Since I wished you a Happy New Year last month when we began our Advent worship, I am out of step with the world around us. For the church, the New Year began with the four weeks of preparation for Christmas we call Advent. But let me say it again, I wish you a Blessed and Christ filled New Year.
What do we have to look forward to in the New Year? Well, getting more acquainted with one another. One of the most joyful times I am having as your Vacancy Pastor is Bible class. I meet with a group of early risers on Thursday mornings at 6AM-way too early for an old man like me-BUT I have been encouraged by the regular attendance by this group of 12-15 men each week. Howard puts together a marvelous breakfast and we spend 45 minutes in studying God's Word together. We have completed a study on James which challenged us to apply our Christian faith to our everyday life. And now we are beginning to study Acts, the Acts of God encouraging congregations to tell everyone what He has done and how much God loves you and me.
In our Sunday morning Bible class we have studied the opening chapters of Revelation where Christ tells us what he expects of His church on earth. It has been encouraging as we pray for God's guidance in the next Pastor God has in mind for this congregation. Now we are studying Hebrews where God removes our doubts about the Christian faith - I hope you can join us at 9:30AM.
It is in these Bible classes that I feel what God is calling us to be. You see, Calvary Lutheran is not a corporation, even though we have a large staff and operate under corporation laws in California and with the federal government. But, God's design for a congregation is a family. We need to care for one another. We need to be with people we would like to spend our vacation with. Calvary Lutheran is an extended family filled with people we love and to whom we can reveal who we really are. I have caught this spirit here at Calvary in the several months I have been with you. I hope you have caught this feeling as well and I hope that we allow our guests and visitors feel as if they have been welcomed in our family. I think this welcoming feeling comes across best in these Bible classes where we can share and hear how things are going in our individual lives.
What do families do? They play together and they purpose together. They work at having fun and they work at keeping in communication with one another - they care about what the other members of the family are doing.
I would suppose that if there was ever a time a congregation needs to be in God's Word it is now as we seek God's plan for our new Pastor to lead this family. I hope this is part of your prayer request to God each day, not to convince Him that we need a Pastor, but to open our hearts to the Pastor God has in mind for Calvary.
Unlike the world, as we, Christians, step into 2012, we know that we are not alone. God is with us and he has placed us in a family of brothers and sisters in Christ so that we will grow in faith and in our love for one another as we face the challenges that lie ahead in the new year.
Thanks for making me part of your family. May the peace of Christ be with you today and always,
for 2012 available in Narthex, if you would like offering envelopes, contact the church office 278-2555.
Sermon Themes for January 2012
The "W's" of Christmas
Jan 1, 2012 Seeing Christ involves a lot of Waiting, Luke 2:25-35
Jan 8, 2012 "Christmas Wisdom," Matthew 2:1-12
Jan 15, 2012 "Let Your Light Shine - Willingness" John 1:43-51
Jan 22, 2012 "The Two Greatest Days in Your Life-Why Not?" Mark 1:14-20
Jan 29, 2012 "The World of Words" Mark 1:21-28
1/1 Saldate, Jose and Melody 21 years
1/3 Kreienkamp, Dan and Jen 3 years
1/10 Duvall, Rex and Linda 31 years
1/21Ann Marie Mrak
1/26 Vanessa Vincent
1/28 Mary Dorr
1/30 Hannelore Avalos
The Prayer Quilt Ministry now has plenty of volunteers to crochet crosses, thank you to all who have volunteered for this project.
Wanted also to add a special thank you to all who helped donate "goodies" for the Wittenberg Tea. They were really enjoyed by all of the residents at the tea. A thank you also to the many volunteers who willingly participated in the whole event: Barbara Arionus who organized the putting together of the bells pin/ornament for each of the residents, the ladies from the LWML who prepared sandwiches & desserts, served and cleaned up, Bill Sandau for the invitations and program, Joan Penrose and her Children's Choir from Faith Lutheran Church in Castro Valley, Carol Liston and all of the Calvary Ringers, members of the congregation who helped with serving and preparing desserts, one of our Elders, Dave Schultz, also helped serve food, etc. and Howard Goldhammer - Santa and his special message to everyone about sharing and giving and the reason for our beautiful season, Christmas, Jesus Christ. What a wonderful time we had and all to the glory of our Lord. Thank you!!!!!
