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JulyAugust 2004 - Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County

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JulyAugust 2004 - Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County Powered By Docstoc
					                               Ministering Together
                                                           The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
                                                                                                     July - August 2004


                                          concerns. For more information,              any one time. (And many more one
                                          contact 925-680-4526 or                      step away from that condition.)
Coming Events                             eastbaystanddown.org.                            Now did you know that there is
Sunday to Friday, July 25 - 30
Silent Retreat B AAccepted in the                                                      a federal group called the Inter-
Beloved@                                  Director=s Letter                            Agency Task Force on
San Damiano Retreat, Danville             Dear friends,                                Homelessness that functions under
     During this silent contemplative          I was reminded, during the              the aegis of HUD? It has been
retreat, participants will use story,     recent week of encomiums for former          determining ways to actually end
song, poem, ritual and scripture to       president Ronald Reagan, that it was         homelessness. I haven=t been privy
explore and deepen the relationship       over the course of his tenure that a         to the thinking of these strategists,
with the Beloved. Led by Eddie            new word came into common                    but what they are saying is that, in
Fronske, OFM and Jeannie Rose.            coinage: homelessness. Previous to           order to meet this lofty goal, we must
Call 925-837-9141 for more                that time B and correct me if I=m            concentrate on getting those who are
information.                              wrong on this B those people who             most chronically homeless into the
                                          lived on the streets were called             circle of services, most notably by
Friday to Sunday, August 6 - 8            transients and vagrants and hoboes.          first of all getting them immediately
Meditation Retreat B AExploring the       Maybe gypsies, or runaways. Or as            into housing.
Cave of the Heart@, San Damiano           the case was during the Dust Bowl                  Our county, under the leadership
Retreat, Danville                         years, AOkies.@                              of Cynthia Belon, has been
     The Acave of the heart@                   But with the downsizing of mental       particularly responsive to the Inter-
represents that inner meeting space       health facilities, the real rising cost of   Agency Task Force=s ideas. In fact,
in which one encounters the Divine,       living (from the early 70s on), and the      we currently are receiving a five-year,
the Beloved. Using evocative music,       de-funding of government agencies            $3.5 million federal grant which is
devotional chanting, contemplative        such as HUD, the profile of those            currently bringing forty chronically
yoga and mystical prayer, participants    without homes changed. It=s hard to          homeless individuals off the street.
will be led deep into this sacred cave    call families with children Avagrants.@      Our county hopes to receive even
by presenters (Wayne Teasdale,            Thus Ahomeless@ seems to be a                more funding of a similar kind.
Russill Paul and Asha Paul) who           more neutral, less emotionally-                    Couple this emphasis, though,
have explored the mystical traditions     charged label. And whereas                   with the recent round of budget cuts
of Christianity and Hinduism for the      previously we might not have talked          on the county level. Non-mandated
past 20 to 40 years. Call 925-837-        about solutions to vagrancy, we now          programs under Health Services,
9141 for more information.                are working together on solutions to         constituting up to 30% of the total
                                          homelessness.                                budget, are most surely being
Thursday to Sunday, August 12 -                Our county=s Homelessness               defunded by the government. This is
15, East Bay Stand Down 2004              Continuum of Care Board has been             not the fault of our Board of
Camp Parks Training Site, Dublin          working tirelessly for years on              Supervisors or county administrators.
A tent city will be set up to house 400   strategies to help prevent, ameliorate       The money is just not there. The
veterans, 1000 volunteers will assist     and directly affect homelessness.            county=s shelters were included in
the veterans to receive food, clothing,   We=re talking about 5,000 to 10,000          the cuts.
shelter, showers and haircuts. They       people at any one time in our
will also get assistance with physical    county=s population of nearly one
and mental health needs, substance        million souls. What does that work
abuse, employment options,                out to? About one percent of our
veteran=s benefits and spiritual          county=s citizens are homeless at
     Control of those programs with       county- run shelters. Supervisors are        based organization, our main purpose
sufficient constituencies are being       in conversation with potential               is not direct service, but advocacy.
transferred to other organizations.       providers. No, not the Interfaith
That is the presumed status of our        Council. Though we are a broad-                  Which brings us to the present.


Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                      AMINISTERING TOGETHER@                               July/August
2004         1
Our Homeless Summit efforts in              the coming months, by whatever            Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib
Orinda last winter were intended to         appropriate means, and that the           facility. It is not uncommon to note
supplement the county=s shelters by         Interfaith Council might continue its     that our occupation of Iraq has gone
providing a winter nights= program,         attempt to bring our cities into the      grievously awry. The stew pot of the
with food and showers but without           battle for homeless families and          21st century is turning out to contain
services. We were (and are) seeking         individuals. You won=t hear from us       morsels of concern for security, world
to help the thousands of persons on         by newsletter for two more months.        economics, interreligious peace (or
the waiting lists for the existing          But we will get you developing            warfare), and respect for nations. The
shelters. We are still planning on          information as well as we can. And I      Parliament of World Religions meets
doing something this coming cold            know, from experience, that when          this month in Barcelona, Spain. May
season.                                     people inside and outside our faith       those who gather there, and those
     But you can see how we have            communities know in which direction       who are supporting them in prayer,
been confounded by the erosion of           to act, they will respond. Be ready.      come to new understanding and
the county=s ability to fund the                 In other news, by no means less      consolidate new power in bringing all
current shelters and an emphasis            compelling than the above, I would        world citizens together in more
away from serving families. I pray          echo the profound dismay of the           harmonious living.
that the adult and family shelters in       members of our Executive Committee
Concord and Martinez would survive          following the revelations of abuse of




