July August The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County by alicejenny


									                                  Ministering Together
                                                             The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
                                                                                                      July - August 2004

                                            20 to 40 years. Call 925-837-9141         lived on the streets were called
Coming Events                               for more information.                     transients and vagrants and hoboes.

Sunday to Friday, July 25 - 30                                                        Maybe gypsies, or runaways. Or as

Silent Retreat B AAccepted in the           Thursday to Sunday, August 12 -           the case was during the Dust Bowl

Beloved@                                    15, East Bay Stand Down 2004              years, AOkies.@

San Damiano Retreat, Danville               Camp Parks Training Site, Dublin              But with the downsizing of mental

    During this silent contemplative        A tent city will be set up to house       health facilities, the real rising cost of

retreat, participants will use story,       400 veterans, 1000 volunteers will        living (from the early 70s on), and

song, poem, ritual and scripture to         assist the veterans to receive food,      the de-funding of government

explore and deepen the relationship         clothing, shelter, showers and            agencies such as HUD, the profile of

with the Beloved. Led by Eddie              haircuts. They will also get assistance   those without homes changed. It=s

Fronske, OFM and Jeannie Rose.              with physical and mental health           hard to call families with children

Call 925-837-9141 for more                  needs, substance abuse, employment        Avagrants.@ Thus Ahomeless@ seems

information.                                options, veteran=s benefits and           to be a more neutral, less

                                            spiritual concerns. For more              emotionally-charged label. And

Friday to Sunday, August 6 - 8              information, contact 925-680-4526         whereas previously we might not have
                                                                                      talked about solutions to vagrancy, we
Meditation Retreat B AExploring the         or eastbaystanddown.org .
                                                                                      now are working together on solutions
Cave of the Heart@, San Damiano
                                                                                      to homelessness.
Retreat, Danville
                                                                                          Our county=s Homelessness
    The Acave of the heart@
represents that inner meeting space in
                                            Director=s Letter                         Continuum of Care Board has been
                                            Dear friends,                             working tirelessly for years on
which one encounters the Divine, the
                                                I was reminded, during the recent     strategies to help prevent, ameliorate
Beloved. Using evocative music,
                                            week of encomiums for former              and directly affect homelessness.
devotional chanting, contemplative
                                            president Ronald Reagan, that it was      We=re talking about 5,000 to 10,000
yoga and mystical prayer, participants
                                            over the course of his tenure that a      people at any one time in our
will be led deep into this sacred cave
                                            new word came into common                 county=s population of nearly one
by presenters (Wayne Teasdale,
                                            coinage: homelessness. Previous to        million souls. What does that work out
Russill Paul and Asha Paul) who
                                            that time B and correct me if I=m         to? About one percent of our
have explored the mystical traditions of
                                            wrong on this B those people who          county=s citizens are homeless at any
Christianity and Hinduism for the past
                                                                                      one time. (And many more one step

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                                  AMINISTERING TOGETHER@
July/August 2004                        1
away from that condition.)                 who are most chronically homeless         more funding of a similar kind.
    Now did you know that there is         into the circle of services, most             Couple this emphasis, though,
                                           notably by first of all getting them      with the recent round of budget cuts
                                           immediately into housing.                 on the county level. Non-mandated
a federal group called the Inter-Agency        Our county, under the leadership      programs under Health Services,
Task Force on Homelessness that            of Cynthia Belon, has been                constituting up to 30% of the total
functions under the aegis of HUD? It       particularly responsive to the Inter-     budget, are most surely being
has been determining ways to actually      Agency Task Force=s ideas. In fact,       defunded by the government. This is
end homelessness. I haven=t been           we currently are receiving a five-year,   not the fault of our Board of
privy to the thinking of these             $3.5 million federal grant which is       Supervisors or county administrators.
strategists, but what they are saying is   currently bringing forty chronically      The money is just not there. The
that, in order to meet this lofty goal,    homeless individuals off the street.      county=s shelters were included in the
we must concentrate on getting those       Our county hopes to receive even          cuts.
    Control of those programs with             But you can see how we have           compelling than the above, I would
sufficient constituencies are being        been confounded by the erosion of         echo the profound dismay of the
transferred to other organizations. That   the county=s ability to fund the          members of our Executive Committee
is the presumed status of our county-      current shelters and an emphasis          following the revelations of abuse of

run shelters. Supervisors are in           away from serving families. I pray        Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib

conversation with potential providers.     that the adult and family shelters in     facility. It is not uncommon to note

No, not the Interfaith Council. Though     Concord and Martinez would survive        that our occupation of Iraq has gone

we are a broad-based organization,         the coming months, by whatever            grievously awry. The stew pot of the

our main purpose is not direct service,    appropriate means, and that the           21st century is turning out to contain

but advocacy.                              Interfaith Council might continue its     morsels of concern for security, world

    Which brings us to the present.        attempt to bring our cities into the      economics, interreligious peace (or

Our Homeless Summit efforts in             battle for homeless families and          warfare), and respect for nations. The

Orinda last winter were intended to        individuals. You won=t hear from us       Parliament of World Religions meets

supplement the county=s shelters by        by newsletter for two more months.        this month in Barcelona, Spain. May

providing a winter nights= program,        But we will get you developing            those who gather there, and those

with food and showers but without          information as well as we can. And I      who are supporting them in prayer,

services. We were (and are) seeking        know, from experience, that when          come to new understanding and

to help the thousands of persons on        people inside and outside our faith       consolidate new power in bringing all

the waiting lists for the existing         communities know in which direction       world citizens together in more

shelters. We are still planning on doing   to act, they will respond. Be ready.      harmonious living.