A Word from 2nd Grade
The Christmas season has flown by. The second graders enjoyed preparing the Christmas Program "Sing a Song of Christmas". 2012 is now beginning with us looking forward to many adventures.
This month we will be attending the San Francisco Symphony. The program is designed for children and their musical enjoyment. We will learn about the different instrument families and the sounds the instruments make.
Then we are getting ready for the School-wide Open House that all of you are invited to. We have made covered wagons for when we learned about the pioneers going west.
We will learn about slavery and the Civil War. We will move on to Immigration and learn a little about our ancestors.
We are learning new words to spell for the Spelling Bee.
We just finished learning about the seasons in Science. We are going to learn about Simple Machines and Magnets soon.
The annual Amtrak trip to Sacramento will take place in May again. This is fun for all.
The Second Graders wish all of you a Blessed New Year.
BOARD OF GOVERNANCE
December 1, 2011
Present: Barbara Adams, Jeff Jensen, Lee Strom, Darlene Goldhammer, Pastor Gary Mohr.
Opened with prayer. Minutes from November 17, 2011, were confirmed by email.
Our discussion focused on situations in our congregation. All who are committed to Christ are commissioned to serve. Can each of us say we are living out that commitment? Are we as a congregation living out that commitment? How can we overcome the apathy that prevents us from growing as individual Christians and also prevents us from reaching out to others?
In our school we have an opportunity to reach out to a number of unchurched children and their families. How can we do this? Pastor Mohr is working with the school staff on ways they can connect with these families. We want to encourage school families to attend church happenings such as soup suppers. However when these families do come and sit by themselves, what is the chance they will return? What can you do to remedy this situation?
Barbara Adams will meet with Brian Pye and Christina Grace, youth workers, to discuss ways in which families can be involved with our program through their teenagers. We have around 50 teenagers in our two youth groups, many of them from outside the church.
BOG is also recommending that we return to our summer schedule of one 9am blended service at the beginning of the new year. The Board of Elders will be asked to consider this recommendation.
We discussed our ministry to Wittenberg, which is currently one Bible study every week and one monthly service. Publicity to the residents about schedule times sometimes is a problem. Barbara Adams will meet with the site administrator to review our boundaries at the facility.
Two additional names were suggested as possible BOG candidates. They will each be personally contacted by a BOG member.
We are still in need of a voting delegate at the April 27-29 District Meeting; Dave Schultz will be our voting delegate at the LINC meeting in Fremont January 14.
Pastor Gary ended our meeting with a devotion based on Rev. 2:8-11, the Smyrna church, a church which was experiencing difficult financial persecution. Smyrna was an area, which was largely non-Christian, worshipping the emperor instead of God. God was well aware of their troubles and said, "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer."(Rev. 2:10) Those words also apply to us today as He also says, "Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life." (Rev. 2:10) We are to be continually encouraged by His assurance in Rom. 8:38 that nothing can separate us from His love for us.
We closed with prayer by all present participating.
