As you have all hopefully now heard (from her letter to the congregation or her announcement in church on Sunday), Pastor Manda has answered a call to serve as the Assistant to the new Bishop of our synod. Her last day at CGS will be July 4, and I know we’re really going to miss her, but we also know that she is following an incredible opportunity to use her gifts in a new and exciting way, and for that we are thankful!
This will be a big time of transition for our Congregation, but it will also be an important time of reflection and discernment for us. Soon we will begin that process, but not right now. Right now we want to focus on saying goodbye to Pastor Manda. I have really appreciated her passion for our ministries and serving the community, her ability to see our individual gifts and pull us out of our shells (I’m looking at you, fellow introverts!), and so much more.
Fortunately, we have the ability to say goodbye in person! We would love to see all of you at the events and worship services between now and July 4 so that we can reflect collectively on what an incredible blessing Pastor Manda has been to our congregation. Also, as the state re-opens, we will continue to evolve our policies for in-person worship and gatherings. Please watch for announcements and reach out to Council or Aline in the Church Office with any questions you have.
It has been an incredibly challenging year for us all, and the year ahead will bring new challenges for us as a community. But I have so much confidence in our Congregation and Council to continue using these challenges as opportunities to grow stronger together, and renew our commitment to proclaim, welcome, and serve.
On June 8th, in response to new guidance from the Santa Clara County Health Department, and the CDC, the council met to discuss the next stage in our response and adjustments to the COVID pandemic in our life together.
The short version is this, beginning on June 20th,
There are still capacity limits and addtional modifications to our life together for the safety of the most vulnerable in our midst. To see the whole decision, open the document below.
As we move forward, the council will rely on the guidance and expertise of the staff, in consultation with lay leaders, to make changes when they become appropriate.
If you have any questions about this decision, please feel free to contact the council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of my favorite stories in our Bible is in the Gospel of John. In chapter 3 Nicodemus, a church leader, comes to Jesus under the cover of night to ask all the questions he was afraid to ask in the daylight. He asks Jesus what is meant when Jesus speaks about being born of the Spirit and being born anew. Jesus tells Nicodemus in verses 5-8:
“Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
I have always resonated with Jesus’ teaching on the action of the Holy Spirit. It moves me, and others in ways that I cannot predict nor understand. Each time it does, it brings new life in ways that I cannot muster with my fragile human will. It has done so once more in my life. I have been asked to serve as the Assistant to the Bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod and I have accepted the call.
Though my call will not be official with the synod until after their council meeting on June 19th, I wanted to share this with you now so that we have time to say goodbye before my last day as the Pastor of CGS on July 4th.
Please know, that I am leaving with a heavy heart. I have loved serving this congregation and you more than I ever knew I would.
In the next four weeks I hope you will come to the CGS campus so that we can worship together. I hope you will come to one of the events or activities we have planned (schedule on back) so that we can celebrate the past 7 years, and to say goodbye. If it is not safe for you to be at one of these events, I hope you will call, text, or email me so that we can arrange a time to get together. Though I might not be able to do this with everyone in the time we have, I hope to be with as many of you as possible.
While I will no longer be around after July 4th, it is my hope that in a year we can run into one another again at synod events and in shared ministry. Until then, let’s make the most of the time we have together.
In gratitude, love, and the peace of Christ,
It didn’t seem like a dangerous activity, but in the age of the pandemic, it could be one
of the most high-risk things to do. Seeing a choir perform in a group was a normal
activity over a year ago. And now, even with the easing of restrictions and being able to
gather in our sanctuary for worship, our CGS choirs will have to continue to rely on
technology to create music.
You kind of take it for granted after doing it week after week for over 13 years, but
when it gets taken away, you really, really notice the difference. I had to learn and
hone new technological skills and work hard to make it as consistent as possible for our
singers. Visiting choir members’ homes and hosting recording sessions in our own home
is now a routine to keep our choral ministry going and be part of our weekly worship.
The sound of our voices going though speakers is different than hearing it live, so to get
our choirs to sound like themselves using technology presents a different set of
Yet through these, I have beautiful things that I am able to take. Most notably, the
deeper relationships I now have with choir members. Spending one on one times and
talking about personal matters that affect our lives give us deeper understanding,
appreciation, and connection with each other. We share light conversations, lots of
laughs, and also heavy, serious talks, all of which help us build stronger connections.
And as we plan to resume live rehearsals and worship singing in September, I’m looking
forward to how our pandemic experiences will help us make even better music
together. Being able to sing together again in a room will be nothing else like the past
years, and I feel like it’s going to be a powerful experience to some, if not all of us.
I can safely speak for our choir singers that not even a pandemic can keep us from
Rey Lambatin, Choir Director
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.