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Archive for November 2014

Now You Know the Rest of the Story

I loved listening to Paul Harvey on the radio when I was growing up.  His soothing and familiar voice would lure me in with his stories, and tickle me with his twists. A blend of “mystery and history,” his tales were sometimes a bit too pat to be completely believable (a concern he adamantly denied), but they were cheery and upbeat, and if I didn’t listen too carefully to the politics, an enjoyable way to spend an hour.

So here I am, happily appropriating his trademark to fill you in on “the rest of the story”  of our move to 1155 Broadway.

Last week I shared about the things we brought over from our other space:  everything from bibles to coffee cups to banners.  Kathie took some pictures so you could see how we are using them now. This week I want to touch on some of the new expressions of faith that are popping up in our current home.

tables and chairs

First, our chairs and tables:  Much thought and planning went into finding the right furniture for our chapel and gathering room.  The chairs have arms that make it easy to push up and out, and sliders that make it easy to move them around.  The tables have casters, so that we can move and reconfigure them for various purposes (they’ve already been used for two community dinners, an NCNCUCC conference meeting, an open house for our neighbors, a Good Hope luncheon,  and a Council meeting, not to mention countless informal gatherings for coffee and tea).  They are flexible, because we need to be flexible in our life and ministry together.  But the casters also lock in place, because when the tables are placed where we want them, we need to know they are sturdy enough to lean on.  All of the office furniture and the furniture in the Mahany Community Room are from our old place, and we were able to give away all the pink chairs to a sister church in Fremont.  The new furniture, however, fits our new space beautifully, and makes our work easier—sturdy but flexible, beautiful but practical.  Like our shared faith.

Second, our new banner: This is the newest banner created by the United Church of Christ, and we may be one of the first churches to use it.  It says so much about who we are and what we believe about community and ministry.  We have it over the coffee bar, and every time someone leaves the chapel after worship, it is the first thing they see.  It is our call and our blessing.

banner, be the church








Third, our Faith, in Redwood City Wall:  If the banner is the first thing you see after worship, this wall is the first thing you see when you enter the building.  Designed by Kathie Fosgett and painstakingly installed by Larry Fosgett (can you say “Laser Level”??), this wall is a visual representation of the heart of our ministry.  Each Community Partner is represented, and an explanation of the Faith, In Fund is there for the taking.

Finally, something old and something new:  our piano!  This beautiful piano was restored and returned to us and it fills our worship space with joy.  How wonderful to have this piano, so lovingly cared for in the past, back where we can use it in new ways, with new people!

piano, black 2


here are many other things to see and discover here at 1155 Broadway.

There is a childrens’ table with books a
nd art supplies;

kids table


storage rooms so we no longer need to rent storage space;

storage room






bigger food bins for Second Harvest; a coffee maker that makes the best coffee ever!


coffee mug rack

Perhaps best of all, we are surrounded by friendly and interesting neighbors, who contributed to our Second Harvest Food drive this month, and have made us feel very welcome.

Banner hanging, kevin and david



It is all that we hoped for, and more.  And that is, in fact, how God works, isn’t it?  We do what we can on this end, and God takes our little efforts and magnifies them, using them in ways beyond our original hopes and dreams.  Chairs, tables, banners—in and of themselves, nothing much.  But in God’s hands, they become tools for creating a place of extravagant welcome and heartfelt community.

Thank you to all who helped with this move.  Special thanks to Kathie and Larry Fosgett, who have dedicated countless hours, working hard to make this a beautiful space for us all.  Their work – and ours – is the work of love.

I hope you will have a chance to experience what is happening here.  This is the next chapter in the story God is telling through all of us.  What a privilege and blessing to be here now.  Come, see and hear. A new day is dawning.

Come– be part of the rest of the story!




Click HERE for Today’s Newsletter

thanksgiving Blessings


Saturday, December 6th


Live Music

Beer, wine, cider and snacks

Adults only please…

Click HERE for Today’s Newsletter


fcc old street sign

Whatever happened to that box???