Creek Restored by Youth                           LOPC Anniversary Celebration
Ministry                                          Over 1,000 people attended the June 6 worship service at the Lafayette-
                                                  Orinda Presbyterian Church (LOPC) to celebrate the church=s 50th
Continuing a series of collaborative youth
                                                  anniversary. A dual television system enabled those seated both in the
ministry projects, six Episcopal
                                                  sanctuary and fellowship hall to see and hear all parts of the service.
congregations in Contra Costa County
                                                        Senior pastor, Dr. Peter Whitelock, welcomed the congregation and
joined together to work on restoring a small
                                                  later preached the sermon. Dr. James Little, senior pastor from 1964 to
creek in Pleasant Hill.About fifty teenagers
                                                  1986, gave the invocation. Other former pastors participating in the
and their adult companions spent one of the
                                                  service were Dr. Clayton Cobb, the Rev. Jan Willette, the Rev. John
hottest days of the spring cutting down
                                                  Turpin, and Dr. Steve Wirth. In all, thirteen former pastors and nine
bamboo, pulling shopping carts out of the
                                                  wives of former pastors were in attendance. The LOPC Dance Choir, Bell
muck, and hauling trash and brush away
                                                  Choir and Children=s Choir, as well as an expanded Chancel Choir (all
from the creek bed.
     While this work coincided with Earth         former members were invited to participate) added to the anniversary
Day projects around the country, it had           celebration. The youth presented a time capsule to commemorate the
special significance for the participants as      event.
an expression of their faith. Episcopalians             On June 6, 1954, 133 founding members signed the charter. Thirteen
                                                  charter members who are still active in the congregation attended the
have a special reverence for Athis fragile
                                                  2004 service.
earth, our island home@ (Eucharistic Prayer
                                                        In the beginning, worship was held in the Park Theater. In 1958, the
C), one of God=s most special gifts. The
                                                  fellowship hall and education building were dedicated. The sanctuary was
young people who participated in Creek
                                                  completed in 1967. For the anniversary weekend, numerous potlucks were
Restore spent time reflecting on the day=s
                                                  held throughout Lamorinda. LOPC became known as the Apotluck
Gospel reading (Luke=s AGreat Catch of
                                                  church@ in its early days, since these dinners were a means to provide
Fish@) and ended the day celebrating
                                                  fellowship, share the faith and introduce the founding pastor, Carl
Eucharist around an altar built on a
                                                  Thomas.
wheelbarrow and decorated with a fishing
net and sea shells.
                                             passion, about the benefits from, and         Some of my friends thought I had
Chaplain=s                                   the virtues of, volunteer work (as       lost my mind when, even surprising
                                             House opposed to paid work during        myself, I said yes. AHow could you let
Corner                                       the summer B right, for money!) as a     that man talk you into working for no
This is a year of anniversaries. Very        leader in the Cameron House day          money? Are you crazy?@ I remember
special anniversaries!                       camp program in San Francisco.           one of my, what the kids now call,
     In the spring of 1969, the              Donaldina Cameron House is now the       Apartnas@ saying to me at the time.
Reverend Herbert Tweedie talked to           one-hundred-thirty-year-old              Jobs weren=t really that scarce that
me, at some length and with great            Presbyterian center in Chinatown.        summer, so why that?

