October, 2017

































Pastor’s Notes





 This year, in October, we celebrate two anniversaries:

1st -   The Reformation began to unfold when Martin Luther published his 95Thesis in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. His propositions challenged an abusive religious authority. An extraordinary series of events followed, which helped bring brought about the end of the medieval world and helped set the stage for people to be educated, to think independently and thus the emergence of our modern world.

2nd -  Pastor Vance Knutsen was sent to Santa Clara by the American Lutheran Church Mission Board to start a congregation. With the able help of Marion Voxland, numerous home visits, Sunday School, choirs and other programs, hundreds of people came together and officially formed Hope Lutheran Church in 1957.

The People of HOPE, loved and forgiven by God through faith, responded in love and service. For 60 years, members have given generously of their time, energy, and money to build and serve this community of faith. They have taught Sunday School, sung and/or rung in a choir, served on council and committees, ushered, counted, baked, done maintenance and contributed to fundraisers, struggled and prevailed. Hope members have also reached out to serve others – from sending aid, often in emergencies, to writing Bread for the World letters, providing bags of food to the hungry, serving meals at San Jose Family Shelter, and building a playground for our neighborhood.

We have celebrated Baptisms, Confirmations, Weddings, and the reuniting of families; we have brought food to those at home when sick, we have supported those grieving. We have faced challenges and trusted God. God has brought us this far in faith.

We do not yet know to what God will now call us. We struggle and pray to discern how we will be good stewards of the many resources entrusted to us.

Choosing a path of significant financial investment could fracture the general congregational unity we now enjoy, and may result in a demanding uphill struggle. Our world is very different than it was in 1957.

Thoughtful assessment of our current capabilities may reveal we can no longer sustain meaningful outreach programs. We may come to realize we are nearing the completion our ministry, and look to how we pass on to others the resources entrusted to us.

Pray urgently that God will help and guide us to discern Hope’s future.

With two big anniversaries, we are planning to celebrate boldly.  Each Sunday we have a special look at Luther’s life at announcement time.


Sunday, October 8, bring a neighbor for lunch, while the kids have fun we will show a special film on Martin Luther and the Reformation.

Sunday, October 22, we will have a  celebration with former pastors and members with Festival Worship at 10 am, massed reunion choirs and a catered luncheon.

Sunday. October 29, . On Reformation Sunday,  we will have our own Festival Worship, and then we will carpool to a meal in San Francisco and to Grace Cathedral for a Northern California Reformation Celebration.  (Wear Red!)

This anniversary month we thank God for the Good News of love and grace in Christ Jesus, for 60 years of faithful Word and Sacrament Ministry, and we thank God for some many rich blessings.



John Sullivan, Pastor






From our Associate Pastor


Well, while the days are warm, the nights are running cooler, mostly, heralding the end of summer and the coming of fall. Although it is still early, even some of our trees are showing hints of color change. The advent of fall was no more apparent than when I walked along the creek recently. The squirrels were busy stashing acorns, the grasses dry and seedless and it seemed that there were fewer song birds. I also noticed changes in the houseless encampments.

It some areas, the city had swept everyone out as the water district worked on invasive species abatement. In other reaches, the sweeps had happened earlier and people were returning, setting up small campsites, and making the best of their situation. I wondered what the coming rains and cold will mean for them.  Later that evening I read a press release by a local advocacy group. In it they cited the annual homeless count report. Below I quote the part that got my attention.

     ‘This year’s biennial homeless Point-In-Time count showed increases in the city of 7% and 13% in the county. While both offices point to some segments of the unhoused population (veterans and chronic) shrinking slightly, the most vulnerable portions have mushroomed. Especially concerning is the increase in numbers of unaccompanied youth under 18, transitional age youth, pregnant women, the elderly and victims of domestic violence. The results of the county coroner’s report on the shocking increases in unhoused deaths undermines the reports from housing staff. County-wide, the death count rose 164% in the last five years and a whopping 55% between 2015 and 2016. The death rate among seniors skyrocketed 320% in the same period and is expected to continue to increase.Additionally, the coroner's report noted two "hot zones," zip codes with the highest rate of deaths among the unhoused. Those zip codes were 95116 (72) and 95128 (76), both areas contain hospitals, but the report noted that the deaths occurred outside the hospital. The area with the third highest death rate (47) was 95112, home to city hall and SJSU. Almost all five years, the coroner noted the decedents...experienced some type of stressful event prior to death. The most common type of stressor among the decedents was medical. The only year that was different was 2012 when the coroner noted 11 of the 62 decedents experienced some type of stressful event prior to death, the most common being incidents involving law enforcement, including recent arrests and active warrants."

The facts show that the elderly, medically fragile and youth are at the greatest risk of illness and death in our community. The report faults the lack of connection and support from well-intentioned outreach efforts and the direct impact of putting law enforcement in place to help. The trauma of recent eviction has proven to be another stressful event prior to death and the coroner has been tracking that since 2016.

After reading this report, I still had no idea what the coming winter will hold for the people I saw and greeted along the creek. After reading the report, I do have a good idea, that whatever is instore for the people along the creek (and elsewhere) this winter, some will not feel the warmth and flowers of the spring of 2018.


