The CGS Call Committee met for the first time on Monday, September 27. The Committee is composed of Randy Presuhn, Chair, Paul Thomas, Recording Secretary, Sarah Janigian, Council Liaison, Matt Byom, Adolfo Ramirez, and Julia Tranchina.
The Committee met primarily to discuss organizational issues as we get started. On one hand, we expect to be working closely with Synod which will inform us as to what it needs from us. On the other hand, the committee members will be looking at documentation that will help us decide how best to proceed. Among them will be the Congregational Profile we submitted to Synod seven years ago.
Once we get our bearings, the first and most important duty of the Committee will be to build a new Congregational Profile based on how we see ourselves in 2021. The process of creating the profile will help all of us at CGS, not just the Committee, better understand who we are and what our aspirations for the future are. The profile will also be used to help the Synod select candidates for us that are best suited to our needs.
At all times, it is the hope of the Committee that this process will be open and transparent. It is crucially important that we hear from all of you, and that all of you feel you have a voice in this process. While there will no doubt be formal meetings and surveys to obtain your input, please feel free to corner any of the members of the Committee to ask questions and to give us your ideas.
It is important to note, however, that as the process goes on and we get to the stage of looking at candidates, the Committee will be maintaining strict confidentiality about who they are. And no, we can’t answer questions such as whether they are local or male or female or any other specific information. We are aware it is especially frustrating not to be able to find out these types of things as we get close to submitting a recommendation, but it is necessary to operate this way for the good of the candidates. And yes, when that determination has been made, the members of the congregation will have the opportunity to find out everything about the candidate and will have the final say in the selection.
At the moment we can provide no timeline for this process. It can, and often does, take a long time, even though everyone is anxious to move the process along. We will do our best to avoid all those impediments that slow the process, but please bear with us as we do our work.
Please keep the Call Committee in your prayers as we begin our work
We’re doing it! The choirs are going to sing in person again in our worship, and we’re going to try it with masks on. As much as I’ve enjoyed putting our choirs’ videos together and play them during worship for everyone to watch, nothing compares to the experience of seeing and hearing our choirs live. I had to consider some concerns before finally coming to this compromise. Will our singers be comfortable? Will the sound we’ll be creating beautiful and clear enough to effectively deliver the message the music is trying to convey? And, more importantly, will it be safe to both our singers and congregation? After talking to some of our choir members and hearing their thoughts, and doing a number of research from different choir directors’ groups and forums I check regularly, I think it’s time for us to at least try. Considering that there’s really no clear end in sight of this pandemic, as ministers of our church, we just learn to cope, adjust, and sometimes make uncomfortable changes to continue our ministry of delivering God’s message and edifying our church through our music. As a verse of one of my all-time favorite hymns goes:
Through all the tumult and the strife,
I hear that music ringing
It finds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?
One of these following Sundays in worship, you’ll see and hear our choir singers standing together in front, blending voices in harmony, making music to fulfill the ministry that God commissioned us, and wearing masks. Even a pandemic shouldn’t and wouldn’t stop us to proclaim, welcome, and serve.
~ Rey Lambatin, Choir Director
These are the words of the beautiful hymn recently presented by our choir and never have they been more appropriate than in the past few months. Despite the absence of a pastor, despite the absence of a community coordinator to attend to the office, we have continued to worship and interact successfully. Employees and volunteers alike have stepped forward with exceptional efforts to continue the business of being Christ the Good Shepherd church together. Our music director and choir director have coordinated the readings and hymns with supply pastors to present us with meaningful worship experiences appropriate to the liturgical season complete with bulletins to enable us to participate. Our sacristan has coordinated readers, deacons, and worship supplies so that our services could continue smoothly. Our technical personnel have continued to make it possible for YouTube sessions of our services to be available to those unable to attend in person, as well as making sure our newsletters and email notices are sent out weekly. Our ushers print out the weekly bulletins and welcome all of us to our services each week. Our coffee committee has made sure we have doughnuts each week, without which our worship would be incomplete! Our social action programs like Shelter Cooking, Safe Car Park, and Personal Care Café supplies continue uninterrupted. Our personnel committee and council have been hard at work identifying a bridge pastor and new community coordinator, both of whom will start in October. Our council continues to work on our upcoming congregational meeting so that our nominating committee can be appointed, our lay representatives for the Synod can be identified, and our budget for next year can be presented for consideration. Our Call Committee has been elected and is working diligently to identify a new, permanent pastor who will help us to grow and will grow with us into our future as representatives of Christ. Our beautiful sanctuary will provide worship and praise to God from another congregation as we share our facility with the Iglesia Pentecostés Shalom worshippers on Sunday and Thursday evenings. Our classrooms and great hall continue to provide a welcoming space for groups working toward the betterment of each other. There are so many areas for which we can be grateful. We are blessed.
