+On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, three of our PoP members who are leaders of our Rotating Safe Car Park (RSCP) attended the monthly Saratoga City Council meeting. We were there to speak on behalf of and in full support of a change in a line of the Saratoga city ordinance. The RSCP leadership team has been working behind the scenes to advocate for cars to be able to park for 90 consecutive days instead of the previous 32 days. This change will allow us to operate Safe Car Park for longer periods of time and officially make Safe Car Park a city-sanctioned event instead of just a pilot program. The City Council was overwhelmingly supportive and applauded the work of the leadership of Karen, Norman, Jim, and Yvonne as well as the collaborative efforts of our local partners. When the three of us exited city hall into the quiet night of a pre-holiday stillness, we felt a sense of jubilation at the culmination of months of hard work. It was a milestone on a long road of labor.
+Every Sunday, bread, wine, and clean altar cloths appear. Two worship services are held, and if you look carefully you will see evidence of participation of many hands and voices: greeters, lectors, ushers, communion assistants, singers, conductor, and musicians who have practiced weekly to perfect their craft. If there was a closed circuit camera pointed at the inside of the sanctuary, you would also see some of the work that gets accomplished that we may not notice unless it doesn’t happen: carpets scrubbed, baptismal towels hand-stitched, pencils sharpened and visitor cards restocked, bulletins proofed, offering counted, banners hung, eternal flames relit, and cobwebs swept away. Every Sunday worship is a milestone of many hands’ and voices labor, but it takes a careful observation to see just how many people make worshiping in our sanctuary the Holy and meaningful experience that it is.
+December 2 celebrated a milestone in the life of Carol Gobby, our office administrator of 23 years. For over two decades, she has been the voice on the phone, the kind welcome to visitors in the office, and the strong arm that deals with the sometimes not-so efficient vendors and business partners. She understands, better than anyone, the entire web of what makes Prince of Peace function and operate. She has had a long career in the Valley, and at the end of December, she will be released into the sweet freedom of retirement. She’ll still be in the pews and involved with PoP in whatever ways that she chooses, but this month we take the time to thank her for her dedication, heart, and partnership. We celebrated this milestone with her and promise that she will now get to see only the finished copies of the bulletin on a Sunday morning.
+In this issue of the DoveTales you will see an article from one of the members of our Mission Endowment Fund Board. That group has been working diligently over the past several months to establish a system and process of fund distribution and communication of said recipients. It is the hard, behind the scenes work of organization and policy making. And as a result, the stories of how that Fund (established years ago for the sake of care for our wider world and community) has touched lives from here to Chicago have been invigorating. Check out Ken’s article and keep an ear out for more information from our Mission Endowment Fund Board. Their behind the scenes work has culminated in an allocation of funds that is a milestone for this congregation, the funds’ donors over the years, and the passion that the people of PoP have to care for our wider world.
+On December 24th, we will gather as a community of faith to celebrate a major milestone in the life of God. The incarnation, literally the God becoming flesh and dwelling amongst us, changed how we as Christians relate to God and to one another. And it happened in a small town, to a couple of small town kids of little consequence. The birth of the child happened on a quiet, cold evening in a political situation that soon after the birth, forced Mary and Joseph to flee for their lives. I wonder if they knew the magnitude of what they were involved in during those first months. I wonder if the countless people who helped along the way (shepherds, strangers on the road, neighbors, and family of Mary and Joseph) could fathom the milestone and power of the little boy named Jesus.
Oftentimes, in our day to day happenings, we can lose sight of the bigger picture that we are working towards. We don’t often get to (or take time to!) relish in the simple joy of milestones along the way. This Advent and Christmas season, I heartily encourage you to make time to notice the milestones around you, the markers on your path that point back to the ways that you have been held up and supported by God’s love, whether by gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit or the clear care of another person.
May your Advent and Christmas Seasons be filled with small quiet milestone moments that enliven your hearts and boost your faith.
Merry Christmas, Pastor Sara
Reverend Nathan Winterhof and Reverend Sara Pearson have been Co-Pastors at Prince of Peace Saratoga since April 2015. In addition to shepherding the congregation, they have two children and a dog to keep them on their toes and provide sermon material.