Our mid-year meeting was held May 23, 2021 over zoom. Browse the slides to see what we have been up to and what is planned for the future.
Our reading for this Sunday from the gospel of John and its imagery of being born again used to always elicit a sigh of annoyance from my mind. The idea of being born again takes me right back to my days in high school where some of the Christians I knew would use that language about their faith. It always felt so exclusive to me, the way they described how Jesus came into their heart and radically changed their life. I remember wondering, why hasn’t God done that for me? Have I not said the right words? Is my church bad or ineffective? The born again movement was a revival that began way before my high school days and means a lot to some strands of Christianity. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to be more curious than certain...and as I have employed that mindset, passages like this one have new meaning for me...my mind has been born again, if you will!
Jesus and Nicodemus are talking past one another about birth, and maybe because I have had kids and the idea of being born involves pain, life changes, and suffering (in addition to an amazing experience, I know!) the idea of birth is not romantic to me. The bringing of a new life into the world is messy, filled with a myriad of emotions, and results in a mom having to heal for quite some time. In other words, it is not easy! And so as I ponder with all of you and with our staff what the next months look like as we come together for outdoor meals, fellowship events, and in-person moments, it is clear that while we will have great joy, it will also be a slow unraveling of some of the habits that we have made for ourselves over the past year. We will need to be respectful of distancing, of those who have young kids and are not vaccinated. And it may very well feel awkward and unsafe to be inside worshipping; and that awkwardness may effect how it now feels to be in our lovely sanctuary with people we care about.
There are many emotions and feelings that may be part of us re-gathering and re-connecting. And I want you to know that it is ok to feel all the feelings about this transition back. We’re taking it slowly, offering opportunities for volunteering and small gatherings throughout the month of June. We invite you to come to one or all of them. And know that if we don’t see you we’ll be reaching out to check on you as we all are born again into this curious time in our world’s life.
When you go to the swimming pool are you a dive-right-in kind of person? A dip- a-toe in the water person? Or, do you let others jump in and watch them swim for a while?
I ask these questions because the living of these days, (the slow reopening post-pandemic), requires caution, for sure. But we are also at the point, with high vaccination rates in our church community, low community spread, and the green light from the county to gather with social distancing protocols; that we can start to gather safely and reacquaint ourselves with one another. We know that some will wait and watch, and we respect that. We know, too, that many of us deeply yearn for human community again, especially the human community that loves and cares for us.
With that in mind, we want to offer the opportunity to be part of a delicious fellowship and community-building opportunity on Saturday, May 15th here at Prince of Peace.
We invite you to drop in for a pancake and sausage breakfast (gluten-free and vegan options available!) from 8am-11am.
Volunteers from our PoP Community will be serving through our convenient patio window. Seating will be spread out, on the patio, inside with all doors open, and/or on the grass in the center courtyard. Bring a blanket, your kids, and your masks. We’ll be following all covid-related protocols while also spending meaningful and relaxed time together.
We invite you to RSVP if you can, so we have a tentative idea of how many are coming. Also, if you would like to help with set-up, cooking, or clean-up we would love a few extra hands. For safety reasons, only those who are vaccinated can serve food. To be clear, you need not be vaccinated to come, but only to serve food and be in proximity to others inside the kitchen. Friends are welcome!
We hope to see you there!
As we close out April, National Month of Hope, signs of renewal are everywhere: flowers are blooming, vaccines are available to everyone over 16, choir rehearsals are scheduled, and groups are inquiring about returning to campus. In addition, Vacation Bible Camp, Jazz Camp, parties, and events that have been delayed for a year will all be on campus starting in May. This summer has the potential to be very busy!
The Property Committee and Wednesday Crew have been working hard during the pandemic to ensure many major needs were addressed while no one was on campus. This week the Hall is being tented for termites, after fully renovating the floors and painting the walls and ceiling. It looks amazing! Thank you Todd H., Brian D., Bill Y., Andrea P., Barbara E., Ian M., Drew, Pastor Nate, and everyone else who has helped make this renovation possible!
Now you can help Prince of Peace use this beautifully updated space to supplement the budget. Do you know someone planning an event this fall? Suggest they rent the Hall! You will find more photos and details on the website, Facebook and Instagram. Please share!
by Anne Hess
A month ago, on Maundy Thursday, Sarah B. was our cantor and Michael T. our pianist for our first outdoor, in-person worship service since October of 2020. As Sarah sang and Michael played, the congregation gathered sat still, mesmerized by the sound. Night was falling around us, and the significance of hearing live singing sank into us. The song sounded fresh and real, and it added that extra meaning to a tender night in our church calendar…one focused around service to one another, care for the neighbor, and humble love.