something this coming cold season.             In other news, by no means less

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                               AMINISTERING TOGETHER@
July/August 2004                      2
                                                     decorated with a fishing net and sea shells.
Creek Restored by Youth
                                                     LOPC Anniversary Celebration
                                                     Over 1,000 people attended the June 6 worship service at the Lafayette-
Continuing a series of collaborative youth
                                                     Orinda Presbyterian Church (LOPC) to celebrate the church=s 50th
ministry projects, six Episcopal
                                                     anniversary. A dual television system enabled those seated both in the
congregations in Contra Costa County joined
                                                     sanctuary and fellowship hall to see and hear all parts of the service.
together to work on restoring a small creek
                                                          Senior pastor, Dr. Peter Whitelock, welcomed the congregation and
in Pleasant Hill.About fifty teenagers and
                                                     later preached the sermon. Dr. James Little, senior pastor from 1964 to
their adult companions spent one of the
                                                     1986, gave the invocation. Other former pastors participating in the service
hottest days of the spring cutting down
                                                     were Dr. Clayton Cobb, the Rev. Jan Willette, the Rev. John Turpin, and
bamboo, pulling shopping carts out of the
                                                     Dr. Steve Wirth. In all, thirteen former pastors and nine wives of former
muck, and hauling trash and brush away
                                                     pastors were in attendance. The LOPC Dance Choir, Bell Choir and
from the creek bed.
                                                     Children=s Choir, as well as an expanded Chancel Choir (all former
    While this work coincided with Earth Day
                                                     members were invited to participate) added to the anniversary celebration.
projects around the country, it had special
                                                     The youth presented a time capsule to commemorate the event.
significance for the participants as an
                                                          On June 6, 1954, 133 founding members signed the charter. Thirteen
expression of their faith. Episcopalians have
                                                     charter members who are still active in the congregation attended the 2004
a special reverence for Athis fragile earth,
our island home@ (Eucharistic Prayer C),
                                                          In the beginning, worship was held in the Park Theater. In 1958, the
one of God=s most special gifts. The young
                                                     fellowship hall and education building were dedicated. The sanctuary was
people who participated in Creek Restore
                                                     completed in 1967. For the anniversary weekend, numerous potlucks were
spent time reflecting on the day=s Gospel
                                                     held throughout Lamorinda. LOPC became known as the Apotluck church@
reading (Luke=s AGreat Catch of Fish@) and
                                                     in its early days, since these dinners were a means to provide fellowship,
ended the day celebrating Eucharist around
                                                     share the faith and introduce the founding pastor, Carl Thomas.
an altar built on a wheelbarrow and

                                               the summer B right, for money!) as a       Apartnas@ saying to me at the time.
Chaplain=s                                     leader in the Cameron House day            Jobs weren=t really that scarce that
                                               camp program in San Francisco.             summer, so why that?
Corner                                         Donaldina Cameron House is now the               On the third Monday of June
This is a year of anniversaries. Very          one-hundred-thirty-year-old                1969, I walked, for the first time, down
special anniversaries!                         Presbyterian center in Chinatown.          Clay Street from Powell Street. A
     In the spring of 1969, the                     Some of my friends thought I had      group of us had taken the cable car
Reverend Herbert Tweedie talked to             lost my mind when, even surprising         up the hill from Market Street. Halfway
me, at some length and with great              myself, I said yes. AHow could you let     down the hill between Powell and
passion, about the benefits from, and          that man talk you into working for no      Stockton Streets, directly opposite
the virtues of, volunteer work (as             money? Are you crazy?@ I remember          Commodore Stockton School, is Joice
House opposed to paid work during              one of my, what the kids now call,         Street (then called Joice Alley). We

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                                  AMINISTERING TOGETHER@
July/August 2004                     3
turned right on Joice Alley, walked the    years.                                     exceedingly and wonderfully pleasant,
short block toward Sacramento Street.           On June 21st of this year, it will    story short, we did talk again, and
To our left, there it was, Cameron         be thirty-five years since I began         again. God had caused our paths to
House, in all its splendor (?). I          working with kids. In the beginning, I     cross for a reason. Several years after
remember looking up and asking,            was five to ten or so years older than     that first awkward encounter, he and I,
AGod, what have you gotten me              those with whom I worked. Now the          along with my wife and my attorney,
into?@                                     difference in age is thirty (plus) to      appeared in Superior Court in San
     That summer, following leader         forty years!                               Mateo County. The judge asked
training, I worked as a volunteer in the        In September 1984, I was a            maybe a half dozen questions of us,
Cameron House Day Camp and in              member of the faculty of Contra Costa      and then having determined that all
one of the several Cameron House           College. I earned my tenure that year;     was in order, he signed the adoption
Asatellite@ programs, based at the         could conceivably still be there nowY      papers making Leland Johnson my
Ingleside Presbyterian Church in the            It was during the first few days of   son. Two or three years later, the
southern part of San Francisco. When       classes that fall semester of 1984 that    process was repeated with John.
the summer program was over, I             I ran across a shy, nearly eighteen-       Same attorney, same court house,
vowed never again to work with these       year-old, recent Kennedy High School       different judge, same result.
Arotten little kids@! Yet, after a brief   (Richmond) graduate who had                     Leland and John have five
respite, when the telephone rang and       enrolled at the college. Having seen       children between them, three and two
the caller asked me to volunteer to        him a couple of times on the campus,       respectively. Leland=s eldest, my
work in what was called the ABest-         I said hello to him one afternoon in       oldest grandson, will enroll this fall as
Day-of-the-Week@ program during the        the college library. He was attending      a freshman at De La Salle.
year, again I said yes.                    to some business at the circulation             Twenty years have passed
     More importantly, though, on the      desk. I was on my way out. I passed        rapidly.
penultimate night of the summer            him hoping to share some words of               Last, certainly not least worthy of
program, on an overnight camping trip      encouragement, as I commonly tried         note and celebration, is a ten-year
at Kirby Cove (now part of the Marin       to do with new students. As I passed       anniversary. It is almost unbelievable
Headlands Federal recreation area), I      and spoke to him, I put my hand on         to me that on September 7, 2004, it
discerned the call, yes, THE CALL, to      his shoulder. He froze. I actually could   will have been ten years since I came
ordained ministry.                         feel a definite chill run through his      to serve this remarkable ministry. What
     The following year, I was asked       back.                                      an absolutely extraordinary blessing
to serve as co-director (for money!) of         AWow,@ I thought. AI=ll never do      the past thirty-five years have been.
the Ingleside program along with a         that to him again. Somebody must           Truly, truly awesome. As the kids
woman who turned out to be a not-          have really done something to himYhe       would say, AHecka@ awesome!
too-distant cousin. When she decided       seemed truly scared.@ Of course, I                             Rev. Charles Tinsley
not to return after one year as co-        never thought I would ever see him                     Juvenile Detention Chaplain
director, I was hired as director of the   again, much less talk to him.
program. I did that job for three more          To make a very long, yet

