God’s work. Our hands. Sunday is September 13, 2020. This day is an opportunity to celebrate who we are as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – one church, freed in Christ to serve and love our neighbor.
Service activities offer an opportunity for us to explore one of our most basic convictions as Lutherans: that all of life in Jesus Christ – every act of service, in every daily calling, in every corner of life – flows freely from a living, daring confidence in God’s grace.
You may have wondered if CGS is doing something for GWOH this year during the time of COVID-19. The answer is YES! Although we won't be able to gather together in the Great Hall to pack food, we will still be able to get food to those in need during this time. And this year we will celebrate GWOH for the entire month of September.
We are doing a Virtual Food Drive with Second Harvest Food bank. Traditional food drives have been put on hold for the time being, but the need for food is greater than ever. Last year traditional and virtual food drives created nearly 30 million meals. Second Harvest is currently providing free food for 500,000 people a month, which is more than DOUBLE what they were doing prior to the pandemic.
Did you know:
You can find the portal for our virtual food drive here: http://fundraise.shfb.org/goto/cgslc
Thank you for living out the mission of CGS - to Proclaim God's Word and Love, and to Serve One Another and the World - through this food drive that will help feed our community in this incredible time of need.
Daniel Thomas, CGS Musician
As we near the end of the summer and move ahead to fall, I want to take a moment and thank everyone that has contributed to our online worship services to make them a success. So many of our CGS family have participated, either live or pre-recorded, to ensure that we remain a community, even when we have been physically separated.
Of course, I’m especially grateful to our musicians and singers, all of whom have gone above and beyond in sharing their talents, and many of whom are learning new skills working with audio and video! Members of our band, our mixed choir, and Keynote have all produced some beautiful music, even while sheltering in place. Making music is one of the greatest communal activities we have as humans, and I know many of us miss it deeply. While these virtual performances can never take the place of live music, I hope everyone can take some comfort and joy in creating art for all of us to enjoy.
I am also looking forward to exploring and expanding our technological know-how in the fall – working with some new equipment to further enhance the online worship experience, and laying the groundwork for when we finally return to in-person worship.
I’m reaching out to all of you to ask for your participation and input during the fall:
• As you may have noticed, our liturgical pieces this summer (the Canticle and the Offertory) were pre-recorded by many of our singers. We will be continuing that in the fall with a different Offertory, and I would love for more of you to participate in this. It is fairly easy to do, and we can use the technology to help you give your best performance. Please let me know if you are interested in sharing your time and talent with us.
• I am looking for special music for the fall to be used during communion, as a prelude, or in other parts of worship. If you have a song that means a lot to you and you would like to hear during this fall season, please let me know, and we’ll see if we can create an arrangement with our amazing musicians and singers.
I am humbled and grateful to share worship with each one of you – and while I am eagerly anticipating the day when we can safely worship in person, I am thankful for the ability and willingness of everyone to do so online. In Matthew 18:20 Jesus says “for where two or more are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Jesus may not have imagined gathering in such a way as we are, but I truly believe that Jesus is among us every Sunday.
By Pastor Manda
At the end of July it was time for the council to reconsider how we worship at CGS. With no surprise, we voted to continue worshipping online only through the end of September. With infection rates and deaths still rising at the end of July, it was obvious that gathering groups to worship in the sanctuary would only increase the risk of exposure to the people of our community and anyone they come in contact with. I know that this is not a surprise to you, but really a fear realized, a disheartening confirmation.
In this time without in-person, communal worship I have been looking to the mystics our spiritual ancestors who had personal revelations from Christ. I’ve been looking to their lives for how to make it through this season of forced fasting from the kind of community I have come to love and rely on for my own mental health.
One of my favorite mystics is Julian of Norwich, England. She lived most of her life in seclusion in the middle of the city. During that time the city experienced pandemics, peasant revolts, and economic swings. She herself was so ill at one point that she was convinced she was dying. In this time, she had many revelations. When she recovered from her illness, she wrote about her revelations and that text was the first English book written by a woman.
Her revelations are fascinating for what we are experiencing. They are the kinds of epiphanies which I believe are only had once we are forced to abandon all our distractions and justifications and come face to face with God as our truest selves. In her last revelation, she reflects back that we humans have two sicknesses: impatience, and fear.