As the song says, though we are many, we are strong. Though we are many, we worship as one. Let’s all say a prayer of gratitude for the gracious, generous people of Christ the Good Shepherd.
~ Jean Hope, council member
On the Big Island of Hawaii, there was a bridge that I hardly notice when Mike and I would have our yearly visit to the island. It’s barely noticeable because, well, it didn’t look like a bridge. I remember it being just a narrower part of the street, with uneven pavement on the pedestrian’s side, and partly crumbling low railing with paint somewhat peeling off. We would often walk in the morning from our place to downtown Kona, about a mile away, to check out the farmer’s market or grab coffee and malasadas (Portuguese doughnut). I’ve always enjoyed looking around while walking, basking in the nice Hawaii weather, breathing in the breeze with the sweet smell of the ocean, and admiring the different tropical plants and flowers that remind me so much of the ones that we had around our yard when I was growing up. So, I didn’t really pay much attention on the street we’re walking on. I knew enough to be aware of the traffic and other pedestrians that we would often greet with a nod or “good morning” when we pass by each other. In 2020, we didn’t get to visit because of the pandemic. But having vaccinated, and situations starting to ease up, we got to go back again in June of this year, and I was very pleasantly surprised with all the improvements that happened during the time we were not able to go. For me, the most notable change was the addition or improvement of a bridge on the street close to our place. It’s now repaved and smooth, a few feet wider, and with beautiful concrete railings on each side so pedestrians and traffic can now cross more safely. Unlike before, looking at it now, there’s no denying that it is a bridge. With this new and improved bridge, it allows people or vehicles easy passage over the crashing waves of the ocean by providing a route that would otherwise be uneven or impossible.
CGS is now in the process of bringing in a bridge pastor, and I know having a bridge pastor is new to most of us. We’re used to having an interim pastor before our permanent pastor is called, but this shouldn’t stop us in supporting and valuing our bridge pastor any differently. Let us welcome and embrace her with warmth and love that CGS extends to everyone who comes to our church, for this will help us create an easier passage through the times when we’re looking to call our permanent pastor. Remain steadfast, and hold on to the promise that God will never leave or forsake us, and that God will direct and guide us through times of uncertainty.
~ Rey Lambatin, Choir Director
Mark your calendars for Sunday, September 19, right after the church service! We will hold a short congregational meeting to elect a Call Committee made up of six voting members.
As you might remember from 8 years ago, the Call Committee will lead the process to find a new pastor. This team first will be responsible for working with council to fill out a congregational profile, which identifies our congregational priorities, needs, and hopes, as well as what we’re looking for in a pastor for this congregation. The synod will then identify pastoral candidates they feel meet those needs and the Call Committee will interview them, until both the Call Committee and a final candidate believe we're a good match for each other. At that point, the Call Committee will propose them as the candidate of choice to the council and congregation.
Clearly, this process can be lengthy and requires a faith that both trusts God’s guidance and acts upon it, a heart for CGS, an ability to understand and connect the various needs of CGS with pastoral leadership qualities, and some willingness to keep up with the logistics of it all! Beyond this, the council outlined categories to ensure an appropriate representation of our community: women, men, musicians, LGBTQ+, parents, BIPOC, under 40, and those with a long history with CGS. Taken together, a diverse team with outstanding ability and tenacity was sought.
To this end, our Nominating Committee has identified members willing to stand for election, though additional nominations from the floor are welcome. They are: Matt Byom, Sarah Janigian, Randy Presuhn, Adolfo Ramirez, Paul Thomas, and Julia Tranchina. We are grateful for their willingness to serve, and submit them for your consideration. Please come Sunday, September 19 to elect this important team and give them our blessing for the future work ahead!
If you would like to attend the meeting remotely, you can join us on Zoom by clicking on this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83458571846?pwd=anNuMXQzNzd1QlVrazlJcHV0N0lmQT09.
- The Nominating Committee: Chuck Witschorik, Daniel Thomas, Judith Steger, Rey Lambatin, Sarah Janigian, Sarah Erickson
Article modified Monday, September 6, to include details from the Nominating Committee.
It has been a privilege to serve on your council for the past 5 & 1/2 years and on the property committee for 7. This was an extraordinary year of unforeseen challenges and changes. One of the largest was having our Pastor leave suddenly and her assistant soon after. Know your council is doing its best on meeting these challenges. Like all humans we make mistakes, but with a full council hopefully these will be minimal. Know that all of our ministries are functioning and serving you and the community.