Frank Mitchell's successful hip surgery; For a successful Christmas program and
Advent soup suppers
Peace in the World
President Obama and our country's leadership - For our soldiers in Afghanistan: Kyle Hyden, nephew of Skjong's; and for Thomas Caspersen and Antonio Landaverde who are overseas; for Jonathan Ellis
For our Staff
Fred Brauer; Margie Luehrs; Chrystle Vincent; Traci McClain; Amy
Sosa; Christina Grace; Bethany Chhom; Carol Liston; Ellen Hackerd; Kristi Morlock; Abby Einspahr; Mike Souza; Doug Henry; Kim Heggins; Blenda Schultz; Michelle Michael; Sherrie Akre; Cecilia Guerra; Cindy Suppus; Lydiana Sanchez; Holly Contier; Pastor Gary
For our interim ministry need; Marketing Ideas; Wittenberg Manor Outreach; Evangelism; Children's, Family and Youth Ministries; Parish Education; School Enrollment
Peace and Comfort
For the family of Marty Martinez (former member); For Kim Heggins & family at the sudden loss of her aunt, Shirley Ramos
For Christina Grace's uncle Robbie, heart problems; Frank Mitchell; Mabel Stafne; Susan Hoffman; Bill Olsen, Annette English's dad; Esther Garguilo; Willine Watson; Marlene Mueller; Angela Garcia; Adolph Stafne; Marie Curtis; Van Deckert; John Ohanesian;
Tyler & Dave Flynn
Megan Irish- due Jan. 6; Melissa Piering- due Feb.; Tiffanie Kelly- due Feb. 10; Vicki Blank- due March; Candice Kofsky- due March; Emily Blank- due June 16
Please help to keep prayer requests current.
Call the church office with updates. Thank you. 278-2555.
Sounds strange, doesn't it! As you know, the New Year for a Christian begins with Advent. This year Advent begins November 27. So Christians are out of step with the world. In addition we, Christians, are out of step with the world when it comes to Advent. Homes are already decorated for Christmas, the shopping malls have been playing Christmas carols for weeks and Advent slaps us aside our head calling us to "REPENT!" The world wants parties and Christians are called to repentance-how out of step is that?
The world's celebration of Christmas is for things, the Christian celebration of Christmas is a call back to God. Jesus had to be born on that first Christmas because our lives demanded it. Through Christ's birth, our sins are forgiven-the divorced, alcoholics, depressed, sinners of all kinds who can find no peace in this world receive the peace of God forever because Jesus came to save us from our sins. No longer do we carry the weight of our sin-Jesus came to bear it for us; to take it to the cross; to defeat our sin through His death and resurrection and to give us the gift of everlasting life!
So Advent is our time of waiting to see that Jesus actually did come in history about 2012 years ago. Our Advent waiting includes the fact that Jesus gives us himself through His Word and Sacraments personally and individually. And our Advent waiting includes the fact that Jesus will come again to take us to our home with Him in heaven. During our waiting, we are called to, "Repent!" What a gift God has given us to be able to turn from our old, evil selves to the new life we receive from God through faith in Jesus.
This year our mid-week Wednesday services will be looking at Jesus' roots. "The Genealogy of Jesus: God Keeps His Promises:"
Wednesday, Nov 30 - Joseph: Of David's Lineage (Matthew 1:16; Luke 3:23) Wednesday, Dec 7 - Rahab: God Makes Heroes Out of Zeros (Joshua 2:1-21; 6:25; Matthew 1:5-6) Wednesday, Dec 14 - Joash: A Child with a Destiny (2 Chronicles 22; 2 Kings 8-12)
Wednesday, Dec 21 - Calvary Lutheran School Program
Sermon themes for Sundays in Advent are:
Sunday, Nov 27 - Are You Sure This Leads to HOPE? (Mark 11:1-10)
Sunday, Dec 4 - Make a U-Turn (Mark 1:1-8)
Sunday, Dec 11 - The Man Who Witnessed (John
1:6-8, 19-28) Sunday, Dec 18 - Have Yourself a Mary Christmas (Luke 1:26-38) Sunday, Christmas, Dec 25 - What If Christmas Never Happened? (John 1:1-14)
Please remember our special Christmas Eve Services at 5 PM and 10 PM 5:00 PM Lessons & Carols Worship - "The Mystery in the Manger" (Luke 2:19) 10:00 PM Candle Light Worship - "Christmas Joy" (Luke 2:21)
New Year's Eve 7:00 PM - "Marked with His Name" (Luke 2:21)
This news of Great Joy is for ALL People - please join us.
I look forward to seeing each of you at these mid-week and Sunday services.
Have a blessed New Year in Christ,
If Jesus Sent A Church Newsletter
I got this idea from William G. Menter and followed his outline although our conclusions moved away from each other.
