CGS will be hosting the Safe Car Park in April, and once again your help is needed. COVID protocols are still in place, and we have modified our guest services. Volunteers will be needed for check-in and check-out, and donations will be needed for snacks and meal gift cards
Volunteers are needed for evening check-in (6:30 p.m.) and morning check-out (7:30 a.m.) HERE is a link to the sign up sheet
HERE is a link to the volunteer instructions (which we will go over on 3/28)
A volunteer orientation (via Zoom) will be held on Sunday March 28 at noon.
HERE is a link to the volunteer orientation.
There will be no meal preparation for the guests this time around. While we love this way to show our hospitality, the schedule for our guests and the COVID limitations have made this hospitality not as useful as we anticipated.
Instead of meals, donations of restaurant or grocery gift cards will be gladly accepted and distributed to the guests. The gift cards that we notice get the most use are for fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Panera, Chipotle, and Subway. The grocery gift cards that are most useful are for Safeway.
If you would like to donate gift cards please mail them to 1550 Meridian Ave. San Jose, CA 95125. Alternatively, you can leave them on the table outside the church office, or hand deliver to one of the team members listed below.
Also, donations of snacks will be gladly accepted in the bins outside the church office. A mini fridge, microwave, and toaster oven have been donated and will be placed outside for guests to use. In the past, our guests have been grateful for these take-and-go options to supplement their meals.
Good ideas for snacks include:
crackers or chips
individual peanut butter
deli lunch packs
hard boiled eggs
Remember, individual sizes and packaging are the safe and useful option for our guests. There is packaging available in the church kitchen if you would like to split up bulk purchases.
Please feel free to contact anyone on the team if you have any questions. The team leaders are: Chelsea Byom, Sarah Janigian, Kevin Visscher, Rachel Visscher and Aline Santos. Their information can be found in your Breeze church directory or by calling the church office at 408-266-8022.
We look forward to together making CGS a warm and welcoming place for our guests!
Aline Santos, our new Community Coordinator.
Aline (pronounced Ah-lee-nee) Santos will start Monday, March 1 as our new Community Coordinator.
This is a new position at CGS, responsible for communications at CGS, providing worship support and ministry support, and doing facility management. There will be virtually no aspect of activities that her position will not touch as she interacts with Pastor Manda, Church Council, church committees, church staff, and all members of CGS.
An alumna of Sonoma State and San Jose State, Aline comes to us with a background in motivational speaking, as an extended care supervisor at St. Joseph’s church in Cupertino, and, before that, as Director of Youth Ministry and an instructional assistant at St. Simon’s parish in Los Altos.
Aline will start by working afternoons and Sundays until June when she may also be available weekday mornings. An important part of this new role on CGS staff is that Aline will be working on flex time just as our other staff people do. This means that she will work as events, committee meetings, and other ministry dictates.
We welcome Aline to CGS and look forward to having her as a member of our community. After March 1, 2021 we will find safe, socially distant ways that you can introduce yourself and welcome her to the CGS family.
CGS continues to participate in the Silicon Valley Safe Park, providing people who are living in their cars a safe place to stay. The network of faith communities and Bellarmine College Prep work on a monthly rotating schedule. April will be CGS’s first hosting month in 2021. The CGS team leaders: Chelsea Byom, Sarah Janigian, Kevin Visscher, Rachel Visscher and Pr. Manda have begun to plan for our April guests.
We learned in our previous hosting experiences that the CGS community plays an important part in how we extend welcome and hospitality for this ministry. COVID restrictions are still in place, and we follow the county guidelines for the safety of everyone. That has certainly limited the hospitality that we are able to offer but we have been able to create a welcoming and safe place while our guests are with us.
We will not offer cooked food to our guests this time (as that has not proven effective for their needs) but instead we will have snacks available throughout the month. Donations of restaurant or grocery gift cards, and/or grab and go snacks will be greatly appreciated. You can drop off snack donations to the table by the church office. Please mail, leave in the office, or hand deliver to one of the team members gift card donations.
Volunteers will be needed for morning check-out and evening check-in. More information about signing up will be available soon. If you are interested in volunteering, save the date of
If you have any questions or would like to make a donation, please contact any of the team members by emailing email@example.com.
I know it’s a topic that’s been covered so many times in pretty much anything – sermons, songs, poems, movies, tv shows, art and even games – you name it, and yet we can’t seem to get enough of it.
This is evidenced by the popularity of romantic movies like Love Story (1970), Titanic (1997) or La La Land (2016), and chart-topping hit tunes such as Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley, I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston or All Of Me by John Legend. And I’m pretty certain that the list will only continue to grow as more romantic movies get produced and love songs get composed.
