Although your call committee is taking a break from meeting this week,
we'd like to thank all the members of this community who have taken
the time to talk to us about what they'd like to see in our next
pastor. Don't be surprised if someone from the call committee gets
in touch with you to try to figure out exactly what you meant -
sometimes the pithy phrases used to sum up someone's viewpoint
are terribly ambiguous, even in context. And if you haven't talked
to us yet, or have more thoughts on the subject, please don't
hesitate to get in touch with us, either individually (Adolfo Ramirez,
Julia Tranchina, Matt Byom, Paul Thomas, Randy Presuhn or Sarah
Janagian) or in an email to the whole committee at
Christmas Season Traditions
This Christmas season is a time of both honoring old traditions and introducing new ones. At CGS this year, I enjoyed the beautiful results of our Greening of the Church tradition. And I started a new personal tradition of watching the German-language Christmas Eve service on YouTube. And I saw other traditions taking a "sabbatical" this year, like the appearance of Santa Lucia at an Advent worship service.
Christmas gives me an opportunity to reflect on two questions: what traditions have outlived their usefulness, and what new ones would I like to start? One of my good, old traditions is reviewing the year in gratitude. For 2021, I am grateful that:
And this season is a time of hope. I am hopeful that the Council will continue to navigate the changing currents of pandemics and economics that affect our congregation in 2022.
May you all enjoy your traditions filled with gratitude and hope.
- Gregg Zigler, Council member
I am a terrible gift-receiver.
Starting in October, multiple times, Rebecca asks me what I want for Christmas. I alternate between “I don’t know” and some treacly sentiment like “the love of my family is present enough.” And while that is true, she wants to get me something that can be wrapped up. A symbol, a token, a gift – something to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our love for each other, the closing of the year. And in spite of my inability to provide any inspiration, she always gets me something lovely and practical and meaningful.
Am I afraid to admit that I want things? Am I concerned about appearing greedy or selfish? Am I worried about money? Do I feel guilt because I am also a terrible gift-buyer, and welcome any and all blatant hints about what to get for my loved ones?
The Bible says a lot about giving in a charitable sense, but not much about giving or receiving presents. But as I went searching, I was reminded that Jesus himself was a present, given to me and to us all. A gift from God. My ability to receive that gift with humility and gratitude should be reflected in how I receive gifts from others, for those gifts are given with love, just as God gave us Jesus with love. Each gift, no matter how big or small, practical or frivolous – each gift is a symbol of the greatest gift of all.
I hope that each of you are able to give and receive gifts with love, joy, and the reminder of Jesus’ miraculous birth – and that you are able to share that love and joy with friends, families, and communities near and far.
Your Call Committee is taking a break from it's weekly meeting rhythm
until January. But we won't be idle over the holidays! We're building
up the list of poll questions for the congregation to clarify how we
should respond to a few items where the committee does not yet have a
clear understanding of the congregation's preferences.
To avoid pestering you with more questions than necessary, we're doing
two more committee-internal polls to cover some more items on the
Ministry Site Profile. These are entitled "Top Five Ministry Tasks" and
"Gifts for Ministry", adding up to 65 questions, many of them
overlapping. If the committee members are in general agreement about
these, we'll be able to avoid asking you about all 65, and hopefully may
even be able to cover both these sections entirely.
If you have any questions about your call committee's work, or thoughts
about the qualities you would like to see in our next pastor, please
talk to any of us: Adolfo Ramirez, Julia Tranchina, Matt Byom, Paul
Thomas, Randy Presuhn (chair) or Sarah Janigian.
I woke up early this morning and this memory popped up. It is a hot Sacramento foothill June morning. I am a teenager and have slept well into a Saturday morning after a night of babysitting that didn’t end until well after 2:00 am. Our mum has been busy all morning doing the weekly wash. Outside my open bedroom window, I hear the gurgle of gray water plopping out an open pipe into the garden. This pipe was probably a code violation even back then, yet it watered the flower bed beneath the bedroom window for well over a decade until the plumbing was replaced. This garden had camellia bushes, roses and at the front, two large hydrangeas. The camellias and roses bloomed the same color annually yet the hydrangeas had a party every time mum changed laundry detergents. The residue of the detergent in the gray water affected the Ph balance of the soil around the plants and depending on the nature of the detergent, the flowers varied from pale pink to deep blue violet. I have been reflecting on this memory all morning and it makes me think of my own baptism. It is in my relationship to Christ that I engage in the world, yet in the course of my own life, I have been transplanted to many places and the quality of the environment of each place has shaped the colors and tones of my own blooming. I am very much enjoying being the Bridge pastor at Christ the Good Shepherd. I like living into the depth of each day. I also am discerning, just as you are, what my next “call” will be. Inside my imagination there is a call committee that watches over me as I reflect on the places I have journeyed, the gifts God has given me and the dreams I still enjoy. How can I use my gifts? How am I different from who I was five years ago? What is realistic yet risky to try even as I am aware of my aging process? How is the Spirit moving through me as I serve here? These are some of my discernment questions. As you seek a new pastor I pray for your discernment, in the same manner I ask you to pray for mine.
