Ministry News

You can check back here for regular news and updates on our common life at Church of the Resurrection. You can also sign up to receive news by email, just send an email to office@resurrectionph.org.
From the Rector 
 
We are just a few days away from entering once again the holiest week of the year, when we mark the painful end of Jesus' life, and then wait for and finally celebrate the way that through him, love always wins, even over death.
 
Every year, this great story and these intense days of prayer connect to the rest of our lives in new and surprising ways. Though the stories remain the same, the truth they open for us and the guidance they come to be depends in part on where we are. And this year, I think it's safe to say, Holy Week is going to be unlike that which any of us have ever experienced before. What we are collectively living through is so far beyond the scope of our past experience, rendering inescapable the truth that we - the whole globe - are intimately connected and mutually dependent. Even as we are apart, we belong to each other, and we walk through these harrowing times together. I believe this reality calls us even deeper into prayer and reflection, and heightens the need for our attention on the pilgrimage of Holy Week.
 
This year, sheltering in place as we are, our Holy Week will weave together practices at home and live streamed services from the Church. Plan to join the live stream from our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ChurchoftheResurrectionPH/ at the following times:
 
Palm Sunday - April 5th at 10:15 am
Maundy Thursday - April 9th at 7:00 pm
Good Friday - April 10th at 7:00 pm
The Great Vigil of Easter - April 11th at 8:00 pm
Easter Sunday - April 12th at 10:15 am
 
In addition to our live streams, we are also sharing resources for you to engage these practices at home. You can read last week's article for more details on how to begin creating a sacred space in your home. For more resources you can now find a new page on our website, Holy Week Services 2020, where you will be able to access the bulletins as they become available for each service. In addition, you can already find ideas there for how to prepare and step into these great days at home. 
 
Thanks for all the many ways you are continuing to show up for one another and for our wider community in these challenging times! 

Peace,
Liz+


Launching Pandemic Partners - Pleasant Hill Regional
We are very excited to announce the launch of a new community initiative: Pandemic Partners - Pleasant Hill Regional. Following the wonderful example and generous guidance of First Presbyterian Church in Bend, Oregon, we have launched this Facebook group to serve as a hub where people in our community can come together to get needs met. You can search for the group named "Pandemic Partners - Pleasant Hill Regional" on Facebook.
 
It's simple - people living in Pleasant Hill and the surrounding area can join the group. Once there, if you need help, ask. If you can offer help, respond out of the goodness of your heart. This can include running errands for immediate needs,  picking up groceries, getting help with technology to stay connected to loved ones, etc. In a time where fear can be overwhelming, this is a way to choose kindness, generosity, and love for our neighbors. 
 
To be clear, in using this group, everyone remains responsible for their own health and safety. Anyone who lives here may join the group, and volunteers will not be vetted or trained by Church of the Resurrection nor will volunteers be subject to the church's direction or control. We strongly encourage people to continue to practicing hand washing, sanitizing, sheltering in place and distancing measures recommended by Contra Costa County Health Services and the CDC. 
 
To help bring this group to life, that we may join one another in meeting the immediate, critical needs of our community, please join the group and invite your friends and neighbors who live in the area to join as well. Thank you!



Compline by Zoom
All are invited to join in Compline on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm. If you are new to Zoom, it might be helpful to tune in at 6:45 to learn how to use the technology. At 7, we will have "breakout rooms," small groups where we will discuss how we are all doing. Compline will begin at 7:15. Have your prayer book handy and open to p. 127. If you don't own a prayer book, here's a link: https://www.bcponline.org/
 
Here is the link to participate in Zoom: 
https://zoom.us/j/785476670

Or dial  +1 669 900 6833 and enter the 
Meeting ID: 785 476 670



Throwback Holy Week
Since we all cannot be together this week for the Holy Week and Easter services and to help us get into the coming season, we are going to post Holy Week and Easter photos and videos from the Resurrection archives from the past few years.  These will be posted on our Resurrection Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/resurrectionph/


Orange Picking Time - Saturday, April 11th, with Restrictions
Dear Congregation:

The Valencia oranges - the last left side row - and the two lemon trees are ready to be picked.

