NEWSLETTER - The Anchor
The bright, beautiful and brisk days of November are a gift as we see the natural outdoor world prepare for winter. Brightly colored leaves are starting to fall from the trees, busy squirrels are gathering food for the winter, and a few last tomatoes hang on as the vine which is withering. As nighttime comes earlier each day and it gets colder each day, our culture tells us it is time to look around and see the many blessings in our lives. When we have aches, pains or problems, it is easy to miss seeing all the good things in our lives. Making a list of those blessings quickly becomes very long, and it is our Creator to whom we express our deep gratitude.
“Gratitude unexpressed is just as dangerous as guild unforgiven,” wrote one stewardship expert. There is deep truth in this statement. Throughout November, we People of HOPE will give our attention to God's abundant grace that sustains us. We will focus on the themes of blessings, harvest, and thanksgiving as we reflect on the stewardship of our lives.
Stewardship is the heart of Christian living. Stewardship is managing all that God has given to us. Stewardship is the management of our time, skills, our property, and money. In these three weeks of stewardship emphasis, no one will tell you how much you should give. We will though, see our need to give and to give until it feels good to give.
There many principles of Stewardship, but we will focus on ‘First Fruits Giving,’ ‘Proportionate Giving,’ and ‘Growth Giving.’ All of this will lead up to ‘Pledge Sunday' on November 18, which will also be our Harvest Festival Sunday.
Pledges: there is no requirement to ‘pledge, yet pledging is helpful to yourself to think the financial stewardship of your life, to reflect and pray how you are using your life. Pledge Sunday is a way for you to make a commitment to God and yourself. It will also be a means for Hope leaders to make financial plans for 2019.
The 18th is also our annual Harvest Festival when we bring to the altar both our pledges and donations of food for those in need.
Other November events will be the Santa Clara Veterans Day Memorial, Sunday, Nov. 11, 3 pm at Central Park, our own Jim Lee works hard on this event to honor all those who have served our country. Pr. Jim will be doing the invocation.
Saturday, November 17, will be a Chill Lunch with Bishop Mark at Advent Lutheran Church Morgan Hill. Get a chance to eat and hear our bishop outline goals and vision for our Sierra Pacific Synod.
I hope you enjoy this beautiful fall season in which God seemingly radiates in quiet subtleties, and our gratitude rises from within us.
John Sullivan, Pastor
From our Associate Pastor
Over the last months I have been struggling with some of our country’s policies. The area that is of special concern to me has been the treatment of undocumented immigrant families, as well as more and more, immigrants in general. My specific area of struggle is the separation of children from their families. How do I hold such an act? To be sure, the law of the land is pretty clear, and so too is biblical admonitions to follow our appointed leaders. On the other hand, scripture is crystal clear as to how we are to treat those who are in need, a foreigner or refugee. We’re to render aid. As I have listened to the news, read articles, visited with people and pondered scripture, I have been in ‘irons’ as sailors say; unable to move in a clear direction. Not so now.
A few weeks ago I began reading Harriet Beecher Stows “Uncle Tom’s Cabin’. Of course, this is a controversial bit of 19th Century protest literature. Many take issue with the title character, Uncle Tom. There is also a bit of discomfort with some the characterizations of blacks within the work. Needless to say, it is a book of its time. That stated, I am struck by a theme that seems to run through the pages. It is the question of ‘what to do?’
In the book, there is a part of the population in the south that feel the institution of slavery is wrong, and also feel that they need to respect the law of the land and refrain from aiding and abetting escaped slaves. There is another part of the southern population, the abolitionist, who also feels that they need to respect the ‘laws of the land’ and the leaders appointed over them, and also feel, that the ‘law of the land’ is subservient to God’s law. And so, they must do everything in their power to resist the aspects of the law of the land that are in conflict with God’s law.
One group of abolitionist is the Quakers. The Quakers understand and accept that they are subject to the penalties of the law and also feel that they must resist the law regardless of the risk. In fact, their esteem of God’s law is such that they would offer the same care to a tyrannical slave owner as they would a slave, as they consider all people to be created in God’s image and children of God. For the Quakers, when the law of the land meets God’s law, God’s law prevails.
After reading this passage where the Quakers explain their understanding of what they are doing, I was given a new perspective on some of our country’s laws. We are to respect our leaders and laws and yet, when they are in conflict of God’s law, we’re to resist these laws to the best of our ability, knowing full well that we are subject to the same penalties as anyone else. Given that I cannot find any biblical teaching, let alone a teaching by Christ, that calls us to set aside God’s laws of compassion, I must side against those policies of our government that seek to separate children from their parents as well as those policies that marginalize immigrants.