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                                AMINISTERING TOGETHER@
July/August 2004                      4
                              YOUR WORDS from the Clergy of Contra Costa County
Imam Amer Araim,                           could not be anti-Semitic.                  the world then accepted the principle of
                                                 Furthermore, throughout the history   Amight is right,@ such a principle could
Dar-ul-Islam Mosque, Concord               of the Islamic state, the Jews in the       not be accepted today. Instead, we
Muslims believe in all the messengers      Muslim world were treated equally and       should all work for peace with justice.
and prophets of Allah, with a special      with respect. The Arab-Israeli conflict     The Holy Land deserves to be the
emphasis on Noah, Abraham, Moses,          initially began after World War I when      focus of attention. All efforts should be
Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon          Britain promised the establishment of a     exerted to achieve the withdrawal of
them. Muslims consider guilt as an         homeland for the Jews in Palestine.         Israel from all the Palestinian and Arab
individual responsibility unless the       Though Britain also pledged that the        lands occupied in 1967, the return of
community as a whole fails to renounce     interests of the indigenous Palestinian     the Palestinian refugees to their homes,
oppression or act to prevent it.           people would be safeguarded, it             and that all the states and peoples in
     Prophet Muhammad said to his          allowed the Israelis to expel the           the region live in peace with justice to
companions, AGive aid to your brother      Palestinian people from their homes.        all. The Holy Land should be the center
whether he is oppressed or oppressor.@           Now, fifty-six years after the        for enlightenment to humanity, and that
His companions asked Him, AWe would        establishment of the state of Israel on     would be achieved when the oppression
aid our oppressed brother, but how         the basis of the United Nations partition   against the Palestinians ends.
could we aid an oppressor?@ He             plan, unfortunately with the support of          In this context, I would like to
replied, ABy preventing him from his       the United States government, the           express my appreciation for Grace
oppression.@                               Israeli government is continuing in         Presbyterian Church for inviting Father
     There is no doubt that Jesus Christ   oppressing the Palestinian people,          Elias Chacour, who is an eminent
suffered at the hands of the Roman         grabbing more Palestinian lands and         religious leader from the Holy Land.
and the Jewish leadership. However,        refusing to allow the Palestinian                Finally, some may ask why I am
Allah informed us in the Quran that        refugees to return to their homes.          concentrating on Palestine while the
Jesus was ascended to heaven. During       Therefore, many Arabs, both Muslims         country where I was born is being
the current debate on the subject, I       and Christians, particularly the            destroyed, including the scandal of the
have been saddened to hear some            Palestinians, as well as men and            abuse of Iraqi prisoners by United
comments linking the issues raised         women of conscience all over the            States soldiers. My answer is that I am
regarding the film, AThe Passion of the    world, while seeing the film, AThe          deeply concerned about what is going
Christ@ with questions of anti-Semitism,   Passion of the Christ,@ are reminded of     on in Iraq, and I have written and
and that the Arab-Israeli conflict was     the sufferings of both Jesus Christ and     spoken about it. However, the key for
also linked to the same phenomenon. I      of the Palestinian people. They wonder      peace and justice in the entire Middle
wish to reiterate the fact that Arabs,     and ask the question, AWhy is               East is by achieving peace and justice
who represent the center of the Islamic    oppression allowed without effective        in Palestine.
culture, are Semites. Therefore, they      action on behalf of the world community
                                           to stop it?@ If two thousand years ago
Laura Barnes,                              Then there were the waves of gratitude      weak, I am worn. We prayed together
Danville Congregational Church             and prayers of thanksgiving at each         at the site, thanking God for abundant
Sometimes there are events in our lives    step of the processY                        grace and for life. We went to see the
that overwhelm us and have a profound            The spiritual, APrecious Lord@        car in the junkyard, completely
effect on our lives. These are events      continually ran through my head at the      smashed up and totaled. Again, prayers
which were not anticipated, over which     strangest moments. We were at the           of gratitude filled my heart for the safe
we have little control. These are events   hospital bedside of one of the young        deliverance of the young people who
that can happen at any time and to any     people on Saturday and I heard the          had been in that car. I also felt very,
one of us or our loved ones. This past     song begin: Precious Lord, take my          very tired and worn out.
weekend (May 14), my son was in a          hand, lead me on, help me stand.                 Now the work of reconstructing a
terrible car accident. All of the young    Mac=s friend was going to be all right.     sense of normalcy back into our lives
people who were involved are fine. It      She just needed to stay and be              begins. Having just experienced the
was a weekend filled with a wide range     observed for a few days. God helped         tenuous nature of everything around us,
of emotions. I felt incredible relief in   me stand at that young woman=s              knowing how little control we have over
finding out that Mac and his friends       bedside with my son.                        some of the things that happen to us,
were all right. I was angry about some           Mac and I went to the accident site   feeling vulnerable and fragile, we move
of the choices that had been made by       together and talked about the choices       forward. Through the storm, through
them. I had deep grief when I saw the      he had made and the enormous                the night, lead me on, to the light.
smashed up car and realized what a         responsibility of driving a car. More       Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me
close call they all had in that event.     lyrics came to me. I am tired, I am         home. We made it through this stormY