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                       AMINISTERING TOGETHER@                            July/August
2004         2
      On the third Monday of June          too-distant cousin. When she decided         exceedingly and wonderfully pleasant,
1969, I walked, for the first time, down   not to return after one year as co-          story short, we did talk again, and
Clay Street from Powell Street. A          director, I was hired as director of the     again. God had caused our paths to
group of us had taken the cable car        program. I did that job for three more       cross for a reason. Several years
up the hill from Market Street.            years.                                       after that first awkward encounter, he
Halfway down the hill between Powell             On June 21st of this year, it will     and I, along with my wife and my
and Stockton Streets, directly             be thirty-five years since I began           attorney, appeared in Superior Court
opposite Commodore Stockton                working with kids. In the beginning, I       in San Mateo County. The judge
School, is Joice Street (then called       was five to ten or so years older than       asked maybe a half dozen questions
Joice Alley). We turned right on Joice     those with whom I worked. Now the            of us, and then having determined
Alley, walked the short block toward       difference in age is thirty (plus) to        that all was in order, he signed the
Sacramento Street. To our left, there      forty years!                                 adoption papers making Leland
it was, Cameron House, in all its                In September 1984, I was a             Johnson my son. Two or three years
splendor (?). I remember looking up        member of the faculty of Contra              later, the process was repeated with
and asking, AGod, what have you            Costa College. I earned my tenure            John. Same attorney, same court
gotten me into?@                           that year; could conceivably still be        house, different judge, same result.
      That summer, following leader        there nowY                                         Leland and John have five
training, I worked as a volunteer in             It was during the first few days of    children between them, three and two
the Cameron House Day Camp and             classes that fall semester of 1984 that      respectively. Leland=s eldest, my
in one of the several Cameron House        I ran across a shy, nearly eighteen-         oldest grandson, will enroll this fall as
Asatellite@ programs, based at the         year-old, recent Kennedy High School         a freshman at De La Salle.
Ingleside Presbyterian Church in the       (Richmond) graduate who had                        Twenty years have passed
southern part of San Francisco.            enrolled at the college. Having seen         rapidly.
When the summer program was over,          him a couple of times on the campus,               Last, certainly not least worthy of
I vowed never again to work with           I said hello to him one afternoon in         note and celebration, is a ten-year
these Arotten little kids@! Yet, after a   the college library. He was attending        anniversary. It is almost unbelievable
brief respite, when the telephone rang     to some business at the circulation          to me that on September 7, 2004, it
and the caller asked me to volunteer       desk. I was on my way out. I passed          will have been ten years since I came
to work in what was called the ABest-      him hoping to share some words of            to serve this remarkable ministry.
Day-of-the-Week@ program during            encouragement, as I commonly tried           What an absolutely extraordinary
the year, again I said yes.                to do with new students. As I passed         blessing the past thirty-five years
      More importantly, though, on the     and spoke to him, I put my hand on           have been. Truly, truly awesome. As
penultimate night of the summer            his shoulder. He froze. I actually           the kids would say, AHecka@
program, on an overnight camping trip      could feel a definite chill run through      awesome!
at Kirby Cove (now part of the Marin       his back.                                                       Rev. Charles Tinsley
Headlands Federal recreation area), I            AWow,@ I thought. AI=ll never do                   Juvenile Detention Chaplain
discerned the call, yes, THE CALL, to      that to him again. Somebody must
ordained ministry.                         have really done something to himYhe
      The following year, I was asked      seemed truly scared.@ Of course, I
to serve as co-director (for money!) of    never thought I would ever see him
the Ingleside program along with a         again, much less talk to him.
woman who turned out to be a not-                To make a very long, yet
                             YOUR WORDS from the Clergy of Contra Costa County
Imam Amer Araim,                           Him, AWe would aid our oppressed            Israeli conflict was also linked to the
Dar-ul-Islam Mosque, Concord               brother, but how could we aid an            same phenomenon. I wish to reiterate
Muslims believe in all the messengers      oppressor?@ He replied, ABy                 the fact that Arabs, who represent the
and prophets of Allah, with a special      preventing him from his oppression.@        center of the Islamic culture, are
emphasis on Noah, Abraham, Moses,              There is no doubt that Jesus            Semites. Therefore, they could not be
Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon          Christ suffered at the hands of the         anti-Semitic.
them. Muslims consider guilt as an         Roman and the Jewish leadership.                 Furthermore, throughout the
individual responsibility unless the       However, Allah informed us in the           history of the Islamic state, the Jews in
community as a whole fails to              Quran that Jesus was ascended to            the Muslim world were treated equally
renounce oppression or act to prevent      heaven. During the current debate on        and with respect. The Arab-Israeli
it.                                        the subject, I have been saddened to        conflict initially began after World War
     Prophet Muhammad said to his          hear some comments linking the              I when Britain promised the
companions, AGive aid to your brother      issues raised regarding the film, AThe      establishment of a homeland for the
whether he is oppressed or                 Passion of the Christ@ with questions       Jews in Palestine. Though Britain also
oppressor.@ His companions asked           of anti-Semitism, and that the Arab-        pledged that the interests of the

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                       AMINISTERING TOGETHER@                               July/August
2004         3
indigenous Palestinian people would         of the Palestinian people. They wonder      oppression against the Palestinians
be safeguarded, it allowed the Israelis     and ask the question, AWhy is               ends.
to expel the Palestinian people from        oppression allowed without effective             In this context, I would like to
their homes.                                action on behalf of the world               express my appreciation for Grace
     Now, fifty-six years after the         community to stop it?@ If two thousand      Presbyterian Church for inviting Father
establishment of the state of Israel on     years ago the world then accepted the       Elias Chacour, who is an eminent
the basis of the United Nations             principle of Amight is right,@ such a       religious leader from the Holy Land.
partition plan, unfortunately with the      principle could not be accepted today.           Finally, some may ask why I am
support of the United States                Instead, we should all work for peace       concentrating on Palestine while the
government, the Israeli government is       with justice. The Holy Land deserves        country where I was born is being
continuing in oppressing the                to be the focus of attention. All efforts   destroyed, including the scandal of the
Palestinian people, grabbing more           should be exerted to achieve the            abuse of Iraqi prisoners by United
Palestinian lands and refusing to allow     withdrawal of Israel from all the           States soldiers. My answer is that I am
the Palestinian refugees to return to       Palestinian and Arab lands occupied in      deeply concerned about what is going
their homes. Therefore, many Arabs,         1967, the return of the Palestinian         on in Iraq, and I have written and
both Muslims and Christians,                refugees to their homes, and that all       spoken about it. However, the key for
particularly the Palestinians, as well as   the states and peoples in the region        peace and justice in the entire Middle
men and women of conscience all over        live in peace with justice to all. The      East is by achieving peace and justice
the world, while seeing the film, AThe      Holy Land should be the center for          in Palestine.
Passion of the Christ,@ are reminded of     enlightenment to humanity, and that
the sufferings of both Jesus Christ and     would be achieved when the
Laura Barnes,                               Then there were the waves of gratitude      at the site, thanking God for abundant
Danville Congregational Church              and prayers of thanksgiving at each         grace and for life. We went to see the
Sometimes there are events in our           step of the processY                        car in the junkyard, completely
lives that overwhelm us and have a               The spiritual, APrecious Lord@         smashed up and totaled. Again,
profound effect on our lives. These are     continually ran through my head at the      prayers of gratitude filled my heart for
events which were not anticipated,          strangest moments. We were at the           the safe deliverance of the young
over which we have little control.          hospital bedside of one of the young        people who had been in that car. I also
These are events that can happen at         people on Saturday and I heard the          felt very, very tired and worn out.
any time and to any one of us or our        song begin: Precious Lord, take my               Now the work of reconstructing a
loved ones. This past weekend (May          hand, lead me on, help me stand.            sense of normalcy back into our lives
14), my son was in a terrible car           Mac=s friend was going to be all right.     begins. Having just experienced the
accident. All of the young people who       She just needed to stay and be              tenuous nature of everything around
were involved are fine. It was a            observed for a few days. God helped         us, knowing how little control we have
weekend filled with a wide range of         me stand at that young woman=s              over some of the things that happen to
emotions. I felt incredible relief in       bedside with my son.                        us, feeling vulnerable and fragile, we
finding out that Mac and his friends             Mac and I went to the accident site    move forward. Through the storm,
were all right. I was angry about some      together and talked about the choices       through the night, lead me on, to
of the choices that had been made by        he had made and the enormous                the light. Take my hand, precious
them. I had deep grief when I saw the       responsibility of driving a car. More       Lord, lead me home. We made it
smashed up car and realized what a          lyrics came to me. I am tired, I am         through this stormY
close call they all had in that event.      weak, I am worn. We prayed together

