September 04_ 2004 - Interfaith

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September 04_ 2004 - Interfaith Powered By Docstoc
					                             Ministering Together
                             The Interfaith Council
                                   of Contra Costa County
                                                        September 2004

        Coming Events
9/11 Observance                      Study. Starting times are 11:30        the
Saturday, September 11,               A.M., 3:00 P.M. and 7:15 P.M. Call     plan. The forum is free due to
12:00 to 1:00 P.M.                    925-837-6639 for registration          generous foundation support.
Walnut Creek Civic Park               information. Persons of all faiths         To register, contact
Corner of Civic and Broadway          welcome.                               SHELTER, Inc. at
The Interfaith Council and the                                               925-335-0698, X106 or
City of Walnut Creek once again       FaithWorks! Annual Plenary  
sponsor this gathering at the             Meeting
gazebo to commemorate and             Wednesday, September 29,               CROP Walk
explore the ongoing                   9:00 to 11:00 A.M.                     Sunday, October 3
ramifications of 9/11. Rep-           Location to be announced               Walnut Creek Civic Park to
resentatives of many faith            Come join the annual reporting         Pleasant Hill BART Station and
communities will speak, songs         session of this organization that      back
will be sung, prayers will be         links the faith and labor              Corner of Civic and Broadway
lifted. Call the office at            communities throughout the             Join Church World Service and
925-933-6030 for more informa-        county. If you are interested in       many of your friends to walk for
tion.                                 social equity, fair labor practices,   the hungry and needy. Proceeds
                                      the proposed county land trust,        are distributed both locally and
Spiritual Grounding                  and other such issues, plan on         internationally. Groups and
Thursday, September 16,               attending. Call 925-228-0191 for       individuals are welcome. For
9:30 A.M. to 12:00 noon               location information and               more information, contact Polly
San Damiano Retreat, Danville         directions.                            Smith-Telfer
All are invited to this regular                                              at 925-846-0200 or
Interfaith Council event that         Ending Homelessness , Not   
combines eclectic spiritual               Just Managing It
practices with discussion and a       Friday, October 1,
warm soup lunch. Call                 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.
925-837-9141 for directions.          Hillcrest Congregational Church,
                                      404 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill
Pathways in the Bible:               The Contra Costa County
    Genesis                           Homeless Continuum of Care
    An Interfaith Bible Study         Board has recently adopted a
Starting Thursday, September          countywide plan to end
23                                    homelessness in ten years. This          National Day of Prayer for
The Christian Science Reading         forum will bring the community              Mental Illness,
Room                                  together to learn each of our          Tuesday, October 5
411 Hartz Ave., Danville              roles toward implementation of         Wherever you are join the
Alma Gardner, Adjunct Faculty                                                National Association for Mental
at Pacific School of Religion, will                                          Illness in praying for those with
present three concurrent                                                     mental health issues and the
ten-week sessions of this Bible                                              ability of our society to help and

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                MINISTERING TOGETHER                   September 2004
support them. Learn more at

The Secret Life of Bees, a
Saturday, October 9,
10:00 A.M. to 12:00 noon
Hillcrest Congregational Church
404 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill
Pastor Laurie Manning will
facilitate discussion of this
provocative novel by Su Monk
Kidd set during the Civil Rights
Act of 1964. Potential topics
include the divine feminine,
spiritual community, bees as
teachers, racism and sexism
and healing and forgiveness.
For more information, call
Maureen Allison, at

Peace in the Family and
Local            Community,
Sunday, October 17, 2:00-5:00
Christ the King Catholic Church.
199 Brandon Road, Pleasant Hill
Come to hear speakers of three
different faith traditions speak
about practices and scriptures
that encourage peace. You will
receive blessing, understanding
and inspiration.
    Thich Nhat Hahn said,
AWhere there is compassion,
there is understanding. And
where there is understanding,
there are no enemies.@
    Registration of $5.00 will be
collected at the door. Call
925-933-6030 to reserve a

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa   MINISTERING TOGETHER   September 2004
Dear friends,
   The homeless shelters of the county are at the top of our agenda again this month. I ask your
kind attention to both Part I and Part II of this letter.

