Posts and News

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Flutist playing March 10

This Sunday, we're excited to welcome flutist Anne Kim as our guest musician. Anne recently relocated from New York to the Bay Area. Renowned for her impeccable technique and deeply moving warm tone, she'll be joining our choir as a guest flutist,…
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Cellist playing March 3

I'm thrilled to introduce our guest cellist for upcoming Sunday's worship service, August Lee. His presence promises to elevate our musical experience with his masterful cello performances. During the service, the choir will present Richard…

Latin American / Caribbean Companion Synod Consultation

Houston, Texas 2023 - a Report from FLC member Joe Haletky Every three or so years, the ELCA’s Global Missions Office sponsors a gathering of all the South and Central American and Caribbean Lutheran Churches and their US companion Synods. …
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Loving regard: a look ahead at Fall 2023

by Pastor Bernt We’ve been in that Fall planning phase, figuring out class schedules, music lessons and getting kids to college. I also looked ahead at the scripture readings we’ll be hearing this Fall on Sundays. What might God be saying…

A Special Appeal: FLC Zoom Worship, Next Steps

Our online presence on zoom remains a real gift, even with the pandemic behind us.  It allows us to provide a worship connection with the homebound, those who live far away, are traveling or are new to the church but not ready to visit in person. …
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We Assemble

In the news I’ve seen various numbers: that nationally, 25% or 30% or even 40% of those who attended church before the pandemic, aren’t really back.  We’re glad so many FLC people and new members have shown up and even brought new energy. …

Joe’s Trip to El Salvador

Early in November, I made my third visit to El Salvador, my first as chair of our Global Missions Advocacy team. The occasion each time was to attend the Encuentro, a management consulting meeting hosted by the Salvadoran Lutheran Church with…
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The Feast of Life

We’ve said a theme for our year together is “First Day,” with a focus on our Sunday experience together.  Jung Jin has organized new ways to get involved with music, such as ensembles (such as Isaac & Dolly’s recent violin duet)…
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Music invitation and update from Jung Jin

New Season & New Plan for Choir! Regardless of where you find yourself today (this week, this month), know this: September marks the beginning of a new season, and with that comes an invitation to change, to experience something new.…
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First Day, First Priority

A sermon by Pastor Bernt August 21, 2022 - On Luke 13:10-17 Sabbath is connected to Exodus: the Jews were enslaved to the Pharoah; he made them work harder and harder. But God released the slaves. And God gave them a commandment: the seventh…
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First Day: gift, practice, theme

Fall 2022 and beyond A couple years ago, First Lutheran celebrated 100 years of ministry.  This year, staff and council are proposing we celebrate our first day. It was on the first day of the week - in biblical time, Sunday - that the…
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Struggling to say something about shootings

By Pastor Bernt We have to ask why he did it, but there’s no satisfying answer.  Same for the question: why isn’t more done to prevent shootings?  We’re caught up in some kind of doom (as E. Bruenig grimly describes); we’re captives. …
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Music Update

by Jung Jin Kim I can’t believe it, but I have already been here almost three months. For the last three months, I have really been moved by our choir’s great singing. I thank you all for a warm welcome. I am especially impressed by the…

Spring Intergenerational Events

by Pastor Kate (Image above: from our Valentines' Day Event) Exciting Intergenerational Events coming up this Spring and Summer! We have been so lucky as a church community, living with Covid, to be able to do more together as a church!…

Getting Forward Together

By Pastor Bernt It’s not the same as getting “back” together, as there’s no going back to the pre-pandemic world.  Our lives have changed in many ways these past years: loved ones lost, moves, new health realities, new routines,…

Introducing Rosamia, our new office manager

Hello! My name is Rosamia Morales Valdez. I was born in Lima, Peru and raised in East Palo Alto. I have lived in EPA for 16 years, and consider it my second home. I graduated from CSU Northridge in 2018 with a Bachelors in Marketing. I am currently…

Worship practices Late Fall 2021

Please note: December 24, 5pm service will be in-person only (zoom service will be 8:30pm).  See information on in person practices below. Beginning October 31 (for Reformation Sunday!) we went to one 10:00am worship service, which you can…
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Shabbat: Joys and Challenges

(words from a local Jewish studies teacher who plans to join our adult forum for a session ... excerpt from a reply to Pastor Bernt's questions about Sabbath) Bernt, your astute question about the joys and challenges of practicing Shabbat…
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About the Kyrie Hymn

by Pastor Bernt On many Sundays in the church year, especially during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent, we open with the singing of Kyrie eleison, Greek for “Lord have mercy.” We alternate “Lord” and “Christ” and sometimes…

September Sunday Schedule 2021

We look forward to Sundays together this Fall!  The planned schedule, beginning September 12, will be: 8:30-9:15 Adult Forum on zoom - use the worship link.  Beginning topic will actually be Sabbath, Sundays and Time Management. 9:30-10:15…

Outdoor event photos, June 2021

Photos taken at Family Summer Kick-Off on Saturday June 5 and outdoor worship June 6, thanks to Jill and Pastor Kate.  
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About the Gloria hymn

The hymn “Glory to God in the highest” is familiar to (and maybe memorized by) anyone used to Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal or other so-called “liturgical churches.”  But do we really ponder what we’re singing? First, a little…
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Worship in-person and online

The season is changing in more ways than one: Pentecost is past, Summer is coming, we’re getting vaccinated and pandemic restrictions are lifting! Pastor Kate and I want to bring up some thoughts and plans for worship in the coming months,…
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Lutherans against meritocracy?

by Pastor Bernt Since Lutheran Christians like to talk about Paul’s “saved by grace apart from works,” it’s interesting we don’t speak out against meritocracy.  I recently read “The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common…
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Story, Vision, Institution