That’s the question I’ve been asked several times since we moved into our new space.  Whatever happened to the box of “essentials” we packed during our farewell worship service at the Birch Street Chapel?

Well, here is an official report of what we have done, are doing, or plan to do with all those things we value so much.

First, a list of the essentials, in no particular order:  The Communion Table and communion ware; the bibles, all translations; our hymns, both kinds; the gold cross; the altar bible; our coffee cups, because they represent our hospitality; our computers, because they help connect us; the supplies for our Hillcrest ministry; the Second Harvest Donation barrel;  the “Gloria” banner; pictures by Opal and quilts by Velma and Frieda; the “Welcome All” banner in our entry; the piano – and Ruth, our pianist!–; the Kathleen Mahany Community Room plaque.    In addition to these crucial items, a few more intangible ones were put on post-it notes and sent on in the moving box:  love – memories – faith—friendship—shared kindness—our good will and sincerity—our members—our ministry.  And finally, Joyce Macway suggested packing a city phone book to represent the new people we are going to meet and grow to love.

Whew! Obviously, some things were able to be packed, and some things had to be jotted down on our post-its.  But it was a very full box.  Full of memories and of hopes for the future.  Full, to overflowing, with heart.


Below are some pictures of what we did with those beloved items:

cross quilt and bookscomputermoving it

quilt, fruits of spiritquilt, fruits of spiritquilt, serentity prayermemorial programsopals paintingpiano, etc


“Sometimes I feel discouraged, and think my life’s in vain. 

And then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.”

(Can you hear the melody of this wonderful old hymn?)

“There is a balm in Gilead, to make the wounded whole. 

There is balm in Gilead, to heal the sin sick soul.”

The words of this Gospel song have been sung over and over again in Christian churches for generations.  But sometimes we feel them more than ever.  Sometimes we are in the midst of situations beyond our control.  There seems to be no resolution in sight, no light at the end of the tunnel that doesn’t look awfully much like an on-coming train.  Sometimes we just get deep down, bone-wearyingly About politics.  About families.  About the state of the church.  About the condition of the planet.  And all we can think of are the things that are wrong and sad and too much for us to change.  And so we get discouraged.

“Dis-couraged.”  A potent word: it literally means that our courage has been taken away and we can’t even imagine a revival that would bring it back.  So we huddle down and grouse to our neighbors and make cynical remarks at the television and stop.  Stop imagining.  Stop creating.  Stop believing that there is goodness and purpose and healing and hope.  To be dis-couraged is to be powerless and rudderless.

And then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again.” 

It is the nature of God to seek out the places of discouragement and offer another vision.  There is always hope, for God is always With us, through us, in spite of us.  Always working, and creating, and en-couraging us to be more, to love more, to see more.

Jesus’ life was one of encouragement.  No matter where he was, even when he was speaking a difficult truth or confronting a tragic situation, he pointed to a more loving way and a path of hope.  He saw people for what they were and all that they were created to be.  Others saw simple fishermen, barely scraping by.  Jesus saw people who could learn a new way of living and pass it on to others.  Others saw a paralyzed man.  Jesus saw someone yearning to walk, and he gave him the courage to get up and move.  When people forgot who they really were, Jesus reminded them that they were children of God, and when the people around felt powerless and weak, he called them the salt and the light of the world.  He quite literally gave them back the courage they needed to go on and change the world. He en-couraged them into life.  He made the wounded whole.

I read an interview in the newspaper recently.  It was with a young woman, probably in her twenties, who was stopped on the street for a column called “Humans of New York.”  She shared that her grandmother had raised her because her parents were unable to.  Throughout her growing up, her grandmother was a constant source of support and encouragement.  When things got tough, her grandmother would always say:  “I’ve got your back.”  Today, her grandmother still uses those same words to encourage her.  Sometimes she writes them on a card and mails them to her, even though they still live in the same house.  She mails them to her.  Because that’s how important those words are.

That’s what we’re called to do.  To encourage each other.  To encourage the world.  Because we know that God is working, even when we can’t see it.  We know that the Spirit is moving, even when we feel stuck.  We know it.  So we have to remember to say it and live it.  We have to be the en-couragers of the world, actively looking for the places of love and pointing them out, intentionally searching for the smallest rays of light, and then using whatever power we have to magnify and share it.