PART I:                                             county staff have been instructed to make their
The County Supervisors, as was expected, were       selection(s) by August 31.
required by financial exigency to accept all            Meanwhile, the Task Force is initiating its
proposed cuts to the Health Services budget as      broader appeal for donations. If you would like
of July 1. However, the three central county        someone to give a presentation about the need
homeless shelters in Concord and Martinez, one      to your congregation or organization, please
for singles, two for families were given a          contact Tom Conrad at 925-932-4935.
three-month extension of funding. This was a
sacrificial gesture from a budgetary standpoint,    PART II:
and we were grateful. During the term of that       The Council=s Executive Committee also gave
extension, efforts were to be made to find a        the green light for the Homeless Summit to
provider or providers who could continue            make another application to use the old Orinda
operating the shelters.                             library for a temporary Winter Nights shelter this
    While those efforts were initially underway,    cold season. As it turns out, that building,
many interested persons, under the leadership       though planned for senior housing in the future,
of the Interfaith Council and Shelter, Inc.,        will still be vacant come November.
convened an emergency Task Force to Save                We learned many things from last year=s
the Family Shelters. It was our thinking that       traumatic process. For one thing, this time the
such a consortium might have a chance to            Homeless Summit will host its own series of
assemble $650,000 of annual funding for the         town meetings to hear citizen concerns and to
family shelters, but would have a much harder       incorporate them as much as possible into the
time being able to cover costs for the single       program=s business plans, rules and
shelter as well.                                    regulations.
    At the first meeting, Cynthia Belon and             The first meeting is scheduled for Tuesday,
Wendell Brunner, county staff, agreed that their    September 21, starting at 7:00 P.M. at Orinda
offices would advocate for the adult shelter. The   Community Church (10 Irwin Way). The next
Task Force has had four meetings by now, and        meetings will be on the succeeding Tuesday
is well on its way to finding the necessary         nights, again at 7:00 P.M., at two other venues.
funding.                                            Watch for further details.
    In one fell swoop, the First Five Commission        We will also be starting out with much more
(recipients of tobacco tax money) has issued a      detailed plans that reflect some of the
two-to- one challenge grant of up to $335,000.      discussions of last January. We will be
SHELTER, Inc. raised $17,000 at a golf              convening some preliminary meetings with
tournament. Realtors on the Move has chipped        important supporters and organized groups. We
in $1,200 in an on-the-spot meeting. Sub-           will be in contact with local businesses and the
committees are exploring a general appeal,          adjacent preschool and the senior housing
foundation funding, large donors and other          complex. AND we are receiving some very
government funding. The goal is within reach.       gracious and competent legal help from some
    Right now, we are waiting to hear whom the      dedicated attorneys at Morrison and Foerster,
County will choose to operate the shelters on       who will assist us in not running afoul of legal or
what basis. The Bay Area Rescue Mission is one      procedural guidelines.
of the organizations in the conversation. The

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa            MINISTERING TOGETHER                September 2004
    We know that the thought of a temporary
shelter for families and elders in the middle of
Orinda causes some trepidation. But we still
believe that such a facility could be a
tremendous boon to the persons who are served
as well as a source of great civic pride for the
city and its citizens. Yes, this is a one-time shot,
since the library will have been sold, torn down
and parceled come the next winter.
    But by that time, we hope that another city
will be willing to take up the cause of shelter
placement and community acceptance within
their own borders. We are hoping to initiate, if
you will, an annual rotating shelter among cities,
reminiscent of the former shelter that rotated
weekly among various congregations.
    For the Winter Nights shelter, we plan not to
need hundreds of thousands of dollars. We will
be relying substantially on volunteer help.
Nevertheless, your generous donations will be
warmly received and used.
    We will shortly initiate a new website,
<> which will provide timely
information about the developing plans and
information about giving support to the effort.
    With you in caring for those in unfortunate

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa               MINISTERING TOGETHER   September 2004
Chaplain=s                                           speech!@ His talk brought tears to the eyes of
                                                     the many, including the principal, the
Corner                                               superintendent and the mayor.
                                                           Mere days after my return, I attended
This message comes to you from                       graduations at both Deer Valley and Antioch
Cloud Nine. Cloud Nine is indeed where I find        high schools. Six of the seven hundred or so
myself after having the distinct honor and           graduates at Deer Valley were kids I worked
privilege to attend five high school graduations     with while they were in the system. Several
in a matter of two weeks. Although this is written   others were the girlfriends of young men I have
in June, and you shall not read this until late      known in the hall and the ranch. Before going to
August or September, I hope to still be under        Antioch High School, I stopped at the home of
the influence of this wonderfully natural high!      one of the graduates where I was invited to
      The first graduation took place at the         open the after-graduation gathering with prayer.
Martinez Adult School. The kid there had             By the time I got to the commencement at
earned his GED at the Orin Allen facility in         Antioch High School, I was forced to park almost
Byron last year. Upon release from that              a mile away from the school. The walk was
program, this determined eighteen-year-old told      worth it; I was able to witness another so-called
me he wanted to complete his high school             at-risk kid walk across the stage.
diploma. Despite not knowing the whereabouts               I was honored to speak at the high school
of his parents, and having to ride the bus from      graduation at the Orin Allen facility in Byron.
Richmond to Martinez daily for several months,       Usually no more than one or two kids earn high
he completed the requirements for his diploma.       school diplomas each year while in custody at
He plans to attend Butte College this fall.          that facility. This year six young men received
      When the Martinez ceremony concluded, I        their high school diplomas during a ceremony,
rushed to the Oakland airport where I boarded a      and those earning the GED and other awards
flight to Dayton, Ohio. The next evening, in my      were also recognized.
hometown of Richmond, Indiana, I attended the              Join me in wishing the very best for and
Richmond Adult School graduation. The                praying for all these special young people.
youngest child of one of my cousins finally earn-    They accomplished something few thought they
ed his diploma (he will be twenty-four years old     would or could accomplish. Amen.
in August). This young man had his share of                          Rev. Charles Tinsley
difficulties during and after his high school                        Juvenile Detention Chaplain
years. He had called me to ask if he should
accept his classmates= nomination to speak
during the ceremony. My response was simple
and to the point: AGetin gear and prepare that

Congratulations and Best Wishes to the following:
Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP) which, according to a report in the newsletter of the
El Cerrito United Methodist Church, will begin construction soon on its family shelter building. The
permit has been approved and the state of California has provided a grant of $1 million.
Harvest Church of Concord and its pastor, Richard Terherst, in getting approval from the
Concord City Council to convert the Capri Theatre into its place of worship. This matter has taken
many years to resolve, and the Interfaith Council is pleased and assured that Harvest Church will
continue to be a blessing to the citizens of Concord and Contra Costa County.

