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.
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From the Rector

Dear friends,

It has already been a hard year, and we're only a couple of weeks into 2021. Worry is running high as we draw near to the inauguration, and I have heard from many people about how much they fear the possibility of yet more violence across our country. Our response as Christians to situations like this can and should take many forms. Together we can advocate for change, we can work for peace, we can urge our leaders to seek justice, we can build community in unlikely places and across challenging divides, and more. All of those actions are good and necessary. And, together with those efforts, we are also called to pray: to join our hearts, one with another, and lift up our hopes and concerns to God, trusting that God is present even in the most perilous of times.

To that end, we will be holding a Prayer Vigil for our Nation this coming Tuesday evening, on the eve of the inauguration. Join us at 7pm on January 19 on Zoom. (You can email office@resurrectionph.org, or check the Ministry News email, for the Zoom link.) Together we will hear our sacred stories and remind ourselves of where we place our trust, and we'll lift up our love for our home and our collective hope for our shared future as a nation. All are welcome — if you have friends who would like to ground themselves in prayer and reflection ahead of January 20th, please invite them. And, whether you can join on Zoom that night or not, in the days ahead, please take time to pray for peace in our nation and for the safety of our leaders.

In hope,
Liz+

December 12: Christmas in 2020

Dear friends,
 
Christmas is coming! I know this because my children are updating me with the countdown several times a day. I also know I don’t need to tell you how different Christmas will be this year, and, in many ways, sorely disappointing — that is patently obvious. Instead, I want to share with you how clear it is to me that Christmas will still happen, and that it will be good. 
 
I believe that Christmas in its fullness is still coming, even in the midst of our collective grief and fear and isolation, in part because of how I understand faith to work. As I experience it, faith is not a creedal assertion of what we know to be true. Instead, I understand faith to be the active choice of where we place our trust, and the gift of where we hang our heart. Our life and our God are surrounded by such mystery that we will never fully know what is true. And still, we can decide to place our trust in this way of love.
 
This act of trust is what allows me to approach Christmas this year with hope and wonder. I am choosing to hang my heart on the expectation that God is still with us, and that the story of the incarnation will still transform us. I don’t think there is anything that can prevent this beauty from working in us for good: not staying apart, not refraining from breaking bread and embracing and letting our voices rise together in our favorite carols, not even sickness and death. Through it all, come what may, the story still holds.
 
And so, we will be doing our best to tell this story and to offer our love to this wondrous God made human as a tiny child. We will continue with the tradition of the youth of this congregation leading us, gathering on Christmas Eve at 5 pm on Facebook Live to celebrate this holy night, complete with music from our youth, a Zoom Christmas pageant, and carols to sing along with at home. Then on Christmas Day at 11 am, you are invited to join in a watch party, also on Facebook Live, of the Christmas Eucharist from Grace Cathedral. This way, we’ll be able to join together as a local community in the comments as we worship together.
 
No, it won’t be the same. And still, I trust that if we open ourselves to the wonder of this story, we will find God in our midst, once again. No doubt we need this more than ever. 
 
Peace,
Liz+

November 21: Advent is coming!

Advent Wreath Pick-ups

It's nearly time! Advent begins next Sunday, November 29th. One of the beautiful ways we practice getting ready for Christmas is by creating Advent wreaths to light in our homes. We'll have kits ready for you to pick up between noon and 1pm on November 29th in front of the church — just drive into the parking lot and we can drop the kits in your trunk. Please sign up for a kit and let us know if you already have a wreath form or if you need one included in your kit. Please sign up here by Wednesday, November 25th so we can be sure to have enough!
ADVENTures in Creative Meditation
Join us on four Sunday afternoons for an hour of creative meditation on the scripture readings for that day. Explore slow drawing, lectio divina, midrash and visio divina with Carol Held. NO ARTISTIC SKILLS are necessary! Just come with an open heart to experience ways of slowing down, quieting the mind, and focusing. We will meet by Zoom from 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm each Sunday in Advent. Each week in the Ministry News you will find the Zoom link, handouts, and a list of simple materials. Mark your calendars for November 29 and December 6, 13 and 20!
A Very Zoomy Christmas Pageant

