Spirituality – leadership – fellowship: an article by Pastor Bernt

One step in discerning future direction at FLC is reviewing with you some of the goals you shared with us during the call process.  You will remember our forums and survey on worship and music earlier this year, cheap which has informed our search for a music director and the task of the Worship, information pills Arts and Music Committee.

Another goal is that you are “motivated to reinvigorate relationships in fellowship, leadership, and spiritual growth.”  What did you mean by that?  What perspective do we, as your pastors, have on this topic?

At a recent council meeting, I shared that this raises a real basic question: what do we want for people?   FLC’s constitution states that our purpose is to transmit the gospel, to nurture people in the Word of God, help people identify God’s call and serve in response to human need.

To connect with the language of the goal, we want people to grow spiritually: to be engaged personally, thoughtfully, with God’s liberating word and grace, meeting us in a way appropriate to just where we are, in our struggles and doubts.  We want people to have a share in leadership: meaningful, inspiring ministry and service; where we’re supported and accountable.  We want people to have fellowship: a sense of belonging, of enjoyment and mutual care.

Sounds good, right?  But isn’t it obvious, that the church wants all this for people?  By no means!  I think of when I once invited someone to church after presiding at his wedding.  His answer: “No way – you’re not getting me to be one of your recruits.”  His perception was that the church just wanted more people to pay the bills and fill the pews, so we’d feel more successful.  He’d seen church marketing and met Christians, but at this point, it wasn’t clear that anyone in church would really care about him.  He had no experience that would inform him otherwise.  After that, the two of us did become friends and have some good talks about life and its meaning – on barstools.  (And he usually paid!)

I can get so wrapped up in church business as usual that I’m not aware of what people are experiencing.  Think of what it’s like to be a new to FLC, looking for a spiritual connection, some meaningful way to serve and sense of belonging. How prepared do we feel to share the life-changing gospel with people who may be quite new to church?  What do we offer to those who are new? “I could serve on a committee, but is that really what I’m looking for?”

Maybe not – but committees and other groups can also provide spiritual care and meaning.  I think of the comradery among those who serve dinner for EHP, and the connection to God choir members experience even in the task of serving worship.  How do build on these experiences?

There is some interest in a new women’s group, musical folk-jam.  What other new experiences do we provide?  Council will also be considering the potential and function of our Koinonia groups. This month, we’ll be spending a little time revisiting our Reconciling in Christ statement of welcome, which needs to be updated for a new era – an opportunity to reflect on the blessings newcomers bring to this community.

 

 

Upcoming music: Silicon Valley Boychoir on April 26, Double Delight on May 10

The days leading from Easter to Pentecost are especially festive – a celebration of the gift of new life that draws us together, fills us with light, gives us hope.

On Sunday, April 26th at the 10:30 service we remember Christ as the Good Shepherd who “makes us lie down beside still waters” and “restores our soul.” (Psalm 23)  The Silicon Valley Boychoir “Ovation Choir” under the direction of Julia Simon will be joining us for worship.

On Sunday, May 10th at 4pm we welcome St. Bede’s Choir together with our own FLC Choir in an eclectic program of choral music: “Double Delight.”  Two choirs, two directors, two organists; the finale of the season.  Admission for adults is $12, children 12 and under $5.

May adult forums – the book of Acts

Continuing discussion of the Book of Acts.  All are welcome: meet in the library at 9:15am on Sundays.

May 3: The Forum discussion will focus on Luke’s depiction in the Book of Acts of the roles of Peter and Paul with the emphasis on descriptions of a meeting in Antioch and the Council in Jerusalem in Acts (Acts 15: 1-41) and in the Letter to the Galatians (Galatians 2: 1-21).

May 10: Forum will continue the discussion of the descriptions in Acts and Galatians of the meeting in Antioch and the Council in Jerusalem including an important translation and interpretation question—is Galatians 2:16 best translated as “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, search but by the faith of Jesus Christ, side effects ” (King James and earlier Bibles) or “we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ” (New Revised Standard Version and many post-1800 Bibles)

May 17: The Book of Acts includes numerous healing miracles that are an important focus for many Christians and Christian churches. The Forum discussion will focus on ways that we can understand these miracles.

 

Holy Week and Easter 2015

Vibrant experiences of worship and community – rooted in rich traditions that go back centuries – that connect us to Christ’s passion, his death and resurrection as gifts of new life for today.  All ages welcome – and expect great music!

Palm Sunday, March 29 worship at 8:30 and 10:30 – meet just outside the sanctuary.  We process in with palm branches to remember Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem and hear the story of his passion according to Mark.  Holy Communion, childcare provided in the nursery.

The Three Days:  the passion and resurrection according to John with woodcuts by Durer.  Come to any or all:

Maundy Thursday – 6pm confession with laying on of hands for forgiveness; 6:15pm lively dinner and Jesus’ mandate, “love one another.”  There will be an opportunity for footwashing and for Holy Communion afterwards.

Good Friday – noon (abbreviated) and 7:30pm (full liturgy): the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and death according to John, with rich prayers, music, and adoration of the cross.

Easter Vigil – 8pm.  We meet outside to light the new fire and receive the light of Christ as the beginning of Easter.  Hear great stories of new life such a Noah’s flood and the Binding of Isaac featuring talented kids, leading to the Easter gospel and an opportunity to be renewed in baptism.  Holy Communion.

Easter Sunday 9am pancake breakfast provided by our youth; 9:30 children’s crafts, 10:00am egg hunt, 10:30am festive worship with Holy Communion.

Concert March 22 – Bach and Beyond

bach program 03

Youth in Santa Cruz

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