We need volunteers to pick and box the fruit and we should be done in about 1 to 1 ½  hours. It's Saturday, April 11th at 9 a.m.

Due to the gathering restrictions, we must ask that you notify me that you are planning on volunteering that morning. I cannot have more than 10 volunteers.

In addition, please note the following requirements of the Diocese and Contra Costa Health Services for protection against COVID-19:
  • No-one over age 65,
  • If you have other health issues, please stay home.
  • I'll have soap & water by the orchard.
  • Maintain spacing around each other as six feet apart.
  • I will not have coffee/donuts at this gathering.
We always appreciate the volunteers we get for picking, but this is an extraordinary year as we're all aware. If you do not feel comfortable being there, please play it safe and stay home.

We will have boxes on site donated from the Food Bank. Bring gloves & clippers to avoid thorns. Be aware that it might be muddy and wet among the trees; wear shoes that you don't mind getting caked with mud.

The recent rains have contributed to an impressive high weed/grass growth in the orchard. If you're inclined, we have a specially designed "Rock Chucker 500" mower that can run over anything, and we can mow weeds while we're there.

If you're not familiar, the oranges are donated to the Contra Costa/Solano Food Bank for their meals programs. This season we have contributed 892 pounds to the CC/Solano Food Bank from our previous pickings.

Call/text Bill at 707-410-9637 or building945@yahoo.com and let me know you're coming so I can maintain the count to less than ten.  Thank you.


Food Drive
As you probably know, we are trying to fill 13 food barrels for the Monument Crisis Center over the course of Lent, and will continue gathering food into Eastertide as necessary. The need is now greater than ever, and with the church building closed for gatherings, we have to get a little more creative! You can now drop off food on the porches of the following members' houses: Neil Crawford, Vidah Johnston, Sheila Hassell Hughes, Amanda Szakats and Kim and Keith McConnell. We are also looking for more folks to take barrels home, both to make them more accessible for our members and also for neighbors to contribute. Please let Rev. Liz or Neil Crawford know if you'd like to take one. Thank you!
From the Rector
 
As we settle further into this new reality of sheltering in place, some of the initial challenges may be starting to wane, while others are emerging for us to consider. Many of us have learned a lot, and quickly, about video conferencing. Parents and kids are getting used to being together nearly all the time with school out. Groceries are, for the most part, turning out to be more available than many feared, though toilet paper... not so much. As the initial stress of sheltering in place may be starting to feel more predictable, and as we collectively contemplate the possibility of remaining physically apart for longer than we had initially hoped, now is a good time to consider new ways we might try practicing our faith together.
 
Church will continue to meet through Facebook Live on Sundays at 10:15 on our Facebook Page, with options to connect on Zoom at other points in the week. And especially as we get closer to Holy Week, which begins April 5, I encourage you to create some sort of sacred space at home. We will live stream services from the church on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Great Vigil of Easter on Saturday night, and on Easter Sunday. And. So much of what we practice - on the Three Great Days, the Triduum, especially - are rituals that rely on the palpable, the tactile, the sensate. Just hearing the words, watching the actions, through a screen? I'm not convinced that's going to be enough for us to really enter into the mystery of Easter. And so I'd like to encourage you to start getting ready.
 
For as long as humans have sought the divine, there have been practices of setting space aside in the home to aid in that seeking: places to center us, ground us, inspire us, challenge us. Places to remind us of who and whose we are. For some, this might look like a spare place to enter into contemplative prayer or meditation, for others it might be a more robust home altar, with meaningful things to touch, look upon, interact with, respond to. Whatever your most natural mode of prayer might be, think about how you might transform a bit of your home for the coming days and weeks to this end, especially during Holy Week.
 
Some elements to consider in creating a sacred space at home:

Place:
Think about where you'd like to set this space up. Do you want it near where you spend much of your time, or somewhere more out of the way? It could be one end of your dining room table, a shelf or end table, a mantle, a wide windowsill... even a corner of the floor could work well. If you have children at home, you may want to let them be in charge of choosing the place, and ask them why they are drawn to it! 
 