This is a time CGS surely needs us all to step-up and volunteer our time and talent. PLEASE when asked do lend your talent, and when volunteers are needed step forward or volunteer. Where you see a need, ask one of the council members. Also please let us know what you think. The council needs to hear from you, for you are the essence of CGS.
CGS has met these types of challenges before and some that make these seem small. Working together has always been the answer!
I have faith in God and in you that we will succeed and be even better.
I am continually amazed by our community’s generosity both financially and emotionally.
My God bless us all.
~ Joe Shackelford
Dozens of churches and synagogues are once again hosting a booth at the festival, under the name "the Silicon Valley Pride Interfaith Booth." Two years ago CGS was a "founding member" of the booth project, and this year CGS is donating $1000 from the St. John's LGBT fund.
The booth will be open Saturday evening from 6 pm to 11 pm, and Sunday from 12 noon to 6 pm.
They are looking for volunteers to help with staffing, construction, and tear-down. If you are interested, please sign up at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090F49AAAC2AA6FB6-svpride.
And don't forget, on Sunday, before you head to the Silicon Valley Pride festival, join us in worship at CGS!
~ Gregg Zigler
Come one, come all, we'll have a ball packing food for Rise Against Hunger! Please join us at Christ the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at 1550 Meridian Ave, San Jose, CA 95125 after church on Sunday, September 12th. The event starts at 11:30 once we've had coffee and donuts. Please use the link below to donate and sign up for our special event. Remember, we will be wearing masks and using COVID safe socially distancing requirements. Children are invited to attend if they want to help as in the past, but they would also be required to mask up. Any questions, see Susan Duran at church. Thanks for your help and commitment to this worthy cause. Our goal is to have 40 volunteers, and our boy scout troop will be joining us to help out.
Here is the link: http://events.riseagainsthunger.org/cgsl2021
~ Susan Duran
Affirming our congregational mission as a welcoming and Reconciling in Christ congregation, recently the Nominating Committee has been meeting to propose names of potential members of the Call Committee for the new CGS Pastor position. We have been discerning prayerfully and reaching out to congregation members who we believe may be open and enthusiastic to help our community choose its next pastor; this includes criteria provided by the synod, so that we have a diverse representation of congregation members on the Committee. We are required by the ELCA to have a committee of six members. We currently have commitments from some potential members of the committee and are continuing to work on invitations to other members. We welcome any congregation members who may be interested in participating in the Call Committee to contact us. We look forward to hopefully being able to recommend a full slate of names to the council by the time of the congregational meeting in September.
~ Chuck Witschorik
~ Sarah Erickson
~ Daniel Thomas
~ Sarah Janagian
~ Rey Lambatin
~ Judith Steger
I am gay. I’ve never had any problem admitting this to myself because I knew since my earliest recollection, I believe around the age of 7, that I was different. This came from hearing older relatives and friends of family talking about it back then. Now, admitting this to other people is a different story. I tend to be more selective to whom I say it, and when certain situations ask, there’s always a hesitation to freely declare it to strangers or people I don’t know well. I believe this roots from past experiences of being marginalized and derided because of my sexuality, and the inherent desire of most of us to be accepted and not be judged. I think that this also contributes to my introversion, and being close to just a select number of friends. But these also helped me persevere in many ways and taught me a lot of things. I learned that I shouldn’t place my worth in what other people’s perception of me. I learned that music is a powerful tool to help me go through difficult times, and reach out and help other people. I learned that I could continue to serve and love God, and that God loves me no matter what. And more importantly, that I have the capability to find joy and be happy, while being proud of who I truly am.
August is Silicon Valley’s Pride month, and CGS being a Reconciling In Christ congregation helped me tremendously in reconciling my faith and my sexuality. It is a great blessing to me and other members of LGBTQ+ to be part of a church where we can serve God and our community in different ministries while being true to ourselves, be accepted for who we are and how we treat others with love and kindness, and not be judged. On August 29, we’ll have our own way of celebrating Pride in our Sunday worship. Our men’s group, Keynote Vocal Group, is preparing to record the song “Everything Possible” as part of our celebration, and I think the chorus sums up what I truly want to impart to everyone:
“Oh, you can be anybody you want to be,
you can love whomever you will.
You can travel any country where your heart leads
and know that I will love you still.
You can live by yourself, you can gather friends around,
you can choose one special one.
And the only measure of your words and your deeds
will be the love you leave behind when you’re done.”
A safe and happy Pride to all!
- Rey Lambatin, Choir Director
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.