Yeah. Here in the middle of our own pandemic I see impatience and fear. Julian posited that there were four kinds of fear: fright, fear of pain, doubt, and reverence. Each kind of fear stems from its own place – our frailty, our own shortcomings or failure, our perceptions of the outside world beyond our control, our despair.
But the hopeful thing that Julian finds in her revelations is that this impatience and all this fear also can drive us toward God. Our inability to control the world around us or even our own actions, eventually trips us up and makes us fall on our knees at the foot of the cross. There is Christ. He’s always been there, where our fears and impatience bring us.
I’m grateful to be taking this month of Sabbath. A long road trip into the backcountry of these western united states will bring me a different kind of isolation than I’ve experienced these past 5 months. I hope to use this time to shed my own impatience and fears so that I might find the foot of the cross, and Christ. I know he’s still there. And maybe if I can refocus on Christ, I can find some peace as we continue to wait for that day when we can all be together again.
By Rey Lambatin, Choir Director
August is Pride month in Silicon Valley. But going five months into the pandemic, we all know that the celebration is not going to be the same as before. No parade, no booths, no concerts. Not even in CGS, where we used to hang rainbow flags and banners, which I’ve always enjoyed seeing during worship, to enhance the spirit of the event’s observance. For a reconciling church like ours where a number of our members are part of the LGBTQ+ community, not being able to celebrate Pride month is a sobering prospect. For me, around this time is when I usually see and reconnect with people I don’t normally see the rest of the year - former SVGMC members with whom I sang, and friends I used to regularly meet in past social gatherings. However, pandemic doesn’t mean no celebration at all. In these times of new normal, we’ve learned to cope and adjust going through our daily lives, and celebrating Pride month shouldn’t be an exception. As downsized as it may be, we can still celebrate in our own different and easy ways. It can be as simple as wearing a Pride shirt, listening to music that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community, such as Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out,” Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family,” Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” or hanging a mini rainbow flag in your room or a big one in front of your house. As simple or as different it may be, the important thing is that we don’t forget the reason why we observe Pride. The same way that we continue to gather in worship every Sunday, have communion, and remember our Lord Jesus’ sacrifice for our salvation, may we also continue to celebrate Pride and remember what it signifies: to commemorate and celebrate LGBTQ+ activism and culture through the years, that started with the Stonewall Uprising in June 1969.
Jean Herriges, Council President
You may have heard that Pastor Manda is away for the month of August. She is taking a much needed vacation and will be back to lead us in online worship in September. While Pastor Manda is away, please know that there are still people who can help you if a need arises. You may call, text, or email me at any time. My number is (408) 410-1525 and you can also email me here. You can always contact the full CGS Council by emailing us here.
If you are not sure who to call, but have an immediate need, Laura Rinde, the CGS Office Manager, may be able to help you. She is infinitely resourceful! Laura is available Monday - Thursday, 9am-3pm. She can be reached by email here, or by phone at (408) 266-8022.
Please don't hesitate to keep any or all of us informed of developments in your life. We can walk alongside you, keep you in our prayers, and try to help with questions you may have.
God's peace be with you
By Daniel Thomas, CGS Musician
As the movements for social justice and equity go forward, there has been a lot of looking inward – and looking backward. People who have felt marginalized for far too long are starting to raise their voices and call out the injustices – intentional and unintentional – they have endured for years, or even generations.
In the initial wake of George Floyd’s murder, a group of BIPOC theater artists in the Bay Area began an online document where they could share their stories – publicly, but anonymously. It should come as no surprise that theatre, like so many institutions, has largely been in the control of white males, and this privilege has been made manifest in ways large and small, visible and hidden. In the first three days over 600 people told their stories, and the document now has nearly 2,000 entries. Everything from an off-handed remark in the rehearsal room to the cultural lack of awareness by designers (for example, theatrical lighting requires a different approach for people of color) to the selection of programming that, while “passable” to audiences of 50 or 75 years ago, now contains insensitive or offensive material.
This document has started conversations – constructive, thought-provoking, tough conversations. And it has also inspired another document – a call to action, even a list of “demands” from the BIPOC community to create a theatrical community that truly embodies justice, equity, and anti-racism.