Rabbi Roberto Graetz,                      Temple Isaiah, Lafayette                    I am trying to live what I teach. As you

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                               AMINISTERING TOGETHER@
July/August 2004                  5
read this message, I will be in the          father.                                       necessarily on how they live their lives.
midst of a little sabbatical leave from           We all strive to be efficient all of     But our tradition insists that one day we
the congre-gation. Leading up to the         the time. We build our schedules and          will be questioned: AWhy did you not
beginning of my break, I fell into a trap    our children=s schedules in a design          enjoy all of the permitted pleasures in
of my own making. If I was going to be       that pays attention mostly to the             your life?@ So, as summer approaches,
away for a while, I needed to work           attainment of goals. What=s the best          maybe you can join me in that search
much harder than usual to justify my         move I can make to land the best job?         for balance that will again allow for the
leave. Thus, during March and April, I       What=s the best route to get my kid to        spontaneous in life. Maybe we all need
often found myself immersed in 15-hour       the best college that will get them the       to learn to say Ano@ to some demands
work days. I had unlearned the ability       best job?@ (By Abest@ always read             made upon us, and just breathe a little
to say Ano.@ So, one of the goals of         Ahighest-paying.@) If we take a step          easier, study for the fun of it, play ball
my break is to figure out why I do that,     back, we can appreciate that all our          not for the league championship but
and make some adjustments on how I           pre-planning for our children=s future is     just because we love the game, and
live my days that will make me a better      driven by a desire to have them               embrace life B not life=s tasks B more
rabbi, a better husband and a better         succeed at what they do and not               fully.
The Rev. Norm Luecke,                             Israeli theologian Martin Buber also     the future, the magnificent moment and
First Congregational Church, Martinez        opens our eyes to this truth: AThe            the tawdry one.@
Why is it so hard for us to be joyful? Is    beating heart of the universe is holy               Listen to Frederick Buechner, a
it the pressures of life which give us no    joy.@ Look around and you=ll see how          contemporary Protestant writer: AThe
relief, or the suffering of the innocents,   the flowers, trees, squirrels and stars all   world is full of suffering indeed, and to
or the rampant injustice in the world? Is    radiate joy in their being. The flowers       turn our backs on it is to work a terrible
it perhaps the fact that we don=t like       give off a fragrance, the trees dance in      unkindness maybe almost more on
ourselves very much and always feel          the breeze, the squirrels perform             ourselves than on the world. But life
guilty? Or is it the fear that seizes us     acrobatics, and the stars twinkle with        indeed is also to be enjoyed. I suggest
when we think of tomorrow? Whatever          glee.                                         that may even be the whole point of it.
keeps us from joyfully experiencing the           Whenever you see an image of             I more than suspect that is why all the
gift of life needs to be examined and        Buddha, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh            sons and daughters of god shouted for
overcome. Here are some words of             reminds us, he is always smiling. That        joy when God first brought it into
wisdom from a variety of sources on          smile reflects inner peace and joy.           being.@
the importance of joy.                            When he is about to leave his                  Give yourself permission to be
     AAlways remember,@ Rebbe                disciples, Jesus tells them, AThese           dizzy with joy and thankful for all the
Nachman of Breslov, the Hasidic              things have I spoken to you, that my          blessings which abound in your days.
teacher says, AJoy is not incidental to      joy may be in you and that your joy           Give yourself permission to rejoice with
your spiritual quest. It is vital.@ So       may be full.@ What a beautiful legacy B       others. As French Catholic novelist
cultivate it.                                passing on abundant joy.                      George Beranos writes, ATo find joy in
     AWhy aren=t you dancing with joy             Julian of Norwich, a fourteenth-         another=s joy, that is the secret of
at this very moment? is the only             century English mystic, speaks across         happiness.@ Give yourself permission to
relevant spiritual question,@ Sufi seer      the ages: AThe fullness of joy is to          feel good about helping others. As
Pir Vilayet Kahn tells us. AYour life is a   behold God in everything. Behold the          Mother Teresa of Calcutta, winner of
glorious gift and you are loved by Lady      Divine Joy in the good and the bad,           the Nobel Peace Prize, knew, AShe
Wisdom.@                                     the just and the unjust, the past and         gives most who gives with joy.@
The Rev. George Mockel,                      circumstances, you get a kindly nod of        rather than a person. Then there is the
St. Agnes Catholic Church, Concord           the head, perhaps a smile, and                Aapathetic look.@ They may vaguely
As I was walking through the lobby of        sometimes even a greeting like: AGood         see you, but what difference does it
Mt. Diablo Hospital recently, I mused to     morning@ or AGood afternoon, Father.@         make? Then there are those who
myself that wearing priestly garb (the       There are other looks that are a little       immediately want to let you know that
Roman collar) in public can be               more difficult to figure out. They may        they Aused to be Catholic@ but they
interesting. (Sometimes I understate for     be intrigued: AYou actually do this for a     are angry with the church because of
emphasis!!)                                  living?@ Perplexed: AI wonder what            what ASister So-and-So@ did in the
     People respond to priestly garb in      makes you tick.@ Some look right              third grade or what AFather What-cha-
different ways. In the best of               through you as if you were an object          ma-call-it@ said in high school.
     My reaction to these latter people      asking a few questions they may not           more direct Ain your face@ approach.
varies depending on the circumstances.       have considered is another approach.          Then later, I wonder if I have now
Sometimes I guess just listening is          Sometimes, I must confess, the                become the AFather What-cha-ma-call-
about the best I can do. Sometimes           situation is so bizarre that I take the       it@ in some future conversation they

