Jim's Blog October 2017

I woke up on Monday morning, ready to send my October Neighbor article to Dagmar. But then I turned on the news. Suddenly, it felt like there was something else I needed to
write. As the Beatles sang, "I read the news today, oh boy." I am tired of reading the news and saying "Oh boy."(Actually, I often say something more like "Oh $&*#," but it doesn't seem appropriate to print in our church newsletter.)

A mass shooting, lack of response in Puerto Rico, attempts to repeal healthcare for the most vulnerable, a conversation on race and policing being sidetracked by political posturing
and redirecting, and the list goes on. It is hard to be hopeful and encouraged when bombarded by one horrific news story after the next.

We cry out like the psalmist, "How long, O Lord?" But this is where the church comes in. As Margaret Mead is famous for saying, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." We come together to try and make sense of what is going on in our world, to listen for how God might be calling us to respond, and to step out into action.

It has been argued that the reason the early church continued to grow is that the nonreligious saw the followers of Jesus caring for the marginalized, the sick, the outcast. People saw
the followers of Jesus doing something for "the least of these," and decided to be part of the movement. (As well, those who were cared for and recovered from their afflictions realized that these people were the real deal, and became part of the community.)

We had a great All-Church meeting on Saturday morning, where we discussed what is ahead of us as the Orinda Community Church. We talked about many important topics, including:

  • finding ways to best care for one another (small groups, Care Team, etc.),
  • making sure we have active ministries for people of all ages, having worship experiences and music of all types, offering a variety of opportunities for learning and spiritual growth, and being a church that works for justice and mercy (with a balance of financial support and hands on service).
  • We also agreed with the continued pursuit of the last item on the O.C.C. Vision Statement: "We have fun!"

We will keep working toward achieving these goals, and will soon circulate the ideas that came out of the meeting. In the meantime, there are a couple upcoming events at
Orinda Community Church that are worth special mention:
**We are lucky to welcome guests from the Muslim Community Center in Pleasanton on Sunday, Oct. 15 for a program called "Meet Your Muslim Neighbors." We will start with a free lunch (after church/11:30 am), and then move into our panel discussion and conversation. Please plan to attend this special event, and feel free to tell your friends. RSVP to office@orindachurch.org, and click [here] to see the flier.
**To support our commitment to Justice and Mercy, the committee has chosen nine worthwhile agencies to support with our allocated funds. Thanks to the Endowment Board's commitment to tithing 10% of spendable money, we have extra to allocate in our first annual "Justice and Mercy - Survey Says" event. Click [here] to see the agencies we will be supporting. Church members will have a chance to vote on Sunday, Oct. 22, and the top vote getters will get the
largest grants ($1,000), while those with the least votes will get $400.

As you'll see in the Neighbor, we have many other great offerings this month as well, with ways for us to serve, learn, be community, and have fun. We will also have a special time to say thank you to Rev. Sally Train for the many gifts she has brought our church over the last year,
and to celebrate the ministry that she has in front of her.

Glad to be part of O.C.C. with you,
Jim