That’s our call.  That’s our purpose.  That is what is means to walk in Jesus’ Way.

I saw this quote recently:

Student says:  I am very discouraged.  What should I do?

Master says:  Encourage others.

So when you feel discouraged, remember those words.  And these, from the letter to the Thessalonians:

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.”

We can do that.  We can do that together.  And the Holy Spirit will revive us again –and again – and again.

Thanks be to God.  Kim

encouragement act




Click 11-12-14 for today’s Newsletter


Join us for Community Sunday on November 16th at 5:00 pm

We will celebrate our legacy of 152 years in Redwood City and look forward to the legacy we are building now
Come and enjoy worship, communion and dinner.  Music will be provided by Jazz Gorilla of Benicia
All are welcome!



In my nightmares, I am always moving.  Not “moving” like in running or walking – but moving from one house to another.  I walk into rooms full of things, full of good intentions about sorting and packing, take one look at the clutter and think: Oh, I’ll tackle this later.  So I back away, only to find that “later” is here now and I have only two hours to pack and clean a huge mansion (in my dreams, my house is always quite grand) and I know I can’t do it.  It’s too much.  I finally wake up, flooded with relief, and decide that I have plenty of time to put off doing any substantial organizing for at least a while longer.  Ironic, that.

Having just participated in the church move from Birch Street to Broadway, even in a minor way, I’ve had the opportunity to think a little bit more deeply about this dream.  At the same time we were moving the church, I was taking an online course called “Spiritual Legacy.”  The two experiences seemed to connect, in that the act of choosing what to keep and what to give up is much like the process we go through in life:  we examine what is of ultimate value to us and make meaningful choices about how to share those values as we move forward.

bridge in woods “Legacy” is the bridge that connects the past to the At First Church, Redwood City, we are the current bridge We get to give thanks for the gifts left to us by others, and prayerfully consider those gifts we pass on.  There is always some discarding to do, as programs and paradigms that were meaningful in years past no longer work for today.  That can be painful. Yet the essence of what we believe and who we are is constant, and reflected in our Mission Statement (see page 2).  We believe in living our faith, and loving our community.  Wherever we find ourselves, with whomever we travel, we build on that foundation.

We are almost settled in our new home at 1155 Broadway.  It is truly wonderful – bright and spacious and homey.  Kathie Fosgett did a phenomenal job of shepherding us through the chaos and managing the move with grace.  I hope you’ve had a chance to see the new space and take a tour.  If you haven’t been here yet, come by anytime.

One of the places you’ll see is our new Library/Small Group Meeting Room.  On the walls are quilts made by Velma Hudson and Frieda  Lapp, and a banner lovingly crafted by some of our current and former members.  There are crocheted wraps draped on the backs of chairs, to keep us cozy when the weather (or air conditioning) is too cool, many of them made by our own Phyllis Happ.  There is also a black and white photograph on the wall.  It is a picture of the church building up on Euclid, and as far as we can tell, it was taken before the congregation even moved in.  There is a man in the photo who is busy doing something, not looking into the camera, just busy getting on with whatever he is doing.  What we who see that picture know is something he could not have known—the many happy and loving events that would take place under that roof, and the many griefs and traumas that would be made more bearable because of the community there, helping each other through.

In spite of my fear of moving, I am grateful for the opportunities these “creative dislocations” cause us.  As Robert McAfee Brown said, these are the movements of grace in our lives, God meeting us in the midst of our work and our play, and leading us forward.  Sometimes we know when we are being creatively dislocated; other times we, like the man in the photo, are too busy with our lives to notice.  Right now, right here, let’s notice.  Let’s celebrate what has been and wonder about what’s to come.  And let’s keep loving God and each other and our world.  It’s the bridge that we have stood on for over 150 years– and here it is yet, solidly beneath our feet and stretching out beyond our grasp.

Thanks be to God.






Click on 11-5-14 for Today’s Newsletter


veteans thank you