If Jesus published a newsletter it would be funny. His stories were filled with puns and humor. Read the Gospel according to John. He made people laughed at themselves. And his stories were memorable so that the Holy Spirit could use them to change lives long after he told them.
Second, Jesus would discuss politics. He didn't avoid difficult issues the way we do today. He understood that religion and politics were the two most important subjects in the world. We need to talk about taxes, war, cost of freedom, the bottom line when it comes to public education, curriculum that excludes God, etc. These are the fabric of our life.
His newsletter would include pictures because he talked in pictures (parables). Probably his would be the most poi ant of political and church cartoons.
He would follow the K.I.S.S. principle - "Keep It Simple Saint." He would write so people could understand - not write so as to impress. Remember how He described the Kingdom of God and the free gift of everlasting life in understandable terms?
Jesus would eliminate the weather reports in his church newsletter. He would not begin his column: "Well, it's May now and warm weather is going to follow." "In October, we experience the first swirling winds of winter." We have much more important information to discuss in the areas of Faith than to recall what we all can see.
He would not report offerings or church budgets as we often do. Instead he would enable all of us to see how we can use our gifts as opportunities for worship. Recall how he described the widow's mite?
Since we have no record of the behind the scenes time he had with his disciples, one would doubt that Jesus' newsletter would include a copy of the parish planning council minutes. As far as we know, Judas never gave a treasurer's report. Rather his newsletter would be filled with evangelism ideas-how he and his disciples were feeding the hungry and heal the sick as they displayed the love of God in daily life.
Without a doubt, Jesus would keep the newsletter articles short. He would describe real situations among real people. Instead of waiting for people to come to him, he went to them. This is something we need to remember as we go about our daily lives.
Jesus would talk human growth rather than church program. The church calendar would include ways to help us in our daily lives and opportunities for us to gather to grow in faith and life. Jesus showed us his heart so that we could show it to others.
Actually, do you think that in 2011, Jesus would even publish a newsletter? Or would he just go about ministering to the needs of people and let others publish newsletters about the great things God has done?
As we begin a New Year, what can we do with these thoughts? Can we be led by Jesus to venture out into the lives of people who need the Lord?
May the grace of God go with you this year. Have a blessed New Year.
BOG Minutes (The Board of Governance will meet on the 2nd & 4th Thurs. 0f each month at 10am)
BOARD OF GOVERNANCE
October 26, 2011
Present: Barbara Adams, Jeff Jensen, Lee Strom, Darlene Goldhammer.
Barbara Adams opened with a devotion based on John 17:18. "As you sent Me into the world, I am sending them into the world." This was Jesus prayer for us. We have much to do as a church, and may all that we do be to His glory. This was followed by prayer by all.
The purpose of this special meeting was to discuss the need to establish committees to accomplish the many things we hope to do at Calvary. We talked about the qualities we would like committee members to possess; however, we agreed that individual committees would write their own set of guidelines. BOG decided that our most pressing needs are for a Youth Guidance Committee and a Hospitality/Entertainment Committee. Principal Fred Brauer has been delegated to set up a School Committee. The Property Committee has continued to function as we've made the governing switch to a Board of Governance. Members of all committees need to be regular attendees at Church and involved in some type of Bible study. Meetings will be held only when there is a purpose
It will be the chairman's job to select and maintain contact with his/her committee members.
The YOUTH GUIDANCE COMMITTEE must make certain that two adults are present at all times there is any type of activity in the Youth Room, including "open house." Regularly scheduled times for "open house" will be posted. It will be the committee's responsibility to put guidelines in writing and to establish a statement of Acceptable Behavior to pass out to all attendees. The committee should have 4-6 members.
The (Fellowship) HOSPITALITY/ENTERTAINMENT COMMITTEE will continue to be a great place for new members and previously uninvolved members to get involved. The committee should have a chairman and an assistant, 1-2 regular members and volunteers as needed to help with various events. The goal would be to have each of the regular members take charge of one event rather than the chairman carrying all the responsibility.
