The only member of the FCCSR family named for a tree has just won an important award: Our very own Oak Dowling has just been named one of the county’s “Civic Center Volunteers of the Year” for his work with their F.A.S.T. program (Financial Abuse Specialist Team.)
This county-sponsored program does truly important work. It brings together a team of people with backgrounds in law, finance, psychology and the like to educate seniors on the many ways smooth-talking scammers, spammers and supposed Nigerian royalty are trying to con them out of their money. They also help the authorities analyze possible cases of elder abuse, catch the fraudsters and sometimes even get restitution.
The following video shows Oak and the team in action:
For three weeks in April and May, Pastor Ken Barnes will be taking a break from his duties to attend a retreat and spend some family time out east.
While he’s away, our pulpit will be filled by members of our extended church family:
April 21 – Rev. Faune Towery. Faune was our Minister-in-Training back in 2004/5 when she was in Seminary. She was ordained at FCCSR in 2007, and since then has been serving as Chaplain at Hospice of NapaValley. Faune and her husband, Luis Valdivia, regularly make the long drive from Napa to join us in Sunday Worship. Just this year, Faune extended her caring skills to encompass both soul and body by becoming a licensed acupuncturist! Click here to hear a sermon Faune preached last year on healing within the church.
April 28 – Rev. Paul Burks. Paul is a retired Methodist minister who had a long career serving churches in Marin and Santa Rosa. His special passion, both in church and out, is nature and the environment. He did pioneering work creating earth-centered ministry and was the editor of two magazines dealing with spirit and ecology. Since he started attending FCCSR, he has been very active in leading mission activities like the CROP Walk and has been the driving force in reviving our Earth Stewards group. He is also a talented photographer, and took a number of the pictures here on our website.
May 5 – Rev. Julianne Stokstad. Julianne was our pastor at FCCSR from late 2004 through October 2008, when she left to pursue her interest in jail ministry. Julianne came to ministry after a long career teaching high school biology in Berkeley, and she addressed the meeting of science and faith a number of times from the pulpit. She also took an intense interest in our work with the poor in Mexico though Every Dollar Feeds kids, visiting the EDFK projects in Cuernavaca and preaching on the holy spirit she found there. Her farewell sermon reflected the special bond we formed together.
Join us to renew old friendships (or form some new ones!)
On February 7 the FCCSR family was shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden death of Kimberlee Rasmusson. Kimberlee was a student at San Francisco Theological Seminary, and we were her “In care” church. We delighted in her joyful, gentle spirit, and we celebrated with her as she passed each milestone on the path to her new career.
One of the first things many of us remembered when we heard of Kimberlee’s passing was a pair of sermons she preached here in June of 2012. They were mature, thoughtful messages – - not “student sermons” at all. Everyone who heard them knew that Kimberlee had found her true calling. You can listen to them here.
A Memorial Service for Kimberlee will be held in the Stewart Chapel at San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo on Friday February 15 at 3 PM. Parking at the Seminary is very limited, so we will be car-pooling from the FCCSR parking lot at 2 PM.
At our worship service on February 10, Richard Walker read the following poem in honor of Kimberlee:
There is a light at the end of the tunnel,
There is a calm at the end of the storm,
There is a rest at the end of the journey,
. . . and a hearth that is welcome and warm.
There’s a star on the top of a mountain
You can touch when the last crag is scaled,
There’s a certain reward for the faithful
At the point where they think they have failed.
There’s a Spring at the end of the Winter,
And behind the black cloud it is blue . . .
There’s a song in the heart of your sorrow
. . . and Happiness waiting for you
by Patience Strong
It is so hard to grasp or accept the murder of all those children in Connecticut. My friend Deborah Streeter, a UCC minister in Big Sur, penned this moving tribute. It has helped me. I trust and hope it will help you.
At the moment I heard that 20 kindergarten kids in Connecticut had been slaughtered along with six school staff members on Friday morning I was writing an essay on prayer. I was reviewing a new book called Thanks, Help, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by California cool, irreverent, faithful, Christian writer Anne Lamott.
While generally liking the book, I was arguing cleverly and convincingly that she should have included two other kinds of prayers as well: prayers of confession (“I’m Sorry”) and prayers of lament (“This Sucks.”) (Read more . . .)
Newsweek stirred up a predictable hornets’ nest in their December 17 issue with a long cover story by biblical scholar Bart D. Ehrman summarizing very interesting recent findings about the historical Jesus. Ehrman is a Professor at the University of North Carolina who specializes in the New Testament. He is also a leader in the movement to approach the Bible as a collection of stories and “myths” (in the Joseph Campbell sense.)
His introduction to the essay probably seems innocuous and scholarly to most us:
“As Christians around the world now prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth, it is worth considering that much of the ‘common knowledge’ about the babe in Bethlehem cannot be found in any scriptural authority, but is either a modern myth or based on Gospel accounts from outside the sacred bounds of Christian Scripture.”
However, in a year when the media have already gone gaga over a fragment of text suggesting Jesus was married (which most scholars now believe was a hoax) it was like a declaration of war to those who believe the Bible is revealed, complete, literal truth.
Read the whole story here, including a lot of reader feedback pro and con.
In November, FCCSR member Doris Lechner passed away at the age of 93. Doris had lived in San Rafael since 1951, and her memorial service had to be held at a different church simply because our sanctuary could never have held all the friends and family who wanted to say goodbye.
On December 9 several members of her family joined us in worship, and her son Wayne performed a song he had composed for Doris’s memorial service. The lyrics touched on many aspects of her long, rich life, including her early years in business, her adventures under sail and at the bridge table and the 60 years she lived in her home on top of San Rafael hill.
Doris Lechner – “The Angel on the Hill”
It’s time to tell the story of a mother strong and true
Who took the time to raise her boys and helped them as they grew,
Who stood beside her husband; her love time could not kill.
And so it is, we are all blessed by the angel of the hill.
Born in San Francisco, a Schrader bright and free,
Otto, Edith and younger Ralph; her siblings numbered three.
Payroll at the Iron Works, accounting was her skill,
And so she grew and began to shine, the angel of the hill.
BUT HOW WILL SHE KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO GO ?
AND WHAT WILL SHE SAY WHEN IT’S TIME TO FLY AWAY?
“TAKE THE TIME TO TOUCH A HEART, TO LISTEN AND TO CARE;
WHEREVER THERE IS KINDNESS, MY SPIRIT WILL MEET YOU THERE.”
Summers up at Pinecrest in the mountain air,
There she honed card playing skills, Bridge players please beware.
All across the U.S.A. she followed her free will,
Gaining strength as she roamed, the angel of the hill.
Fifty days becalmed at sea would break a weaker soul.
But Doris and her brother Ralph, they had a different goal.
“That’s enough adventure now! We finally get the deal.”
So she chose to start a family, the angel of the hill.
Now Marvin was a country boy and Doris a city girl.
They settled on a mountain top and created a new world.
Carl died in infancy, yet there were three boys still.
And so she worked with loving care, the angel of the hill.
She found the time for family. She found the time for friends.
She took the time to listen well. Her patience never ends.
And if she taught me just one thing, remember this I will:
That love and kindness will carry us, like the angel of the hill.