I don’t remember a time when I didn’t sing. My father was a professional musician, and my mother and three older siblings all sang. I thought everyone sat around the piano in the evenings and sang together in harmony. The first time I sang in public, I was 7 and I sang with my sisters in three-part harmony at the Musician’s Union picnic in Cleveland. The audience didn’t pay much attention, but I was smitten with the thrill of singing in harmony about thoughts and emotions that I didn’t have the words to express. I felt my soul soaring with the song and for the next 50 years I felt that same thrill as we sang at weddings, funerals, service organizations, parties and dance recitals (our dance teacher took one look at our dancing and said you three can sing).
Music, especially singing, is the vehicle to experience and enhance every human emotion and situation you encounter as you go through your life. It provides a theme song for every joy, sorrow, challenge and success you could ever have.
I recently discovered a song by Lauren Daigle called “You Say”. Every morning I ask Alexa to play this prayer and meditation that reminds me that I am loved and supported by God who knows me better than I know myself. The words are “You say I am loved when I don’t feel a thing. You say I am strong when I think I am weak. I believe, I believe what you say of me.” I sing along with the words and begin and end my day with this declaration of faith and gratitude for the joy of creation and the many wonderful people I have to share it with.
You don’t have to be a good singer to experience the uplifting joy and comfort that music provides. You just have to be willing to throw yourself into the experience.
Hi CGS! My name is Skye Gordineer and I’m just finishing up my first year on the Church Council. You can usually find me wrangling anywhere from one to three kids in the back of the church on Sunday. We sit there because of the amazing kids area that CGS has set up in the past few years. There are toys (quiet ones), books, art supplies and more that make it so much easier for me to bring the kids to church every Sunday.
This space is one of many areas funded by the church budget that the Council is currently working on for next year. Spaces like the kids area in the sanctuary, the nursery, as well as The Godly Play classroom need continued resources to provide the support families need to make it easier to attend church on a regular basis.
Please consider making continued or additional contributions to the offering plate this year. Did you know that you there are many different ways to donate to CGS? There’s the obvious envelopes in the pews (for checks or cash), but there’s also ways to give online to CGS via Breeze, Amazon, PayPal, Facebook, and EBay. Ask a council member for more info, or click here. Thank you for continuing to make CGS a welcome place for everyone!
By Theo Olson, Council President
In August the Council went to St. Francis Retreat Center in San Juan Bautista for our annual retreat. This year our focus was on stewardship and CGS finances. We faced our financial reality as a community, we studied abundant giving as Paul describes in his 2nd Letter to the Corinthians, we celebrated the work God is doing through CGS as we live out our mission, and we left inspired to support our shared mission.
As a group, we dug into our finances and learned that we have an abundance in our investments. We discovered that some of the restricted funds were for ministries that we no longer carry out, so we took steps to un-restrict these monies so that we have it available for future ministry.
We did a deep dive on the budget and all our accounts so that we can understand and share with the congregation our financial reality. And with this deeper understanding, we began work on the 2020 budget, stewarding our money, keeping mission as our first priority.
We discussed our stewardship and began to look at ways in which leadership can know and understand member giving in an effort to know what is reasonable and possible as a community as we develop budgets and manage our finances. We spent time in Bible Study reflecting on abundant stewardship and learning from the Macedonians to joyfully give of our first fruits. These initial steps will help us develop a stewardship plan for our congregation in the months ahead.
Through the ELCA Treasurer's Office and other expert consultation, we are reviewing our financial processes and putting together written policies to ensure CGS is current with our fiscal management.
The Council is inspired by the way members are responding to our mission and stepping up in various leadership roles to help us learn how we serve our community. For example, learning how CGS could become a safe car park location or how to get involved in addressing the homelessness crisis. Some of us are leading book discussions and reading, Dear, Church, in preparation for our conversation with Rev. Lenny Duncan in November, which will also be an opportunity to open our doors even wider to our community for this important discussion.
These are just a few examples of the many ways in which we, the Body of Christ at CGS, are ministering to our community and one another. Thank you for all that you do in small and large ways to be God's Hands.
While we move into the budget planning season, please hold the Council in your prayers as we look to keep a balance between the mission work and ministries of CGS with our financial reality. I also encourage you to talk with the council members about your ideas on stewardship and the budget.
Soli Deo Gloria!
By Pastor Manda
For the past month, Jean Hope has been taking the drawers of CGS history and digitizing it for our archives. Recently she found an article from the very first Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly in 1988. We both marveled at how much this newsletter article from the bishop sounded exactly like a newsletter article that we would find in this newsletter in 2019.
Based on the content (which you can find on the kiosk in the Narthex) there was a great deal of anxiety in the community about the amount and rapid pace of change. “Do we have to make so many changes so quickly?” “What will the new church be like?”
He talks about how many people were relieved to hear the new language of worship and see the diverse expressions of faith in the new assembly. He also acknowledges that others were hurt or offended by the same things.
What’s even more remarkable is that through the Presiding Bishop Chilstrom’s sermon, he reminds us that the apostle Paul writes about the same things in his letters to the first Christian churches. “Paul, what about those nasty lawsuits between members?” and “What are you going to do about those who make pigs of themselves at the Lord’s Supper?”
And thus we are reminded that we’re not doing anything new at CGS. We’re repeating the same cycle of questioning, change, and adjustment that the Body of Christ has been doing from the very beginning. Our community is not drastically changing for the first time, we’re doing it for the 2,000th time.
But church. I want to tell you – you are doing it well.
At our special congregational meeting in September I wanted so badly for things to go well. I worried that if we couldn’t figure out how to communicate well that there would be fear and a loss of trust in one another. My fears were unfounded because what I witnessed on Sunday was a community that did a MARVELOUS job of facing change together.
The council did a phenomenal job of preparing for that meeting. They put months of thoughtful prayer and conversation into those motions. Our members did a wonderful job of raising excellent questions. We even proposed amendments! And amendments to amendments! THAT WAS AWESOME!
In that meeting I saw a community that isn’t stuck in the past nor afraid of the future. Or, well, maybe we are individually but collectively we’re faithfully responding to God’s call and shifting our resources, our way of life, and our hopes to Proclaim, Welcome, and Serve.
Of course, the same thing is true that has always been true. Every year there will be something more to change, some new adjustment to make. But Church, in your ability to be adaptive and flexible to the whims of the Holy Spirit in our midst, I am seeing the Word of God at work, creating new things and speaking the truth of resurrection into the world. Thanks be to God.
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.