Silicon Valley Safe Parking Update
The SafeCarPark@CGS The Safe Car Park guests have moved to the next location. Thank you CGS community for your efforts and support of this ministry. During the month of October we hosted over 30 guests including several families with children in 13 cars.
Silicon Valley Safe Parking is a partnership of area faith communities and Bellarmine College Prep, with locations in the central San Jose area. More than two years ago the CGS church council approved participation in this vital community effort. All partners agreed to host for one month, up to two times per year.
As a host site, we provide a safe parking space, bathrooms and trash/recycling for the guests. Host sites are then able to choose additional hospitality: phone charging stations, hospitality room, snacks, meals, etc. Hosting during COVID brought challenges but we were able to provide continue with our participation and took precautions to make it a safe place for all.
The outpouring of assistance and love to this ministry has been tremendous. It is because of the efforts of the volunteers that it came together. Thank you, check-in/check-out volunteers, to those who donated snacks, beverages, gift cards and made cash donations, and to those who hosted dinners. All are important parts of keeping the Safe Car Park at part of this CGS ministry,
It will take our village to make this work. CGS’s will again host in April 2023. Volunteers will be needed throughout the entire month. Daily shifts, 7:30 am – 8:00 am in the morning and 6:30 pm – 7:00 pm in the evening, will need to be staffed. While the guests are staying with us, the best ways to offer hospitality and support will be determined. Donations of gift cards, snacks and supplies on the Amazon wish list are always needed. Financial support is also greatly appreciated.
For more information and to volunteer, contact Sarah Janigian, Chelsea Byom, Rachel Visscher, or Kevin Vasscher.
How to Print a Church Directory in Breeze
Did you know you can print your own custom directory in Breeze? Here's how!
The directory will print in three columns and three contacts per row.
Can't get it to print? Ask the church office to print a copy for you.
Call Committee Corner
We've made it to the bottom of page 32 (of 109) of the Call Process
Manual! This means your call committee has agreed on a candidate we
believe is called to be our next pastor, and furthermore that he (yes,
"he") believes we are called to be his congregation. Thanks be to God!
But we have 77 more pages to go. What could possibly be next? The next
major phase in this process will be working through the details of the
contract and proposed compensation package. 1 Timothy 5:18 reminds us
to ensure that workers are able to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Pray for our congregational council as they joyfully live up to this
And there's still more. In the coming weeks we'll arrange some kind of
meet-and-greet event, and then there will be a congregational meeting to
vote on whether to call him, and whether to approve the compensation
package proposed by our council.
And there's still more. Since this would be Kristofer's first call,
he'll need to figure out where we wants to have his ordination take
place. And then there's that matter of scheduling his installation,
probably by our conference Dean, here at CGS. And a zillion little
details along the way.
Our sincere hope is that we'll have made it through all this around the
beginning of the new year, but we're entering a stage of the process
where external dependencies (like schedules of deans and bishops) seem
During this time, please hold Kristofer and his wife Laura in your
prayers, along with our council as they lay the foundations for this
next stage of our lives together.
Your Call Committee,
Randy, Adolfo, Julia, Matt, Paul, and Sarah
I had the privilege to be educated by the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco. Don Bosco dedicated his life to the betterment and education of street children, juvenile delinquents, and other disadvantaged youth in Torino. He developed teaching methods based on love rather than punishment. When we were in school, we were doing dishes, cleaning up the dining hall, visiting retirement homes, and doing all kinds of “on the ground” charitable work. What stuck with me most and why I later felt so at home with the Lutheran faith and CGS was:
Like any family living in sunny but expensive Bay Area, we always must juggle time, stress and money. Working and raising two teenagers, we try to balance educating, sky rocketing cost of living, fueling 3000 calories per day diets, and saving so we can visit our loved ones in Europe and so our kids hopefully don’t have to worry about their aging parents. We love participating in CGS activities whenever we can, God works our hands, and the Safe Car Park ministry are our favorites. Ansgar made a stint in the Keynote group and I would love to join the choir, but as the saying goes too many commitments, too little time. We are also fortunate to participate in other charitable work with the Johanniter order, the Masonic Service Association at the VA, teaching Tai Chi and Martha’s Kitchen.
At the October church council Jean – watching our congregation finances with the utmost care, thank you Jean! - brought up that our donation level is under budget and that it would be good to raise awareness of this fact in our community newsletter. So here you go, here is my attempt to talk about a very sensitive topic. I don’t like to ask people to give money and per the above I prefer giving time and “doing” the work. But as a former controller I understand the realities of keeping a balanced budget to fund all the wonderful ministries of our beloved CGS church.