I read this call to action and immediately felt overwhelmed. It felt like I had to completely and immediately overhaul the entire theater or else go out of business. It was dispiriting.
I took a break, breathed deeply – and was reminded of a song from Frozen II (and I deeply apologize that this is taking a turn into Disney) – “The Next Right Thing.” In the scene, the characters face an existential crisis, and they are separated and alone. They are overwhelmed and scared and unsure. In this moment, one of them sings:
“Take a step, step again
I went back and read the document again. I recognized there were steps we had already taken; steps we were about to take; and steps we had not yet thought of taking. All of these steps make up a journey, and journeys do not happen overnight. Look at each moment as it comes, and make the right decision in that moment, and move to the next moment. We will stumble, we will get it wrong from time to time, but all of the steps together will have moved us to a better place.
So much is happening in our country now, and there is so much despair, and fear, and anger. Trying to tackle it all at once is overwhelming. But we all can take our individual steps, and next steps – we all can do our own next right things. And together we can take a journey, and together we can move towards the world that God wishes for us.
by Jerry Clark, Council member
So, are you an extrovert or an introvert?
Well, whether you fall in one camp or the other might determine how you are dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s been 4 months since the order came to shelter in place, and we still don’t know what the future holds for any of us individually, or as a congregation.
Adjusting to life indoors has been tough enough and presents different dynamics if you are young, old, whether you are living alone or with others in a household. Now that it’s summer, hopefully, this provides some relief, giving many of us the option to get outside, reading a book on the porch, going on walks, exercising, and taking advantage of open spaces for outdoor activities. Open green spaces can be calming dealing with the stress we’ve all been feeling.
Extroverts tend to need more stimulation and maybe the dynamics of posting content on social media, making videos, and participating in chat groups will suffice for now. Possibly getting out in small closed groups, practicing safe social distancing could also work. But this really depends on our individual health and comfort levels.
If you tend to be more of an introvert, being hunkered down at home might be the perfect fit for living in a social distancing world. In today’s environment, you might find it much easier to interact with others on your own set of terms. However, your tendency to withdraw from others could be exacerbated in this climate, and you still need to make the effort to stay connected to others and keep physically and mentally healthy.
It’s important that we stay connected with family and friends, today we are lucky to have social media platforms to do so. Did you know, people are continuing to participate in book clubs and even playing board games with others online? Years ago, I remember getting mad at my nephew (the introvert) for staying up late playing video games with others online, later finding out one kid was in Korea, the other in NYC. Go figure, this bunch were well prepared to handle a pandemic.
We have learned that we can still meet as a congregation, albeit virtually with YouTube, Zoom for coffee hour, Bible study, and other virtual group interactions. I’ve been meeting with a group of friends for our bi-weekly Zoom “dinner-gang” discussions. Only recently have we decided to move into the next phase, meeting in person for dinners, social distancing, wearing our masks, and eating outside.
We are all getting a bit stir crazy, but the day when we can all come together in person as a congregation will happen, at some point. And, even if your personality leans to being more of an extrovert, or the flip side, an introvert; ether can suffer from bouts of anxiety and depression, but we can find a way to keep our sanity through this pandemic, supporting each other by staying connected and a little prayer to God doesn’t hurt either.
At CGS, our mission statement includes the intention to proclaim, worship and serve. In order to accomplish this, we need donations to fund our efforts. I am happy to say our commitment to our mission hasn’t been neglected, despite the challenges we are facing.
We budgeted general giving as of 6/30/20 at $125,010. To date, our actual donations for general giving are $169,344, an increase over budget of $44,344. In addition, our budgeted expenses for the year as of 6/30/20 are $190,761. As of 6/30/20, our actual expenses for the year are $176,462. Our expenses are under budget by $14,299. None of us planned on doing church this way in 2020. Many of us long for in-person worship and community gatherings that encourage and sustain us and that is our goal as soon as it is possible to meet safely. Our continued commitment to fund our worship and service to our community is making it it possible to adjust our operations to this new normal and plan for worshiping together when we are able In addition to our donations, our investments have increased as of 6/30/20 by $19,538. This gain fluctuates monthly as the stock market fluctuates, but we have been blessed to have such a substantial increase.