Christmas is coming! No matter how Covid-19 precautions may complicate our plans, we will delight in telling the nativity story and centering our children and youth in leading the congregation to the manger once again. To that end, we are pivoting to try a wonderfully experimental Zoom Christmas Pageant! 
Middle and High School aged youth will meet on November 29th at 7:30 pm to rehearse speaking parts. Youth and children of all ages are invited to join in recording the pageant on Zoom on December 6th at 4:00 pm. This is open to anyone and everyone — if you want to invite your neighbors or grandkids, from anywhere in the world, the more the merrier! Other than the speaking parts being rehearsed on the 29th, no practice is necessary. Kids and youth are welcome to either borrow costumes (for as many different parts as they'd like!) or dress up from whatever you can find or create at home. The costumes “needed” are: Animals: cow, sheep, and lamb; Mary and/or Joseph; Angel Gabriel; Magi; Shepherd; Wild Star. For more information on costumes, parts and to get the Zoom link, please email Whitney Wilson or Shannon Eng.
Communion on November 1st
We are excited to share that we can now share Communion, through a creatively pandemic-safe process! We'll do an experimental test-run of this new way next Sunday, November 1st. In short, Rev. Liz will consecrate the bread during our livestream worship service, and then it will be packaged into boxes to be picked up outside at church between noon and 1:00 pm that day, or, if need be, delivered. Once the kits have been distributed, we will hold another prayer gathering on Zoom at 5:00 p.m. to receive Communion together; the Zoom link will be sent to those who sign up. (If you're not able to participate in this gathering, you may still receive Communion on your own or with others in your household, using a set of prayers in the booklet that comes with your kit.) 

It's not too late! To take part in Communion on November 1, please register using this link by the end of the day today, Saturday. 

 
Outdoor Worship on November 8th
Join us! We are going to have a small outdoor worship as a first experiment in regathering in person on Sunday, November 8th at 12:30pm. Bring your own lawn chair and join us on the labyrinth for a simple, spoken Liturgy of the Word. We will be following careful health guidelines: everyone will need to wear masks the whole time, with the exception of the leaders when speaking at a significant distance from anyone else. We will all have our temperatures taken on arrival, we will maintain at least 6 feet of distance between ourselves while there, and children will need to stay with their families. 

As we are still learning the logistics for gathering safely in-person, we will limit this first service to 25 people, and ask that you sign up here to come. If all the spots have been taken, please sign up for the waitlist spots; we will let you know if space becomes available, and if not, will invite you to sign up first the next time we offer this. We also hope to expand the number of people who can attend a given service as we learn this new way. Please note that we will also continue offering our regular livestream service at 10:15.
Making Prayer Flags
Prayer Flags Take Flight at COR

The prayer flags are officially flying! Proclaiming our thanksgivings, petitions and blessings to the community, to passersby, to all beings and to God. Thank you to all who have contributed and to those who haven’t yet, this is just the beginning! We have air space for many more flags, and we intend to keep adding until we run out of prayers! Here are some ways you can participate: 
  • Let Us Make Your Prayer Flags for You. Call or email your prayer requests to Tracy at 925-685-2288 office@resurrection.org.
 
  • Create Prayer Flags at Home from an approx 9x9” piece of fabric and permanent markers. Drop finished flag in the box outside the church. Pick up blank flags and markers outside the church office to make your flag. 
 
This is the longer version from before…
 
Church of the Resurrection Prayer Flags
 
We welcome you to create your own prayer flags! 
  • New flags for writing your prayers are available outside our church office. 
  • You can also create your own flags from sheets or other light fabric. Squares are 9x9 inches (or thereabouts). 
  • Use fabric markers or indelible ink to write or draw your prayer. Include colors, symbols, pictures or a mantra.
  • Make it a simple one-word or an elaborate long-winded (pun intended) prayer. Offer a blessing, intercession or thanksgiving.
  • Leave your completed prayer flags in the box on the table outside the office. We will hang new flags weekly. 
  • Invite your neighbors and friends to write prayers and create a whole string of flags. We want as many flags flying as there are prayers and blessings! 
  • We are also happy to make a prayer flag for you. Just email your prayer to office@resurrection.org or to CC and we will write and hang it.