We know how to love because GOD IS LOVE.
I believe love is an inherent trait in us as creations of God because our Creator is love’s ultimate source. We know how to love because GOD IS LOVE. As we all know, February 14 is Valentine’s Day, but coming up on February 17 is Ash Wednesday, which signifies the start of the Lent season. In my mind and heart of faith, nothing is a greater confirmation of God’s love to us than what this season brings, a remembrance to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our salvation. God provided and made us stewards of all creation - the grand mountains, the vast seas, the wide fields, and everything in it. And yet, we still sin. And even when we sin that set us away, God made the way to bring us back. She sent her begotten Son because she so loved us.
So, my hope is that we make this Lent season a season of love. That we take this time as an opportunity to spread more love, especially in this unusual and challenging days we’re in. Call, reach out, check in, and reconnect, and let the light and love of our Creator shine through us.
February is Black History Month and in honor of black lives, ReconcilingWorks is holding a fundraiser to support reparations for black leaders in the ELCA. This action is part of ReconcilingWorks public commitment to anti-racism.
Order a t-shirt or sweatshirt and 100% of all proceeds will be given to #66thSynod Endowment. This endowment is led by a Board of Black women in the ELCA.
Order your t-shirt or sweatshirt today.
Saturday, February 13, 2021
Join the Zoom meeting:
Meeting ID: 883 3807 5729
The first part of this gathering is a listening session with the LEAD consulting group. Here is a video about what they're looking for. https://youtu.be/Ro5nyN_4JAs Through their work, our synod leadership is hoping to learn how the future of our synod ministry has been affected by the past year’s pandemic.
The second part of the meeting is an election of people who we will send to the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Ohio in the summer of 2022. We will nominate people in 3 categories: male layperson, layperson whose primary language is not English, and youth/young adult person.
The Churcwide Assembly is a twi-annual event where the standards and governance of our denomination are decided upon. Millions of Lutherans from around the United States and guests from Lutheran denominations around the world, gather for a week of learning and voting. If nominated to attend as a voting member of our synod, your trip is paid for in full. This is a pretty cool, unique, church experience.
If you or anyone you can think of at CGS would be interested, please contact Bob Blough or Jean Herriges as soon as possible. Or, call the church office.
The last part of the El Camino Real Conference Gathering is a sharing of what is happening in each of the congregations or ministries in our area. Come hear what your siblings in Christ are about these days.
Christmas Eve this year was one of the calmest I've ever experienced. I remember actually having time and heart-energy to wonder what Christ was bringing into the new year. I thought about moving into the parsonage, the inauguration of a new US president, the development of a couple COVID vaccines, the departure of Laura from my daily routine, and a lived experience of 2020 that renewed my conviction that the kingdom of God is just around the next corner.
I was excited on December 24th. Then, the next month did not pan out as I had envisioned. Technically, all those things still happened. It's only that they didn't happen in the same way I imagined it. The move was not as smooth as I had anticipated. Neither was the transition of the presidency. I'm still convinced that the Kingdom of God is just around the next corner, but Laura's departure seems to have dropped a pile of papers, a copier, and 45 3-ring binders between me and that kingdom.
Telling you about it all now reminds me of the story of the Transfiguration that we're going to read in worship this month. That too is a story about a bunch of Jesus followers who saw a new beginning and then had their expectations confounded. They thought that they were following a great healer and teacher. Up on that mountain, at the pinnacle of their new beginning, Jesus' face became the other in front of them. "Became other" Another way of saying that he became something they didn't recognize. Something that was different from what they knew, or identified with.
I can think of a few times when the view (or person, or idea) in front of me became something I didn't recognize. The words I would use to describe that are: unsettling, scary, exhausting. It's not easy to live through constant change. So how do we survive? How can we thrive? For the past couple weeks I've been taking solace and guidance from the disciples in our stories. They have all shown me the spiritual gift of willingness.
On the boat, Simon (Peter) was willing to try Jesus' way instead of insisting on his own experience and expertise. At his home, Simon's mother-in-law was willing to let a strange healer try his hand. Neighbors were willing to listen to a new teacher who was ill-credentialed. In all of these cases, the people let go of needing to understand, or control, and embraced curiosity. Their willingness was the key that opened a door otherwise closed to them. Through that door was the kingdom of God.
God of transformation, unclench our muscles and open our hearts to the strange future that we do not recognize. Help us to trust that even in the things we do not recognize, you can bring us what we need.
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.