Content:
Whatever place you choose, try to clear a dedicated spot, taking away other clutter or distractions that may accumulate there. Next, gather elements that may help you to center yourself, reflect, and pray, both on your own and, if you live with others, together. Some possibilities to consider:
  • A purple cloth or paper to spread out on your sacred space. (If you don't have cloth, this could be a great thing for kids to create with whatever art supplies you may have lying around!) If you are using one part of a bigger table or surface, the cloth can be especially helpful in setting a portion of it aside to become this sacred space.
  • A cross- is there one you have hanging up that you could add to your sacred space? Or can you find sticks or pieces of wood that you can use to make one?
  • A Bible and prayer book 
  • A candle - Any candle will do, though it might be nice to choose a large one that you can keep using for an extended time. If you still have your baptismal candle, you might get it out in preparation for Easter!
  • An icon - If you don't already have an icon, you could do a Google image search for a favorite saint and print the image out, try your hand at drawing one yourself, or bring photos of loved ones - the saints of your own life - into the space. 
  • Elements of nature - During Lent, it's common to have sacred spaces left bare of flowers, but you might consider adding stones or branches, with flowers to be added at Easter. There are also plenty of pruned grape vines near the church vineyard, if you'd like to take some if you come by to walk the labyrinth.
  • A bowl - You could use it to collect prayers for now, and fill it with water during Holy Week in preparation for Maundy Thursday.

Practices:
  • Sitting - Try just sitting, noticing your breath, feeling what's going on in your body, listening to the sounds of slowed-down life moving near your home, recognizing the ground that is still holding you up.
  • Praying to begin, reorient, or end the day - This can take as many forms as there are people, and this may also be a time to explore the Daily Office - short prayer services for different times of day found in the Book of Common Prayer. Many folks are familiar with Compline, the end-of-day service, but there are others for earlier times, too! You might try out Daily Devotions for Families and Individuals (Page 136, or  online here).
  • Reading - Set some time apart to read - whether scripture, poetry, storybooks or other writing that brings your focus towards the Holy.
  • Writing - You could write your prayers on small slips of paper and gather them here on your sacred space or tape them to the wall day-by-day, journal your prayers and concerns, or write letters to people.
  • Creating - Even if you don't consider yourself particularly artistic, you might try creating something visual as a way to pray.  Praying in Color is a great resource to spark the imagination.
There is no right or wrong way to create a sacred space at home. Try to pay attention to what speaks to you or ignites your imagination. You can keep experimenting in the coming days. We don't need to recreate the church elsewhere, but with so much time at home, we have an unusual opportunity to connect with holy elements of our faith domestically. As you create these sacred spaces, I invite you to email in a photo or share it on Facebook, that we might all be inspired together.
 
Happy creating! 

Peace,
Liz+



Lenten Program on Zoom
Our Lenten Program, Soup + Story will meet for the final time this coming Tuesday evening. Join us for conversation, reflection and Compline Tuesday from 6:00 - 7:00 pm. We'll be gathering on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/885723176, or call 1-669-900-6833 and enter the meeting number 885-723-176. For instructions or help getting on, email Rev. Liz.


Compline by Zoom
All are invited to join in Compline on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm. If you are new to Zoom, it might be helpful to tune in at 6:45 to learn how to use the technology. At 7, we will have "breakout rooms," small groups where we will discuss how we are all doing. Compline will begin at 7:15. Have your prayer book handy and open to p. 127. If you don't own a prayer book, here's a link: https://www.bcponline.org/
 
Here is the link to participate in Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/571822926
or call 1-669-900-6833 and enter the meeting number 571-822-926.



Prayer Requests
We will continue to share the prayer list in the digital bulletins, but listing first names only except for those who have died. Please send these requests to Tracy, at office@resurrectionph.org. Members of the Healing Prayer Team are also making themselves available to pray over the phone with anyone who might need it. Please reach out to Laura Gianello if you would like someone to pray with you over the phone, and one of them will respond soon.


Ready to Help!
As we settle into the new reality of physical distancing and sheltering in place, many needs are arising in our community. We are organizing ourselves to respond to these needs. Those who are older or who have underlying health issues may not be able to go out to get what they need, parents who have children out of school may need some emergency childcare, and so on. For those who are under 65 and totally healthy, please share your availability on this Google form to help with various needs as they arise. When someone reaches out with a need, we will then email this team we are creating (that you are signing up to join by filling out this form) to match someone to meet the need. Under the governor's order, there remains the provision that we can leave home to bring necessities to others, and we aim to meet those needs as safely as we can. For those who do need to stay at home, there are already a few ways to plug in and help, and we are working on more. (And welcome your creativity here, too!) Thanks so much for your generous spirits! 