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                                  AMINISTERING TOGETHER@
July/August 2004                    6
have with a priest. I hope not!              beliefs. Probably because we                     None of us is perfect B including
     It strikes me that for many of these    recognized them as members of the           priests. There is a little black folder on
people, the reason has nothing to do         church but not the whole church.            my desk that I must open several times
with ASister@ or AFather@ but, for                Yes, hurts are difficult things to     each day. In it are some words of
whatever reason, they cannot bring           handle. But working out our differences     counsel from Blessed Teresa of
themselves to acknowledge the real           is even more important. Family,             Calcutta. AIt was to show his humility
reason why they are angry.                   friendship, marriage and church             that Christ chose you to be a priest.@
     I have met a few priests or sisters     relationships endure because we                  Part of the glory of our faith is the
who, from my point of view, just did not     acknowledge differences, express            power to say: AI am sorry@ and AI
measure up. You, no doubt, have as           disappointment, try to heal wounds, and     forgive you.@
well. But they never cost you or me our      then move on.

The Rev. David Sammons,                      to work for a world in which people will    others, if it was the only way to do it.
Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist            no longer be asked to risk their lives in        The reason I opposed invading Iraq
Church, Walnut Creek                         war.                                        is because it didn=t meet these criteria.
On Memorial Day, Charlie Abrams, the               Because of the happenstance of        I wonder if our government would ever
Mayor of Walnut Creek, asked me to           when I was born, I have not been            have initiated this war if the people who
bless the new Veterans Memorial Plaza        asked to risk my life in war B or to        made the decision were forced to lead
just completed at the corner of Civic        have to decide whether I was willing to     their troops into battle, like a Roman
Drive and Broadway. I felt honored to        do that or not. I was too young for         general? Would they be willing to ride
be asked, but also wondered whether          Korea, too old for Vietnam, just as my      through the streets of Baghdad in a
or not I could say the right thing in that   father was too young for World War I        poorly-armored Humvee, as did the
kind of setting. It turned out that not      and too old for the Second World War.       Northgate grad honored during the
only was I able to do this, the others       But if I had been called into service,      dedication of the plaza in which I took
who spoke shared my point of view. As        the only thing, in conscience, that         part? During the ceremony a vet said
the artist who designed the plaza put it,    would let me join in an action in which     that to go into battle is to be in
quoting George Washington, the best          people would be killed, would be to         constant fear. I wish our leaders could
way to honor those who have given            stop aggression and lead toward peace.      feel it.
their lives in defense of our country is     I=d be willing to give my life to save
The Rev. Eric Strom,                         laughing!@                                  consider the question when faced with
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church,                    This entertaining exercise was         some dilemma or sticky issue. What
Concord                                      strengthening his legs so he could row      would Jesus do in this situation? It=s a
It was my freshman year in college. I        better. Clearly it would be an important    good exercise. No doubt anyone who
was at Cal State Long Beach and my           thing to do, no matter how silly it may     really worked on that would live a more
roommate had decided to join the             look to someone else. What if he were       exemplary life. Jesus performed
rowing team. One evening, shortly after      to skip working out and practicing?         brilliantly in situations like that, so it=s
he began, he came into our room              What if he were to simply do the best       good to follow his example. But only
where I was studying, put down his           he could at rowing meets, but never         raising that question in sticky situations
things and proceeded to jump up and          row at any other time? He wouldn=t be       is a little like trying to row well in a
down in a very deliberate manner. With       very good, would he? No matter how          meet without working out regularly,
his arms hanging at his sides and his        much he set his mind to it.                 trying to golf like Tiger Woods without
back as straight as he could keep it, he          In recent years we=ve had a            ever going to a driving range, or play
would squat low and jump straight up.        question running around the church,         cello like Yo Yo Ma without ever
Quite honestly, it was really funny to       AWhat would Jesus do?@ There have           practicing scales. We=re placing
watch.                                       been hats, bracelets, shirts, bumper        ourselves in a game without proper
     AWhat are you doing?@ I asked.          stickers, all with the letters AWWJD@       training and conditioning.
     AIt=s an exercise for rowing. I=ve      emblazoned on them. It=s an
got to do 20-30 of these a day. Stop         encouragement, of course, for people to
     So what did Jesus do? He spent          spiritual disciplines. When our lives are   effort of will, because the foundation for
lots of time in prayer. He got off to        soaked in the life-giving water of          a Christian life is better laid. What=s
quiet places by himself. He served           scripture and prayer, doing what Jesus      more, it=s more fulfilling.
others. He even fasted. In short, he         would do in sticky situations comes
practiced what are now called classical      more naturally, rather than being an
The Rev. Faye Orton-Matthews,                that we designate as Sabbath for our        special programs, and no requests for
Lafayette Christian Church                   church community. During the month of       your time and talent. The month of July
It will soon be July, a month of time        July, there will be no meetings, no         has become a spiritual discipline for our