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa              MINISTERING TOGETHER              September 2004
Loaves and Fishes on the opening in April of the Antioch Dining Room, their fifth site in the county.
Eighty meals a day are being served from the United Pentecostal Church of Antioch.

Singing Messengers
The Singing Messengers (I4C=s outreach choir to nursing homes) is privileged and happy to
welcome Scott Schrader and his beautiful baritone voice as a member of our group.
       Scott attended the Conservatory of Music at the University of the Pacific for two years and
studied voice for seven years. As the Assistant Choir Director at the Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist
Church in Walnut Creek , he occasionally leads hymn hymn sings at church and at some assisted
living facilities.
      Scott=s talents are many: playing the piano, and guitar, writing music, and occasionally repairing
pianos at local nursing homes. He performs for various groups. We hope to enjoy his beautiful solo
voice long into the future.

                 YOUR WORDS from the Clergy of Contra Costa County
Abridged editorial, One Country, newsletter of the Baha=i International Community
A growing number of people all           ACultural common sense          of diminishing returns,@ writes
over the world believe that         leads many to believe that the       Dr. Karlberg. AAdversarial
powerful global forces have ig-     best way to organize every           strategies legitimate the
nored the well-being of average     social institution is in the form of assumptions regarding human
citizens in favor of big busi-      a contest,@ notes Michael            nature and social organization
nesses, transnational corpora-      Karlberg of Western Wash-            that sustain the tripartite
tions, governmental elites, war     ington University. AParad-           system. When social activists
machines, ecological                oxically, it also leads many to      engage in partisan political
destruction, and other evils.       believe that the best way to         organizing, they legitimate the
They see their governments as       reform those institutions is         contest models of governance
failing, their livelihoods and ways through protest and other            that keep them at a perpetual
of life threatened, andY            adversarial strategies of social     disadvantage. Likewise, when
evidence of social injusticeY       change. Protests, demonstra-         social activists engage in
     There is much debate about     tions, partisan organizing,          litigation, they legitimate the ad-
the best way to move forward.       litigation, strikes, and other       versarial systems of jurispru-
While some advocate the slow        oppositional strategies are          dence that keep them at a
route of pursuing reforms within    standard methods for pursuing        perpetual disadvantage. Even
existing legal or administrative    social change. In more extreme       street protests, demonstrations,
avenues, others favor direct        cases, violence and terrorism        and acts of civil disobedience
action as a faster, more efficient  are also employed.@                  legitimate the underlying
way to remedy social ills.               Underlying the various para-    assumption that contest and
     Naomi Klein (one of the most   digms encompassed by this ap-        opposition are necessary forms
vocal spokespersons for the         proach is a long-standing            of social interaction.@Y
anti-globalization movement)        conviction that attacks on the            For Baha=is, conflicts can
argues that Aa new culture of       Aother@ Bwhether governments,        best be resolved--and social
vibrant direct democracy is         corporations, or institutionsBare    transformation accomplished--
emerging, one that is fueled and    the most effective means for         through a new paradigm of unity
strengthened by direct              accelerating change in societyY      and cooperation based on the
participation, not dampened and          AIf [adversarial strategies]    recognition of humanity=s
discouraged by passive              were viable in the past, they now    underlying oneness. It is a vi-
spectatorshipY@(continued page 4)   appear to have reached a point       sion of human unity that also

