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The Weekly View - November 5, 2021

Click here for the full NEWSLETTER

In This Issue
  • Weekly Message from Rev. Joanne Whitt
  • Weekly Facebook Video
  • Announcements & Upcoming Events
  • Outreach Opportunities & Updates
message from rev.  whitt


Dear St. Luke Family:

While I was serving a church in San Francisco, I was able to help a man who was suffering from mental illness and as a result, was homeless.  When we said goodbye, I didn’t think I’d see him again.  But he came back to my office the very next week, and gave me a little box of Cheer, the laundry detergent, the kind you buy in a coin operated machine at a laundromat.  It was tempting to read something into the gift itself.  Was the gift meant to “cheer” me?  The box said, “Ultra powerful, so use less.”  This is sound advice for life in general.  It was a product for washing things, and that reminded me of baptism.  But what the gift really meant to me, and the reason I kept in on my bookshelf for many years, is that every one of us, whatever our situation, wealthy or homeless or in between, can respond to God’s love and grace with gratitude and generosity.
 
This week we explore the story known as “the Widow’s Mite” in Mark’s gospel.  Biblical commentators point out that Jesus is not really holding the woman up in a “Go and do likewise” way; rather, he’s critiquing the hypocrisy of the scribes and their failure to care for this woman.  Nevertheless, she does show us that each of us, whatever our situation, can respond to God’s love and grace with gratitude and generosity.
 
This Sunday, we conclude our stewardship campaign.  Last Sunday during worship, John Lenser gave a terrific pitch as only John can do, explaining St. Luke’s financial needs for the coming year.  The most powerful incentive for generosity right now (in addition to responding to God’s love and grace) is that you will have a new pastor, most likely within 2 or 3 months, and you’ll want to support him or her and your ministry together with energy, commitment, and resources.  I cannot emphasize enough the message it sends to a pastor when the congregation backs his or her ministry with their pledges.  Not everyone can write a big check, but the story of the Widow’s Mite shows us that small gifts matter, as well; that it’s generosity that matters, not the size of the gift.
 
Don’t forget that we “fall back” this Saturday night.  Turn your clocks back one hour and get an extra hour of sleep Sunday morning.  As I mentioned in the midweek video on Facebook, if you forget and show up to church an hour early, you are more than welcome to rehearse with Becky Viebrock and the choir and join in the anthem for the morning. You might even decide to make it a habit!
 
I’ll see you on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time ~
 
Grace and peace,
Joanne Whitt
Interim Pastor  

Posted by Joanne Whitt with

The Weekly View - October 22, 2021

Click here for the full NEWSLETTER

In This Issue
  • Weekly Message from Rev. Joanne Whitt
  • Weekly Facebook Video
  • Announcements & Upcoming Events
  • Outreach Opportunities & Updates
message from rev.  whitt


Dear St. Luke family:

On Tuesday evening this week, my husband and I attended an outstanding concert remembering Michael Morgan, the artistic director and conductor of the Oakland Symphony who died following kidney transplant surgery this past August.  As we stood in the long line waiting for the doors of the Paramount Theater to open, a large man, apparently unhoused, came along with a big coffee can asking loudly whether anyone would contribute to the homeless.  A security guard, another large man, came up to him and told him to quit bothering the concert patrons.  “Come on, man,” the first man said, “Don’t do that.  Leave me alone.”  He did not want to be silenced.  He did not want to be shooed away, hidden from the largely well-dressed crowd as an unpleasant reminder that life is hard for some people. 
 
How often something like that happens!  This is the story we hear this Sunday in Mark’s gospel, the story of Bartimaeus, a blind man who will not keep quiet, even when he’s shushed by the crowd surrounding Jesus.  But Jesus heals him, saying his faith has made him well.  This doesn’t mean Bartimaeus was healed because he had enough faith; that would mean he, Bartimaeus, accomplished the healing, when the healing was all Jesus’ doing.  Bartimaeus merely had the faith to receive it.
 
Almost all of us know how it feels to be silenced from speaking our truth.  And most of us have participated in silencing others, particularly where we’d just rather not see, hear, or know about someone else’s truth.  What has this looked like for you?  We’ll explore this on Sunday.
 
