous benefit of not having to pay investment fees thanks to Johnson-Lyman Wealth Management), gives us $14,263 to work with.

 We’ve solicited our current Community Partners plus those you suggested at our Annual Meeting for a list of their needs and desires for the upcoming year and have chosen a few who would most benefit from our immediate help.

When you attend on Sunday afternoon, you will help decide exactly how much goes to each of the Community Partners we are helping the first half of this year.  (Don’t worry, the remaining Partners you selected at the Annual Meeting will receive something in the spring.)

 We are so very blessed
to be able to focus
on a ministry
that meets some
of the needs
of the
Redwood City community!



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