Call Committee Update.
The Call Committee has almost finished its work on the seven essay questions from the Ministry Site profile designed to help us summarize the current life of our congregation to prospective candidates; and, starting next week, the Committee will begin to draw up possible questions we will use in the upcoming congregational survey.
In the meantime, we are pleased by how many of you have come forward to members of the Call Committee with your thoughts about what you hope to see in our next pastor. We have received your input in writing and in person as we have talked to each other whenever possible, and we have found your thoughts to be helpful and insightful. Interestingly enough, leadership style seems to be a theme in what is being presented to us – although that may be due to the fact that the Committee had as its goal last week to make sure we contacted all our staff members for their input.
Nevertheless, the important thing is that the Call Committee continues to want your ideas, and we hope you will let us know what you think is important. You can not only tell us what you want and feel is important to have in our next pastor, but you may also tell us what you don’t want or don’t like.
After next week’s meeting, the Call Committee (Randy Presuhn, Chair, Paul Thomas, Sarah Janigian, Matt Byom, Adolfo Ramirez, and Julia Tranchina), will take a break for the holidays and then will resume meeting again in early January.
Please continue to keep the Call Committee and its work in your prayers.
The holiday season is a time in which I look forward to and yet dread in the same breath. The dinners, family time, and holiday cheer are all swell, yet there is still an ounce of rush and busyness that brings waves of stress and chaos. Learning to tread through those moments has been an issue for me. The first is just saying no (well, more importantly, learning to say yes to the moments that align closer to my spirit). Telling a friend I am unavailable for a coffee date that would be in the middle of the busy shopping center but saying yes to a joint dog walk out in nature. Especially when trying to finding a safe comfort zone after many months of isolation.
With that, I wish you all a merry holidays. Enjoy a photo of my new puppy Blue who I will be spending most of my holiday time with.
CGS is hosting two separate ways for giving back during the holiday season. Both ministries have a high demand for help this year and can use our support.
This is Adrienne Keel from LGBTQ Youth Space. Thank you for reaching out and offering your support. We are operating out of 950 West Julian Street in San Jose on a very part time basis. This is a Family & Children Services office.
The following individually packaged, non-perishable snacks are our biggest need right now:
granola bars, trail mix, protein bars, jerky, crackers, dried fruits, fruit snacks, cookies, chips, pretzels, and popcorn.
Items can be dropped off in clear bin in front of church office.
Encompass Ministry- Social Ministry Committee
This is an outreach program for people without homes. It is also in association with Hope Lutheran Church, Santa Clara CA.
There is a need for checks to purchase items such as sleeping bags. Please make checks to Encompass Ministry. Check can be dropped off to church office or mail to 1550 Meridian Ave.
Thank you for helping our community during the holiday season. Much joy and love to all!
Your Call Committee is continuing its work on the seven "trends"
portion of the Ministry Site Profile (MSP). It has been interesting
to see how seemingly straightforward requests like "list three changes
or trends within the congregation or organization which have occurred
in the last three to five years" can elicit much discussion. It's
not a question of what things have happened, but rather which are
most important, and that gets into our understanding of events and
their meaning for the community, and whether we want to talk about
the changes or how the congregation has responded (or failed to respond)
We're hoping to wrap up our work on this section of the MSP this
month, and move on to identifying items for which it will be helpful
to survey the congregation. We plan to meet twice more in December,
take a break over the holidays, and resume the first week of January.
We're thankful for the comments we've received and the conversations
we've had, and would like to encourage everyone in the congregation to
take an opportunity to talk to a member of the Call Committee: Sarah
Janigian, Paul Thomas, Randy Presuhn (chair), Matt Byon, or Adolfo
Please keep us and our work in your prayers!
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.