May they rest in peace.

Pr. Jim















































From Our

 Council President





Your continual prayers for my sister, Lilli Woelfer-Pearce, are so genuinely appreciated by me and the entire family! Lilli lives in Cornwall, Great Britain, and none of us were able to travel to be with her at the onset of her ordeal. Our niece and her family visited her in August.  I do call Lilli a couple of times each month. 


You prayed Lilli through the diagnosis, surgery, initial trauma of amputation, and now physical therapy learning to use the prosthesis. There are side affects causing issues with the left leg. We must keep praying. Within the past couple of weeks, Lilli had an assessment to determine if she would be a positive candidate for “roto-rooter” surgery on the arteries in her left leg for which you prayed.

The August 31 surgery was a success! She is home, and relieved to be there and she is so very grateful for all the wonderful prayers that have helped her along the way.



I am one of many who watched the PBS program on Martin Luther Tuesday night September 12 . I found it to be quite interesting and enlightening! Not only did it portray a historical glimpse into his life, but it depicted the growth of the fundamentals of our religious beliefs as modern Lutherans.


The church calendar is packed with many exciting functions to keep us going until 2018! - For celebrating Hope’s 60th anniversary! The 500th Reformation anniversary! Determining our future!/ A fest or two! / The holidays!- just thinking about these is wearing me out.


On the other hand, I do enjoy having a lot to do; it certainly is better than the alternative. We hope you agree by showing your support and actively participating. Each of you makes us a happier Hope!









We welcomed Jim & Marlys Lee into our church family on Sunday, Sept. 17th.  Jim and Marlys were members at Hope several years ago and we are happy they are rejoining us.


God’s blessings on them!







Are you wondering when Day Light Saving Times Ends!!


Sunday November 5 is the date!


So, remember to set your clocks BACK on hour before retiring on Saturday the 4th






women’s News



Rebecca Circle

The Rebecca Circle will  gather on Monday, October 2nd, at 10:30 a.m. in the Conference Room.

All the women of the church are welcome to become a part of this dedicated group of women.




Men's Breakfast


The Men’s Breakfast group begins its fall season on Saturday, October 14th, at 8:00 a.m.

at Sara’s Kitchen in Santa Clara.


All men are invited to attend these great monthly gatherings.  The food is delicious and the

fellowship can’t be beat!



Martin Luther Sunday

Sunday, Oct. 8


In honor of the 500 Reformation we will be observing “Martin Luther Sunday” on Oct. 8th during our Refreshment time. 

A film on the life of Martin Luther will be shown and all are welcome to enjoy a free lunch of hot dogs, chips and dip, fruit and dessert.  And what is a movie without popcorn?  Fill your bowls and enjoy the movie!

An invitation will be distributed to our friends in the surrounding neighborhood to join us for this fun afternoon.


Stay and Enjoy!





 Special Congregational Meeting

Sunday, November 5th

11:00 am

A special congregational meeting of Hope Lutheran Church will be held on Sunday, November 5th, following worship.  All members are expected to attend.


This meeting follows the several Town Hall meetings we have had and we will  be discussing and voting on the direction that Hope will be taking in the future.


Resolutions to be voted upon will be presented involving the actions that were discussed at our Town Hall meetings. 


Your vote and input are important!


Your vote is important!


Come and make your voice heard!



40th Annual Junque Sale

Saturday, November 4th

9 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

...benefiting Sunnyvale FISH

(emergency food relief)


St. John’s Lutheran Church

 581 E. Fremont Street, Sunnyvale

Donate!   Volunteer!   Shop!


Including household items, small appliances, books, puzzles, games, garden or sports equipment, toys, etc. as well as clothing in good condition.  Bring your quality Junque to the church on Thursday, Nov. 2, 9 am to 7 pm; Friday, Nov. 3, 9 am to 6 pm.



Bring baked goods, the 3rd, or early on Saturday the 4th. Contact: Linda Baginski,




Work any or all three days, 2nd through 4th.  Have a fun time getting to know others who support this worthy cause.  For more information contact Carol Wilser - 408-996-1450 or Renata Thorne, 408-252-99045.



Sale day on the 4th. Low prices on quality Junque!



What is FISH?


Sunnyvale FISH is “Christians Who Care? about their neighbors in need.  Their work is sponsored by more than 20 congregations and many friends in the community. The help they give is not provided by any public or private agency. Food, clothing, and household goods are offered to those in need.  No legitimate request is left unfilled as long as resources are available.


FISH workers are all volunteers. They do not pretend to be experts. They do not preach. They aim to serve. Their reward is to be of assistance. Your suggestions to improve their work are always appreciated.


Sunnyvale FISH Clothes Closet is located 1112 South Bernardo Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94087.  Our thanks to Paul Shumaker who takes clothes donated at Hope to the Clothes Closet.


Sunnyvale FISH’S main line phone number is (408) 245-9109.


FISH is one of Hope’s beneficiaries for donations from our Harvest Festival.





