I’m trying something new for me. I’m making an effort to meet new people out of the blue and proactively practice pastoral care.
It’s been tough for everyone and I believe the church has a lot to say and do that can be helpful to our neighborhood communities - especially on a one-on-one basis. However, we all know that church carries a lot of social and cultural baggage, most of which is unhelpful, and will keep people from reaching out to us.
And so, I’m stepping away from Prince of Peace’s offices for a while each day to hang out at a variety of local coffee shops (or Wednesdays at our Farmer’s Market) with a little sign inviting anyone who wants a listening ear.
I don’t know if this will be successful at all. But for me, this is already a big step in framing how to respond to the spiritual needs around us. Whatever happens from this particular experiment, I see more creativity and efforts at engagement happening down the road. And frankly, it’s time for pastoral care and personal prayer to join our Social Ministry folks in the waters they have already been treading for twenty-plus years.
So, if you see this sign, stop by. Or better yet, tell a friend in need.
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. -Romans 13:8-10
On Thursday, Pastor Nate and I dropped our two kids off at school for the first full day of school since March 2020. In the crowd of 300 plus kids and parents, everyone was wearing masks, hugging their kids, standing close but not too close. I was overwhelmed by what I saw…the same sort of overwhelming gratitude that I have felt for this congregation since this pandemic began; the overwhelming feeling was that of extreme love. How phenomenal that all those parents and students were showing their love for everyone by wearing masks (and wearing them well). The same with all of you, PoP. You all have been incredibly respectful of one another’s boundaries and needs in this pandemic. And in these days, as we are facing another mask mandate, I have been part of and witnessed a whole other level of love for one another—that is the willingness to talk about one’s comfort level with outdoor masking. I hear you all communicating your need to stay apart and masked. I see you all finding creative and safe ways to show your love when greeting or passing the peace. And, I see us all making efforts to continue to care for our littlest of kids and their parents who are constantly worried about their kids’ well-being.
As the reading from Romans says, “owe no one anything except to love one another.” In these days, love is wearing a mask even if it’s a bit tiresome. Love is being willing to say “no thank you” to a hug and trusting that it will not damage a relationship. Love is looking at the most vulnerable in our midst and making the decisions based on their needs rather than the supposed freedom of the strong. Again, I am so overwhelmingly grateful to serve in a community like PoP. And as we navigate the new Santa Clara county rules, I wanted to communicate with our community the laws that we are acting under and abiding by. We share them in order to continue to be fully communicative but also to give us all reference points when we are gathering and seeing other groups on our site. The law referenced in the Romans passage is the 10 commandments, and is summed up as “love your neighbor as yourself.” The law we are abiding by from the local government is also meant to help us love our neighbor.
PoP is committed to providing safe and lawful gatherings indoors. Due to the new Santa Clara County restrictions and the need for cautious interactions, we will have the following policies until restrictions and local laws say it is safe to gather otherwise:
Jesus has many names…Son of God, Prince of Peace, Lord of Lords…and Rabbi…meaning teacher…As a profound teacher and dispenser of wisdom, he often asks both rhetorical and burning questions of those around him. His questions are meant to check back at religious authorities who think they know it all. They are often meant to challenge the culturally expected, and in a beautiful example of forgiveness from the Gospel of John, the resurrected Jesus asks Peter, three times, “Peter do you love me?” The repetition of the question three times was meant to wipe away Peter’s triple denial of Jesus on the night of Jesus’ arrest and betrayal.
Good questions can build relationships, teach us new and unique realities about ourselves and the people we are with, and be a doorway to profound change for an individual and institution.
Your pastors and the Christian Education committee are eager to ask YOU 4 questions about faith and spirituality education offerings at PoP.
As many of you remember, we tried a Sunday morning education offering called FED (Fellowship Education Discipleship). It was an experiment that has ended.
As we look to the years ahead we want to offer faith growth opportunities that are meaningful to you all. We want to know what you want to learn about! And, to be completely honest, we especially are eager to hear from all of you who have never attended a Christian education offering (small group study, Bible Study, retreats, etc etc). Let us know why in our anonymous survey. As staff, we can create the most beautiful class about the hidden meanings in Revelation, but if no one is interested in learning about it then we’re just geeking out as pastors on topics we like! Guide us please!
Here’s the SURVEY LINK
Also, if you despise surveys feel free to email me with what you want to learn about/talk about in this life’s journey!
Most of you are aware that Prince of Peace rents the Hall for weddings, parties, and more, but did you know the campus is bustling with life all week?
Closing down the campus was the most difficult part of the pandemic. Even with the new Santa Clara County mask mandate, many groups are returning and we have added some new renters too.
Throughout the week you will find:
In addition, there are special events like operating as a Vote center, Red Cross blood drives, recitals, and fundraiser events.
All of these groups appreciate having an affordable space to continue their own missions. At Prince of Peace, we appreciate the energy and life they bring to us.
Learn more about our regular community groups at https://www.propeace.org/community-groups.html