CGS is seeking a Community Coordinator for 2021. Please share this job description and invite interested parties to send a cover letter, resume, and at least 2 references to: Paul Thomas by email: email@example.com or by mail to Paul Thomas, care of Christ the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1550 Meridian Ave., San Jose, CA 95125
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What should we be thankful for? What should we be grateful for?
Last week I started Monday morning with what felt like cramps. Perhaps some bad milk? No big deal, soldier on through. Around noon, though, the debilitating pain hit me like a truck. We called the phone advice line and headed to the hospital just to be safe. They confirmed we were doing the right thing, and 11 hours later I was heading home, minus my appendix. Certainly I am thankful for the countless doctors, nurses, assistants, and medical staff who are busy enough (and risking their lives) dealing with the pandemic while still handling all of their regular workloads. They were gracious, informative, and supportive. And I am beyond grateful to my wife, who did double-duty taking care of the family while I was recovering, and my family and friends for their well wishes and prayers.
While I was waiting in the hospital for my surgery - alone, thanks to the pandemic - I had some time to think. And to keep my mind off the fact that I’d never had surgery before, had never been put under, and was freaking out just a little bit, I tried to think about other things for which I am thankful. Here’s a partial list:
-The unencumbered innocence of children and dogs.
-The miracle of existence.
-The millions of people who, each day, make the world just a tiny bit better than it was the day before.
-The billions and billions of plants, animals, and bacteria that go through generations upon generations without any interference by, or even awareness of, human beings.
-The unknowable vastness of space.
-The power of positive thinking.
-The fact that, on the whole, each succeeding generation is more compassionate, more tolerant, more caring, and more active in their protection of the planet.
-The incredible diversity and beauty of the planet, its biomes, and its inhabitants.
-The power of God, God’s love, and God’s influence, direct or indirect, felt or unfelt.
Now these are mostly big-picture philosophical musings that make sense for someone about to go under the knife. But in a year that most everyone wishes would just hurry up and finish; looking ahead to a Thanksgiving apart from friends, family, and loved ones; and when so much of mankind’s sloth-like progress seems to have been eradicated in a matter of months - this big-picture thinking made me remember that, even in the morass of 2020, that the world is an awe-inspiring place. Each of us will one day be gone from this planet; but the list above, by God’s grace, will continue unabated.
I hope you are able to connect with those you love in some way, shape, or form this week, and I hope you can find much to be thankful for.
-Daniel Thomas, CGS Musician
Thank you everyone for a wonderful congregational meeting yesterday! It was a delightful treat to see everyone on Zoom and to hear a chorus of praise from our community!
In our meeting we elected Rey Lambatin, Judith Steger, Daniel Thomas, Sarah Janigian, Sarah Erickson, and Chuck Witschorik Jr. to the nominating committee. After Christmas they will start the process of finding our new council persons for election in May.
We also elected to send Bob Blough and Jean Herriges to the Sierra Pacific Synod Assembly as voting members. They'll attend the synod assembly in May of 2021 from the comfort of their living room computers.
Delightfully, we approved a mission plan for 2021 in the form of a budget. To see the high level financial reports and budget presentation, you can click here.
In case you missed it, our council also announced that CGS will be seeking a new staff position in 2021. At the same time we will be ending our Office Manager staff position. Our new staff position will be Community Coordinator. This person will work with all the members of CGS to carry out their ministry and mission in the world. They will also work with our partners and friends as part of our call to serve the community with this property.
We also announced that worship this Christmas Eve will be online due to the Tier 1 restrictions of the county. Worship will be at 2pm (in German) at 5pm and at 11pm as usual. Keep your eyes on these newsletters for more information as it develops.
A huge thank you to our council for all their hard work preparing this meeting as well as to our President, Vice President, and Secretary for preparing thoughtfully and making it run so smoothly. Thank you also to our personnel chair & team, property committee, staff, and especially our treasurer and finance team for all their hard work preparing our budget.
