We need your help! In some format, our worship will continue to be online for the foreseeable future. This means the way we build our liturgy (a word that means "work of the people") has to shift. We need your voice (and your face) to help us. If you are able and willing to read things, please click here to contact Janet and get signed up. If you are willing to contribute to music in some way please click here to contact Daniel and Rey and get signed up. If you can help us with hosting and greeting people online please click here to contact Laura and get signed up. If you have any other gifts or want to help but don't know how, please click here to contact Pastor Manda and find a way to contribute to CGS worship. Our worship at CGS may have been forced to change before we were ever ready but God is still constant and consistently present. Thank you for your contribution to helping us find new ways to worship an everlasting God.
Daniel Thomas, CGS musicianOne of the bright spots of our current situation has been seeing members of our community come together to make sure worship was able to continue even as we were compelled to remain at home.
Over the last couple of months our members have learned new technology, overcome trepidations and apprehensions, and embraced a new way of gathering – and although we are separated by distance and mandate, we are together in hearts, minds, and souls. It was especially heartening to see our community gathered onscreen at Easter, and I look forward to seeing the same for Pentecost.
I’m so grateful to those people who have also shared their time and talents as lay leaders, readers, musicians, singers, and now, video producers. And, as it looks like we’ll be doing this for at least the next couple of months, it’s time to bring more of us into the virtual fold.
You’ve seen Rebecca and me leading our hymns and liturgical music, but we want more of you to be involved, so I’m inviting you to help lead our congregation in our liturgical pieces. We will continue using pieces from “Now the Feast and Celebration” so the music will be familiar and easy. As you’ve seen some of our choir members do, you would play the music from your space and sing along to the track. You’ll see some of our members doing this over the next couple of weeks, but I would love to have people signed up for the entire summer. This would be a perfect opportunity for those of you who have maybe been timid about participating in the past, as it requires just the one song. We can even put the song into whatever key is comfortable for your voice.
If you are interested, please contact me. If the thought of doing this makes you nervous, contact me anyway and let’s talk about how to turn those nerves into boldness of spirit. Singing, and singing together, has always been one of the greatest ways to build community – and more than ever, we need to embrace new ways of creating that atmosphere. Seeing new faces each week, and singing along with them, is a beautiful way to raise our voices to God and share our gifts and love with each other.
Pentecost Sunday is often called the birthday of the Church. To celebrate on this Pentecost Sunday, May 31st we will have virtual worship where everyone is visible. To make this possible we will invite everyone to a Zoom meeting. You can join by phone or video. Details about the Zoom link have been emailed, and will be in the bulletin being mailed to you this week. If you didn't receive the email, please call the office at 408-266-8022 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, if you have the ability to help someone in our congregation navigate this technology and join the call, please let us know. If you are someone who would like help setting up your device for worship on this special day, please call us at 408-266-8022.
When I was about 8 or 9, I clearly remember going on different trips with my mom. Aside from her regular job, she used to do a side business of buying and selling, and we would go to different places for her to purchase items that she could resell to different clients. And being the youngest child, she would always take me with her while my eldest sister was left at home with my brother. We would go to different markets in Manila, and in some occasions to different provinces away from the city. And I’ve always enjoyed it! My young mind would be repeatedly fascinated by these trips, these adventures. I enjoyed looking at new things, exploring new places, and watching and observing different people. I don’t recall getting bored on these trips, nor asking my mom, “Are we there yet?” I’ve always just went with the flow of the travel, enjoyed the new things that I saw, and settled with satisfaction at home when the trip is over. This ingrained love of exploration and seeing new places was carried on up to now that I’m a grown up 52-year-old. Every year, I always look forward to our travel to Hawaii, and one of my more fun adventures was when Mike, Baxter, and I went on a road trip to Montana in 2017. At the end of all these travels, I always come out learning something new - either about my spouse, other people, places, or even myself. I don’t think life is “a” journey because I believe that life is a consolidation of small journeys, a series of purposes and fulfillments. I used to believe that to get to my one true destination, I have to stop being gay. Now I realize that that journey is past which purpose was to prepare me for where I am now. Thankfully, God opened doors and steered me to a path where I can worship and fellowship with people while being true to myself. So for now, this is one of my journeys - to serve God through CGS and the choir ministry. I always believe that every time the choir gathers and sings to create music, we are embarking in a small journey together to fulfill a common purpose, and the experience will teach us something that will help us in our next task and adventure. We are all going through a similar course with the Corona virus situation now that the shelter-in-place order has been extended. But I am certain that sometime in the future this too will end, fulfilling its purpose, and with God’s grace, a new and different path will be opened. It is, however, up to us what lesson we’ll take away from it. “Are we there yet?”
As you may know, I have been unable, per Doctor's advice, to continue, personally, passing out Personal Hygiene products. Pr Bob McKee has graciously offered to take over this duty this last month or so. Bob meets me at Hope, loads up, heads out for a few hours and then drops off what remains. He returns with quite a bit less then he left with as the need remains.
I am at Hope Lutheran every Thursday between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM and starting on 12 May, every Tuesday I will be at Hope between 4:00 and 6:00 PM to receive donations.
Lastly, I went by Martha's Kitchen to speak with the operations manager as well as the shower staff. During the conversations I learned that the number of people using the mobile showers has doubled. While part of the reason for this is, most assuredly, due to the increase in those living on the street, the bulk of the additional clients is due to the closing of all the various athletic facilities that people used to shower. It seems obvious now and yet, this additional burden on those that are unhoused never occurred to me.... This impact further illustrates how hard life is for the unhoused as well as how many of the burdens are almost invisible, until they are not.
