Ministry News

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Last week, our local health department offered the following updated guidance:

"With Contra Costa and other Bay Area counties seeing a swell in COVID cases, health officials are reiterating their strong recommendation to wear masks indoors. Omicron subvariants, which are even more contagious than the original Omicron, are driving the recent increase in cases. Outbreaks in workplaces and schools have also sharply increased in the past few weeks.

While masking remains optional for most public indoor settings, health officials say wearing face covering during periods of increased transmission is a simple best practice to protect against COVID. 

'There’s a lot of COVID out there right now, so it’s time to mask up indoors in public again,' said Dr. Ori Tzvieli, health officer for Contra Costa County."

In light of increased cases and this guidance, I encourage everyone to once again mask up indoors at church. This is not a requirement, but sounds to be the wise and caring move at this point. Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility! 

— Liz+

Dear friends,

Just a few weeks into Eastertide, we have yet another wonderful reason to celebrate! On Sunday, May 15th, Bishop Marc Andrus will be visiting us at Church of the Resurrection. With nearly 80 congregations in the Diocese of California, it is only every three years or so that the bishop joins us on a Sunday. On the 15th, +Marc will be preaching and presiding at both the 8:00 and 10:15am services, and visiting with us all in a festive coffee hour following the 10:15 service.  

It's always a joy to have +Marc visit, as he is a wonderful preacher and all-around joy to connect with. More than that, though, his presence helps to remind us of who we are as a church. There are many different ways that Christian communities can organize themselves: some are highly congregational, meaning the identity, vision, and action are all discerned and enacted at the local level, right there in that particular church. As Episcopalians, we live in a different form — we are very much rooted on the local level, while at the same time being deeply connected with other churches across the diocese, our province, the Episcopal Church as a whole (which includes 16 countries besides the United States!) and finally, the global Anglican Communion. In this way, we are connected to many different perspectives and ways of life, as well as the gifts and needs and possibilities of this great web of so many faithful folks. 

Bishop Marc is one of our primary points of connection with the wider church — in fact, that’s what “Episcopal” means — it comes from the root word of episcopacy, meaning the order of bishops, which gives structure to our church. As our bishop, +Marc helps us to learn from and love the church and world far beyond the corner of Gregory and Kahrs, and practice looking for God in this wonderful spread of humanity and creation.

Finally, his visit will be a day for celebration here at Resurrection because there are special rites that we mark with his leadership. Folks have been studying and preparing since the beginning of Lent as part of our Catechumenate program for adult formation, and when he is here, some of our members will be reaffirming their baptism or being formally received into the Episcopal Church. What a joy to grow and strengthen our family of faith in this way!

Mark your calendars for May 15th, and get ready for a wonderful day of being church together. 



Welcome Donald!
As I shared this past Sunday, I am beyond delighted to formally welcome the Rev. Donald Schell to Resurrection as he begins serving with us as an Assisting Priest. Donald brings a wealth of experience and wisdom from many corners of the church, as you will read below. More importantly, he has a huge heart and is a wonder of a collaborator. Donald will be sharing in more of the preaching and worship leadership and will be joining in teaching and pastoring as well. In retirement, priests sometimes choose to “hang their hat” with a congregation, and I am so very grateful for his gift of time, care, and love. We’ll be celebrating this new season together after the 10:15 service on April 10.

Peace, Liz+
From the Rev. Donald Schell
Liz asked me for some word of where I’ve come from and why I landed at Resurrection.  