Immigrants know what it means to be a stranger in a new land. Many Chinese immigrants coming into America began their new life in Monterey Park, a suburb of Los Angeles. As they arrived, scores of them received critical support from a small but active group of Chinese Christians living in the area. By the 1960s, the time was ripe to develop a mission responsive to the needs of these new arrivals. In 1968, Pastor Wilson Wu and about 30 other Mandarin-speaking members of the community organized as Faith Lutheran Church, the ELCA's first established Asian congregation. "The ministry here identified itself through the work of the community," says Pastor Wu. "Even before our church was organized, new immigrants were already being helped. But we wanted to have a place that everyone would call home and a place where people would come when they needed help."
From Stories To Tell: Multicultural Ministry in Action. ELCA, 1991.
This year has put us all in the position of having to know what we are without a building as our central meeting place. I'm struck by the fact that there have been Christians who have been church in exactly this way long before any of us were displaced by a pandemic. I'm grateful for the pandemic in this regard. I'm grateful that there was a force that was powerful enough to shake us out of our complacency and strip away our reservations.
I've been delighted to be church with you all in 2020. If I had to choose a place to experience a dumpster fire of a year, I couldn't have imagined a better one. With you, I have found people who would not be made submissive by fear, but who stepped out in faith to risk themselves for the sake of serving the most vulnerable in our county. In the past year, we have grown in our generosity. Our financial stewardship is more faithful than ever. Our ministry of service to the houseless people of our city is greater. Our capacity to care for one another has multiplied. We are doing all the things God has called us to do and while it might not be easy, we have seen life abundant made manifest!
I'm very excited for our Congregational Meeting this weekend. Not only will I get to see all your faces on a Sunday morning in worship, but we will also get to dream and scheme about the year ahead. I've been impressed and blessed by what our council has prepared for us. There has been deep thoughtfulness in their discernment and they have taken great care to illicit your involvement. I have no doubt even if we find ourselves in a foreign place as 2021 rolls in, that we will find a faithful way to build a home for God's Spirit among us.
by Rey Lambatin, Choir Director
President-elect, Joe Biden, quoted part of this in his victory speech on Saturday night, November 7:
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
As much as I’m tempted to talk more about politics, I want to dwell more about this season, the time to give thanks. As we know, it is Thanksgiving month, a season when we remind ourselves of the beautiful and wonderful things that fill our lives, and to be grateful for these things. So, I’m sharing with you some of the things for which I’m thankful. I give thanks for my husband, Mike, who is always a source of love and joy, and a big support in all I do. I’m grateful for my family, friends, and the CGS church members whom I consider as an extended family. I’m thankful that I live in a state and community where the weather is awesome, and that I can be gay and a person of color and feel safe. I give thanks for technology that, despite the circumstances, we can continue to worship, minister, and practice our faith. I give thanks for the gift of music, and the beautiful things it brings to my life. I’m thankful for my health and the health of my loved ones. I’m grateful for having Baxter, our beagle companion, who fills our house with constant amusement. I am very thankful that we’re going to have a new president and vice president. And I give thanks that I serve a God who is good and faithful.
My list can go on, and I encourage everyone to also make their own. I believe it’s a great way to be reminded of the positive things in our lives that we sometimes miss because of, well, life happening. We had times when things are not great and are challenging, but for this season, let’s think of the beautiful and wonderful things that we have. Happy Thanksgiving!
Hello, my fellow CGSers!
This has been an extraordinary year for sure, full of changes and lots of new normals. The property committee has done repairs and improvements to the church while we worship and communicate online.
We repaired the irrigation systems throughout the garden, orchard, front and side areas, put new faucets in the kitchen, and tackled some other necessary repairs.
The next major project is getting the parsonage ready for Pastor Manda to be able to move in January 2021. There are lots of moving parts to achieve that goal. With God’s help, we will be able to complete this major project by 1/1/21. If you have any questions about completed or ongoing projects please let one of your property committee members know.
I am continually amazed by our community’s generosity both financially and emotionally. My God bless you all.
Thank you to everyone who helped CGS host the Silicon Valley Safe Parking this October. We know that reality did not always match our expectations, but with your openness and abundance approach we hosted 10 people safely overnight and shared 22 meals with those who needed it. This month we also added partnerships with Village House Showers and Veggielution to our Safe Parking program, growing our collective response to the world’s need. Praise be to God for the work she does through your hands!
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.