Rabbi Roberto Graetz,                       me a better rabbi, a better husband         necessarily on how they live their lives.
Temple Isaiah, Lafayette                    and a better father.                        But our tradition insists that one day
I am trying to live what I teach. As you         We all strive to be efficient all of   we will be questioned: AWhy did you
read this message, I will be in the         the time. We build our schedules and        not enjoy all of the permitted pleasures
midst of a little sabbatical leave from     our children=s schedules in a design        in your life?@ So, as summer
the congre-gation. Leading up to the        that pays attention mostly to the           approaches, maybe you can join me in
beginning of my break, I fell into a trap   attainment of goals. What=s the best        that search for balance that will again
of my own making. If I was going to be      move I can make to land the best job?       allow for the spontaneous in life.
away for a while, I needed to work          What=s the best route to get my kid to      Maybe we all need to learn to say
much harder than usual to justify my        the best college that will get them the     Ano@ to some demands made upon us,
leave. Thus, during March and April, I      best job?@ (By Abest@ always read           and just breathe a little easier, study
often found myself immersed in 15-          Ahighest-paying.@) If we take a step        for the fun of it, play ball not for the
hour work days. I had unlearned the         back, we can appreciate that all our        league championship but just because
ability to say Ano.@ So, one of the         pre-planning for our children=s future is   we love the game, and embrace life B
goals of my break is to figure out why I    driven by a desire to have them             not life=s tasks B more fully.
do that, and make some adjustments          succeed at what they do and not
on how I live my days that will make


Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                        AMINISTERING TOGETHER@                               July/August
2004         4
The Rev. Norm Luecke,                              Israeli theologian Martin Buber         the tawdry one.@
First Congregational Church,                 also opens our eyes to this truth: AThe            Listen to Frederick Buechner, a
Martinez                                     beating heart of the universe is holy         contemporary Protestant writer: AThe
Why is it so hard for us to be joyful? Is    joy.@ Look around and you=ll see how          world is full of suffering indeed, and to
it the pressures of life which give us no    the flowers, trees, squirrels and stars       turn our backs on it is to work a terrible
relief, or the suffering of the innocents,   all radiate joy in their being. The           unkindness maybe almost more on
or the rampant injustice in the world?       flowers give off a fragrance, the trees       ourselves than on the world. But life
Is it perhaps the fact that we don=t like    dance in the breeze, the squirrels            indeed is also to be enjoyed. I suggest
ourselves very much and always feel          perform acrobatics, and the stars             that may even be the whole point of it.
guilty? Or is it the fear that seizes us     twinkle with glee.                            I more than suspect that is why all the
when we think of tomorrow? Whatever                Whenever you see an image of            sons and daughters of god shouted for
keeps us from joyfully experiencing the      Buddha, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh            joy when God first brought it into
gift of life needs to be examined and        reminds us, he is always smiling. That        being.@
overcome. Here are some words of             smile reflects inner peace and joy.                Give yourself permission to be
wisdom from a variety of sources on                When he is about to leave his           dizzy with joy and thankful for all the
the importance of joy.                       disciples, Jesus tells them, AThese           blessings which abound in your days.
      AAlways remember,@ Rebbe               things have I spoken to you, that my          Give yourself permission to rejoice with
Nachman of Breslov, the Hasidic              joy may be in you and that your joy           others. As French Catholic novelist
teacher says, AJoy is not incidental to      may be full.@ What a beautiful legacy B       George Beranos writes, ATo find joy in
your spiritual quest. It is vital.@ So       passing on abundant joy.                      another=s joy, that is the secret of
cultivate it.                                      Julian of Norwich, a fourteenth-        happiness.@ Give yourself permission
      AWhy aren=t you dancing with joy       century English mystic, speaks across         to feel good about helping others. As
at this very moment? is the only             the ages: AThe fullness of joy is to          Mother Teresa of Calcutta, winner of
relevant spiritual question,@ Sufi seer      behold God in everything. Behold the          the Nobel Peace Prize, knew, AShe
Pir Vilayet Kahn tells us. AYour life is a   Divine Joy in the good and the bad,           gives most who gives with joy.@
glorious gift and you are loved by Lady      the just and the unjust, the past and
Wisdom.@                                     the future, the magnificent moment and
The Rev. George Mockel,                      circumstances, you get a kindly nod of        Aapathetic look.@ They may vaguely
St. Agnes Catholic Church,                   the head, perhaps a smile, and                see you, but what difference does it
Concord                                      sometimes even a greeting like: AGood         make? Then there are those who
As I was walking through the lobby of        morning@ or AGood afternoon,                  immediately want to let you know that
Mt. Diablo Hospital recently, I mused        Father.@ There are other looks that are       they Aused to be Catholic@ but they
to myself that wearing priestly garb         a little more difficult to figure out. They   are angry with the church because of
(the Roman collar) in public can be          may be intrigued: AYou actually do this       what ASister So-and-So@ did in the
interesting. (Sometimes I understate         for a living?@ Perplexed: AI wonder           third grade or what AFather What-cha-
for emphasis!!)                              what makes you tick.@ Some look right         ma-call-it@ said in high school.
      People respond to priestly garb in     through you as if you were an object
different ways. In the best of               rather than a person. Then there is the
      My reaction to these latter people     people, the reason has nothing to do          friendship, marriage and church
varies depending on the                      with ASister@ or AFather@ but, for            relationships endure because we
circumstances. Sometimes I guess             whatever reason, they cannot bring            acknowledge differences, express
just listening is about the best I can       themselves to acknowledge the real            disappointment, try to heal wounds,
do. Sometimes asking a few questions         reason why they are angry.                    and then move on.
they may not have considered is                    I have met a few priests or sisters          None of us is perfect B including
another approach. Sometimes, I must          who, from my point of view, just did not      priests. There is a little black folder on
confess, the situation is so bizarre that    measure up. You, no doubt, have as            my desk that I must open several
I take the more direct Ain your face@        well. But they never cost you or me our       times each day. In it are some words
approach. Then later, I wonder if I          beliefs. Probably because we                  of counsel from Blessed Teresa of
have now become the AFather What-            recognized them as members of the             Calcutta. AIt was to show his humility
cha-ma-call-it@ in some future               church but not the whole church.              that Christ chose you to be a priest.@
conversation they have with a priest. I            Yes, hurts are difficult things to           Part of the glory of our faith is the
hope not!                                    handle. But working out our differences       power to say: AI am sorry@ and AI
      It strikes me that for many of these   is even more important. Family,               forgive you.@