BOG then discussed future possibilities for committees on a long or short-term basis as needed. These included: Worship, Strategic Spiritual Committee, Marketing School and Church and a Care Committee. BOG members were asked to come to the next meeting with ideas on what the two committees to be established should do.
Jeff announced that the parsonage was now available for rent and the ad would be first in our Sunday bulletin. Jeff closed in prayer.
Present: Barbara Adams, Jeff Jensen, Lee Strom, Darlene Goldhammer Pastor Mohr
Pastor opened with prayer and devotion based on Revelations 19. The church is to be the "light of the world," so it is only natural that we will experience some stress. The churches are called to be lampstands. They hold the light and we are to pass that light on to others. God told the church at Ephesus that they were hanging on. They had committed workers, orthodox doctrine, endured hardship. They hated the Nicolatians who followed worldly practices but claimed to be Christians. He also told them that they had lost their first love and needed to turn around, go the other way and repent. If they did not do that, He would remove their lampstand.
Pastor Gary's question to us was: What can Calvary do to renew our first love?
Minutes from the October 13 meeting were approved with the following addition:
On Sunday nights we have around 30 senior high youths; on Friday nights when the junior highers, meet we have another 20 plus, giving us the possibility of reaching out to 50 youth, mostly from outside our church.
Pastor Gary and Principal Fred Brauer will conduct a one-day teacher workshop on November 21, since the teachers will not be attending the teachers' conference. Pastor will also confirm with Dave Schultz whether he will be our delegate to the CNH District Conference.
We finalized our list of contributions for Direct Missions as follows:
Stephen Oliver - Lutheran Ministry in Taiwan$1,200.00
Spanish ministry at Good Shepherd 1,000.00
Pregnancy Choices 1,000.00
VBS Calvary 3,000.00
American Bible Society 1,000.00
Pastor's Benevolent Fund 1,300.00
Youth Training 500.00
Lee Strom reported that work at the parsonage was finishing up. Originally, the Property Committee believed that a large work party would be necessary, but volunteers kept "dropping by" and the work was completed. The announcement will go in our Sunday bulletin in case members know of anyone interested in renting, and then it will be made available to others.
The request for $2029 funding for the visiting WASC team was returned to the school, since it was an unbudgeted item.
We continued our previous discussion of the need for committees to be established. At present we will work to set up a Youth Guidance Committee and a Hostess/Entertainment Committee. For the Hostess/Entertainment Committee, we talked about having a leader and 3-4 members who would take turns being in charge of specific events. Once team leaders are selected, they will be asked to recruit their members and groups will be asked to write their own guidelines for their teams.
We discussed memorial plaques and how to handle those requests when someone gives the church a memorial gift. We talked about the pros and cons of having plaques and not having them.
Jeff closed with prayer. Our next scheduled meeting is November 10 at 10am.
Present: Barbara Adams, Lee Strom, Jeff Jensen, Darlene Goldhammer
Barbara Adams opened with a devotion from II Thess. 1:3. Weeds grow rampantly without any special help. Imagine a child raised with no love or supervision and you can easily picture the results. This is true of our spiritual lives as well; without prayer and regular Bible study we will wither away or turn into an ugly weed, useful only as stubble for a fire. It is imperative that we grow as spiritually healthy people to glorify God.
Prayer by all present followed.
Minutes from October 27 were confirmed by email.
Pastor Gary Mohr's emailed report challenged BOG to review our plans to move ahead at Calvary. We discussed steps to bring more school families to our Soup Suppers/Advent services and various Christmas services. Barbara Adams will check with Principal Brauer on what plans the school has made for publicity. We determined that a schedule of services needed to be printed with an invitation and distributed to all, including school families. These schedules can also be passed out at the school Christmas Program. Jeff Jensen will arrange for the invitation/schedules. Prayer for God's blessing on these efforts will be included in the regular Sunday prayers by Pastor.
Pastor's report encouraged us to "dream" about what we are offering and how to get the word out to people. This would include a more extensive ministry to Wittenberg, including more pastoral time spent in that ministry.
