Choir Singer Focus: Chris Collins
I have been singing as long as I have been breathing.
I remember my first time on stage was at one of my Grandmother’s Pythian Sisters shows. I only knew one song, and apparently needed to share it with everyone there, from the stage. Then when I was five years old, my parents bought a piano, and took lessons at “Metoza’s Music.”
My first choir experience was when I was in 4th grade. Mr. Hamilton had been hired to teach 5th grade at my elementary school, and started a chorus. We sang “When Green Grow the Lilacs” and I recall loving hearing our different voices sing in harmony. The following year, I also learned to play alto sax (because my older sister was graduating high school and didn’t need it anymore). In junior high, I also got involved in band and choir. I was told that I needed to choose one or the other as an elective for high school, so I chose choir. Our director, Louie L. Lewis, was an amazing musician with perfect pitch. We learned a lot under his leadership, and the Analy Acapella Choir won Command Performance every time we competed in the CMEA festival. I continued to pursue my love for music and majored in vocal music at Santa Rosa Junior College and San Jose State University.
When I had to return to college to seek an elementary teaching credential, I majored in creative arts with an emphasis on music, and I have led school choirs since I started teaching.
Singing in choirs has kept me anchored for decades. The camaraderie, challenge, and beauty are good for the soul. We have great fun getting into the music, and when it comes together, it is a great feeling. For me, it is always a supportive place.
Retreating to transform
THEO OLSON, COUNCIL PRESIDENT
Recently, we celebrated Transfiguration Sunday and were reminded that Jesus and the disciples took time to pray and reflect. And this wasn't the only moment they took time to go off and pray. And of course they aren't the only ones we read about in scripture that go on retreat of some sort. One story that connects with me is Moses and his time in the desert that eventually leads to his transformation as leader of God's chosen people.
That is why I'm excited about our annual council retreat. It is a time for us to break away and get out of our normal routine. It is a time to reflect on our calling as a congregation to Proclaim, Welcome and Serve. It is a time to learn more about each other and understand our role as leaders at CGSLC.
This year I'm particularly excited as we focus on learning about being a lay leader in the church through the examples we read about in the Bible. Pastor Manda will lead us in our monthly devotions that "Celebrate the Body of Christ". And this year we will transform our roles as a council in a variety of ways. We begin with a one-day retreat at the end of the month to do some foundation building for our work and leadership this year. Our typical weekend retreat will move to the end of Summer, enabling us the opportunity to reflect and begin the planning process for the new year. This will transform the way Council does business and move our focus to more mission/vision fulfillment.
Like the disciples and Moses, we'll find this transforming work tiring from time to time and even be skeptical of our abilities. But we are reassured that God has called each of us to be on Council as part of our vocation here at CGSLC.
What can you do to support your council?
In service, Theo
CGS Book Drive
Books & Art Supply Drive
Join us in collecting new books & art supplies for the students at Terrell Elementary School in San Jose. Started by Marty Olson a few years ago, the drive is intended to bring the joy of reading and creating to students in need. The Drive will run February 25 - March 17.
The school provided a list of items needed by the Art Instructor to assist with the classwork. (You can find the list below.) The School Librarian has highlighted the need for non-fiction books for students in Pre-Kindergarten through 2nd Grade, though any books are welcome. Monetary donations can be placed in the offering basket and noted for Book Drive.
In celebration, we'll be holding a fundraising dinner on St. Patrick's Day, Saturday, March 17. The menu includes: corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, soda bread, and a special dessert. A vegetarian option of cabbage rolls will be offered. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children and are available from Don Hansen or Theo Olson. Funds raised will go to Terrell Elementary designated for new books and art supplies.
from Pr. Manda
CGS is a great congregation but there are a lot of things that we can't take credit for in our lives together. One of those things is the ability to function as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. This designation is granted to us because we are a cooperative partner or part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This membership is also the reason we have assistance with calling rostered leaders, have local Lutheran partners in ministry, and opportunity for global service around the world.
To maintain this relationship with 3.5 million other faithful people, we do a few things each year to empower and support one another in our common mission to live in this freedom we call grace. We send people to synod assembly once a year. We partner with our local Lutheran neighbors like Prince of Peace in Saratoga. And we foster new ministries like Christ Community Church and Encompass Ministry. And once every three years - we send someone to the Churchwide Assembly to vote on our policies, leaders, and collective actions.
As an example, you can see what we did at the last Churchwide Assembly in 2016 by visting www.elca.org/churchwideassembly. Spoiler alert: we did some pretty progressive things for a Church. Generally, we vote on the proposed ministries in areas of life such as immigration, poverty, education, justice for women, gun violence prevention, a responsible energy future, and US foreign and military policy. In 2017 we'll tackle a whole host of new and not so new issues as well as hold elections for our Presiding Bishop (currently served by Elizabeth Eaton).
To ensure that we send people of all genders, ages, ethnicity, abilities, sexual orientations, and geographic context each synod elects people to send as voting members to the Churchwide Assembly. This year CGS has the opportunity to nominate a lay female (meaning not a rostered leader, which at CGS is everyone except Pr. Manda) to be a voting member at the 2019 assembly.
If elected, this person will be given the materials and training necessary to vote on where our whole Church is heading. It's like our congregational meeting but for a worshiping community of 3.5 million people. There will be thousands of voting members coming from all over the country to Milwaukee, Wisconsin August 5-10, 2019.
Going to Churchwide Assembly is a good time if you're interested in where the Church influences and responds to our society. If you have the time to go (expenses are paid) and are interested in being involved in this expression of our Church, I would like to encourage you to put your name forward for nomination. Eligible persons identify as female, are not rostered leaders of the ELCA (that's all of you), are over the age of 18, and are available to travel to the event. If you are interested in more information or to be nominated, I hope you'll contact me so that I can put your name forward. This event only happens once every three years and it's often where history is made. What's more, you are exposed to and representing the great diversity of our faith tradition and that is an experience worthy of praising the Holy Spirit in and of itself!
Faith Collaborative Workshops
Our "Introduction to Sheltering" Workshops continue: (Due to increased workshop schedule, our regular Winter Faith Collaborative meetings canceled until further notice)
Tues. Feb. 12th at 6:30pm at Christ the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. 1550 Meridian Ave. SJ 95125
Wed. Feb. 21st at 7pm at St. Thomas of Canterbury. 1522 McCoy Ave, SJ 95130
We will explain the need, introduce the 3 different models of sheltering, and answer any questions and concerns. Program includes: short video, panel discussion and small groups. Mentors will be assigned for those interested in sheltering.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/WinterFaithCollabSJ/ (ask to join if you haven't already)
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.