The Rev. David Sammons,                      On Memorial Day, Charlie Abrams, the          Plaza just completed at the corner of
Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist            Mayor of Walnut Creek, asked me to            Civic Drive and Broadway. I felt
Church, Walnut Creek                         bless the new Veterans Memorial               honored to be asked, but also


Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                          AMINISTERING TOGETHER@                                 July/August
2004         5
wondered whether or not I could say           have to decide whether I was willing to      Iraq is because it didn=t meet these
the right thing in that kind of setting. It   do that or not. I was too young for          criteria. I wonder if our government
turned out that not only was I able to        Korea, too old for Vietnam, just as my       would ever have initiated this war if the
do this, the others who spoke shared          father was too young for World War I         people who made the decision were
my point of view. As the artist who           and too old for the Second World War.        forced to lead their troops into battle,
designed the plaza put it, quoting            But if I had been called into service,       like a Roman general? Would they be
George Washington, the best way to            the only thing, in conscience, that          willing to ride through the streets of
honor those who have given their lives        would let me join in an action in which      Baghdad in a poorly-armored Humvee,
in defense of our country is to work for      people would be killed, would be to          as did the Northgate grad honored
a world in which people will no longer        stop aggression and lead toward              during the dedication of the plaza in
be asked to risk their lives in war.          peace. I=d be willing to give my life to     which I took part? During the
     Because of the happenstance of           save others, if it was the only way to       ceremony a vet said that to go into
when I was born, I have not been              do it.                                       battle is to be in constant fear. I wish
asked to risk my life in war B or to               The reason I opposed invading           our leaders could feel it.
The Rev. Eric Strom,                          laughing!@                                   to consider the question when faced
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church,                     This entertaining exercise was          with some dilemma or sticky issue.
Concord                                       strengthening his legs so he could row       What would Jesus do in this situation?
It was my freshman year in college. I         better. Clearly it would be an important     It=s a good exercise. No doubt anyone
was at Cal State Long Beach and my            thing to do, no matter how silly it may      who really worked on that would live a
roommate had decided to join the              look to someone else. What if he were        more 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
things and proceeded to jump up and           row at any other time? He wouldn=t be        situations is a little like trying to row
down in a very deliberate manner. With        very good, would he? No matter how           well in a meet without working out
his arms hanging at his sides and his         much he set his mind to it.                  regularly, trying to golf like Tiger
back as straight as he could keep it,              In recent years we=ve had a             Woods without ever going to a driving
he would squat low and jump straight          question running around the church,          range, or play cello like Yo Yo Ma
up. Quite honestly, it was really funny       AWhat would Jesus do?@ There have            without ever practicing scales. We=re
to watch.                                     been hats, bracelets, shirts, bumper         placing ourselves in a game without
     AWhat are you doing?@ I asked.           stickers, all with the letters AWWJD@        proper 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
     So what did Jesus do? He spent           spiritual disciplines. When our lives are    effort of will, because the foundation
lots of time in prayer. He got off to         soaked in the life-giving water of           for a Christian life is better laid.
quiet places by himself. He served            scripture and prayer, doing what Jesus       What=s 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 can do as a community and            standing in place B doing nothing!
Lafayette Christian Church                    something we can practice as                 Soak in the moon, the breeze; listen
It will soon be July, a month of time         individuals and families. We emphasize       for the crickets and a child playing
that we designate as Sabbath for our          worship during this month without any        down the street; breathe and allow
church community. During the month            Achurch business.@ We won=t make             God=s creation to fill you to the brim. It
of July, there will be no meetings, no        any decisions, plan or execute any           could be true that 45 minutes a day in
special programs, and no requests for         events . . . we will take breath . . . and   natural light, out under the sky, might
your time and talent. The month of July       allow God=s Spirit to fill us and have its   change the world. If we want peace in
has become a spiritual discipline for         way with us.                                 our world, that peace begins at home
our community.                                     YAllow July to take you outside to      and in our own hearts.
     We need to plan times of rest in         sit and wonder. Bring Sabbath moments
our lives. Fortunately, this is something     to your heart by stopping and sitting, or
The Rev. Tom Umholtz,                         even a Sikh. The group=s task was to         the group=s deliberations. He
Community Presbyterian Church,                design a cooperative strategy for            expressed his personal need to seek
Pittsburg                                     meeting the religious needs of a brand       God=s guidance in any situation that
I once served as Executive Secretary          new town of 25,000 people on the             required hard thought and careful
of an interfaith group that included a        edge of a university campus.                 decisions. He acknowledged that his
wild variety of Protestants as well as             At one of the first meetings, the       habit of praying in the name of Jesus
Roman Catholics, Jews, Muslims and            chair raised the question of prayer in       Christ might be inappropriate in a


Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                          AMINISTERING TOGETHER@                                  July/August
2004         6
 group such as this, and he asked         prayer and they came to an                  respect for one another=s faith by
 others what their thoughts were.         agreement: Prayer would be a part of        giving each other freedom to express
       The discussion was awkward at      each meeting. Each person would             that faith in full integrity, rather than by
 first. Everyone was bending over         have a turn at leading the prayers.         insisting that it becut and trimmed to fit
 backwards to make sure they did not      Each person would pray according to         our own convictions.
 offend anyone. But gradually each        the practices of his/her own faith.              Psalm 133 says: ABehold, how
 person said something about their             It was a good decision. It reflected   good and pleasant it is when people
 own personal needs in the area of        the fact that we show the greatest          dwell together in unity.@
 Congratulations
 #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 22 nd. 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.

 Transitions
 #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.@
                                          the list of 88 items: mental health,        O Garden Party & Auction Benefits
  Social Justice                          communicable diseases, hospital,
                                          clinics, singles shelter, George Miller
                                                                                      Homeless Summit
                                                                                       One of the Small Christian Community
  Alliance (SoJA)                         Center, and more.
                                               As this issue goes to press, we,
                                                                                      Groups from St. John Vianney Parish
                                                                                      donated the proceeds of its 2004
O County Budget Cuts
                                          along with County officials, await the      Annual White Elephant Sale, Auction
SOJA, I4C, and Homeless Summit
                                          arrival of the State budget and the         and Garden Party in June to the Home-
collaborated to speak on behalf of        County budget recommendations.              less Summit and Sophia House in
homeless families in Contra Costa              A few economic facts concerning        Chicago. The event was held at the
County the County Budget Hearings in      Homeless Family Shelters:The two            home of Janet and Morgan McQuiston
mid-June. We mailed, faxed, emailed,      County Family Shelters provide 55           in Walnut Creek. Other members of
and phoned Supervisors urging them to     beds. Operating expenses amount to          the Community who helped with the
continue funding the two county family    $640,000 per year, with I4C                 event are: Gloria Kosel, Mary
shelters CMt. View Shelter in Martinez    congregations providing most of the         Roberts, Masci Rodrigues, and
                                          meals and many supplies. The 2004           Phyllis Severa.
and the North Concord Shelter. We
                                          annual report is not out yet, but during         The Homeless Summit members
were present in the chambers and stood    the year ending June 30, 2003, 212          are grateful to this Community for kick-
when Rev. Brian Stein-Webber              homeless family members were served         ing off the fund raising season to
addressed the Board during the Budget     in the Family Shelters (85 adults and       benefit the Winter Nights Program,
Hearings for Health Services. Others      127 children C52% two-parent families,      which it plans to open in November.
who spoke in favor of keeping the         42% single female head of household,        The total amount of donated cash will
shelters open: Pat Snyder, District 2;    6% single male head of household)           be reported in the next issue of
                                                                                      Ministering Together.
Dorothy Vance, District 3; Natalie
                                                                                      O Homeless Summit Update
Russell and Tom Stucker, District 4;                                                   The next Homeless Summit meeting
Brian McCoy, District 5.                                                              will be Monday, August 2, at Temple
     In addition to the two family                                                    Isaiah in Lafayette.
shelters, other Health Services                                                            At the last meeting Detective
Department cuts and closures were on                                                  Leslie Warren discussed screening


 Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                      AMINISTERING TOGETHER@                                July/August
 2004         7
and answered questions about                   I4C is co-sponsoring the HOMELESS          ing taxpayers and what we could
screening volunteers and clients at the       FORUM on Friday, October 1, at Hill-        provide instead.
June Summit meeting. Planning strategy        crest Congregational Church, 404                 On June 20, 2004, it has cost us
for the County Budget Hearings                Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill. This forum     $118,775,650,254 as a country.
occupied the remaining time.                  will bring together government, faith,      Instead, we could have built 1,696,788
     The Business Plan Committee re-          business, non-profits, and service          additional housing units. . . we could
quested that the information needed           providers to work together to end           have fully funded global anti-hunger
from Winter Nights committees be              homelessness in Contra Costa                efforts for 4 years. . . we could have
submitted to Pat Snyder.                      County. Loaves and Fishes will provide      ensured that every child in the world
O Homeless Forum                              lunch. Please save the date. O Faithful     was given basic immunization for 39
                                              Citizenship                                 years. The War in Iraq has cost
                                               It=s time to plan for Voter Registration   Californians $13,634,460,000 . . .
                                              and Get Out the Vote drives.If your         instead, we could have insured
                                              congregation needs help and supplies,       5,844,128 children in California for one
                                              contact Gwen Watson 930-9965 or             year.
                                              the League of Women Voters of Diablo        O Rohr & the AThird Way@
                                              Valley, 283-2235. LWV also provides         Nevada Desert Experience will partner
                                              speakers on Pros & Cons of Ballot           with Richard Rohr, OFM, for a
                                              Measures. Some ballot measure               weekend of eco-spirituality and the
                                              issues: Stem Cell Research, SB 2            Athird way@ of nonviolence. Las
                                              Health Plan.                                Vegas, August 6-8.Registration before
                                              O Instead of War, We Could                  July 31 is $60; at the door, $80.
                                              Provide. . .                                Emerald Suites hotel room $69. For
                                               Check the website ACostOfWar.com@          brochures, call 925-930-9965 and
                                              to find out what the War in Iraq is cost-   leave your address on recorder.
 OSchool of Americas WatchThe first           OJust call me Donna                         disgust, anger, compassion,
meeting of this "season" to close the         Quixote:There is an opportunity to          disappointment, angst and more until I
School of the Americas (now officially        buy a fabulous building at an ideal site    feel overwhelmed with it all. Yet, I
called the Western Hemi-sphere                for transitional housing for the working    refuse to live in fear or to despair.
Institute of Security Co-operation or         poor. . If 15 - 30 congregations,                Maybe the tolerance of the status
WHISC) located at Fort Benning, GA.           Charities, businesses, corporations or      quo has reached its limit. Unrest
will be held on Monday evening, July 12       individuals invested in it,                 seems to be growing. When the
at 7:30, at St. Stephen Church, Walnut        we could provide transitional housing       unconscionable becomes ordinary,
Creek. Everyone interested is welcome         for up to 100 people (30 - 35 families)     people of conscience cry out, "No
in learning more about this U.S. training     as a step from homelessness to their        more!@ they think it through. They talk
school for terrorists which is supported      own affordable housing for a limited        to each other. They educate
                                              period of time per family. Any takers
by our tax money is welcome.        We will                                               themselves. They pray for guidance
                                              out there? Call the I4C Office to
discuss our role in large and small (but      indicate interest C                         and then they look within for direction.
important) ways to work on this vital                                                          Maybe the human family can come
mission as faith communities or as
                                              933-6030.   . . .on   a personal            together, share their vision and no
individuals to close this infamous            note                                        longer allow the disorder of our
school. We will discuss the rally and                        C from Natalie               common values to dominate us. There
vigil to be held on Nov, 19-21 at Ft.         RussellThe California Budget                is a Spirit among us, a Spirit of
Benning as well as how we can support          promises a crushing blow to our most       Wisdom, Enlightenment, Gentleness,
current legislation, HB1248, to cease          vulnerable brothers and sisters.           Compassion, Courage and above all,
funding it. Come and bring your                Globally, brutal and egregious acts are    Love that can overcome all else. I do
interested friends to this important           growing with a momentum that we can        believe in the power of love and that
meeting. As patriotic citizens we must         hardly stomach, and then another rolls     our collective love can overcome the
close this school this year! For further       in. Personally, my emotions are            chaos. Thanks for listening!
information check www.SOAW.org                 churning together with sadness,
T HANK YOU DONORS                             organizing work! (Please      Brian & Ann Blue
Below is a list of those who have given to    notify us of any errors or    Beverly Bortin
the GENERAL WORK of the Interfaith                                          Wilma Burleigh
                                              omissions.)                   Dolores Burris
Council since the beginning of 2004.          INDIVIDUAL                    Sharon Cartmill
Your generous contributions fuel our          CONTRIBUTORS                  Donald & Ginger Charles
                                              Hertha Basch                  Zoher & Constance Chiba
                                              Nancy Bell                    Tim & Susan Christoffersen


Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                           AMINISTERING TOGETHER@                            July/August
2004         8
William & Nora Church                     Eileen Peck                    Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
George & Rebecca Corrigan                 Greg & Laura Perloff           Grace Episcopal Church
Alma DeBisschop                           Clinton & Susan Phalen         Grace Presbyterian Church
Jacqueline DeGroot                        Nabil & Barbara Rageh          Hillcrest Congregational Church
Joel & Frances Dobin                      Sharon Randall                 Lafayette Christian Church
Ermina Dykstra                            Marlys Randick                 Lafayette U. Methodist Church
Ronald & Linda Elsdon                     Morris & Marjorie Richman      Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church
Martha & Thomas Engelbert                 The Rev. David Ross            Life Knowledge Center
Pat Evans                                 Anne & Bill Roth               Mt. Diablo Unit. Univ. Church
John & Mary Faust                         Leslie Rushing                 Peace Lutheran Church
Shirley Fluhrer                           Fred Seely                     St. Mark=s U. Methodist Church
Mara Flynn                                Roderick & Ollie Sharretts     St. Andrew=s Presbyterian Church
Hal & Betty Foster                        Dick & Lenita Shumaker         St. Mark=s Lutheran Church
John & Elizabeth Foster                   Paul & Janet Simons            St. Stephen=s Catholic Church
Theodor Fuller                            Nancy B. Smith                 San Ramon Valley U. Methodist Church
Glen & Peggy Gierke                       Pat Snyder                     Spirit of Hope Lutheran Church
Marilyn Goeller                           Jeffrey & Amy Soden            Unity Center of Walnut Creek
Frank & Madeline Gomes                    Brian & Mary Stein-Webber      Walnut Creek Stake of Church of JC/LDS
Minerva Queen Gonzales                    Rolf & Sherryl Stolz           Walnut Creek U. Methodist Church
Jean K. Graves                            Helen Tousignant
Martha & Thomas Green                     Dorothy Vance
Josh Gressel                              Donald & Millie Walker         VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
William & Henrietta Griffitts             Gwen Watson                     Crestwood Healing Center is looking for volunteers who
George Hake                               Debra Werner                   have a wide array of talents C walking, going out for
Jean & Richard Haddock                    Larry & Linda Wilson           meals, sewing, tutoring, pet therapy, or just talking.
Duane & Michelle Kuiper                   Susan C. Wood                  Crestwood offers a very diverse program focusing on
Richard Kurtz                             Valerie Zito                   each consumer=s individual needs. You have talents
Rillis Lauer                              Frances Zurilgen
                                                                         that could benefit many people in the Center. There is a
Gary & Joan Lawrence
Suzanne Lee                                                              screening process which includes a meeting with the
                                          CONREGATIONS
Delores Logue                             Bahai=s of Clayton             Healing Center staff, a life scan and participation in an
Ted & Barbara Lynch                       Baha=is of Orinda              orientation meeting. If interested, please contact Michael
Victoria MacDonald                        Buddha Gate Monastery          Cohen at 925-945-0432 or michael@mmcohen.com.
Rabbi Milton Matz                         Christ the King Catholic
Robert McDuff                             Church                         Kaiser Permanente Hospitals in Walnut Creek and
Harris & Mary Mc Naughton                 Church of Santa Maria          Martinez are seeking volunteers for their Spiritual Care
                                                                                                                 th
Regina Mc Grath                           Concord U. Methodist           program. Training will begin on July 12 . Positions may
Alan & Rowena Mc Gregor                   Church                         be day shift or on-call. Volunteers may visit patients in
Sigmund & Louise Milford                  Congregation B=nai Tikvah      the hospital or make hospice home visits. The most
Henry & Fereshteh Miller                  Dar-ul-Islam Mosque            important skills for prospective volunteers are a sense of
Virginia Millson                          First Lutheran Church,         compassion and an ongoing spiritual life. If interested,
Rick & Sandra Mitchell                    Concord                        contact Rev. Jurgen Schwing at 925-295-6259 or
Jack & Sumi Nakashima                     First Presbyterian Church,     JurgenSchwing@kp.org.
Frances Orput                             Concord
Aaron & Fran Paxson
CROP WALK                                 that 18% goes toward                Blessed to Be a Blessing
This year=s CROP Walk, sponsored          administrative costs.               The following poem was written by Harriet
by Church World Service, will be held          Your congregation or group     Stage in honor of the closing of Spirit of Hope
on Sunday, October 3. It will start at    is invited to participate in this   Lutheran Church in Concord:
the Walnut Creek Civic Park and follow    easy and rewarding event. The          Many years,
the Iron Horse Trail to Pleasant Hill     needs are greater than ever.           Blessed years
BART and back again. This is an easy      Contact Polly Smith-Telfer at          We=ve come to worship
4.2-mile walk.                            925-846-0200 or                        We=ve come to fellowship
      Last year=s walk brought in over    psmithtelfer@cbre.com.                 Some offer prayer
$18,000. Twenty-five percent of the                                              Some offer care
amount collected always stays locally.                                           Others sing heavenly
Meals on Wheels and STAND! Against                                               Others work continually
Domestic Abuse each received checks                                              Each brings a gift
for $2,312.63, as they were the local                                            Each one a lift
recipients last year. They will also                                             Some with laying on hands
divide the 25% local amount from this                                            Some with praying hands
year=s walk.                                                                     We were blessed
      The balance collected goes where                                           To be blessed
it is needed, anywhere in the world, as                                          Blessings ongoing
well as here in the United States. Less


Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                      AMINISTERING TOGETHER@                                 July/August
2004         9
    Blessings to Lutheran Social
    Services coming.                     Thank You!
(Lutheran Social Services of Northern    Special thanks to our
California will be moving their          volunteers who collated,
headquarters to the Spirit of Hope
campus in the immediate future.)
                                         folded and labeled the
                                         May-June newsletter. They
                                         are: Amer Araim, Vi
                                         Hassink, Darby Lockett,
                                         Dudley Lockett, Rick
                                         Mitchell, Betty Reineke,
                                         Dorothy Vance, Grey
                                         Whipple and Jean Witucki.


                                         In our cycle of prayer, we ask
                                         that you pray this month for:
                                         # Dar-ul-Islam Mosque,
                                         Concord
                                         # St. Timothy's Episcopal
                                         Church, Danville
                                         # Lafayette United
                                         Methodist Church
                                         # Shell Ridge Community
                                         Church, Walnut          Creek

                                         Also include in your prayers:
                                         # The homeless in our
                                         county
                                         # Peace in Iraq
                                         # Peace in Israel and
                                         Palestine
                                         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>
                                                                                          Executive Director.
          The Interfaith Council                                                          . . . Rev. Brian
                                                                                          Stein-Webber
        of Contra Costa County
                                                                                          Chaplain. . . . . . . . .
           1543 Sunnyvale Avenue
                                                                                          . . .Rev. Charles
        Walnut Creek CA 94597-1903                                                        Tinsley
                                                                                          Singing
Ministering Together is published nine times a                                            Messengers. .
year by the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa
                                                                                          Jackie Wan
County, a non-profit organization.                                                        Office Manager. . . .
                                                                                          . . Nora Chuch
All address changes and voluntary                                                         Editor. . . . . . . . . . . .
subscriptions should be sent to the above
                                                                                          . Lenita Shumaker
address.                                                                                  Layout. . . . . . . . . . .
                                                                                          . Beverly Bortin
Council President. . . . .Rev. Dr. David
Sammons



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2004         10
                Non-profit Org
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