BOG will contact two additional potential BOG candidates. Dave Schultz will be unable to attend the CNH District Conference in Burlingame, CA, on April 27-29 so another delegate will need to be asked.
Maren Giannini has agreed to chair the Hostess/Entertainment Committee with a six month-commitment. She will recruit additional members and they will construct their own guidelines. Jeff Jensen is working with her as she begins.
The Youth Guidance Committee, which is the second committee we agreed to establish, will be set up in the near future.
LINC--Lutherans Intercity (or Interchurch) Network Coalition is a group designed to reach the hundreds of language groups in our area. Pastor Gary attended an earlier meeting, and recommended that BOG attend the next meeting on January 14 at Prince of Peace in Fremont. We will all plan to be there.
Though Pastor Gary was not present, he had previously asked us what our goals for him were during his time at Calvary. What is our vision for our church and school, remembering that our budget is our mission plan? With those thoughts in mind, we discussed the need for parenting classes and other topics of interest to a wide range of people. We fully agree with Pastor's assessment that we need a long range-planning calendar. The need for greeters to encourage visitors to sign our Guest Register in the narthex was again stressed along with the necessity of follow-up contact with visitors.
Lee Strom reported that the inside work on the parsonage was complete with a final clean up on November 26. The outside is 90% done and trash has been removed. Many volunteers made the work possible. Watkins Realty will handle the property rental. Darlene Goldhammer closed in prayer.
Odds & Ends
Men's Bible Breakfast
Thursdays @ Calvary 6-7am in the Parish Hall
Special Services 2011
December 21 CLS Christmas Program
(All are preceded by 5:45pm soup supper)
Christmas Eve 5pm Family Service
Christmas Eve 10pm Candlelight/Communion Service
Christmas Day Service 10am
New Year's Eve Communion Service 7pm
New Year's Day Service 10am
Junior High Youth Group (OWL) 6-8pm Grades 6, 7, 8
December 2 Youth Night 16 Youth Night
Senior High Youth "The Experience" Sundays 6-8pm
Buy SCRIP We now have $10 Papa Murphy's Pizza Cards / Taco Bell
Available weekdays in office or Sundays after church ~ Scrip orders are placed twice a month (on the 1st & 3rd Mondays)
For the past twenty-five yearsSteve Ellis, Conrad & Sue Skjong, and Harv & Barbara Goldhammer have been making and serving coffee after first service. It is now time to share this opportunity to serve the Lord and our congregation. Beginning in 2012 we will have a calendar in the narthex for individuals to sign up to serve coffee on the Sunday of your choice. There is no cost to you, the church provides the coffee, sugar and creamer. All you need to do is make the coffee, serve it and wash the pot afterwards. This is a great way to meet people. Please contact me if you have questions. Thank you for your willingness to serve. Barbara Goldhammer
Volunteers needed to help serve coffee on Friday mornings at Wittenberg Manor. For the past two years Gisela & Linda Dutton have been alternating and really could use help. Please call the office for more details.
If you are active at Calvary and are not currently receiving offering envelopes and would like them for 2012 please contact the church office ASAP.
2012 Altar Flower Chart is now up in Narthex
WITTENBERG CHRISTMAS TEA
December 3, 2011
Wittenberg Christmas Cookie Sign-up
Please sign up for cookies in the narthex on the green sheet. On the Christmas tree there is a reminder of where to drop off cookies, please take one.
They will need to be brought to the Church no later than 3pm Friday, 2 Dec. or delivered to Wittenberg before 10:00am on Sat., 3 Dec. 2011.
Thank you for your help in this wonderful ministry to the residents at Wittenberg Manor.
Also, if anyone would like to help serve and/or clean-up on the 3 Dec., please let me know that also. This applies to men and women and Senior High youth. I will have a column for you to check and to leave me your telephone number so that I can give you the specifics on this.
Love in Jesus, Lutheran Women's Missionary League, Barbara Adams, Facilitator