Food Drive
As you probably know, we are trying to fill 13 food barrels for the Monument Crisis Center over the course of Lent. The need is now greater than ever, and with the church building closed for gatherings, we have to get a little more creative! You can now drop off food on the porches of the following members' houses: Neil Crawford, Vidah Johnston, Sheila Hassell Hughes, Amanda Szakats and Kim and Keith McConnell. We are also looking for more folks to take barrels home, both to make them more accessible for our members and also for neighbors to contribute. Please let Rev. Liz or Neil Crawford know if you'd like to take one. Thank you!


Labyrinth Sign-Ups
Thankfully, our government still deems outdoor exercise to be an essential activity. Our labyrinth remains open and available around the clock a place to walk and pray. And, in the hopes of making it easier for people to practice safe social distancing, we are encouraging folks to sign up for times to use it. This is not a guarantee that it will be empty when you're there, but with the orchard available as well, there should be plenty of room to spread out. You can sign up for slots here.


2020 Women's Retreat - October 2 - 4, 2020
This year's Women's Retreat will take place at The Bishop's Ranch just outside of Healdsburg in Sonoma County beginning Friday, October 2, through Sunday, October 4, 2020.  We will again occupy Harrison House, just down the hill from St. George's Chapel, and will be able to enjoy its lovely outdoor terrace, large living room meeting space and kitchen.  While the program is still coming together, I wanted all with an interest in attending to know of the dates and be able to get themselves on the list of those interested in attending.  Full cost for the two cozy nights and five wonderful meals will be $250, with a $100 deposit due to Theresa Nagle by June 14 at the latest. 
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Theresa either at church on Sunday, or by calling her at 925.858.8014 or by emailing her at  nagletheresa@hotmail.com.  See you up at The Ranch!
From the Rector
 
Dear friends in Christ,
 
What a week it has been! I am so hearted to see all the many ways you are reaching out to one another, getting creative, and insisting in word and action that the church is far, far more than a building. If this first week is any sign, we will do beautiful and worthwhile things together in the coming season of physical separation, and I am awed by your faith and commitment to the common good.
 
As many of you have heard by now, we will be continuing with Sunday worship offered by life-stream but not in person until at least May 10th; you can read Bishop Marc’s latest communication here. Thankfully, even under the new state-wide shelter in place order, government officials have given faith communities permission to gather a small team of people to make that live stream happen, with the provision that they be under 65, in good health, and that as much as possible, the team remains the same from week to week, to minimize exposure. My heart hurts as I sit with these restrictions, as our diversity of voices is such an important part of who we are as a faith community. And, I understand the reasoning, want to do our part to help flatten the curve, and am very grateful that we still have a way to offer this more robust form of live streaming on Sundays.
 
This extended time apart raises many questions. The two that I am hearing most are: “But what about Holy Week? What about Easter??” The confluence of these dates and the need to stay apart is sad and difficult. I don’t know exactly what it will look like yet, but I can tell you that we do not have the option of moving Holy Week and Easter, we will be observing these holy days, and I trust that every bit of this great story is still true for us, no matter how spread out we may be. I am already gathering with colleagues (by Zoom, of course!) to share resources and imagine how we can enter fully into these great days, even from different places. And. Rest assured that whenever it is we can be back together again, we will celebrate with all the bells, all the whistles, and every last stop pulled out.
 
I know there is going to be a learning curve for all of us in the coming weeks, as there already has been. I’m grateful for everyone’s patience, flexibility, and graciousness as we learn many new ways to be together, and quickly. Things may continue to change as we discover more, but for the time being, we’ll be planning on gathering in these ways:
 
- Sunday Worship: Join us at 10:15 am on Facebook Live for the Liturgy of the Word (the first portion of what we usually do on a Sunday morning). We’ll be streaming this from the new Facebook page (separate from our Facebook group, though we’ll post it in the group as well.) The benefit of this change from last week is that anyone can watch it there, even without a Facebook account. Just go to www.facebook.com/ChurchoftheResurrectionPH in your web browser on Sunday morning and it should pop up. The digital bulletin will be available on our website and on Facebook.
 