I’ll begin with “why Resurrection?”  When read The Night Lake last summer, Iwas deeply touched by it.  In a way this seventy-five-year-old needed more than he knew, every page of this young priest’s memoir spoke truthfully about faith, priesthood, creativity, and family, and I felt a way forward through dark night and vocational uncertainty.   Prompted by her book I sought Liz out to talk, and we found a deep connection in our shared vision for preaching and a shared hope and ear for congregational song as a key practice for Christian and community formation (“almost another sacrament,” we agreed as we spoke).  Hearing Liz’s hopes and visions for liturgy and community at Resurrection, and what she meant to offer in her preaching and shared liturgy and music-making, when she added that she would welcome the presence, support, and voice of another priest, it was evident to me (though I hadn’t had any idea of it) that Resurrection was just what I needed, though I hadn’t even known I was looking for it.  
And before that, what was my journey here? 
  • I’m a sixth generation Native Californian, born in San Jose, raised for a bit in San Francisco and then back to San Jose until College.  I’m the eldest of four children, and my brother and sister (and lots of nieces and nephews) live nearby.  My dad was a physician (as his father had been).  I was raised Presbyterian in the church where my parents had met and my mother’s parents before them.  That church sponsored my mom for ordination in 1984, twelve years after I was ordained, so my children protest when I claim to being a clergy kid.  
  • 1968 College, B.A. St. John’s College (Great books program), Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • 1971 STM, The General Seminary, New York 
  • Diaconal year at Good Shepherd, Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • Ordained priest at Episcopal Church at Yale, September 1972. . .fifty years ago!
  • 1972-1976, associate chaplain (with Rick Fabian) Episcopal Church at Yale
  • 1975 married Ellen 
  • 1976-1980, mission vicar, St. David’s, Caldwell Idaho
  • 1980-2006, founding vicar and rector (with Rick Fabian) Saint Gregory of Nyssa, San Francisco
  • 2006-present, founder, and regular workshop leader, Music that Makes Community (working ecumenically across the country for the renewal of oral tradition, “paperless” singing in churches)

My wife Ellen is a nurse.  She’s worked for the past twenty-one years in global health with GAIA (Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance) beginning as their first International Programs Director, doing HIV/AIDS work with local health workers in Malawi, Africa.  Before GAIA she’d worked on a medical/surgical floor at California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, completed graduate and Ph.D. nursing studies at UCSF, and worked for ten years as a researcher in nursing gerontology.  

Our four children (including my daughter from my first marriage) are married and scattered across the continent and beyond - Aberdeenshire Scotland, Washington DC, Oakland, and Los Angeles.  We have three, soon to be four, grandchildren.  

Ellen and I have walked twice as pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago in Spain and we then walked the Grand Canyon rim to rim.  I also walked the Camino with my older son and second daughter, and she and I wrote a book about our journey together, My Father, My Daughter, Pilgrims on the Road to Santiago.  

I’ve been in regular Aikido practice since 1982 (daily before the Covid lockdown) and hold a Sandan, third degree black belt.  Aikido is sometimes translated as “a way to reconcile the world.”  It’s a vigorous, non-combative, and, at best gentle martial art.  Over my last eight years taking cello lessons, Ellen returned to pick up from childhood piano studies, and we now practice together regularly, a beginners’ duo in the making? In the past year we’ve also found something deep calling to us as we’ve gone on retreat and sung with the monks at New Camaldoli, the Benedictine monastery at Big Sur.  Something stirring there, like here, another note of Resurrection – I’m grateful to Liz and to you all for this invitation and new beginning. 
Your Church of the Resurrection Vestry members, along with the Rev. Liz Tichenor, Whitney Wilson, Associate for Faith Formation and Ministry Development, and seminarian Brad Gough traveled to The Bishop’s Ranch at the end of March to develop our vision and goals for this year. We approached our task by recognizing that God is with us here and now, so there is no need to wait for calmer waters to look for ways to grow in God’s love. Liz gave us an abbreviated lesson in the Benedictine Model which informed our philosophy. Inspired, we developed numerous goals to consider. For each goal we looked at where we are now, where we want to be, and how we think we can get there. After much discussion, we pared our list down to three major goals we’d like to tackle. 

