Dancing at the Harvest
By Daniel Thomas, CGS Musician
Last month I used this space to thank our musicians, who provide us with a wealth of time and talent to beautify our worship time with their skill and artistry. I’m going to give them a little extra shout-out today as we have moved into our fall liturgy.
This season we are using liturgical music from “Dancing at the Harvest” by Ray Makeever. Makeever was born in 1943 in Illinois and studied at Luther College and Iowa and Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He holds a Masters’ Degree in Divinity. For over forty years Makeever has been composing and publishing music for worship; “Dancing at the Harvest” was published in 1997. He currently lives in Minneapolis.
As a musician, Makeever’s primary instruments are guitar and flute, and you can hear this in his writing, much of which has a pop and folk influence. I wanted to honor those influences as we performed this liturgy, so we have purposely left the piano out of our arrangements this season. Rob, who normally plays bass guitar, has joined Gail on acoustic guitar, and I am playing bass guitar. A lot of the melodic support that I would normally provide on the piano is now being picked up by the sax, clarinet, and viola.
I’d like to think the sound we’re making is closer to Makeever’s original intention, and I’m enjoying the chance to play a different instrument during service. Since we’re doing the hymns in the more “traditional” arrangement (with me on piano), and we’re incorporating the bells in the “Alleluia,” and the choirs are back from summer break, providing music during offering and other times, we now have a wide variety of musical textures throughout our service.
So, I’d like to thank our musicians again for being willing to “play around” with our sound, both on this liturgy, and for all the other ideas I come up with during the year. CGS is lucky to have these artists in our stead, and I hope you enjoy all that they have to offer as we worship together.
By Chelsea Byom
“Supportive housing ends homelessness.” Say what? Someone actually knows how to end our homelessness crisis? My mind was blown on my very first day as a member of the Leadership San Jose Class of 2019, a leadership training program of the Silicon Valley Organization (Chamber of Commerce). It was Ray Bramson, Chief Impact Officer at the nonprofit Destination Home, who shared that quote with us. Ray told us that studies have shown that supportive housing is proven to end homelessness and reduce costs. All we need now are communities that are willing to speak up to ensure new developments are approved and supported after construction.
Count me in. I volunteered with a group of my Leadership San Jose classmates to join the Housing Ready Community Action Network to spread the word. Faith communities are an important part of this network, as our faith calls us into action to address this crisis. Churches, synagogues, and mosques across the Bay Area, including CGS, are stepping up to find ways to create housing on their property, in their buildings, and in even their parking lots. And many faith communities are leading the conversation in their neighborhoods about the need for more housing, even when it’s unpopular with the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) crowd.
I look forward to having this conversation with you on September 29 after worship. We’ll discuss the facts and dispel myths about homelessness in Santa Clara County, share how supportive housing ends homelessness, and invite you to join in action that will move us toward the solution.
The Choirs are back!
By Rey Lambatin, Choir Director
After a needed time of break in Summer, our choirs are back to sing and be part of our worships again. As I’ve noted before, Summer break does not only rest our voices, but also in part, our spirits. This gives our singers time to recover physically, and renew and rekindle our passion for our ministry, so that when weekly rehearsals and worship commitment resume, we’ll be prepared and excited to sing again. And we’re thrilled to start this season, with a number of exciting events lined up for our choral ministry. Aside from sharing our music every Sunday in our worship, we will soon dive in to start preparing for our Christmas concert that will happen on December 7.
As some of us might already know, CGS members Sarah and Adam Erickson are the Mt. Cross executive directors. So, this year’s Christmas concert will benefit the Mt Cross Ministries, and the funds we will raise will help with the planned improvement and updating of its facilities. In addition to this, the choirs will also be involved in different Christmas activities, networking and outreach to different churches and congregations, and next year’s Lent season’s musical presentations. We are anticipating an exciting and fulfilling season, and we’re inviting you to be a part of it! Come join our choirs and help us make beautiful music together. If interested, please contact me, Rey Lambatin, or at 408.439.2864.
By Pastor Manda
In July, the council focused the majority of their agenda time on trying to pick through the constitution and prepare incremental changes of the necessary items. The chapters that seemed to need the most critical updating were chapters 10-12. These are the chapters that deal with the congregational meeting (10), the officers of the congregation (11), and the council (12). The conversation was deliberate and thoughtful, which meant that all the ground was not covered in one day.
Some decisions were made. The proposed changes are one of the reasons for the special congregational meeting next week – on September 8th. In addition to some spending that goes beyond the $5K allowable outside budgeted items, the council will bring a couple motions that are the fruition of their discernment and conversation.
One conversation was about the size of the council – something that had not been updated for many, many years even though the congregation has changed a great deal in that time. The new proposed language would set the size limits between 4 and 20 persons and (in a continuing resolution) specify that the council shall be 10 people.
Another conversation was about the representation of diversity on the council. The ELCA model suggests specific language that singles out youth and young adults serving on council. However, there wasn’t a model suggestion for diversity in ethnicity, ability, gender, or sexual orientation. The new proposed language directs the Nominating Committee to consider these and other characteristics when finding individuals to serve on council.
Lastly, the council spent a great deal of time on the conversation of when council members are elected and begin serving in their roles. For as long as anyone can remember, the council has been elected in November and new members begin their terms on January 1st, when our fiscal year begins again. However, this is right in the middle of our busiest time of the church year. It’s a time when we’re celebrating Advent and Christmas, when people are away on vacation or visiting family, and we have increased events because of the holidays. Additionally, this is when we need to close the books for the year and pass a budget for the next year. It is a time when the staff and council need to prepare annual reports for the congregation and the ELCA and the council needs to conduct two congregational meetings. In short – this is the worst possible time to orient and welcome people who are new to serving in church leadership.
The proposed new language in the constitution suggests that we elect our council persons in the spring, just before Pentecost Sunday, to begin their terms on June 1st. The hope is that doing this when the church calendar is a little less full, when people have a little more time, and when there is space to have one-on-one meetings, hand off duties, and orient new people, will result in better prepared leaders who are able to dive into the autumn months ready to plan for the coming fiscal year.
Changing the constitution is necessary to keep us from tripping up on our way to proclaiming, welcoming, and serving. To make these changes, we’ll take two votes: On September 8th we’ll vote for the first time. Any motion that is passed on September 8th will stand up to a second vote at our January meeting in 2020, at which time it will need to be passed by a 2/3 majority in order to take effect.
At the time of writing this article one of the unresolved pieces is how we’ll transition from what we have been doing to what we will be doing. Thank God for Randy’s help in that. My hope is that we can bring the necessary motions to the congregational meeting in November. Hopefully by that time, we’ll also have made some headway on suggestions for Chapters 10 and 11.
If you have any questions about these changes, want to see drafts of the proposed language, or have comments or concerns, you can contact any of the council, Pastor Manda, or Randy Presuhn.
If you would like to propose draft changes to any of the parts of the constitution, bylaws, or continuing resolutions, we highly encourage you to do so! Please contact Theo Olson to get these changes on the council meeting agenda.
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.