Practice mindfulness, compassion and generosity.
  • Prayer flags are meant to help and benefit other beings.
  • When creating or reading prayer flags focus on a positive, kind attitude. 
  • Each time you see the flags, be reminded to send out your own prayers for peace, kindness, compassion and generosity to the world.
Dear Friends in Christ,

I cannot think of a time when more has been asked of us in living our faith. I don’t have to list the reasons for you: we all know the challenging year it has been. What I find striking, though, is how this community remains connected to the good news of God’s presence among us. We are tethered to this audacious belief that we are in this together and that real hope exists in our shared pilgrimage. For the coming month, we’ll be focusing our attention on this bold claim that we are Together in Hope.

Our collective action, born of hope and trust, is the bedrock ofstewardship. It is a commitment to being grateful and responsible stewards of the gifts we receive from God. The tradition of giving back to God and to the church is rooted in the Biblical practice of “tithing,” or giving a tenth of our earnings back to God (Numbers 18:26). While offering an intentional proportion of our income to the work of our church can be a meaningful spiritual practice, the Episcopal Church teaches that stewardship is more than just pledging; it’s about contributing time and talents and working to bring God’s kingdom closer.

Here at Church of the Resurrection, stewardship is critical to our common life as a community of faith. Our operating budget is funded almost entirely by the remarkable generosity of our parishioners. We draw no income from an endowment fund and we receive no funding from the wider Episcopal Church. In 2021, we will depend upon pledges from our stewardship campaign to fund over 90% of our day-to-day operations. 

So what does that incredible generosity make possible? A great deal, even in a pandemic! Your gifts fund a youth program so robust that our dozen graduating seniors led worship from the distance of their homes. You fuel a music ministry spanning generations and musical genres and many different instruments. Your abundance enabled the gathering of 34 barrels of food for Monument Crisis Center. It takes the form of putting a new roof on the church, protecting the sanctuary and all who gather for generations to come. Your financial support makes it possible for us to get creative in how we gather to pray, to connect, to crack open our sacred texts, and to lift each other up.

The investment of so many people’s time, talents and money over the years has grown a thriving church community that we all call home. I fully recognize that many of us are experiencing real hardship this year — if that is the case for you, please let me know how the church can support you, and know that your prayers and spirit among us are truly gift enough. For those in a position to support the church, we encourage you to prayerfully consider how you can share out of your abundance. It may be helpful to know that if pledges increased by 8%, we would meet our 2021 budget goal and deepen our ministry in the community. In the coming weeks, please join in reflecting on the many blessings we have received, returning a pledge card or pledging online as you are able by October 11, and above all, choosing to walk together in hope.
Thanks and peace to you,

Liz+

August 29: Preschool Update

From the Rector
 
Dear friends,
 
I'm writing to you with a heavy heart this week as I share the news that I have made the decision not to reopen Peter Pan Preschool this fall. Our preschool director Diana worked incredibly hard this summer to restructure the classrooms and program to meet the new health guidelines made necessary by Covid-19, and the teachers joined wholeheartedly in preparing for the school year. I am so grateful for their vision and creativity. Unfortunately, we recently saw a significant and sudden drop in enrollment, and all the best efforts to reach out to other potential families have not borne fruit. As such, we would be looking at running at a large deficit each month, not including the likelihood of greater costs incurred related to the pandemic and possible re-closures.

This past Monday, I called an emergency Vestry meeting to gather the wisdom, perspective and counsel of that body, and I am grateful for how thoughtfully and carefully they considered all the possible risks and benefits of the various ways we might proceed - as planned at a deficit, moving online, or waiting to reopen. Ultimately, we were in agreement that there are simply too many unknowns and risks for us to move forward with reopening the school: risks both to the physical health of the preschool community, and also to the financial sustainability of the school and church. 
 