We’ll also try something new for St. Luke.  We’ve built this Sunday’s worship around music from the Taizé community, an ecumenical Christian community in the Burgundy region of France.  The community focuses on God’s love, reconciliation, and living simply.  Taizé has become a Christian pilgrimage site, attracting people and especially young adults from all over the world.  Taizé worship uses simple, repetitive chants to provide a meditative worship experience. The songs have simple lyrics taken from the Psalms or other Scripture.  Your worship team is discussing whether this might be a form of worship we offer one Sunday a month or once a quarter, or perhaps even as a contemplative service one evening a month.  This is your opportunity to experience it and let us know what you think.
 
Don’t forget that a week from Sunday, October 31, we’ll observe All Saints.  That day, you’re invited to bring photos of your loved ones who have died, and we will place them around the communion table.  Also, remember that two weeks from Sunday, November 7, we’ll switch from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time – we’ll “fall back,” and get an extra hour of sleep.
 
I look forward to seeing you in church, in the sanctuary or on Zoom.
 
Grace and peace,
Joanne Whitt
Interim Pastor  

Posted by Joanne Whitt with

The Weekly View - October 15, 2021

Click here for the full NEWSLETTER

In This Issue
  • Weekly Message from Rev. Joanne Whitt
  • Weekly Facebook Video
  • Announcements & Upcoming Events
  • Outreach Opportunities & Updates
message from rev.  whitt

Dear St. Luke family,

What makes someone “great”?  Power, prestige, wealth, position, or fame?  Awards, inventions, critical acclaim, talent, or accomplishments?  In this Sunday’s passage in Mark’s gospel, Jesus says it’s none of these.  It’s serving others.  We’ll explore what that means, and how it’s really true, and not only in a “Jesus loves a paradox” sort of way.  
 
You may have heard that Marin County has adjusted the mask mandate.  The new rules provide that people need not wear masks at indoor gatherings if:

  1. There are no more than 100 individuals present; and
  2. The host, employer, or organizer commits to:
    • Verifying (via vaccination documentation) that all individuals present are fully vaccinated; and
    • Maintaining a list of individuals present; and
    • Controlling access to the indoor setting, ensuring the setting is not open to the general public. 

A final decision about masks needs to be made by the session, but note that even with the vaccination verification procedure the new rules apply only to places that are not open to the general public.  A church worship service is open to the general public.  Further, at this point, going maskless would exclude children younger than 12 from our worship service.
 
By now you will have received a letter from Laura Hislop representing the team of church members who have been seeking a tenant to replace the Monte de Sion congregation.  That team has been in a productive conversation with a preschool.  There are details to be hammered out, and if all goes well, the preschool isn’t likely to be on site until next fall.  Session determined that the preschool fits with our use of the parts of the St. Luke campus that are important to us.  Session also concluded that a preschool is good stewardship of the property and a faithful contribution to the neighborhood and surrounding community.  John Lenser and Laura Hislop will be available following worship this Sunday to answer any of your questions. 
 
A note about upcoming worship services: Next Sunday, October 24, we will be experimenting with contemplative worship including silence and music from the Taizé community.  Taizé is an international and ecumenical Christian community in Burgundy, France, founded in 1940.  It has become an important site of Christian pilgrimage, with a focus on youth.  Over 100,000 young people from around the world make pilgrimages to Taizé each year for prayer, Bible study, sharing, and communal work.  The community focuses on peace, simplicity, and reconciliation, and their worship is characterized by repetitive chants with simple phrases from the Psalms or other parts of Scripture.  Short songs, repeated again and again, give worship a meditative character.

On October 31, we will observe All Saints.  All Saints is officially November 1, and your worship committee has decided to observe it on the 31st rather than waiting until November 7, which is also a communion Sunday.  As in years past, on that Sunday we invite worshipers to bring photos of loved ones who have departed this earthly life.  We’ll set those photos around the communion table in a service of celebration and remembrance.
 
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday, in the sanctuary and on Zoom.

Grace and peace,
Joanne Whitt
Interim Pastor

Posted by Beth Potillo-Miller with

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