I’m always going back to the most basic question: “what is this whole Christianity thing about?” What should be our focus?  And why should anyone care? I’m intrigued by little books that present a version of basics, like C.S. Lewis’…
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The cross is upside-down

Sermon for Good Friday, based on the passion story of St John I probably watch more horror movies than most Lutheran pastors - not so much the gory as the spooky ones.  Rosemary’s Baby: maybe that’s the first horror movie with an upside-down…
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An Easter giving appeal

March 28, 2021 Dear friends of FLC, A greeting to you on this Palm Sunday, borrowed from letters of Paul: “Grace to you and peace in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Grace to us beyond our deserving, true peace and life to…

Provide backpacks for children in need – 2020

The drive is over - we thank you for your generosity!  We raised $2880 in money and supplies for Seton school, in addition to all that was gathered together for our immigrant families! The Women’s Group  invites you to purchase backpacks…
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A prayer of grace for Sunday dinner and of longing for communion

By Pastor Bernt As a church in the time of "shelter-in-place" due to the coronavirus, we have entered new territory: we are not able to gather together for the Lord's Supper.  Our national church has shared some helpful words on worship…
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Mutual care, coronavirus, cold and flu season

Update (3/13/2020) - there will be no on-site worship March 15, 22 or 29.  Check back here for updates. We’re in cold and flu season, and the new coronavirus (COVID-19) makes front page news every day.  We are blessed now as always with…
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Wondrous Love

by Pastor Bernt A theme for Lent this year is the title of a favorite hymn: Wondrous Love. In a year when people are anxious about the future of our country, we lift up this American hymn: it comes out of the Second Great Awakening, a…
PAUL FRYKMAN 1945-1950
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The Lenten Dance in Abundance

by Pastor Kate I know that having abundant choices in life is a privilege. Here in the United States many of us (certainly not all) have a lot of options when it comes to making some choices and decisions in our lives. Whether it’s which…
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Love Never Ends

That reading from 1st Corinthians: In Paul’s talk about spiritual gifts – when he turns to love, Paul says “I will show you a more excellent way.” That catches my attention. Excellence – seems to fit Palo Alto and the Silicon Valley.…

Heather Paisar

I began my organ playing career as a part-time organist at my home church of Redeemer Lutheran in Plymouth, Wisconsin, when I was only twelve years old. Though I began as a pianist, I was quickly drawn to the organ and was deeply moved by the…
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Fall themes for worship and ministry

Who’s in and who’s out?  That’s not just a question for US immigration policy, the refugee crisis in Europe or any number of other contemporary issues.  “Outsiders and Insiders” is also a prominent theme in the lectionary scripture…

Provide backpacks for children in need – 2019

The Women’s Group  invites you to purchase backpacks and school supplies for the children of Seton School in Palo Alto.  Many of these children do not have the resources to purchase their own. There are three ways you can participate. 1)…
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Earth and All Stars Concert – April 15 at 4pm

Join us Sunday, April 15th at 4pm for a Musical Tribute to the great American poet and hymnist Herbert Brokering Sunday, April 15th at 4 p.m Grace Lutheran Church 3149 Waverley St. Palo Alto, CA Featuring the choirs of Grace Lutheran…
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Why the font and candle are up front during Easter

Image: at the Easter Vigil, the kids and Angela did a wonderful job with the story of Jonah in the belly of the whale, using this cloth over the table as a backdrop for a puppet show.  It fit well (even color-wise) with the baptismal font. …

Assembling relief kits – a few photos

First Lutheran Church assembled two dozen aid kits for Lutheran World Relief. Each kit includes a towel, two bars of soap, a comb, nail clippers, and a toothbrush. LWR will alert us so we can track exactly where the kits are shipped.
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A Message from our Sister Congregation

July 23, 2019 God of life and hope be with you always I hereby gladly share that on July 28 we will celebrate the 36th anniversary of the Church of Ríos de Agua Viva. Bishop Medardo Gómez will perform the solemn cult, where he will also…
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Living Peace – by Pastor Kate

I am always excited at this time of the year. I enjoy the cooler days, the smell of baked goods and fireplaces, the kids’ excitement for Christmas, and all the other nice things that come with the season. At the same time it’s a stressful…
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Reformation Sunday – German Mass

For worship on Reformation Sunday 2017 we used Luther's own German Mass (in translation), a service he put together for use among those without much familiarity with Christianity.  Our service bulletin included explanatory notes in the margins…

Seeking Youth Ministry Leader

  First Lutheran Church is seeking a Youth Ministry Leader who will collaborate with the pastors to engage youth and foster faith, fellowship and fun.  This includes promoting youth participation in worship as well as organizing and…

How to live well, and book recommendations

by Bernt Hillesland What is this Christianity thing?  As Larry Hurtado points out in his book, Destroyer of the gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World, to some Romans it seemed less like a religion – with a focus on ritual…
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Immigration, Ammparo and ways to help

by John Allured In the fiscal year ended September 30, 2016, 530,250 individuals were apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security: of those, 59,757 were unaccompanied children (“UAC”) and 77,857 were family units. This was just…
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Worship 101 – Sunday mornings in May

Sundays in May, 9:15 - 10:15am, with Pastor Bernt Why worship, and what does worship have to do with our spirituality and life in the world?  How did the practices of liturgical worship develop?  What's a stole, a kyrie, a lectionary and…
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Council on Foundations’ Award for Distinguished Service to Carol Larson

This past week FLC member, more about Carol Larson, ailment was in Washington DC receiving a 2016 Distinguished Service Award from the Council on Foundations. This award is certainly a testimony to God’s call where Carol is responding daily…