I am so inspired by the service this school has offered to the community for many years, and I am deeply saddened to have to press pause on that important ministry. My fervent hope is that by making this decision now, we will be able to return to offering a wonderful and robust preschool program in a healthy and sustainable way when the pandemic has subsided.

For, now please join me in praying for Diana, for our teachers, Jennifer, Sophia and Yvonne, and in giving thanks for their remarkable gifts to this community. Please pray also for the families who had been planning on enrolling their children here in September. I lament that the school cannot open as we had hoped, and, at the same time, I trust that together, we will be able to carry this ministry forward in time. 

Thanks and peace,
Liz+
From the Rector
 
Stepping onto Sacred Ground


There is no question that much will be written in history books about the year 2020. My hope is that alongside the reflections on a world shut down by the coronavirus, future generations will also read about a world that woke up and made substantial, live-giving movement in the service of racial justice. Over the last few weeks, I've been returning again and again to the parting words of elder in the faith and statesman John Lewis. He wrote that in the last days and hours of his life, you inspired him. He wrote that you filled him with hope for what is coming for America when "you used your power to make a difference in our society." Given the brutality this man faced all throughout his life, I find it remarkable that he would end his days pointing us still in the direction of hope, and trusting yet in the God-given capacity for change and good that resides in us all. I found his words both humbling and deeply motivating.
 
I have already witnessed a hunger and a readiness in this congregation to dig in, to discern, and to give ourselves to the call for working for racial justice in the Church and in the wider community. No doubt this can take many and varied forms: service and advocacy, prayer and art, listening deeply and getting into what Lewis calls "good trouble." After taking in the letter from the Northern California/Vivian Traylor Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians, which Bishop Marc asked to be read in every congregation of this diocese, a team of leaders at Resurrection began to discern how we might begin to respond together in this place. 
 
To that end, we are really excited to share that we will be launching Sacred Ground here at Resurrection this fall. An offering of the Episcopal Church, the creators describe it this way: "Sacred Ground is a film- and readings-based dialogue series on race, grounded in faith. Small groups are invited to walk through chapters of America's history of race and racism, while weaving in threads of family story, economic class, and political and regional identity." I have heard phenomenal and inspiring reports from colleagues and friends across the church who have already begun engaging the Sacred Ground series, and I feel hopeful that it will offer us the framework and material to take a deep dive together: into our shared history, into our sacred stories, and into the stories of our own lives, as they are all intertwined. 
 
On a practical level, the series will happen in small groups over Zoom, with ten sessions meeting roughly every three weeks, hopefully beginning in September. Once we have a sense of who wants to take part, we'll work on figuring out meeting times and the like. There will be things to read and watch between sessions, which explore Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific American histories, as they intersect with European American histories, helping us to "peel away the layers that have contributed to the challenges and divides of the present day - all while grounded in our call to faith, hope and love." This series is explicitly not anti-racism training, nor does it direct us toward taking specific actions once we have finished. My hope and prayer, though, is that it will serve to connect us with one another, with our shared histories, and with our community, and that it will ground us in growing trust, all that we may then listen for where God is calling us next, together.
 
If you are interested in participating in Sacred Ground, please fill out this form. I am eager to begin this journey of learning and reflection with many of you. Know that you're in my prayers as you consider taking this on - I recognize that it is a significant commitment of both time and heart, and I am grateful for your courage as you discern.
 
Peace,
Liz+



Monday Bible Study Continues!
After our experiment with Bible study by Zoom this last month, we've decided to keep going - it's been a wonderful weekly downbeat to connect and reflect. Join us on Mondays at noon for an hour of conversation about the coming week's readings -- bring your lunch if you like, and a readiness to dig in together. What leaves you scratching your head? What have you always wondered about? How do these stories connect with your life right now? We will probably gather more questions than answers, and leave with plenty to ponder until we hear the same lessons again six days later. Contact the office for the Zoom link.


Zoom Coffee Hour 
Come together on Sundays to check in with one another, hear how everyone is doing, and just enjoy seeing each other's faces! We gather at around 11:30 on Sunday mornings, so you'll have time to get a treat and pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee. Contact the office for the Zoom link.