We’re into the busy time of year with many events at Hope that you’ll want to put on your calendar. Check the newsletter calendar for events.
We have Harvest Fest with blankets, scarves, hats, and food for the needy. We will be talking about stewardship. How do we use our time, talents, and gifts wisely to help with growth for Hope Church?
Many thanks to all who helped with the shower bags for Dignity Mobile shower. Please continue to drop items off in the big bin by the coat rack. We will continue to make bags up as we get items to fill them on Sundays after refreshments.
Thanks so much for the wonderful music provided by the choir, bell choir, Marilyn and Alice, and Director Dager.
Please consider helping an hour or 2 at the Personal Care Cafe on the 1st or 3rd Sunday of the Month. See Pr. Jim for details.
Don’t forget to drop in on our Social Justice Bible study from 12-1:30 pm on Thursdays. These always give us something a little different to think about.
Savior, as we come to you in prayer, help us to remember to be a helper this month, Your Hands and Feet in our world. There is so much to ask you for; help for the hungry, ill, homeless, grieving, jobless, aged and lonely. We ask that you tenderly watch over those in harm’s way: runaway children, our military, those who may have healthcare taken from them, those fighting natural disasters. Lead us to know what we can do to help others. Keep our leaders in your watch, that they might discern with your guidance what to do to bring about a better, peaceful world for all to live in. Help us as we continue to strengthen our Church in this neighborhood community. We ask all this in your dear Son’s name. Amen
Blessings and peace,
The Stranger In Our Midst
My heart has become more and more burdened in recent months for those whom the Bible refers to as the “strangers,” “sojourners” or “foreigners among us. There are hundreds of verses in the Old Testament and the New, where we are admonished to love the stranger, to feed the stranger, to shelter the stranger. Among my favorites are Hebrews 13:1 “Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unaware.” And Deuteronomy 10:18-19: “He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” Above all, my favorite reference is Matthew 25, where the sheep and the goats are separated and we learn that the sheep were blessed because they fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, and welcomed the stranger.
Much like the Oluoch family whom our congregation fed, clothed, provided shelter and accompanied during their first years in the United States, there are hundreds of families and unaccompanied children and youths fleeing violence and extortion from gangs, government persecution, and human rights atrocities living among, or headed our way. What do we do then, as Christians, to respond to their desperate cry for help? We alone as a congregation cannot possibly solve the problem before us, but can we make a difference in the lives of one family?
I am happy to report that both our Synod and ELCA leadership are grappling with these same questions. The ELCA has created a program called AMMPARO Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities) and issued the following statement: “In a holistic, whole church commitment by the ELCA, as a church in the world, AMMPARO was envisioned to accompany children today and in the future who are forced to flee their communities because of complex and interrelated reasons, including chronic violence, poverty, environmental displacement and lack of opportunities in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.” If you go to the ELCA homepage, you will see a section called “Resources” that you can click on. AMMPARO is one of the resources that comes up and you will find an amazing amount of research that cites how the problem of displacement has evolved in recent years; you will also find references to the ELCA’s strategies in confronting the plight of displaced persons and how congregations are urged to respond to the “Least of these.”
The Rebecca Circle will resume their fall gatherings on Monday, November 5, at 10:30 am Bring a sandwich to share.
Put the date on your calendars and plan to attend. All women are invited!
Saturday, November 10th
Men: Put Saturday, November 10, at 8:00 am on your calendars for the next Men’s Breakfast get together. The group meets ate Sara’s Kitchen in Santa Clara.
Enjoy a delicious breakfast and some great fellowship.
There is a time and purpose for everything for everything under the heavens” Ecclesiastes 3:1
Soon we will be celebrating our Harvest Festival Sunday, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, in which we bring foods of the harvest and blankets and throws for warmth to share with the Family Shelter and others who are less fortunate than ourselves.
To decorate the altar area for this we need helping hands on the Saturday Nov. 17th, 10 AM, and produce to fill the cornucopia to overflowing, blankets, crocheted throws for the altar rail, new pillows, disposable diapers for babies and toddlers.
Suggested produce with bright colors (red, orange, black, purple, green, yellow) are especially needed and wanted:
Potatoes, both sweet, yams, and regular
Apples, both red and green
Red, green, yellow peppers
Let your imagination run wild!
We also need hands to hang blankets on the altar railing, change banners, and arrange the produce both in the sanctuary and to decorate tables a bit in the FH. On Sunday we will bring our filled grocery bags to be brought up to the altar during the offering.
