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
CGS will host the Safe Car Park in October, and once again help is needed to assist welcoming our guests to our church site. As a member of the Silicon Valley Safe Car Park network, CGS participates in hosting single adults and families sleeping in their vehicles to have a secure parking lot space. We partner with Amigos de Guadalupe Center for Justice and Empowerment, the organization that screens and refers guests to the program.
Our church community has been very welcoming to Safe Car Park guests, and now is the time to begin planning for the October visit.
1) Volunteers will be needed for evening check-in (6:30 p.m.) and morning check-out (7:30 a.m.).
2) Donations of restaurant/grocery gift cards and gasoline gift cards are greatly needed. Also, donations of non-perishable snacks will be gladly accepted. (Please, all snacks must be individually wrapped.)
The current link for instructions and volunteers to sign-up is below:
We continue to be very mindful of COVID limitations and follow the county health guidelines.
A volunteer orientation will be held via ZOOM on Sunday, September 26th at noon.
We look forward to welcoming Safe Car Park guests to CGS, and providing them a warm and welcoming place. Please feel free to contact anyone on the team if you have any questions.
~ Rachel Visscher
~ Kevin Visscher
~ Chelsea Byom
Many, perhaps most of us, thrive on the familiar. Perhaps it’s a routine: the morning cup of coffee; the weekly phone call from a relative. Perhaps it’s a place: that one restaurant in your favorite vacation city; the family gathering spot for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Perhaps it’s a ritual: the bedtime story to your son; the Lord’s Prayer each Sunday. Perhaps it’s a person: an old friend; a trusted confidant; the kind of person you develop a communicative shorthand with; the kind of person with whom you can laugh and cry with equal abandon.
Change is inevitable.
Coffee makes your ulcer flare up. That restaurant is now an Olive Garden. Your son would rather read his own books. Your friend moves to another city. We resist change, we fight it, we curse it. It makes us sad, it makes us angry. Nothing will ever be the same, and we hate it.
CGS is in the middle of change, as we have bid goodbye to Pastor Manda and begin the process of bringing a new Pastor into our community. In fact, we have been in a state of change for sixteen months as we discovered a new way of worshipping together, and are now taking the tentative steps back to “normalcy.” My other job is in a similar state of change, as faces and roles change within our very small staff in addition to negotiating the same (hopefully) post-pandemic paths. A big portion of my life each day is about change, and to be honest, it feels very uncertain, very unstable. I like resolution. I do not like waking up with more unanswered questions than I went to bed with.
There is a scripture on the wall of Joshua’s room:
This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
The reminder that things will always change – that millions of things change each and every day – but that God’s love for us remains constant, that God’s love is our rock, our anchor – this helps me turn from the sadness and the fear I have wrapped up in my change; and it helps me embrace the potential that change can provide. It also helps remind me that change is not permanent. Things may change in a way we don’t like – but they will change again – and most importantly, we can be an agent in that change.
Things may look very different for me in a month, or six months, or a year. But God will be there, as God always has been.
Change is good.
~ Daniel Thomas
My first Sunday back to church after being away for more than a year, felt a bit strange, like remembering a dream you had many times before. It was just a handful of people, Pastor, worship leaders, the musicians, really, just Daniel with Gregg and Michael doing all the singing.
We met that Saturday to go over the logistics with how things were going to work, preparing for the congregation’s return to the sanctuary for live and in person worship.
So many changes since the pandemic took hold, but CGS looks the same, we all look pretty much the same, but still, it feels different. Familiar yet new, and I guess that’s true in many ways. We RSVP to attend live, but that will now change by next week! For that first Sunday, was it mask on, mask off? We still line up for communion yet maintain our distance in one single line and we all exit in one direction. The cups in the trays still have wine and grape juice, yet they are spaced apart, so we made tweaks, some fine tuning on how to interact live, we are cautious and want to stay safe, but we are glad to be back.
There are other changes happening at CGS too, the transitioning of Jean and Susan off council, we elected new officers, Skye as our new president, Petra as vice president and Bob takes on the role of secretary. We welcome Gregg and Adam to council. We have a new large monitor in the sanctuary, that will come in handy, finally something clearer to read and sing by. We will continue to have our services broadcasted on YouTube, we will probably have many more Zoom meetings too ... we are a techie bunch and lucky to have all these options.
The architectural plans for the new bathrooms and kitchen were approved by council. These are all positive changes and we as a congregation have proven that we can adapt, change and be new.
That first Sunday back was also my first time doing altar guild, do I remember how this is done? Where's the what-cha-ma-call-it? Where's Lois ... oh yes Janet, is now overseeing this role! And we forgot to light all the altar candles, even though we filled them with oil and tested then on Saturday. Steve sent a personal chat asking why they weren't lit! Janet and I ... whoops, don't say anything!
And that’s the fun part of being in person ... there are hiccups, there are things that go awry, it doesn't always purr like a well-oiled engine. It has been a long time since we gathered, it felt, well different and yet the same, but also warm, nice, and fun too, a place full of friendly faces.
But our biggest news and change is Pastor Manda is taking on a new and exciting role as the assistant to the bishop of the Sierra Pacific synod. We will miss Pastor Manda; we love her and wish her great success! Praise be to God!
~ Jerry Clark, CGS Council
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.