Hope Lutheran Church

60th   Anniversary


October 22, 2017



Hope Members & Friends & their families

          Past and Present!

Celebrate with us Hope Lutheran Church’s 60th Anniversary!

Festivities will begin with:

A Celebration Worship Service – 10:00 AM (note time change)

           With Reunion Bell & Chancel Choirs*

 Anniversary Luncheon – 12:00 noon

          With Special Jell-o Table!

Renew friendships, enjoy a meal together, savor memories!


A free will offering will be taken to cover the cost of the lunch and

to support the Hope’s Future Outreach Program.  If you are unable to be present and would like to make a donation, send to


Hope Lutheran Church

2383 Pacific Drive, Santa Clara, CA  95051


*if you are a former chancel/bell choir member (or would like to be a

part of our reunion choirs, you are welcome!)  Just let us know!


Pastors are welcome to robe and participate in our worship service.



500 Reformation


“It is Still all About Jesus”


Early in his career (in 1520) Luther wrote a short book called “The Freedom of a Christian”. In this book, he explained the joy that comes through trusting in Jesus as our Saviour: ‘The Christian ought to think, “Although I am an unworthy and condemned person, my God has given me in Christ all the riches of righteousness and salvation, without any merit on my part, out of pure, free mercy, so that from now on I need nothing except faith which believes it is true”.’


Luther could write these words joyfully, because he knew that God gives us the gift of faith through his gracious word, winning our trust in Jesus, and freeing us from self-centred living. Because we have Jesus as our Saviour, we no longer need to focus inwardly and become anxious about what we lack, whether that is goodness, peace or strength for daily life. Instead we are free to look to Jesus, to trust that, in him, God gives us all that we need. And we are free to respond with simple gratitude.


This is how Luther put it: ‘Why should I not therefore freely, joyfully, and with all my heart, and with an eager will do all things which I know are pleasing and acceptable to such a Father who has overwhelmed me with his inestimable riches?’


This response of gratitude is one that overflows in love for our neighbour. Since in Christ we freely have all good gifts from God, in thankfulness we can share the gifts Christ gives us with the people God brings into our lives. Luther wrote boldly, ‘I will therefore give myself as a Christ to my neighbour, just as Christ offered himself to me. I will do nothing in this life except what I see is necessary, profitable, and salutary to my neighbour, since through faith I have an abundance of all good things in Christ’.


Faith in Jesus gives us freedom to love our neighbour: It’s in Jesus that love comes to life. Luther wrote and spoke about Jesus the Saviour, about Jesus who loves us and who frees us to love each other. This is the message of the Reformation – it’s all about Jesus.


(excerpt from “The Lutheran”, June 2016.)



Halloween Costumes? 


The history of Halloween - how it all started. Halloween began as the festival of Samhain. It was part of the ancient Celtic religion in Britain and other parts of Europe. At the end of summer, the Celts thought the barrier between our world and the world of ghosts and spirits got really thin.


The wearing of costumes and masks at Halloween may come from the belief that that ghosts came back to the earthly world, and people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear costumes and masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits.

supernatural beings, or the souls of the dead, roamed the earth at this time.


The practice may have originated in a Celtic festival, held on 31 October–1 November, to mark the beginning of winter. The festival is believed to have pre-Christian roots. After the Christianization of Ireland in the 5th century, some of these customs may have been retained in the Christian observance of All Hallows' Eve.





A Message from Kathryn Gulbranson, Assistant to the Bishop



In the Silence, Name Me

Holy One, untamed by the names I give you,

in the silence name me,

that I may know who I am,

hear the truth you have put in me,

trust the love you have for me,

which you call me to live out with my sisters and brothers

in your human family.

Ted Yoder


Recently, I've been visiting a few churches in the East Bay. It's brought back memories for me of my grandparents who lived in Richmond. Grandpa was a firefighter for the city of Richmond. And he was a talker. (Now you know where I get it!)


My Grandpa knew everybody, or so it seemed to me. Whenever we would go to the Co-op grocery store he would always talk to the checkers. He knew them all by name. He never met anyone he couldn't talk to. I don't believe he ever met anyone he didn't talk to! He always introduced me to the checker by telling them how I was connected to the family. My memory is that he never said my name. Instead, he would tell the checker, "This here's my granddaughter! She's my oldest daughter Shirley's girl!"  My identity was grounded in who I was related to.


When we were baptized, God claimed us as God's own. Like a proud grandfather or grandmother, God proclaimed "This is my beloved child!" The pastor made the sign of the cross upon our forehead and called us "Child of God". Then the pastor said, as she says to all the sweet baptized ones, "You have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever."


Grandpa was clearly proud of my mother and proud of me. And he was always eager to share that with people we would encounter in the city of Richmond. I felt like a celebrity when I was with my Grandpa.


May you be assured of God's holy love for you. May you be aware of how proud God is of you! And may you remember to call upon God when you need strength and courage, trusting that God will give you what you need -- oh you children of God.


In Christ's Love,

Pastor Kathryn









Associate Director, Mt Cross _____________________________________________________________________________Ministri______________________________________________________________________________es