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa               MINISTERING TOGETHER                  September 2004
stresses the importance of          defectiveness to the zenith of             In the end, then, the
humanity=s spiritual natureY        rightness and perfection.              temporary overlapping of
     The Baha=i view of change      Rather, qualified individuals          individualistic agendas or
as organic in nature provides a     must strive by day and by night,       ephemeral political alliances
perspective that allows the com-    using all those means which will       common to most protest move-
munity to pursue it through         conduce to progress, until the         ments cannot lead to lasting
established, lawful channels.       government and the people              change. If, however, change
Just as a human being must          develop along every line from          springs from a conviction that
traverse numerous stages from       day to day and even from mom-          humanity is one, and that both
infancy to adulthood, the political ent to moment,@ according to           individuals and institutions play
world Acannot instantaneously       >Abdu=l-BahaY                          reciprocal roles in serving
evolve from the nadir of                                                   humanity, then it will endure.
Ven. Jian Hu, Chung Tai Zen Center in Sunnyvale
Q: What is the main teaching in     to Ayou,@ or that I expect some       open the gate to our true nature
the Diamond Sutra?                  token of appreciation or              and lead to liberation.
A: The Diamond Sutra is one of      recognition in return, then the           Furthermore, because we
the most profound and popular       blessing we receive from this         give with a mind that is
scriptures in Mahayana              good karma is limited and             immeasurable, so the merits are
Buddhism. It is one of the          impermanent.                          also immeasurable.
prajna paramita scriptures, or           However, if we give without          A famous passage from the
Perfection of Transcendental        the concept of Aself@ or              Diamond Sutra is:
Wisdom. It speaks of the            Aothers,@ simply giving because          All conditioned phenomena
ultimate reality and how this       it is needed, with no ego                Are like dreams, illusions,
reality is not separate from our    involved, then this ordinary act               bubbles, and shadows;
everyday life.                      is transcended into an act of            Like the morning dew or
     For example, charity is a      prajna paramita, an act of wis-           flashes of lightning
good deed, but if we give with      dom and compassion that will             Thus we shall perceive them.
the idea that AI@ am being kind
 Rev. Jane Holt, The Center for Positive Living, Concord
Sometimes the most difficult part   so B as already complete in          belief B and only delays or stops
of being a Religious Scientist is   Spirit; then it has no choice but    our good from appearing. An
living through that period of       to show up as an outer               attitude of expectancy, however, is
earthly time between our            demonstration because the Law        an entirely different thing and acts
spiritual mind treatment work       which brings about our word is       as a magnet to our good.
(affirmative prayer) and its outer  automatic.                                So if or when you find yourself
demonstration in the physical.           Our job is to claim our good    wondering when your
There is often the tendency to      through spiritual mind treatment,    demonstration is going to show
feel impatient B to keep looking    to keep our attention on that        up, treat until you feel yourself one
to see where Ait@ is B to keep      good, and to trust God/Law to        with what you are claiming; until
waiting and wondering how long      bring it into form. Part of that     you are so convinced that your
it will take to get here.           trust includes listening within to   word is complete in Spirit that you
     While this can be a common     follow any intuitive direction we    can let it go and get on about your
reaction, we must remember          receive. Aside from this, the        life, trusting that in the perfect
we=re dealing with Spirit and       period of earthly time between       timing and under the perfect
Law. Our work (treatment,           our treatment and the result         conditions you will see in your
directed thought) is done at the    showing up is none of our            outer world what you know as
level of the invisible that knows   business.                            already so in Spirit.
no time or space. When we                Continuously looking for the
know, in the here and now, the      results to appear and/or
Truth of our treatment for          wondering if they=ll show up
ourselves or others, we feel it as  displays a lack of trust B a non-

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa               MINISTERING TOGETHER                  September 2004
The Rev. Tim Mooney, Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church
I received a call asking me if I     that I could not go with the same get out in an hour!@ We
would be the designated pray-er      resistance. Even before I got          laughed. But as the meeting
for that evening=s Presbytery        there I found myself praying,          resumed, and the next agenda
meeting.                             asking that God=s Spirit would         item droned on and on, my pray-
     ASure,@ I said. AWhat do I      enliven, guide, and be present         er deepened to hold the com-
do?@                                 with the gathered body of              munity no matter how long the
     AAt the beginning of            diverse Presbyterians.                 meeting went or whether I heard
Presbytery, come to the pulpit,            As the meeting began I           joy or conflict in what was said. I
and the Moderator will drape a       found myself still hearing and         found I could now both pray and
stole over your neck, [you] then     following the course of the            follow the agenda at the same
return to your seat and pray for     agenda, but soon the specifics         time.
the meeting until we=re              faded into the background, and              After the Calvary choir sang
through.@                            a sense of the spirit of the           a beautiful rendition of
     AGreat,@ I thought. AI won=t meeting came into focus. I felt           APrecious Lord@ as our closing
have to pay attention to any of      called simply to hold the body in      prayer, I stopped praying,
the budget stuff.@                   prayer, hold it in the light of        removed the stole from around
     But as I drove into the city to God=s grace, as one agenda             my neck, and immediately knew
Calvary Presbyterian Church on       item faded into the next.              that I would never attend a
Fillmore Street, I noticed a large         To everyone=s surprise, the      Presbytery meeting, or any
attitude adjustment happening        meeting was flying by and we           meeting..., without remembering
within me. I=ll admit I              were way ahead of docket, a            what a difference it makes to be
sometimes resist going to Pres-      rare thingY at San Francisco           one who prays for the meeting
bytery meetings. Too often they      Presbytery meetings! So we             rather than one who simply
get off track, blow up over the      sang two hymns and took a              attends a meeting. I invite you
least little thing, or pass over     break. During the break I told         to do the same.
significant things without a         the Stated Clerk, AMy prayers
thought. But as the one called       are working! I must try this for
to pray for the meeting, I found     our Session meetings! We=ll
Imam Dr. Amer Araim, Dar-ul-Islam Mosque, Concord
The Disgraceful and Shameful Attacks Against Christianity in Iraq
As a Muslim imam and represen-         negative image about the                responsibility of the authorities
tative of the Muslim community to      relations between Muslims and           (particularly the religious
the Interfaith Council, I wish to      Christians, despite the fact that       authorities) as well as the people
express my profound sorrow and         these communities have always           in general to vehemently
dismay at the attacks against          lived in peace and harmony in           condemn what happened, and to
churches in Baghdad and Mosul          Iraq. Though the identity of the        take action to prevent its rep-
in Iraq. Such action cast a            perpetrators is not known, it is the etition.
     The tradition of Prophet Mu-           Iraqi Christians inside Iraq are on different television shows
hammad called for harmonious           an integral part of the Iraqi           opposing the war, and partici-
relations with people of the           people, and their huge                  pated in collecting assistance to
Scripture. The Prophet said,           contribution to society is widely       the Iraqi people. He helped an
AWhoever has animosity against         recognized. Iraqi-American              Iraqi family who came to our
a dhimi (non-Muslim living in a        Christians continue to maintain         area because their child was hit
Muslim country) has animosity          contacts with their relatives in Iraq by shrapnel in the war.
against me.@ The same saying           as well as with Iraqi Muslims in            The majority of Christians in
was narrated by using the term         the United States. They raised          America opposed the war. A big
mutahid, which connotes people         their voices against the Iraq War.      demonstration by almost five
of the Scripture having a cov-          I recall the efforts of an             hundred clergy and other church
enant with the Muslims.                American-Iraqi Christian friend         workers crossed the Golden
                                       living in our area. He appeared         Gate Bridge in San Francisco,