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                                 AMINISTERING TOGETHER@
July/August 2004                    7
 community.                                  events . . . we will take breath . . . and   street; breathe and allow God=s
      We need to plan times of rest in       allow God=s Spirit to fill us and have its   creation to fill you to the brim. It could
 our lives. Fortunately, this is something   way with us.                                 be true that 45 minutes a day in
 that we can do as a community and                 YAllow July to take you outside to     natural light, out under the sky, might
 something we can practice as                sit and wonder. Bring Sabbath moments        change the world. If we want peace in
 individuals and families. We emphasize      to your heart by stopping and sitting, or    our world, that peace begins at home
 worship during this month without any       standing in place B doing nothing! Soak      and in our own hearts.
 Achurch business.@ We won=t make            in the moon, the breeze; listen for the
 any decisions, plan or execute any          crickets and a child playing down the
 The Rev. Tom Umholtz,                       expressed his personal need to seek          Prayer would be a part of each
 Community Presbyterian Church,              God=s guidance in any situation that         meeting. Each person would have a
 Pittsburg                                   required hard thought and careful            turn at leading the prayers. Each
 I once served as Executive Secretary        decisions. He acknowledged that his          person would pray according to the
 of an interfaith group that included a      habit of praying in the name of Jesus        practices of his/her own faith.
 wild variety of Protestants as well as      Christ might be inappropriate in a                It was a good decision. It reflected
 Roman Catholics, Jews, Muslims and          group such as this, and he asked             the fact that we show the greatest
 even a Sikh. The group=s task was to        others what their thoughts were.             respect for one another=s faith by
 design a cooperative strategy for                 The discussion was awkward at          giving each other freedom to express
 meeting the religious needs of a brand      first. Everyone was bending over             that faith in full integrity, rather than by
 new town of 25,000 people on the            backwards to make sure they did not          insisting that it becut and trimmed to fit
 edge of a university campus.                offend anyone. But gradually each            our own convictions.
      At one of the first meetings, the      person said something about their own             Psalm 133 says: ABehold, how
 chair raised the question of prayer in      personal needs in the area of prayer         good and pleasant it is when people
 the group=s deliberations. He               and they came to an agreement:               dwell together in unity.@
 #Congrats to Anita Cadoneau-Huseby, who was ordained into the Christian Ministry of the Northern California-Nevada Region
 of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on Saturday, May 22nd. She is serving at Lafayette Christian Church with the
 Rev. Faye Orton-Matthews.
 #Congrats also to Felicity Wright, who was ordained into the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of
 Christ on Sunday, May 23rd, and who now serves as Senior Pastor of Arlington Community Church in Kensington.

 #Welcome to Laurie Landis, who is newly on staff at San Damiano Retreat in Danville. She comes from Alverno Retreat
 Center in Redwood City, and she will be supervising in the areas of administration, grounds, food service and housekeeping.
 #Father Jim McGee will be moving from St. Bonaventure Catholic Church in Clayton to Christ the King Catholic Church in
 Pleasant Hill. Father McGee is in the process of Incardination, whereby he officially leaves the Diocese of Scranton,
 Pennsylvania and becomes a priest of the Diocese of Oakland.
 #Welcome to the Ven. Jian Pin, who is the new abbess of the Buddha Gate Monastery in Lafayette.

 Best Wishes
 Best Wishes to Chestnut Community Church in Concord who are starting a new worship service on Saturday evenings called
 The Refuge. It will be a worship service that is primarily addressed to Abroken people, people who have been hurt, had
 dreams shattered, and have lost much in life.@ Says Pastor Victor, AWe will minister to these people out of our own
 experiences with pain and disappointment, pointing to the place where we have found hope and healing B the Person of
 Jesus Christ.@
                                             and phoned Supervisors urging them to        Dorothy Vance, District 3; Natalie
    Social Justice                           continue funding the two county family
                                             shelters CMt. View Shelter in Martinez
                                                                                          Russell and Tom Stucker, District 4;
                                                                                          Brian McCoy, District 5.
   Alliance (SoJA)
O County Budget Cuts
                                             and the North Concord Shelter. We
                                             were present in the chambers and
                                                                                               In addition to the two family
                                                                                          shelters, other Health Services
SOJA, I4C, and Homeless Summit               stood when Rev. Brian Stein-Webber           Department cuts and closures were on
collaborated to speak on behalf of           addressed the Board during the Budget        the list of 88 items: mental health,
                                                                                          communicable diseases, hospital,
homeless families in Contra Costa            Hearings for Health Services. Others
                                                                                          clinics, singles shelter, George Miller
County the County Budget Hearings in         who spoke in favor of keeping the            Center, and more.
mid-June. We mailed, faxed, emailed,         shelters open: Pat Snyder, District 2;

 Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                                AMINISTERING TOGETHER@
 July/August 2004                    8
      As this issue goes to press, we,        issue of Ministering Together.               Provide. . .
along with County officials, await the        O Homeless Summit Update                      Check the website ACostOfWar.com@
arrival of the State budget and the            The next Homeless Summit meeting            to find out what the War in Iraq is cost-
County budget recommendations.                will be Monday, August 2, at Temple          ing taxpayers and what we could
      A few economic facts concerning         Isaiah in Lafayette.                         provide instead.
Homeless Family Shelters:The two                   At the last meeting Detective Leslie         On June 20, 2004, it has cost us
County Family Shelters provide 55 beds.       Warren discussed screening and ans-          $118,775,650,254 as a country.
Operating expenses amount to                  wered questions about screening              Instead, we could have built 1,696,788
$640,000 per year, with I4C                   volunteers and clients at the June           additional housing units. . . we could
congregations providing most of the           Summit meeting. Planning strategy for        have fully funded global anti-hunger
meals and many supplies. The 2004             the County Budget Hearings occupied          efforts for 4 years. . . we could have
annual report is not out yet, but during      the remaining time.                          ensured that every child in the world
the year ending June 30, 2003, 212                 The Business Plan Committee re-         was given basic immunization for 39
homeless family members were served           quested that the information needed          years. The War in Iraq has cost
in the Family Shelters (85 adults and         from Winter Nights committees be             Californians $13,634,460,000 . . .
127 children C52% two-parent families,        submitted to Pat Snyder.                     instead, we could have insured
42% single female head of household,          O Homeless Forum                             5,844,128 children in California for one
6% single male head of household)              I4C is co-sponsoring the HOMELESS           year.
O Garden Party & Auction Benefits             FORUM on Friday, October 1, at Hill-         O Rohr & the AThird Way@
Homeless Summit                               crest Congregational Church, 404             Nevada Desert Experience will partner
 One of the Small Christian Community         Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill. This forum      with Richard Rohr, OFM, for a
Groups from St. John Vianney Parish           will bring together government, faith,       weekend of eco-spirituality and the
donated the proceeds of its 2004              business, non-profits, and service           Athird way@ of nonviolence. Las Vegas,
Annual White Elephant Sale, Auction and       providers to work together to end            August 6-8.Registration before July 31
Garden Party in June to the Homeless          homelessness in Contra Costa County.         is $60; at the door, $80. Emerald
Summit and Sophia House in Chicago.           Loaves and Fishes will provide lunch.        Suites hotel room $69. For brochures,
The event was held at the home of             Please save the date. O Faithful             call 925-930-9965 and leave your
Janet and Morgan McQuiston in Walnut          Citizenship                                  address on recorder.
Creek. Other members of the Community          It=s time to plan for Voter Registration
who helped with the event are: Gloria         and Get Out the Vote drives.If your
Kosel, Mary Roberts, Masci Rodrigues,         congregation needs help and supplies,
and Phyllis Severa.                           contact Gwen Watson 930-9965 or
      The Homeless Summit members are         the League of Women Voters of Diablo
grateful to this Community for kicking off    Valley, 283-2235. LWV also provides
the fund raising season to benefit the        speakers on Pros & Cons of Ballot
Winter Nights Program, which it plans to      Measures. Some ballot measure issues:
open in November. The total amount of         Stem Cell Research, SB 2 Health Plan.
donated cash will be reported in the next     O Instead of War, We Could
 OSchool of Americas WatchThe first           current legislation, HB1248, to cease        interest C
meeting of this "season" to close the         funding it. Come and bring your
                                                                                           933-6030.      . . .on   a personal
School of the Americas (now officially        interested friends to this important
called the Western Hemi-sphere Institute      meeting. As patriotic citizens we must       note
of Security Co-operation or WHISC)            close this school this year! For further                     C from Natalie
located at Fort Benning, GA. will be held     information check www.SOAW.org               RussellThe California Budget promises
on Monday evening, July 12 at 7:30, at        OJust call me Donna Quixote:There            a crushing blow to our most vulnerable
St. Stephen Church, Walnut Creek.             is an opportunity to buy a fabulous          brothers and sisters. Globally, brutal
Everyone interested is welcome in             building at an ideal site for transitional   and egregious acts are growing with
learning more about this U.S. training        housing for the working poor. . If 15 -      a momentum that we can hardly
school for terrorists which is supported      30 congregations, Charities, busi-           stomach, and then another rolls in.
by our tax money is welcome.        We will   nesses, corporations or individuals          Personally, my emotions are churning
discuss our role in large and small (but      invested in it,                              together with sadness, disgust, anger,
important) ways to work on this vital         we could provide transitional housing for    compassion, disappointment, angst and
mission as faith communities or as            up to 100 people (30 - 35 families) as       more until I feel overwhelmed with it all.
individuals to close this infamous            a step from homelessness to their own        Yet, I refuse to live in fear or to
school. We will discuss the rally and         affordable housing for a limited period      despair.           Maybe the tolerance of
                                              of time per family. Any takers out           the status quo has reached its limit.
vigil to be held on Nov, 19-21 at Ft.
                                              there? Call the I4C Office to indicate
Benning as well as how we can support                                                      Unrest seems to be growing. When the