Project Peace: Digital Days of Service
Project Peace is a wonderful nonprofit in the East Bay that works for biblical justice by activating a network of churches to serve and sustain their local communities. They host days of service throughout the year, which we hope to take part in together in the future. Because of the pandemic, the next day of service can't happen as planned, but they are offering some other great options. Project Peace is launching Digital Days of Service with a focus on "Sustaining the Journey". Beginning August 6th, they will be kicking off a month of online opportunities to equip and encourage volunteers to engage with biblical justice for the long haul, including:
 
- Historical prayers on key local justice issues
- Wisdom on sustainability from seasoned community
  partners 
- A range of service options (in-person and online) 

To take part, 
  • Follow Project Peace on Instagram and Facebook to receive Digital Days of Service updates.
  • Subscribe to their newsletter to receive full details of the campaign. 
From the Rector

Living While We Wait


Dear friends,
 
Here is a confession: generally speaking, patience has not been one of my virtues. I often open curious envelopes while still walking back from the mailbox. I am tempted to try to figure out surprises before they happen. I was even that child - the one who hunted high and low for Christmas presents, climbing up to top shelves in the closet and even on one occasion unwrapping and then very carefully rewrapping a gift. I just don't like waiting!
 
And yet, here we are. Waiting to reopen, waiting to see what school might look like in the fall, and most especially for me, waiting until we can gather in person as a church. I long for us to be together, I am eager to be together, and yet, here we are. As I've shared previously, we've been exploring possible ways to begin coming together very carefully for outdoor worship, and I'm grateful to so many of you for sharing your perspectives in the recent survey. 

One of the key things we learned from that feedback is that more than half of you would not feel comfortable attending in-person worship any time soon, and many more would only want to try it occasionally. In addition to that feedback, Bishop Marc has asked that the whole diocese continue to refrain from gathering in-person, for worship or for most other activities. Because of the recent spike in Covid-19 here, his belief is that it's just too risky for us to gather right now, even if it is legal to do so. As impatient as I am to be together again, I agree with him, and I am grateful for his leadership. Staying apart is not without cost, but I share Bishop Marc's belief that our highest priority is to safeguard one another's lives, and I am unwilling to risk your health in order for us to be together. It's not easy, but here we are, and we'll be here a little while longer, yet.
 
That said, life and church need not be on pause while we wait! On Wednesday night your vestry reflected on the many ways we see God right here, right now, and how we hear God's call even while we remain apart. We are exploring more ways to serve our community, (and see each other, from a distance, in the process!) new ways to connect and learn together (check out our new Bible study on Monday!) and researching more ways to keep improving our live stream for worship.  
 
So, thank you friends, for teaching me patience, for sharing your generous spirits, and for finding new ways to walk through these times together. I trust God is here, no matter where "here" is, or what it looks like, and I am eager to keep living into that promise with you all.
 
Peace,
Liz+



Brown Bag Bible Study
Ok, so if you aren't leaving home, you probably don't need to put your lunch in a bag. But for the next four weeks, you are invited to bring your lunch and your curiosity to Zoom, and join Rev. Liz to discuss the readings for the following Sunday. What leaves you scratching your head? What have you always wondered about? How do these stories connect with your life right now? We will probably gather more questions than answers, and leave with plenty to ponder until we hear the same lessons again six days later. Join on Mondays, July 13 - August 3rd, at noon. Please contact the office for the Zoom link.


Christmas in July is here!
We are again celebrating Christmas in July on Sunday, July 19th. We are collecting both food and the traditional backpack supplies including: 
  • Plain colored backpacks
  • Hand Sanitizer 
  • Face Masks
  • Printer Paper 
  • Other typical school supplies  

This year we are also looking for gently used and new children's books and young reader chapter books.

This year  Hope Solutions, formerly Contra Costa Interfaith Housing, is collecting money for backpack supplies in an effort to reduce viral exposure. The Monument Crisis Center is still in desperate need, with the reduction of school breakfast and lunches, for canned and dried goods.   