One goal is to improve how we “let our light shine”. This will include better signage, a revamped website which is already being researched, and potentially several other ways to communicate with our community. We believe this is a goal that can be achieved relatively soon. Our second goal is to become more intentional about letting people know that we are a safe and inclusive faith family for members of the LGBTQ+ community. This goal might take some time to achieve, but we believe we have already begun to move along this worthwhile path for quite a while. Our third goal is to research ways and take steps to expand the diversity of our congregation to better reflect the diversity in our community as a whole. While our congregation has voiced interest in this type of goal for many years from the Parish Profile completed several years ago to the number of parishioners participating in the Sacred Ground program last year, we believe there is interest in making this a more concrete goal, even if it takes a little while to do so. 

The members of the Vestry hope you all will prayerfully consider these goals and share your thoughts, wishes and ideas with us. Various Vestry members who will lead these efforts will be providing more information about each of them soon. We hope and encourage you to become involved in committees and projects that will move these goals to fruition. Please contact me or Amanda Szakats, Senior Warden, if you are interested in joining one of the three committees we are forming, or if you have any questions. 
Lori Vella, Junior Warden
Holy Week is almost here! 
Mark your calendars for this sacred week when we draw especially close to the gift of Christ's life, death and resurrection, April 10-17. Yes, it is a lot of time to spend at church! And it is a wonder to behold when we step fully into the mystery of this story of all stories together.

Palm Sunday — April 10
Holy Eucharist 
8:00 am — in-person, spoken service
10:15 am — in-person and livestreamed service with music
Tuesday — April 12
7:00 pm — Liturgy of Lament: a time to name the many and varied losses we have endured, especially these last two years, and offer our grief and prayers to God. (In person)

Maundy Thursday — April 14
7:00p — Holy Eucharist with foot washing and music, in person and livestreamed

Good Friday — April 15
12 noon — Solemn Good Friday Liturgy, in person
6:30 pm — Stations of the Cross, outside, in person
7:00 pm — Solemn Good Friday Liturgy with choir, in person and livestreamed

Great Vigil of Easter Vigil — April 16
8:30 pm — All the joy and beauty of the first Eucharist of Easter, with choir, in person and livestreamed
Easter Sunday
Holy Eucharist
8:00 am — in-person, spoken service
10:15 am — in-person and livestreamed service with music, egg hunt to follow! 
In keeping with our Lenten tradition of collecting food for the Monument Crisis Center during Lent, we are again doing a food drive. Monument Crisis Center serves the working poor in the Monument Corridor. The Monument corridor houses approximately 25% of the 250,000 +/- people in Contra Costa County living under the poverty line. It is also a fact that during a world crisis, such as the war in Ukraine our resources are diverted to the crisis and the folks working and struggling every day are forgotten. Currently, the cupboard is bare. Foods that are appreciated are canned proteins i.e., meats, peanut butter, and beans. Cereals are also a big hit and let us not forget about the pets. As a reminder, a full barrel feeds a family of 4 for 26 days. Last year we collected more than 30 barrels of food. Please be careful to check expiration dates; they cannot use expired food.

March 5: Around the Fire

Lenten Series
Around the Fire

5:30 - 7:00 pm, outside on the patio, on March 8, 22, and 29

As we've been preparing for Lent, this being now our third (!) Lent in pandemic times, a few things have come clear. First, for the most part, it seems people have fasted enough these last two years, in so many different ways. Right now many of us need nourishment and comfort. And second, we need to be woven together as kin — whether for the first time or the first time in a while, we need fellowship time to be knit together as this parish family. To that end, we'll be gathering on three Tuesday evenings in Lent for dinner and storytelling around fire pits. The church will provide lasagna, and folks are invited to bring salad to go with it. After eating, we'll have time to reflect and share our stories together, looking at some of the key ways Christian community is forged.

