Why church?

Or any organized religion?  Maybe it’s not about organization so much as community. The (Greek) New Testament word “ekklesia” gets translated “church” but really ekklesia just means “assembly.”

Why assemble?

In this era of social media, we sometimes know our larger communities (and they, us) in only two dimensions.  Life is enriched when we expand our circles and find ways to be physically present, in every dimension:  with children and Seniors, Californians or Salvadorans, those financially secure and those struggling to get by.  But what is this assembly for? …

Processional cross from our sister congregation, Rios de Agua Viva in El Salvador, signed on the back.

What is church for?

In brief: to share gratitude and hope and our struggles; to care for one another.  In more detail: eating together, conversing, laughing, telling stories, remembering, listening, praying, singing, agreeing and disagreeing, celebrating, mourning, serving, giving together.

What does God have to do with it?

We believe God is at work assembling us, because God loves and likes us and wants to be with us, and God wants us to be with one another in this love.  God wanted to be physically present with us, in the flesh and blood of God’s Son Jesus, to face our worst threats with us.  God’s Spirit is with us now as the Giver of Life.

What do we look for in a church?

With neighbors such as Apple and Stanford, we get used to excellence in everything from smartphones to academics.  In church, we look for excellence, too: in the programs, the music, the preaching, the people.  But what’s also on offer in church is human limitation, struggle, failure – and with these gifts, what Paul calls an even “more excellent way …  Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t arrogant … it doesn’t insist on its own way … it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”  (that’s from 1st Corinthians 13, which we often hear at weddings – but it’s really about church).

Describe FLC

We’re an historic downtown church – one hundred years old in 2020. The sanctuary has an intimate feel, with high ceilings, cozy with wood. Parents relax into their pews; their children might be coloring at the craft table in the back. During worship you will notice our passion for sacred music and singing. You might hear a good belly laugh or a deeply felt prayer concern for immigrants or other vulnerable people.

What’s FLC’s Vision and Mission?

We want to get to know this love of God in Christ. We see three aspects to this:

First, we want to know Christ in our neighbors: not just the people who attend our church, but those who live, work or walk through our neighborhoods. This can mean taking time to listen to the concerns of people around us, or working to accompany an immigrant through the asylum process. Jesus said that when we extend hospitality, we open ourselves to God’s love. (Mark 9:33-37, Matthew 25)

Second, we want to know Christ in grace. The vision of our church at a national level (the ELCA) is “a world experiencing the difference God’s grace and love in Christ make for all people and creation.” .In the Silicon Valley and beyond, there are so many demands that fall on us. We get stressed. The word “grace” has can mean relief, release, rest: being forgiven, falling into the embrace of music, taking time to enjoy life.

Third, we want to know Christ as a way forward in a perplexing world. It’s not easy figuring out how to navigate work, family and relationships, let alone politics and the big issues that face us. Let’s tap into faith’s deep roots, look for wisdom and support one another in this journey.