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                                 AMINISTERING TOGETHER@
July/August 2004                   9
unconscionable becomes ordinary,                  Maybe the human family can come        Compassion, Courage and above all,
people of conscience cry out, "No            together, share their vision and no         Love that can overcome all else. I do
more!@ they think it through. They talk to   longer allow the disorder of our            believe in the power of love and that
each other. They educate themselves.         common values to dominate us. There         our collective love can overcome the
They pray for guidance and then they         is a Spirit among us, a Spirit of           chaos. Thanks for listening!
look within for direction.                   Wisdom, Enlightenment, Gentleness,
THANK YOU DONORS                             Delores Logue                Church of Santa Maria
Below is a list of those who have given      Ted & Barbara Lynch          Concord U. Methodist Church
to the GENERAL WORK of the                   Victoria MacDonald           Congregation B=nai Tikvah
                                             Rabbi Milton Matz            Dar-ul-Islam Mosque
Interfaith Council since the beginning       Robert McDuff                First Lutheran Church, Concord
of 2004. Your generous contributions         Harris & Mary Mc Naughton    First Presbyterian Church, Concord
fuel our organizing work! (Please notify     Regina Mc Grath              Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
us of any errors or omissions.)              Alan & Rowena Mc Gregor      Grace Episcopal Church
                                             Sigmund & Louise Milford     Grace Presbyterian Church
INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTORS                      Henry & Fereshteh Miller     Hillcrest Congregational Church
Hertha Basch                                 Virginia Millson             Lafayette Christian Church
Nancy Bell                                   Rick & Sandra Mitchell       Lafayette U. Methodist Church
Brian & Ann Blue                             Jack & Sumi Nakashima        Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church
Beverly Bortin                               Frances Orput                Life Knowledge Center
Wilma Burleigh                               Aaron & Fran Paxson          Mt. Diablo Unit. Univ. Church
Dolores Burris                               Eileen Peck                  Peace Lutheran Church
Sharon Cartmill                              Greg & Laura Perloff         St. Mark=s U. Methodist Church
Donald & Ginger Charles                      Clinton & Susan Phalen       St. Andrew=s Presbyterian Church
Zoher & Constance Chiba                      Nabil & Barbara Rageh        St. Mark=s Lutheran Church
Tim & Susan Christoffersen                   Sharon Randall               St. Stephen=s Catholic Church
William & Nora Church                        Marlys Randick               San Ramon Valley U. Methodist Church
George & Rebecca Corrigan                    Morris & Marjorie Richman    Spirit of Hope Lutheran Church
Alma DeBisschop                              The Rev. David Ross          Unity Center of Walnut Creek
Jacqueline DeGroot                           Anne & Bill Roth             Walnut Creek Stake of Church of JC/LDS
Joel & Frances Dobin                         Leslie Rushing               Walnut Creek U. Methodist Church
Ermina Dykstra                               Fred Seely
Ronald & Linda Elsdon                        Roderick & Ollie Sharretts
Martha & Thomas Engelbert                    Dick & Lenita Shumaker       VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Pat Evans                                    Paul & Janet Simons          Crestwood Healing Center is looking for volunteers who
John & Mary Faust                            Nancy B. Smith               have a wide array of talents C walking, going out for
Shirley Fluhrer                              Pat Snyder                   meals, sewing, tutoring, pet therapy, or just talking.
Mara Flynn                                   Jeffrey & Amy Soden
Hal & Betty Foster                                                        Crestwood offers a very diverse program focusing on each
                                             Brian & Mary Stein-Webber
John & Elizabeth Foster                                                   consumer=s individual needs. You have talents that could
                                             Rolf & Sherryl Stolz
Theodor Fuller                               Helen Tousignant             benefit many people in the Center. There is a screening
Glen & Peggy Gierke                          Dorothy Vance                process which includes a meeting with the Healing Center
Marilyn Goeller                              Donald & Millie Walker       staff, a life scan and participation in an orientation
Frank & Madeline Gomes                       Gwen Watson                  meeting. If interested, please contact Michael Cohen at
Minerva Queen Gonzales                       Debra Werner                 925-945-0432 or michael@mmcohen.com.
Jean K. Graves                               Larry & Linda Wilson
Martha & Thomas Green                        Susan C. Wood                Kaiser Permanente Hospitals in Walnut Creek and
Josh Gressel                                 Valerie Zito                 Martinez are seeking volunteers for their Spiritual Care
William & Henrietta Griffitts                Frances Zurilgen             program. Training will begin on July 12th. Positions may be
George Hake                                                               day shift or on-call. Volunteers may visit patients in the
Jean & Richard Haddock                       CONREGATIONS                 hospital or make hospice home visits. The most important
Duane & Michelle Kuiper                      Bahai=s of Clayton           skills for prospective volunteers are a sense of compassion
Richard Kurtz                                Baha=is of Orinda            and an ongoing spiritual life. If interested, contact Rev.
Rillis Lauer                                 Buddha Gate Monastery        Jurgen Schwing at 925-295-6259 or
Gary & Joan Lawrence                         Christ the King Catholic     JurgenSchwing@kp.org.
Suzanne Lee                                  Church
CROP WALK                                    and back again. This is an easy   checks for $2,312.63, as they were the local
This year=s CROP Walk, sponsored by          4.2-mile walk.                    recipients last year. They will also divide the
Church World Service, will be held on            Last year=s walk brought in   25% local amount from this year=s walk.
Sunday, October 3. It will start at the      over $18,000. Twenty-five              The balance collected goes where it is
Walnut Creek Civic Park and follow the       percent of the amount collected   needed, anywhere in the world, as well as here
Iron Horse Trail to Pleasant Hill BART       always stays locally. Meals on    in the United States. Less that 18% goes toward
                                             Wheels and STAND! Against         administrative costs.
                                             Domestic Abuse each received

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                                  AMINISTERING TOGETHER@
July/August 2004                   10
     Your congregation or group is         Blessed to Be a Blessing
invited to participate in this easy and    The following poem was written     Thank You!
rewarding event. The needs are greater     by Harriet Stage in honor of the   Special thanks to our volunteers who
than ever. Contact Polly Smith-Telfer at   closing of Spirit of Hope          collated, folded and labeled the May-June
925-846-0200 or                            Lutheran Church in Concord:
psmithtelfer@cbre.com.                                                        newsletter. They are: Amer Araim, Vi
                                               Many years,
                                               Blessed years                  Hassink, Darby Lockett, Dudley Lockett,
                                               We=ve come to worship          Rick Mitchell, Betty Reineke, Dorothy
                                               We=ve come to fellowship       Vance, Grey Whipple and Jean Witucki.
                                               Some offer prayer
                                               Some offer care
                                               Others sing heavenly
                                               Others work continually        In our cycle of prayer, we ask that you pray
                                               Each brings a gift             this month for:
                                               Each one a lift                # Dar-ul-Islam Mosque, Concord
                                               Some with laying on hands      # St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, Danville
                                               Some with praying hands        # Lafayette United Methodist Church
                                               We were blessed
                                               To be blessed
                                                                              # Shell Ridge Community Church, Walnut
                                               Blessings ongoing                  Creek
                                               Blessings to Lutheran Social
                                               Services coming.               Also include in your prayers:
                                           (Lutheran Social Services of       # The homeless in our county
                                           Northern California will be        # Peace in Iraq
                                           moving their headquarters to       # Peace in Israel and Palestine
                                           the Spirit of Hope campus in
                                           the immediate future.)
                                            Next Deadline: August 16, 2004
                                      Please send copy marked of the attention to:
                 Interfaith Council Newsletter, 1543 Sunnyvale Avenue, Walnut Creek CA 94597-1903
                    PH: (925) 933-6030         FAX: (925)952-4554    E Mail: <eye4cee@aol.com>

          The Interfaith Council                                                                         Non-profit Org
         of Contra Costa County                                                                          U.S. Postage
           1543 Sunnyvale Avenue                                                                             PAID
                                                                                                          Concord CA
         Walnut Creek CA 94597-1903                                                                       Permit # 84

Ministering Together is published nine times a
year by the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa
County, a non-profit organization.

All address changes and voluntary
subscriptions should be sent to the above

Council President. . . . .Rev. Dr. David
Executive Director. . . . Rev. Brian Stein-
Chaplain. . . . . . . . . . . .Rev. Charles Tinsley
Singing Messengers. . Jackie Wan
Office Manager. . . . . . Nora Chuch
Editor. . . . . . . . . . . . . Lenita Shumaker
Layout. . . . . . . . . . . . Beverly Bortin

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                              AMINISTERING TOGETHER@
July/August 2004                  11

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