Two weeks ago, on a Friday afternoon, as Ken P. and I finished filming worship, the center courtyard starting filling with the sound of string instruments warming up and tuning up. The San Jose Chamber Orchestra was rehearsing and preparing for a short performance outdoors. The beautiful sound of multiple instruments being played by people who clearly are professionally gifted (no offense to the sounds I hear from the neighborhood kids who are practicing their instruments in their yards/homes!) was overwhelming. I stood, transfixed, under the Redwoods in our meditation garden and without warning, I began to weep. Music (and all art) has the powerful ability to reveal emotions in our hearts, to stir ideas in our minds, and to connect us to one another unlike any other form of communication. All of you who worship with us know that we are gifted with an incredible music program and group of musicians curated by Barbara Day Turner. She, along with our choir, audio engineers and video producers have worked so hard this past year to bring recorded music to our worship services. I am so grateful for the pivots we have made and the people like Marc F., David L., Ken P., Mike H., Michael T., the PoP Band, and our choir and soloists who have learned new technology in order to bring this artful aspect to our worship (and I know, we have mentioned them all before with gratitude, but it bears repeating so often!).
So much of our world has shifted online, and I am grateful for the nimble reactions of our congregation and the people who work in theatre, music, and formed art. We also have, in our congregation, an incredibly gifted group of live theatre directors, performers, and singers. Many of you have seen people like Karen D., Ginger D., Sarah B., and Mike H. shine on stage at our local theatre. companies. Live acting, (and the folks mentioned above can articulate this better than I) can take us out of our own minds and put us in the heart and mind of others. Live acting increases our empathy, enlightens our thinking, and sometimes makes us uncomfortable in the best kinds of ways…in ways that remind us that we are deeply human and connected to one another. Like so many of you, I miss opportunities to experience theatre in person! I am convinced that theatre, art, music—in all of their forms are manifestations of the Holy Spirit. I believe that the imagination we foster when we listen, watch, observe, ponder and make art connects us to God in powerful ways. It gets us out of our task-oriented, machine-mind into the creative pieces of ourselves that is part of the imago dei (image of God) that is in each of us.
With that in mind, I would like to share a wonderful idea and opportunity that Ginger D. introduced to us... A theatre company out of Berkeley (the Shotgun Players) has moved online. They have a theatre piece that is available online (on demand, meaning you pay for it and can watch it when it works for you). The title of the production is Feel the Spirit, by Noelle Viñas and it is (ironically!) about a Queer pastor’s efforts to move her congregation online during covid-19. Ginger and I would love to host a conversation (for all who watch it). You are encouraged to follow the link to the show, watch it on your own time, and then we will have gather on Zoom Sunday May 2nd to discuss. Ginger will lead (and for any of you who don’t know Ginger, she’s an incredibly engaging leader as well as brilliant theater director). Let’s dig in together, enliven that creative part of our Spirits and minds, and create some space for the Holy Spirit to move our faith! Zoom link for the discussion of “Feel the Spirit” is forthcoming. You will need to purchase your online viewing of the play on your own. The link to the show is:
Discussion Meeting: Sunday, May 2, 7:00pm on ZOOM
Email Pastor Sara if you need help!
Hey there, Prince of Peace! Do you love abstract, theological terms? I sure do. But I know they aren’t for everyone.
If only there was a term that meant something to our daily lives.
If only we had an easily accessible shared experience to help explain it.
Well guess what: There is. We do.
Proleptic - endeavours for a convergence of theology and modern science by proclaiming that the world we discover is a world where creation is still going on.
That’s a big idea and we could spend hours breaking it down, but here’s one way to think about it. We are living now in the beginnings of Covid vaccine distribution in our country. And because of that we are all - whether we have the shot ourselves or not - getting glimpses of a future where everyone is vaccinated and we are free from any fear of this terrible disease.
God’s creation is still happening, and in our presence.
And now that we have learned the word proleptic, let’s make some proleptic announcements about how your loving staff is making plans, based on the glimpses we’ve had so far, for future plans at Prince of Peace.
RSCP is going to be growing in the near future and expanding into more community creation activities, which may also help us stake a claim as a larger community gathering place as new residences are developed nearby.
Indoor worship is scheduled to begin Sunday, July 4th; this will depend entirely upon county opening protocols and worship safety.
Even when indoor worship starts, we will continue to be an online worship community also. So, for those of you who have been joining us from across the country, you will still have access to our services - and so will anyone using our sanctuary for their sacred event. If you are interested in helping that team of volunteers, please contact Pastor Sara.