Plan to come to church for our Lasagna dinner at 5:30 and discussion around the firepits at 6pm. Bring warm coats - as we will be outside - and please sign-up so we know how much Lasagna to make. (and sign-up if you would like to bring a salad, bread, or dessert to share)
Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras – March 1st, 5:30 - 7:30pm
All you can eat outdoor pancake and blintz dinner
Bring your friends and family! 
Suggested donation : $8/person $20/family

Ash Wednesday – March 2nd
Eucharist with imposition of ashes at 12 noon and 7:00 pm

The Catechumenate: Adult Formation in Lent
Beginning March 6, the first Sunday of Lent, we will start a new Adult Formation class on Sunday mornings focused on the Catechism. What is a catechesism, you might wonder? Very simply put, the catechism is an outline of faith. Listed in our Book of Common Prayer (p. 845), it outlines the beliefs and teachings of the Episcopal Church. Each week we are going to take a dive into a specific part of our life as Episcopalians: Liturgy, Book of Common Prayer, Scripture, Theology, Polity, Congregational life, and Discernment. The Catechumenate, then, is the time and process when seekers dig into these questions, and, since the time of the early church, when they have prepared to be welcomed into the church. If you are potentially interested in baptism, confirmation, reaffirmation or reception into the Episcopal Church, this course is especially for you, and will guide you through preparation for those rites. And, all are welcome to attend – whether you come for one Sunday or all of them. Join us at 9:00 am in the Parish Hall! If you have questions, please contact Whitney.
Lenten Series: Around the Fire
5:30 — 7:00 pm, outside on the patio, on March 8, 22, and 29

As we've been preparing for Lent, this being now our third (!) Lent in pandemic times, a few things have come clear. First, for the most part, it seems people have fasted enough these last two years, in so many different ways. Right now many of us need nourishment and comfort. And second, we need to be woven together as kin — whether for the first time or the first time in a while, we need time to be knit together as a parish family. To that end, we'll be gathering on three Tuesday evenings in Lent for dinner and storytelling around fire pits. The church will provide lasagna, and folks are invited to bring salad to go with it. After eating, we'll have fellowship time to reflect and share our stories together, looking at some of the key ways Christian community is forged.
Adult Formation Series Beginning in February
Do you ever wonder what the bible says about recycling? What do early Church theologians think about fighting climate change? We know how to care for the earth, but we don’t always know why, as Christians, it is essential. Join our Adult Formation class, Creation Care as Christian Mission, each Sunday in February at 9am in the Parish Hall to talk about the theological reasons we care for the earth. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic about Creation Care, so come to one or join them all!
From the Rector

Well, friends, here we are again. In some ways it is becoming unfortunately familiar to live through these surges, and yet I'm also thankful for the ways in which this one feels a little different. Vaccines have been readily available to everyone but our youngest beloveds. I hope that most of us have been boosted if we're eligible. We have easier access to good masks and Covid tests than in the past. It is still stressful and scary, but we have more tools and information than we have had at other points in the pandemic, and for that I am grateful.

To that end, after much discernment, prayer, and conversation, we will continue to offer both in-person and live-streamed worship, at least for now. And, please know that the fact we are offering worship in-person does not mean you should feel any obligation to attend in person! Please consider carefully what makes the most sense for you and those you see regularly. Here at church, everyone will continue to wear masks inside, with the exception of worship leaders when we are speaking, and we are fully vaccinated. The choir and wind instrumentalists will be taking a short break, but we will continue to have music at the 10:15 service. We have left the extra chairs from Christmas Eve in the sanctuary to make it easier for people to spread out, and encourage people to pass the peace just with their neighbors nearby. Coffee hour will only be held outside. We will be propping open some of our doors in the sanctuary, so please wear something warm! And finally, if you have any symptoms at all, even if they are mild, please stay home and join the live-stream! Even if it's just a cold, it will help everyone feel more at ease if we can stay generally healthy.

I know we all long for a time when we can relax and breathe easily together (without masks!), and I hope and pray that that time is indeed coming. For now, I give thanks that this is a wonderfully flexible, gracious, and good-humored congregation. Please check in on each other, offer your love freely, and let your beloveds in Christ carry you for a bit when you are weary. We'll get there together. 

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