- Lenten Program, Soup + Story: Join us on Tuesday from 6:00 – 7:00 pm for conversation, reflection and prayer. We’ll be gathering on Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/885723176, or call 1-669-900-6833 and enter the meeting number
885-723-176. For instructions or help getting on, email Rev. Liz.
 
- Prayer Requests: We will share the prayer list in the digital bulletins, but listing first names only except for those who have died. Please send these requests to Tracy, at office@resurrectionph.org. And, some members of the Healing Prayer Team are also making themselves available to pray over the phone with anyone who might need it. Please reach out to Laura Gianello if you would like someone to pray with you over the phone, and one of them will respond soon.
 
- Compline, Wednesday at 7:00 pm: Amanda Szakats will be hosting a church gathering and Compline (the last prayer service of the day) on Zoom on Wednesday, March 25.  If you are new to Zoom, it might be helpful to tune in at 6:45 to learn how to use the technology.  At 7, we will have “breakout rooms,” small groups where we will discuss how we are all doing. Compline will begin at 7:15. Have your prayer book handy and open to p. 127. If you don’t own a prayer book, here’s a link: https://www.bcponline.org/ 
Here is the link to participate in Zoom: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/6428629617, or call 1-669-900-6833 and enter the meeting number 642 862 9617.
 
Friends, I know these times are exhausting, frightening and stressful. It will take a while before we have anything resembling new routines, let alone normalcy. And we are in this together, and we will get through it together. Please reach out to me or to one another if you need extra support, and please see below for some of the ways we are beginning to organize ourselves to respond to these times with love.
 
You all remain in my prayers.

Peace,
Liz+
 
 

Ready to Help!
As we settle into the new reality of social distancing and sheltering in place, many needs are arising in our community. We are organizing ourselves to respond to these needs. Those who are older or who have underlying health issues may not be able to go out to get what they need, parents who have children out of school may need some emergency childcare, and so on. For those who are under 65 and totally healthy, please share your availability on this Google form to help with various needs as they arise. When someone reaches out with a need, we will then email this team we are creating (that you are signing up to join by filling out this form) to match someone to meet the need. Under the governor's order, there remains the provision that we can leave home to bring necessities to others, and we aim to meet those needs as safely as we can. For those who do need to stay at home, there are already a few ways to plug in and help, and we are working on more. (And welcome your creativity here, too!) Thanks so much for your generous spirits!
 


Food Barrels
As you probably know, we are trying to fill 13 food barrels for the Monument Crisis Center over the course of Lent. The need is now greater than ever, and with the church building closed for gatherings, we have to get a little more creative! You can now drop off food on the porches of the following vestry members’ houses: Neil Crawford, Vidah Johnston, Sheila Hassell Hughes, and Amanda Szakats. We are also looking for more folks to take barrels home, both to make them more accessible for our members and also for neighbors to contribute. Please let Rev. Liz or Neil Crawford know if you’d like to take one. Thank you!
 
 

Labyrinth Sign-Ups
Thankfully, our government still deems outdoor exercise to be an essential activity. Our labyrinth remains open and available around the clock a place to walk and pray. And, in the hopes of making it easier for people to practice safe social distancing, we are encouraging folks to sign up for times to use it. This is not a guarantee that it will be empty when you’re there, but with the orchard available as well, there should be plenty of room to spread out. You can sign up for slots here.
 
 

Invitation to a Remote Writing Group
Dear Church Family,
 
We, the Vestry (the church board), have been brainstorming ways to keep us all connected as shelter-in-place orders take effect in the Bay Area.
 
With that in mind, we would like to start a “writing group” made up of people who are willing to send out hand-written notes, letters, or cards to other members of our parish family. This is something you can do from your own home. What a wonderful way to care for one another even though we are not able to gather together!
 
Are you willing to send out letters, cards, notes, drawings, cartoons, or such to others using your own supplies and stamps? This is a great opportunity for your children and youth to connect to other church members.
 