If you would like to see more detail on the actual financial statements, you can find them on the following links:
Balance Sheet as of 6/30/2020
Profit & Loss Actual vs Budget YTD 06/30/2020
Chart of Actual vs Budget YTD as of 6/30/2020
Please take a look at the latest titles being added to the CGS Library. Unlike the titles I usually add, the selection of books I made this time was to honor the Black Lives Matter movement. It is intended to make available to us at CGS many of the books currently considered to be important in helping us understand the context of what is happening in our society. By paying better attention to the voices of the BLM movement, perhaps we can become both better informed Christians and citizens of our country.
-Paul Thomas, CGS Librarian
To get these books, go to the CGS building and:
Summer 2020 Special collection in memory of George Floyd
Anderson, Carol. White rage. 305.800973 And
Baldwin, James. The fire next time. 305.896 Bald
Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the world and me. 305.800973 Coat
Eberhardt, Jennifer L. Biased : uncovering the hidden prejudice that shapes what we see, think and do.
Haney-Lopez, Ian. Dog whistle politics : how coded racial appeals have reinvented racism and wrecked the Middle Class. 323.1196 Han
Harvey, Jennifer. Raising White kids : bringing up children in a racially unjust America. 649.709 Har
Kendi, Ibram X. How to be an antiracist. 305.800973 Ken
Lipsitz, George. The possessive investment in Whiteness : how White people profit from identity politics.
Lorde, Audre. Sister outsider : essays and speeches. 814.54 Lor
MacMullan, Terrance. Habits of Whiteness. 305.800973 Mac
Oluo, Ijeoma. So you want to talk about race. 305.800973 Olu
*Reynolds, Jason. Stamped : racism, antiracism, and you : a remix of the National Book Award-winning: Stamped from the beginning by Ibram Kendi. 305.800973 Rey
Ritchie, Andrea. Invisible no more : police violence against Black women and women of color.
Rushdy, Ashraf H. American lynching.
Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. From #BlackLivesMatter to Black liberation. 305.896 Tay
Ward, Jesmyn. The fire this time : a new generation speaks about race. 305.896 Ward
Harris, Meena. Kamala and Mays’s big idea.
Penfold, Alexandra. All are welcome. J 813.6 Pen
*This is a young adult (ages 12 and up) edition of Kendi’s book, but adults will also find it powerful.
Titles on African-Americans, the Black Experience, and Race Relations already in the CGS Library
Alexander, Michelle. The new Jim Crow. 364.973 Al
Baldwin, Lewis. Never to leave us alone : the prayer life of Martin Luther King Jr. 323.092 Ba
Barber, Rev. William. Revive us again : vision and action in moral organizing. 261.83 Bar
Barndt, Joseph. Becoming the anti-racist church : journeying towards wholeness. 277.3 Bar
Brown Camille Lewis. African saints, African stories. 276.0092 Br
Collier-Thomas, Bettye. A treasury of African-American Christmas stories. 810.8 Col
Cone, James. A Black theology of liberation. 230.089 Cone
Cone, James. The Cross and the lynching tree. 277.308 Cone
Cone, James. God of the oppressed. 261.834 Cone
Davis, Angela. Are prisons obsolete? 365.973 Da
DiAngelo, Robin. White fragility : why it’s so hard for White people to talk about racism. 305.8 DiAn
Douglas, Kelly. Sexuality and the Black church : a womanist perspective. 230.082 Dou
Duncan, Lenny. Dear Church : a love letter from a Black preacher to the Whitest denomination in the U.S. 266.6 Dun
Echols, James. I have a dream : Martin Luther Junior and the future of multicultural America. 305.8 Ec
Grant, Jacquelyn. White women’s Christ and Black women’s Jesus. 232.088 Grant
Haley, Alex. Roots. 929.2
Hill, Daniel. White awake : an honest look at what it means to be White. 261.833 Hill
Jenkins, Willis. Bonhoeffer and King : their legacies and import for Christian social thought. 261.10 Je
Johnson, G. Jeff. Black Christians : the untold Lutheran story. 267.1 Jo
King, Martin Luther, Jr. The strength to love. 220 Ki
Mandela, Nelson. Mandela : an illustrated autobiography. 968.065 Ma
McDonnell, Faith. Girl soldier : a story of hope for Northern Uganda’s children. 276.76 Mcdo
Noel, James. The Passion of the Lord : African-American reflections.