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                 MINISTERING TOGETHER                   September 2004
saying very loudly, ANo to the       to Iraq. Other churches invited          Statements by the Muslim
War Against Iraq!: The media in      me to speak to them about Islam       leadership in Iraq B both Sunni
the Bay Area broadcast the           and the plight of the peoples of      and Shiite B in condemning
event. Many churches in their        Iraq and Palestine. Many Christ-      these attacks against churches
services on Sunday urged the         ian friends continue to contact       are important and highly
worshipers to pray for peace in      me, asking if I have received         appreciated. What is needed
Iraq and to raise their voices       news from my family and friends       now is a campaign to encourage
against the war. After the war       in Iraq. After the scandal in Abu     mutual respect and under-
began, churches contacted me to      Ghraib prison, many Christian         standing between all
arrange a project to help Iraqi      friends contacted me to express       communities in Iraq, with special
children. Many churches and          theirdeep regret for the immoral      emphasis on the inviolability of
mosques cooperated and col-          actions taken against Iraqi prison-   places of worship.
lected seven thousand school         ers.
and health kits, which were sent
Mary Alice O=Connor, Minister at Large, Unity of the Spirit, Orinda
Proposed Department of Peace
I hope that the idea of a           domestic and international use.        ! Endeavor to promote justice
Department of Peace in our          From international conflicts to do-    and democratic principles to
government excites you as much      mestic issues such as gang,            expand human rights.
as it does me. If we get enough     school and domestic violence,          ! Strengthen non-military
congressional co-signers            the Department of Peace would          means of peacemaking.
nationwide, peace can be part of    systematically root out the            ! Work to create peace, prevent
the ongoing discussion of every     underlying causes of violence in       violence, divert from armed
cabinet level government            our culture.                           conflict, use field-tested
meeting. If your congregation is         We believe the Department of      programs, and develop new
in Congresswoman Tauscher=s         Peace is worthy of our collective      structures in nonviolent
district and you wish to collect    support. Over the course of            intervention, mediation, and
signatures, use contact infor-      history, people have dreamed of        peaceful resolution of conflict.
mation below. If you want           peace, but we never had a              ! Encourage the development
someone to come and present         broad-reaching, well-funded,           of initiatives from local
the Department of Peace Idea to     systemic structure to help make it     communities, religious groups
your congregation, please let me    a reality. Now is the time that we     and nongovernmental
know.                               as a nation must cultivate a real      organizations.
    The Department of Peace         and lasting peace. The conse-          ! Develop new programs that
(HR 1673) was introduced into       quences of not doing so are            relate to the societal challenges
the House of Representatives by     almost too difficult to imagine.       of school violence, guns, racial or
Congressman Dennis Kucinich         The Department of Peace                ethnic violence, violence against
and currently has 49                legislation provides substance         gays and lesbians, and police-
congressional co-sponsors. Rep. and meaning to the political               community relations disputes.
George Miller has signed the bill,  yearnings of our generation.               Call Jeanelyse Doran at the
but Rep. Ellen Tauscher has not.         The Mission of the Depart-        Mt. Diablo Peace Center (925-
The bill establishes nonviolence    ment of Peace is:                      933-7850) or Mary Alice
as an organizing principle of       ! Hold peace as an organizing          O=Connor (925-937-1636) for
American society, providing the     principle in our society.              petitions to send to Rep. Tausch-
U.S. President with an array of                                            er.
peace-building policy options for
The Rev. Valerie Valle, St. Alban=s Episcopal Church, Brentwood
AGod Willing@
How many times have you heard       they really mean it? Let me tell
someone say AGod willing?@          you a story I once heard.
How many times do you think