We will be safely collecting all donations, both school supplies and non-perishable food on July 19th from 12:00 - 2:00 pm the parking lot in front of our church. A masked volunteer will gather the goods from your trunk in a contactless transaction. There has never been a year with a higher need.  


Make Your Voice Heard
Are you longing to hear and/or sing a favorite song or hymn during the Sunday service?  Now is your chance to let us know.  Please send an email Colleen  with your request(s) to music@resurrectionph.org.
 


2020 Men's Retreat Postponed to November 12-14, 2021
Because of the uncertainties about the Corona Virus, the Ranch has canceled all group meetings for the coming months. So let's think positive and plan for a retreat in November of next year. Questions: contact Klaus.


2020 Women's Retreat Cancelled
It's with great regret that we're cancelling this year's Women's Retreat in early October. The Ranch, in accordance with the Sonoma County authorities, has limited rentals across the 30 odd rooms available to families living together and single people. So in Harrison House, we could only have a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 9 (if a family group were to join us). Instead, we've decided to reserve Harrison House again for 2021.  The dates will likely be October 1--3, 2021 so you can save them if you remain interested. While we remain disappointed, at least no one will blame the Women's Retreat for any Covid-19 outbreaks! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Theresa Nagle.


Zoom Coffee Hour continues!
It has been a sweet joy to come together for a coffee hour on Zoom! Join us again this Sunday for this informal time to check in with one another, hear how everyone is doing, and just enjoy seeing each other's faces! We'll gather at 11:30 Sunday morning, so you'll have time to get a treat and pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee. Contact the office for the Zoom link.


Compline by Zoom
All are invited to join in Compline on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm. 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/. Contact the office for the Zoom link.


Hymn Sing Zoom Invitation!
Join our Hymn Sing this week at 7pm on Thursday evening. Come and sing with us - no hymnal or special skills needed.  We will take requests during the meeting, or if you wish to submit one ahead of time, you can email Colleen Henry. Contact the office for the Zoom link.
Regathering: what do you think?
 
A fantastic team of creative members of Church of the Resurrection have been hard at work these last two weeks to imagine what it would take and what it might look like to begin gathering again in person. Doing so within the necessary safety guidelines will require some real collaboration and flexibility, and we're very eager to hear what you think, and what you would be interested in showing up to do together. Please take a few minutes to fill out this short survey this week so we can do our best to tailor our plan to what the congregation most wants! The survey will be open until June 26. If you would like to lend your energy towards the effort of regathering in one form or another, please email Rev. Liz.



Huge Success for the Monument Crisis Center
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Our Food Drive last Sunday was a massive success! Many thanks to all who donated, and also for spreading the word so effectively: we saw countless new faces who had heard from friends that this was happening and made the effort to show up. There was a near constant parade of cars through the parking lot, with only a few occasional minutes of quiet. By the end of the two hours, we'd collected 13 barrels of food - the same amount we collected during the whole of Lent, and enough to feed a family of four for a whole year. Way to go! And the goodwill continues: there will be a barrel outside at church, ready for your donations, between 9 and 3 every Sunday and Wednesday. Please swing by! They are particularly in need of low-sugar breakfast cereal, peanut butter, tuna, and canned vegetables. Thank you! Check out the huge MCC van, filled to the ceiling with your generosity! 


Zoom Coffee Hour continues!
It has been a sweet joy to come together for a coffee hour on Zoom! Join us again this Sunday for this informal time to check in with one another, hear how everyone is doing, and just enjoy seeing each other's faces! We'll gather at 11:30 Sunday morning, so you'll have time to get a treat and pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee. Contact the office for the Zoom link.


Compline by Zoom
All are invited to join in Compline on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm. 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/. Contact the office for the Zoom link.


Hymn Sing Zoom Invitation!
Join our Hymn Sing this week at 7pm on Thursday evening. Come and sing with us - no hymnal or special skills needed.  We will take requests during the meeting, or if you wish to submit one ahead of time, you can email Colleen Henry. Contact the office for the Zoom link.
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