Noah, Trevor. Born a crime : stories from a South African childhood. 791.45 Noah
Obama, Michelle. Becoming. 973.932 Obama
Page, Hugh. The Africana Bible : reading Israel’s scriptures from Africa and the African diaspora.
Pero, Albert. Theology and the Black experience : the Lutheran heritage interpreted by African and African-American theologians. 267.1 Pe
Pinn, Anthony. What is African-American religion? 267.1 Pinn
Steinberg, Jonny. Little Liberia : an African odyssey in New York City. 305.896 Stein
Thurman, Howard. Jesus and the disinherited. 261.83 Thur
Tutu, Desmond, Archbishop. No future without forgiveness. 261.86 Tu
White, Rozella. Love big : the power of revolutionary relationships to heal the world. 248.4 White
Whitten, Reggie. Sewing hope : child soldiers in Uganda. 967.61 Whit
Wilkerson, Isabel. The warmth of other suns : the epic story of America’s greatest migration.
Williams, Delores S. Sisters in the wilderness : the challenge of womanist God-talk. 230.082 Wil
Williams, Reggie. Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus : Harlem renaissance theology and an ethic of resistance.
Wytsma, Ken. The myth of equality : uncovering the roots of injustice and privilege. 261.833 Wyt
Brundidge-Fuller, Regina. Children of color storybook Bible with stories from the Contemporary English Version. 220.62 Brun
Byers, Grace. I am enough. J 242.66 Byers
Golenbock, Peter. Teamates : [biography of Jackie Robinson]. J 796.357 Go
Grant, Jennifer. Maybe I can love my neighbor too. J 226.809 Grant
Hamilton, Virginia. The people could fly
Hill, Laban. Dave the potter : artist, poet, slave. J 739.092 Hi
Katz, Karen. The colors of us. J [Fic] Katz
Obama, Barack. Of thee I sing : a letter to my daughters. J 973.0922 Ob
Pinkney, Sandra. Shades of Black : a celebration of our children. J 306.7 Pink, J 813.6 Pi
Schofield-Morrison, Connie. I got the Christmas spirit. J [Fic] Scho
Tarpley, Natasha. I love my hair J 813.54 Tarp
Tutu, Desmond, Archbishop. God’s dream. J 211 Tu
Tyler, Michael. The skin you live in. J 571 Tyler
Woodson, Jacqueline. Brown girl dreaming. 811.54 Wood
by REY LAMBATIN, Choir Director
As part of our choral ministry adjusting to our current situation, we started creating videos of us singing virtually that we play in our CGS live-streamed worships. And as much as it’s wonderful that we’re able to do this and see our choir singers singing together, nothing can replace the experience of singing and hearing our music live. I believe that every choir singer will agree that it’s not just the singing that everyone misses. It’s the in-person fellowship, praying for each other, sharing of stories, food, and drinks during rehearsals, and being physically present and surrounded by people with whom you enjoy being around. An article published on The Guardian on June 16 states well how I feel:
“Singing in a choir is not only about communality, social cohesion and harmony; for many it is an essential source of emotional wellbeing and positive mental health. Moreover, it is a powerful expression of our culture and humanity, and it cannot be allowed to fade away.”
Sadly, according to experts in “A Conversation: What Do Science and Data Say About the Near-Term Future of Singing?”, the ability for choirs to safely gather again could be as far off as two years. Two years without live singing. The problem stems from the proximity of singers, and the fact that the very act of singing propels viral droplets, and choral singing won’t be a safe activity until the pandemic is well under control. One especially cruel cautionary story was when 87% of the members of the Washington State Choir developed Covid-19, two of whom died, from one symptomatic member. The prospect of two years without live singing sent a wave of anguish throughout the choral community. It is a sad reality, and choir singers all over the nation are grieving. But I continue to encourage our singers to find comfort in our faith, and in the hope that the time will come when we can gather and sing together in person again. We’ll continue to do our best to create beautiful music and minister with the videos we create, for no matter how long this takes, we cannot let choral singing fade away.
Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.