Our world today is all caught up in the daily media reports of war, inflation, rioting, latest COVID variant, recession and natural disasters. Honestly, I often turn off the news as to me it’s mental poisoning. I try to spend time on activities that will help me stay positive like dancing, giving, meditating, reading uplifting works and praying. Like all of us – and especially now that I must find a new job, I need to overcome my fears and give while trusting that at some point this too shall pass.
One of my mother’s favorite sayings – which came from my grandmother who lived thru WWI, WWII and the Algeria wars was “Tout va bien a celui qui sait attendre et qui croit en Dieu”. Which means good things will come to those who are patient and have faith. Now if a devout and loving farmer’s voice might not be as meaningful to you as it is to me, I will quote my favorite verses from the scriptures on the topic of trusting a better future and giving.
On Trust - John 16:33
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
It Is Better to Give Than Receive - Acts 20:35
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
On Treasures in Heaven - Matthew 6:16-34
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
On Freedom from Fear - Matthew 6:16-34
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
From the bottom of my heart, I pray that this season will bring new energy and hope to your life. Autumn is so much full of positivity, happiness and goodness. It is the season of giving, and nobody can ever tell you what to give, you know it in your heart. Just go and do it.
Isabelle Coste-Fürst – CGS Council Member
Call Committee Corner
Saying "no" is hard. It's especially hard when you know someone wants
something so badly they can taste it, when they've prepared for years
and feel that hope deep in their bones that this might be the place.
This is a challenge of the call process that I hadn't really
appreciated. I already knew from having hired employees that turning
down prospects was both necessary and uncomfortable, especially when
there were multiple well-qualified applicants for a single opening, but
there's something about the call process that makes it different.
Perhaps it's the amount of filtering that has already happened before we
see a prospect's name. Perhaps it's how much they've invested in
learning about our congregation before they even talk to us. Perhaps
it's the possibility that this call would occupy them for the rest of
their earthly life. But there's no "perhaps" about the feeling it
leaves in my gut, a sort of über-FOMO despite my intellectual
appreciation that we can say "yes" to at most one.
At this time, we're at about page 28 (of 109) of the "Sierra Pacific
Synod, ELCA Transition and Call Process Manual for Congregations in
Transition." We conducted video interviews and met to discuss them in
depth. After much thought, discussion, and prayer, we released those we
couldn't envision at CGS from consideration so they might pursue other
possibilities. We met on October 2nd to identify the topics we want to
give priority in face-to-face interviews scheduled with the remaining
candidates. We've been contacting references. By October 16th, we will
have conducted the interviews, and will then meet to digest what we have
learned and decide how we want to proceed from there.
We ask for prayer:
- that those we have released find calls well-suited to their most
- for the remaining candidates as they discern whether CGS would be
right for them;
- and for the Call Committee, that we might hear the Holy Spirit's
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”
A good way to follow the advice above from Apostle Paul is to say breath prayers aloud or quietly to oneself throughout the day. In October 2019, I was reading the GIVE US THIS DAY devotional booklet to be ecumenical and I really enjoyed this simple breath prayer: “May the love of God, peace of Christ, and communion of the Holy Spirit be with us forever.” Another one borrowed from our Lutheran worship service is: “May we enter the fullness of your kin-dom in unity with Christ. In the name of the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. Amen.” One can also create your own breath prayers with inspiration from the Holy Bible and/or Christian songs. For example, I put together this concise prayer inspired by the Gospel of John 8:12, Genesis 28:15, and a Christian song called “Holy Spirit” by Francesca Battistelli: “Jesus is the Light of the world, God is with me wherever I go, and the Holy Spirit is welcome here.” Hopefully all of you can also connect to our Lord and Savior, Jesus of Nazareth, through some of these succinct yet insightful prayers.
Peace and blessings,
This Is the Feast
Lately, each Sunday we start our liturgy with the song "This is the feast of victory for our God". Whenever I hear those words, I think to myself, yes, this physical gathering of the congregation, right here, right now, this is the feast! We are choosing to sit together to honor God, surrounded by fellow human beings, instead of sitting at home alone working on yet another online crossword puzzle.
But then two Sundays ago, I had to stay home and isolate due to exposure to Covid. And while I was watching the worship service streaming live on YouTube, I asked myself, am I still part of that feast? I mean, with the exception of maybe Christina running the cameras, nobody even knew I was there. Like they say, on the Internet, nobody knows you're a Lutheran.
A confession: I didn't actually take communion at home that Sunday. But as the song's composer wrote in 2003 , the song was intended as a Song of Praise, just as we use it at CGS, and not as a song about the eucharist. And while some of its lyrics come from the Book of Revelation, the word "feast" doesn't appear in that book at all. So what kinds of feast did I miss out on?