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa               MINISTERING TOGETHER                   September 2004
     Years ago there was a Rabbi            Since only God knows what      for the newsletter. I can make
who lived in a repressive country. will happen in our lives, it makes      plans to meet someone, but only if
 Every day he would leave his          sense, whenever we make a           I don=t have a seizure, so I add
home, walk across the square           plan, whenever we say we will do    AGod willing.@ I can intend to
and go to the synagogue. Every         something, to say with conviction, come to church, but if the morning
one in the town knew of his daily      AGod willing.@ But most of us       is difficult, I won=t show up. So if
walk across the square. One day forget and think we are in charge          someone says they will see me at
a soldier who wanted to give him       of what we are going to do.         church, I respond AGod willing.@
a hard time stopped him and                 One of the gifts of my illness As I have been working with the
asked him where he was going.          is that I really mean it when I say medication, my seizure episodes
His response was AOnly God             AGod willing.@ You see, my          are less often, and AGod willing,@
knows.@ The soldier said, AWhat problem is a mild seizure                  my current medication will elim-
do you mean? Everyone knows            disorder. I don=t lose              inate them completely.
that every morning you cross this      consciousnessYbut when I am             I hope I will keep the sense
square and go to the synagogue.        having a seizure, I am unable to    that all my plans, all my intentions,
 Now tell me, where are you            do anything else. These episodes are AGod willing.@ Only God
going?@ Once again the Rabbi           are absolutely unpredictable.       knows what will happen to each
answered, AOnly God knows.@            Sometimes they are in the           and every one of us today or in the
This irritated the soldier, for he     morning, sometimes in the           next few minutes. Y I hope to see
felt that the Rabbi was being          afternoon, sometimes in the         you at church, AGod willing.@
disrespectful, so he arrested him      evening. They happen when I          Note: Rev. Valle=s seizures are
and took him to jail. The Rabbi        am under stress, and when I am      currently under control, and she
just looked at the soldier and         on vacation. Between the            intends to return full-time to work
said, ASee, I got up this morning      seizures I feel perfectly fine. I   on September.
and thought I was going to the         can talk on the phone, I can do
synagogue, but you can see that        the laundry, I can discuss how to
I am here in jail. Only God knows develop our Sunday School
what will happen.@                     program, and I can write a letter
Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility
     (Father Brian Joyce of Christ the King Catholic Church in Pleasant Hill selected the following highlights
     from the recent statement by the U.S. Bishops.)
A Catholic moral framework does whether they protect the poor and               Politics in this election year
not easily fit the ideologies of       vulnerable and advance the          and beyond should be about an
Aright@ or Aleft,@ or the platforms    common good                        old idea with new power B the
of any party. Our values are                Politics cannot be merely      common good. The central
often not Apolitically correct.@       about ideological conflict, the     question should not be, AAre you
Believers are called to be a           search for partisan advantage, or   better off than you were four
community of conscience within         political contributions. It should  years ago?@ It should be, AHow
the larger society and to test         be about fundamental moral          can >we= B all of us, especially
public life by the values of Scrip-    choices. How do we protect          the weak and vulnerable B be
ture and the principles of Catholic human life and dignity? How do         better off in the years ahead?
social teaching. Our re-               we fairly share the blessings and   How can we protect and promote
sponsibility is to measure all         burdens of the challenges we        human life and dignity? How can
candidates, policies, parties, and     face? What kind of nation do we     we pursue greater justice and
platforms by how they protect or       want to be? What kind of world      peace?@
undermine the life, dignity, and       do we want to shape?...
rights of the human person,

National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding -

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                MINISTERING TOGETHER                   September 2004
        October 5, 2004
All people of faith are urged to participate in the        The prayers and actions of faith communities
National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery     and secular organizations (e.g. NAMI, NMHA,
and Understanding: God's Ministry for Mental Well-     DBSA, OCF, ADAA, etc.) are needed to restore
ness, on October 5, 2004.                              mental wellness in America. We all need each
     Because millions of Americans have a mental       other. A single branch is broken easily, but many
illness and are in need of love, prayers, and          branches bound together have great strength.
actions, all people of faith are asked to be "seed         Prayer works. We all will benefit from prayer,
planters." We ask individuals and committees           whether or not we have a mental illness. Observing
within congregations and mental health networks to     this day of prayer will remind our nation that we
spread the word so that all in their community may     serve a God who is available and loving. The faith
recognize and prepare for this day. Individual pray-   community is called on to replace misinformation,
ers, notices in faith bulletins, inclusion in Mental   blame, fear, and prejudice with truth and love,
Illness Awareness Week activities, media articles      which will open doors to recovery and
about mental health and recovery, web page             understanding. Prayer is the first step. With God's
notices with links to mental health information, and   help, what initially might seem impossible is
inclusion in community calendars are examples of       possible.
what will make this day a success.

                                 Social Justice Alliance Page
#Care Collaborative program works to provide           LWVwill provide nonpartisan speakers on the
housing for emancipated foster care youth. 150         Pros & Cons of the State Ballot Measures. Call
leave foster care each year. Half of those are         947-0755 to arrange for a presentation. To
expected to be homeless in two years.                  educate your congregation about the health care
                                                       crisis and Proposition 72 on the ballot, contact
What can faith congregations do to help this 
  (1) Invite a resident or recent graduate to           Volunteer: The County Elections
speak on the subject of homeless youth. The            Department is short of poll workers and sites
Speakers       Bureau number is 925-957-2418.          for Election Day, November 2. They even offer
  (2) Help find housing near transportation and        half-day opportunities for poll workers. Call (925)
a community college, or a landlord willing to          646-4163 to offer your services. (Poll workers
work with the Care Collaborative. Contact:             are paid a stipend.)
Ruben          Garza at 825-8550.
                                                       #Winter Nights
#Promote Good Citizenship                              As fall approaches, the pace of preparing for the
 Register to Vote: Congregations are urged to         Winter Nights program will quicken. The Home-
hold voter registration drives. Materials and brief    less Summit has met monthly since January,
training can be obtained from the League of            and its membership continues to grow.
Women Voters of Diablo Valley, 500 St. Mary=s          September will be a key time to finalize plans for
Road #14, 283-2235 or Gwen Watson, 930-                a night shelter for homeless families and frail
9965.                                                  elderly this winter.
The LWV will be registering voters at many area              The Mission Commission of the First
Safeway stores until midnight on the last day to       Presbyterian Church of Concord granted Winter
register, October 18.                                  Nights over $3,000 to help support the shelter
                                                       this winter. St. John Vianney=s Small Church
Learn about the Issues: Invite speakers to            Community contributed $950. The next
meetings at your congregations in October. The         meeting is Monday, September 13, 9:00 A.M.,