Would you like to be on the team? If so, please contact me to be added to the list of “writers” and receive your list of contacts. Respond by Monday, March 23rd. Then we will get started!
 
These are most unusual times for us; but we are the Church, whether we meet in the building or pray from wherever we find ourselves. Now is a great time to spread God’s love and to truly care for one another.
 
All will be well,
Laura Gianello



Church Office Hours
The church office will have varied hours Monday - Friday, but email and voicemail will be monitored on a regular basis if you have any questions or concerns. (925) 685-2288 or office@resurrectionph.org.
 
Dear friends in Christ,

These are highly unusual times, and my sense is that we are all beginning to really feel the pressure of what the World Health Organization is now calling a global pandemic. On Tuesday, Contra Costa Health services issued new guidelines for social distancing, specifically advising that there should not be gatherings of more than 50 people for the next two weeks. And, as you may have heard, last night Bishop Marc made the request that all churches in the Diocese of California cancel all public worship services for the month of March. This is obviously a bold and intense step to take, and one that I know he did not take lightly. He and others in diocesan leadership are working very closely with public health experts; he based this decision on the very best information currently available with the goal of caring well for the vulnerable and doing our part to limit the spread of the coronavirus. I am grateful for his leadership and I respect what I know was a very difficult decision to make.

And. There’s always an and. Last night your vestry met and we spent much of our time discussing this temporary change and imagining the way forward together. We reminded ourselves of why we gather as church in the first place. We brainstormed what our options are now. And I left that meeting feeling seriously hopeful — excited, even — for what will be unfolding here as Church of the Resurrection. As I drove home, a snippet of Paul’s letter to the Romans came to mind, when he writes, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) This proclamation of a Love that crosses all boundaries applies here and now, too. This decision to cancel public worship may be disappointing, challenging, lonely, and more. And. This love of God knows no bounds, and we are connected through it. We continue being church together, even when we cannot be physically present at the church building together.

Our path forward will continue to evolve in the coming weeks as we learn more, both about how to keep folks safe and healthy, and also as we discover new ways to connect, worship, reflect and care for one another remotely. For now, here are the changes we will be implementing.

- Following Bishop Marc’s request, we will not hold Sunday worship services in person at church these next three Sundays. Instead, we will be streaming a Morning Prayer service on Facebook Live this Sunday at 10:15 am and making the recording available on YouTube as well.
- We will be postponing our Adult Formation series on “Speaking Christian,” new date TBD.
- We will be postponing our Celebration of New Ministry that was scheduled for March 21st, new date TBD.
- We will be canceling our in-person gathering of our Lenten Program, Soup + Story, and I’ll be working to set up a digital version of it for us to connect, hopefully through Zoom or something similar, still on Tuesday Evenings in Lent.
- We are still collecting food for the Monument Crisis Center, though we will postpone the neighborhood scavenger hunt for food donations. Please bring groceries to church during the week.
- 12 Step Meetings will continue to gather at the church, but we are taking precautions to facilitate smaller groups and have them use larger spaces.
- Peter Pan preschool remains open, and the preschool Director and I are carefully monitoring health guidelines for schools.

The main goal through these changes is to honor the need to put more physical space between us, as this seems to be the best way to prevent the further spread of the virus. And, I recognize that we still have real needs for connection, for prayer, and for time spent in our sacred space. The sanctuary will remain open for personal prayer during weekdays between 9 and 5, though we will not be gathering at specific times. If you come and I am available, I would be glad to pray with you. Our labyrinth is also a truly excellent option in the midst of a pandemic: you may come at any time to walk and pray, and don’t have to touch anything at all to use it!

Finally, we will work to stay connected with one another in various ways. The vestry will begin a phone tree today, calling all our members to check in and share this news. Please check in on one another, as well. Pray for each other, pray for those who are sick or otherwise affected by the virus, and creatively offer each other love and care, as I know you continually do.

Know that you are all in my prayers as well, and that we will find a good and holy way through these strange times, together. More information will be coming soon with new ways we’ll be connecting. In the meantime, take a deep breath, say some prayers, and wash your hands!

Peace to you all,
Liz+