In closing, the need during this time of quarantine has not diminished and we are working on ways to get the support to those that need it.
Remember the flowers we had each week in worship? We stopped our weekly delivery when the pandemic started. We very much value our relationship with our neighbor florist and we know that one of the ways we live our mission is to spend our money in ways that show our faith in Christ. So, we encourage you to invest in this local business and order Mother's day flowers through them this year. You can order flowers from D'Anna's Flowers & Gifts by going to their website to pick out what you want and then emailing them at email@example.com or calling 408-723-7111. (Ordering through the website sends a chunk of the money to Teleflora, rather than all of it to D'Annas.)
CGS will be hosting the Safe Car Park program throughout the month of June in our parking lot. Due to COVID-19, we will be taking extra precautions, and offering more limited services to our guests than we otherwise would. We now have a more detailed sign up available at the links below to volunteer or donate food/toiletry items. Thank you to those who have already expressed interest in helping!!
CLICK HERE FOR VOLUNTEER SIGN UP We need volunteers (1) checking in on/swinging by the parking lot twice per day (maintaining social distance), and (2) providing and delivering breakfast or dinner.
Checking in on the site is to make sure everything appears safe, and there are no emergencies - you can do this from a distance as you walk or drive past. If you feel comfortable, we welcome you to chat with guests, find out how they are doing, and make them feel welcome.
Providing meals could include preparing the meal (Click HERE for information from Santa Clara County on safe food handling), getting take-out, ordering delivery, etc. We do not need to provide breakfast/dinner every day, just on days when people are available
You may bring your items to church (place in designated area in the Narthex), or you can request that one of us pick up the items from outside your home. Please indicate in the "comment" field on the sign up sheet whether you will bring the items to church, or if you would like someone to pick them up.
I hope that you are well and staying healthy. As you are undoubtedly aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has required our church to change the way we do many things, including our Sunday worship services, Wednesday Bible study, our weekly offering, and more. At the CGS Council meeting on Tuesday, April 21, it was decided that we will not consider meeting in person to worship until after June 1 at the earliest. This decision is based on the current CDC and Santa Clara County public health guidelines and for the benefit of the most vulnerable in our congregation.
As a result of this decision, the in-person congregational meeting that was scheduled for May 31 will not take place. However, there is still business to conduct, including a vote for Treasurer and one Council Member. Therefore, we will be holding a mail-in election. Voting members should have received a letter along with ballots by mail. If you haven't received yours, contact Laura in the office. Thank you to the nominating committee for identifying and putting forth this slate of candidates. You may cast your vote for one of those people or write in the candidate of your choice.
Please complete your ballot and then return it by mail to the church office by Tuesday, May 26, 2020. After the ballots are received, two Council members will count the votes and the election results will be announced on Sunday, May 31, 2020, following our online worship service.
Thank you all for your continued presence in our virtual worship and other church activities. I miss seeing you all in person and hope that soon we will be able to worship together again!
As we make our way through the second month of staying at home, Joshua is climbing.
He misses the playgrounds and parks all of the awesome climbing equipment, so he’s finding stools and chairs and tables and counters.
And our sofa.
In our desire to make our sofa last through one toddler and two dogs (and to avoid injury), we have repeatedly asked that he not jump/scamper/climb over the arm of the sofa – a request that was not immediately heeded. We warned him about the possibility of falling off.
So then, he fell off. Backwards. Onto his tail bone. Oh, the pain! The crying!
And we were tempted to deploy “I told you so” or “what did you think would happen” or “that’s what you get for not listening to us.”
Humans make terrible choices each and every day. We can be warned, cautioned, informed, cajoled, pleaded with, and yet we still make choices which harm ourselves, harm the people we love, harm our communities, and harm our planet.
What does God do when we falter? Does he wag his finger, cluck his tongue, and turn His back? Does God say “I told you so”?
Isaiah 12 says “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.” And Isaiah 66 says “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.”
Rebecca scooped Joshua into her arms and held him tight. We gave him comfort and love. Joshua now has a lovely bruise, which is fading.
And he hasn’t climbed the sofa since. The world is trying to make difficult choices right now – how do we find our way back to “normal’? What is the balance between a healthy populace and a healthy economy? And it’s very easy to look at the choices people make and judge them, to wag our online finger and cast aspersions. Will this help? Will anyone “learn their lesson” this way? Will this build bridges or burn them down? As the world frets about a potential choice between physical or financial ruin, we need to remember that what everyone could use is comfort and love.
What does the ELCA teach about the nature and function of government in relation to God’s purposes? What is a faithful Lutheran response regarding citizenship and civic engagement? As much as we might like to remove politics from faith, it is impossible to do so. We know that from experience. We cannot separate our daily faith from our political actions. One informs the other. If we hope to remain one body of Christ that shares faith and is not divided by political actions, then we must take time to understand our common values.
The ELCA is drafting a social message on Government and Civic Engagement: Discipleship in a Democracy. This social message will be crafted from our Lutheran heritage, our scripture and theology, and the movement of the Holy Spirit through our members. It will be a unified message of our shared values where faith and civic engagement intersect.
I hope you will take a moment to give the task force your feedback on their draft by filling out this survey. You may also email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your comments are necessary and important. The task force is not seeking expertise, original insight, or even profound statements. They need a reflection of the whole body of Christ if this message will represent what God is doing through us.
The deadline for giving input to this message is May 27. If you'd like to discuss this before giving input, Pr Manda will be hosting an online discussion on May 12 at 6:30pm. Click here for the Zoom info.