October 2019

Dear Friends,

We have had a great September here at church!

In just the past four weeks, we have:

* added more music to our times of worship, allowing us to experience God through the talents and passion of our choir andsoloists

* started a Contemplative Service on Wednesday nights

* gathered for our Kick-Off picnic

* learned of the continued possibilities of providing Senior Housing through our partnership with the Orinda Senior Village Foundation

* hosted a first Spirituality of Aging book group that welcomed 18 people

* heard Eartha Newsong's moving faith journey

* welcomed the Multifaith Action Coalition, and learned of ways we can become involved

* had a church clean up

* had quilts presented and sold

* listened to Craig Taatjes and Kathleen Wiegand share God Moments

* signed up for Winter Nights

* donated to the Oktoberfest Auction

* gathered for meals and parties from last year's auction

* addressed gas and water infrastructure issues on the church campus

* seen the return of TOPS and Holden students

* welcomed many visitors and new regular attenders to our community

and so much more!

These are exciting times at the Orinda Community Church, and I am grateful to all of you who help make this a special place!

As the Rev. Elizabeth Robinson settles into her new position, and gets acquainted with many of you, we have frequent conversations around how lucky we are to work with such committed, smart, warm, and deeply spiritual people. And the new people who have been attending with regularity make similar comments. It is good to be the church.

This next month you will be hearing quite a bit about our Oktoberfest & Auction (to be held October 27), and we will begin our annual Stewardship Campaign - celebrating all the ways our church provides space for God to enter the world, and dreaming of how we can continue to enhance our ministries.

Over the course of the next couple months, Rev. Elizabeth and I will preach on "Familiar (and Not so Familiar) People of the Bible". There are so many great characters and stories in our scriptures that we tend to pass over, so we thought it would be fun to dig into some of the following:

Oct. 6 - Daniel

Oct. 13 - Mary Magdalene

Oct. 20 - David - The Good

Oct. 27 - David - The Bad and the Ugly

Nov. 3 - Miriam

Nov. 10 - Ruth

Nov. 17 - Jonah Part 1

Nov. 24 - Jonah Part 2

As you will see in this month's Neighbor, there is much happening in the weeks ahead. I hope you will mark your calendars and join us!

Other Exciting News

One of the commitments of our congregation is to care for the youth and families of the greater Orinda area; and I get to be part of an exciting initiative this next year to help do just that. Working with Miramonte High School, I will be leading a Monday After-School Drop-In Center on the high school campus, providing a space that focuses on wellness and community building. We plan to take much of our direction from the students, and will offer everything from a writing program, to guitar jams and drum circles, to workshops on mental health topics, to croquet tourneys and open mics. I am excited to use part of my experience to work with the school, staff, parents, and students to create something new and needed. I ask for your prayers for this new endeavor.

Wishing you hope and peace,

Jim