“Everybody can be great… because
anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Greening the Church
You are invited to join in on Sunday, November 25, as we prepare for the coming Advent and Christmas seasons.
Plan on staying for a while after church to help the greening of the church. We will be setting up the Advent Wreath and the PanTree, hanging Christmas lights, changing Knutsen Hall decorations, etc.
There will be a lunch following. If you can stay for a while to help, it would be appreciated.
Our Harvest Festival will be held on Sunday, November 18th. The altar will be decorated with reminders of God’s benevolence, but also with our response to God’s blessings.
Grocery bags will be given out the week before (on November 11th) for members and friends to fill with their food donations for four local charities - the Lord’s Pantry (at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church), Sunnyvale Community Services, and the San Jose Family Supportive Housing.
A suggested food list will be attached to the bags. Grocery bags are needed. If you have bags you can donate, you may leave them in the church office before the 11th. Monetary donations are also welcome! Also needed this year are diapers (sizes 4, 5, & 6) and NEW pillows.Volunteers will be needed to help sort food for the charities and for people to drive the food to the specified organizations.
If you can help, please call the church office or talk to Betty Zacharisen.
Annual Christmas Smorgasbord
Saturday, December 8
Our annual Christmas Smorgasbord will be held on Saturday, December 8th, at 6:00 p.m.
As has been our tradition for this wonderful dinner, delicious Scandinavian foods will be brought by members and friends of Hope. The Smorgasbord committee will provide the ham, Swedish meatballs, and scalloped potatoes. We might get Pastor John to bring that old “favorite”, Lutefisk! Wine will not be provided, but you may bring your own wine if you so desire.
Cost is $10.00 a person plus bringing a food dish from our Smorgasbord menu or helping in some way (children under 12 - free). You may begin to sign up to bring your favorite Scandinavian dish (or to help in some way) on Sunday, November 11th.
Help is needed for coordinating the dinner, setting up, hall decorating, purchasing and cooking the ham, purchasing the Swedish meatballs, cleaning up, etc.. If you can help, call the church office.
What does Stewardship mean to us?
Every one of us have been given talents, time, and treasure so what have we done with these and what will we do with them since we are all stewards of God.
Bible verses which pertain to stewardship:
Stewardship is a way of life in which we recognize that we are stewards of all that God has given us; and that includes our time, our talents, our possessions and our money.
A Message from Bp. Mark Holmerud
Chili! Not just any chili -- my mom’s chili! It’s a recipe that’s been handed down to me from her mother. OK, full disclosure; this is not my LatinX grandmother; this comes from my mom’s mom, who was from Nebraska (southern Nebraska) -- but it’s still chili. It’s not real spicy, so if you like something a little hotter, there’ll be some Siracha Sauce handy at the end of the serving table. In fact, bring your favorite chili topping (grated cheese, onions, sour cream, soda crackers, etc.) or some corn bread or other bread to go along with the chili. It was a chili that graced the tables of family gatherings, church pot lucks, and Solana Beach Women’s Civic Club Luncheons.
It was also a favorite of Ray Wersching and Louie Kelcher, two San Diego Chargers players who were family friends back in the 70’s. What else do you need to know? What other credentials does this chili need to get you to say “YES!” to coming to one of our “Chili with the Bishop” gatherings? You’ll also have the chance to meet with people from other congregations over a meal – a great way to connect.
Throughout the Fall, I will be visiting the Conferences of our Synod’s mission field to hear from you what God is up to in and through your congregations and ministries. If you have a question about the ministry of our synod or our ELCA, please use the registration form to submit it. Think about making time to be at your conference’s Chili with the Bishop gathering If you’re not able to attend the gathering for your conference, feel free to choose another one nearby that works for you. All we ask you to do is register to let us know how many people will be on hand, and how much chili I’ll need to cook! I look forward to our time to be “church together.”
Please note that for the "Personal Care Café”, any size works. People take both the travel, individual and family sizes.
individually wrapped toothbrushes
Deodorant (male and female)
Q-tips (Dollar Tree sells a 2 pack of 50 cotton swabs for $1)
feminine hygiene products
socks and underwear for men and women
Accessories for women such as; perfume, nail polish, makeup, hair ties, etc.
small bottles of hand sanitizer
travel size items only
Toiletries may be brought to the church office at any time during
office hours or on Sundays.
Associate Director, Mt Cross _____________________________________________________________________________Ministri______________________________________________________________________________es