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa               MINISTERING TOGETHER                September 2004
at St. Monica=s Parish, 1001 Camino Pablo at            #It Shouldn't Hurt to be a Kid
Canyon Road in Moraga. ALL WELCOME.                     The Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra
How On Earth Do I Make Peace On Earth?                  Costa County believes that every child should
On Monday, September 20, 7:00 P.M. Christ the           be protected from abuse and mal-treatment. Our
King Adult Education Committee will host Tom            agency's Community Education Program
Gumbleton, Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of           conducts free child abuse prevention
Detroit and world-renowned peacemaker, for a            presentations and Mandated Reporting Work-
talk entitled AHow on Earth Do I Make Peace             shops throughout Contra Costa County.
on Earth?@ Gumbleton has been a leader in the                 Mandated professionals include teachers,
Catholic Peace and Justice movement for over            health care providers and animal control
50 years, traveling to over 20 countries on             officers, just to name a few. As of 1997,
peace and human rights missions.                        members of the clergy are mandated to report
      Admission is free; donations accepted to          reasonable suspicion of child abuse to Child
benefit Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service=s               Protective Services and/ or the local police or
peacemaking programs. See                               sheriff's departments. Call Donna Chestang
<>                                     Jackson at (925) 946-9961 to schedule a work-
      For Non violence Training through Pace e          shop for your staff and/or congregation.
Bene, call (510) 268-8765.
                                                        Cost Of War
#Street Safe Kids Mini-Grants                           The Cost of War in Iraq Calculator is set to
Available                                               reach $135 billion on September 30, 2004.
Street Safe Kids of Oakland is giving mini-             Instead, we could have
grants to Bay Area groups, organizations and            $insured 6,286,520 California children for one
congregations with the goal of teaching Asafety         year;
and healthy choices awareness@ to high-risk             $provided 209,520 housing units in California;
kids in their respective communities. Each $500         $paid for 2,073,584 children in California to
grant entitles three persons to receive workshop        attend a             year of Head Start;
leader training, after which five or more children      $provided 372,009 students
will be led through the program for ten hours.          $4-year scholarships to CA public universities.
For information call 510-530-1319.

Transitions                     Contra Costa Welcomes Clergy
#The Very Rev. Dr. Lawrence Scott Hunter will be         #The Rev. Will McGarvey, is the new pastor at
the fifth rector of St. Stephen=s Episcopal Church in    the Community Presbyterian Church in
Orinda. He comes from St. John=s Episcopal               Pittsburg. Will is a recent graduate of San
Church in La Verne, California. After graduating         Francisco Theological Seminary and a native of
from the University of Washington, he had a              Salt Lake City. He writes, APart of our journey
successful career in salesand marketing for fifteen      together will be through the scriptures as we fol-
years. He entered seminary at the Church Divinity        low the life and teachings of our Lord. Other
School of the Pacific in 1989. Following ordination,     parts will be through the liturgical seasons. Still
Fr. Larry served as curate at St. Wilfrid of York in     other parts of our journey will be experienced in
Huntington Beach. Known as a leader, builder and         our lives together in service to one another and
manager who is especially good with youth and            the community. One of the things I am most
young families, Fr. Larry is a true shepherd who         excited about is getting to know and to hear your
knows, tends and cares for his flock.                    life stories B your hopes and your disappoint-
                                                         ments, your joy and your pain B knowing that God
                                                         is with us through it all.@