Personally, I missed the feast of the senses that is seeing and hearing and greeting people in the pews. I missed the abundance of familiar faces. And after the sixteen-plus months of remote-only worship services in 2020 and 2021, I missed the enjoyment that comes from the still somewhat "unusual" experience of worshiping in-person.
I'm grateful that CGS still offers live streaming of worship services each Sunday. And I'm even more grateful when I can attend in-person.
Gregg Zigler, council member
It is exciting to watch your enthusiasm and energy grow for events that; are re-emerging after having been put on hold for the past several years! Just a friendly reminder that as things go back to being “the way they’ve always been,” there might have been a few changes along the way. Our building buzzes with use from organizations and groups that meet here weekly, including the sanctuary. Please check with Christina before you plan to use the church building for your activity so you will not be disappointed because the room you want is already in use or you disturb another group who has a scheduled meeting time. Use the newsletter by submitting articles the week before the event you are planning so the congregation can be informed of all church activities. As the staff begins to plan for the months ahead, please let Daniel, Rey or Pastor Jill know if you are thinking about adding any special activities to the worship schedule, especially during Advent and Christmas. We would like to know by October 1st so that we can plan worship accordingly. Reach out to folk who are relatively new to the congregation so they are invited to events. Remember, newcomers, including your Bridge Pastor don’t have a built in memory of “the way things have always been. “And finally, if you are a relative newcomer to CGS, talk to Pastor Jill about your interests and we can try together to open new possibilities to share and learn together. Enjoy the month of August as the lazier summer days turn into a fuller schedule starting in September!
- Pastor Jill
We are blessed with a friendly, caring, and inclusive community. Whether you have been coming to CGS for years or for just a few days, I am sure you have felt a warm welcome from those you meet. A key element of our community is participation in the many activities that build our life together. Are you aware of the opportunities for you to participate?
If you like to read, you can join the book club or volunteer to read the scriptures on Sunday morning.
If you like a deeper understanding and discussion of the meaning of the bible verses chosen for each Sunday, you can join the Bible Study on zoom on Wednesdays from 12 to 1.
If you like to cook and enjoy planning parties, you can join a Shelter Cooking Team for the chance to serve the Julian Street Shelter once every three months or join any of the groups preparing potlucks and fund-raising events.
If you like gardening you can join our volunteer gardeners who tend to the flowers, fruit trees and shrubbery outside.
If you enjoy building projects and are handy with tools, you can join the Property Committee to help with the upkeep of our facility.
If you love music, you can join one of our two choirs or play with our band of instrumentalists.
If you enjoy greeting people and welcoming them to our services, you can join the ushers who serve us each Sunday.
If you enjoy helping with worship, you can join the altar guild and take part in setting up the altar and helping with communion.
If you like to take part in the leadership of our community, you can join the church council and serve with other leaders in our church.
If you like coffee and donuts (who doesn’t) you can join one of the coffee teams who serve once a month.
If you enjoy working with children you can join the Godly Play Sunday school program, either as a trained teacher or as a volunteer assistant.
If you are interested in any of these opportunities or are curious about what other groups exist, see Christina Unzen, our Community Coordinator, and she will put you in touch with the group you want to join.
There are other committees available to you, or you can just come to worship and join us for fellowship in the garden after worship where we get to know each other and share our stories. Sharing our celebrations and challenges helps prepare us for whatever the coming week may bring. This is how we are church together.
- Jean Hope
“Que milagro” is what you say
When you see someone face to face
That you haven’t seen in a very long time.
“WHAT A MIRACLE,” it translates
Yet it means
The space inside the ear to ear smile
That lands in the sparkle of joy across your eyes into your soul
Upon recognition and remembrance of what and who matters.
And so it was with me and the Monarchs last fall
I greeted them loudly in the garden, tears welling, I whispered more reverentially,
My friends from childhood, me on my back on the grass, looking up at blue sky and
You, little miracles flying by, peeking and waving, on your way to pollinate.
El sanctuario, Michoacan, twenty years ago,
You still mighty in the millions
Greeting the day with the language of a zillion wings, filling the air with vibration a quarter mile away.
You, breeding, dying, leaving new birth,
Navigators of the forest set again
To fly north,
The circle and cycle, a chorus in the migration of what keeps the earth alive.
You, are endangered with extinction.
Maybe not the thriving ones in our garden, because still
The milkweed here feeds your caterpillars as they dig in to their cocoons,
Form mush, reform wings, break free, dry out and fly away home.
Not you yet.
And it is now our choice, your kin, the wingless ones, with spines.
Your neighbors, to keep watching, planting, advocating, and naming you, aloud
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.