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa               MINISTERING TOGETHER                 September 2004
#The Rev. Robert Kirk is the new pastor of                  Church in Dublin. She will specialize in youth
Concord United Methodist Church. He writes,                 ministry, evangelism and social ministry.
ABefore I was ordained, the ordination committee
[asked me] about my conversion. This was a                  #Welcome back to the Rev. Greg Ledbetter,
challengeY, because like many people, I can=t point
                                                            pastor of Shell Ridge Community Church in
to any one moment and say, >Aha, that=s when I              Walnut Creek. He returns Sept.12 from a four-
became a Christian!= Rather, IYexperienced the              month sabbatical.
development of my faith as a journey in which I am
consistently and gently led towards God. Ysome
people feel hopeless about life [because] they lose         #Katie Hines-Shah, who has been serving Spirit
sight of this bigger picture : Life is a process of soul-   of Hope Lutheran Church in Concord, has
making, and God is going to rework us and rework            received and accepted a call to serve as pastor of
us until we=re just right.@                                 Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in
                                                            Berkeley. Best wishes!
#Jennie Chabon, has begun as the new cantor at
Congregation B=nai Tikvah in Walnut Creek. Cantor           #Farewell to the Rev. Chuck Blaisdell, who
Chabon grew up at Temple Beth El in Berkeley, and           served as denominational executive for Disciples
wasnvested as a cantor at the Jewish Theological            of Christ congregations in our area. He and his
Seminary in May. She received her BA in                     wife Barbara (who was Senior Pastor at First
anthropology fromColumbia University and then               Christian in Concord before retiring for health
spent two years living and studying in Israel. She          reasons) are moving to Hilo, Hawaii, where
spent the last two years as the cantor of                   Chuck has been called as pastor of the Hilo
Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Montclair, New               Coast United Church of Christ.
Jersey.                                                     #We also acknowledge the unusual transfer of
                                                            one of our clergy between congregations. Fr.
OTHER CHANGES IN THE CLERGY                                 Jim McGee has bid farewell to St. Bonaventure
                                                            Catholic Church in Concord and is now serving
#The Rev. Linda Vogelgesang is the new                      Christ the King Catholic Church in Pleasant
Associate Pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran                  Hill. He is no stranger to his new parish, having
Church in Concord, She joins Senior Pastor Eric             served as their weekend associate while doing
Strom. Linda comes from Resurrection Lutheran               graduate studies in psychology and spirituality.
TV Film Wins Award
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI ) selected People Say I=m Crazy, for its Outstanding
Media Award for the best television documentary of 2004. NAMI gives national media awards annually in
recognition of outstanding works that focus on mental illness with accuracy, fairness and compassion, and
contribute to broad public education. Sharing in this year=s honor are director John Cadigan, who lives with
schizophrenia, and producers Katie Cadigan and Ira Wohl.
      "People Say I=m Crazy is anYimportant and moving film," said NAMI national board president Margaret
Stout. "It will touch millions of people, welcoming them into the mind of a talented artist with aYsevere mental
illness and the love of a family who have stood by him. It should inspire Americans to demand that our society
invest in a mental health care system that supports recovery." People Say I=m Crazy focuses on John
Cadigan=s own experiences since the onset of his illness in college. It is the first major film directed by a
person with schizophrenia. Producer Katie Cadigan is his sister. Although the movie premiered August 18,
check the TV listings for reruns. Read more about the movie on the Cinemax web site.
Health and Faith-in-Action Report                           employees and their families who currently
                                                            suffer from lack of health insurance and
A AYES@ vote on PROPOSITION 72, a critically                care.
important proposition, is a vote to retain and                    CHIA mandates that employers provide
implement the California Health Insurance Act               health insurance coverage to more than 1
(CHIA). A Ano@ vote would nullify the Act. As               million uninsured Californians. It also provides
people of faith, we urge voting YES to support              security to workers in danger of losing their
current coverage, or of facing premium increases      New Book by Local Author
too high to pay. The legislation caps the em-         Douglas H. Johnson, who suffered with chronic
ployee=s share of premiums at 20%, or 5% for          pain for fifteen years, has published his book,
low-wage workers. Currently, seven million of us      Life=s Little Lessons: Baby Steps of Hope.
are uninsured, and as a result live sicker, and die   Johnson is a trauma interventionist with emer-
younger                                               gency services in Contra Costa County. After
       Only 2.5% of California employers face new     he lost his wife and child to a house fire eight
costs since many large employers already provide      years ago, he went through tremendous pain
health insurance, and very small employers would      and grief. This book is a distillation of the
not be affected. Employers of more than 50            wisdom he was granted during his recovery.
workers could buy coverage directly, or pay into a    You can find the book in Martinez at the 7/11
statewide buying pool that would work to get the      store on Morello Ave., or at Char=s Florist on
lowest rates. Employers of more than 200 workers      Main St., or
are required to provide family coverage as well.
As a result, the competitive position of              Thank you, dear volunteers,
employers who already provide coverage will
                                                      for collating, folding, and labeling our June
be enhanced, as the playing field is leveled.
The outcome is being watched nationally, and          newsletter. We appreciate Hal Foster, Jane
policies may be affected by what the voters of        Orr, Jan Ledbetter, Edith Reed, Dorothy
California decide to do.                              Vance and Dick Shumaker. (We still need
       Prop 72 is supported by the California         more volunteers. Call Lenita at 672-1053 if
Medical Association and other health care             you can help.)
professional groups, the California Labor
Federation, and Health Access California, a
consumer advocacy coalition. Opposition to the        Please Pray for:
bill is being organized by employers such as             Victims of the storms in Florida
Walmart, Macy=s and MacDonald=s, large                   Agencies assisting the victims
corporations that do not cover many of their             The people of Sudan
workers.                                                 Families affected by violence
                                                         First Congregational Church, Antioch
                                                          Joseph Catholic Church, Pinole
                                                          Contra Costa Interfaith Council will be
                                                           initiating a new website this month

                                  Next Deadline: September 15, 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: <>
                                                                                           All address
                                                                                           changes and
      The Interfaith Council                                                               voluntary
     of Contra Costa County                                                                subscriptions
      1543 Sunnyvale Avenue                                                                should be
    Walnut Creek CA 94597-1903                                                             sent to the
Ministering Together is published nine times a                                             above
year by the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa                                             address.
County, a non-profit organization.
                                                                                           President. . .
. .Rev. Dr. David Sammons                              Non-profit Org
Executive Director. . . ..Rev. Brian Stein-            U.S. Postage
Webber                                                     PAID
Chaplain. . . . . . . . . . . .. . . Rev. Charles       Concord CA
Tinsley                                                 Permit # 84
Singing Messengers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jackie
Office Manager. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Nora
Editor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lenita
Layout, copy editing. .. . . . . . .. . Beverly

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