This Week at First Baptist (6/25)

  • CalendarThursday, June 26 at 10 AM: Womenʹs Brunch will be at Corner Bakery Cafe, 3375 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. All women of our church community are invited to join in.
  • Thursday, June 26, 7:00 PM: “Myths And Realities About The Holy Land: A Palestinian-American Christian Perspective” in theFellowship Hall.Special guests Tarek Abuata and G. J. Tarazi will share their first-hand assessments of the situation in Palestine. Both are founding members of the Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace, a non-sectarian, ecumenical alliance of Palestinian-American Christians that seeks to provide a clear voice and presence in faith-based communities in the USA. For more information: FBCPA Council is a co-sponsor of this event.
  • Friday, June 27 at 8:00 PM: “Earthsongs: Americana” The Choral Project presents a concert of wonderful music from the Americas in our sanctuary, Veterans and students are eligible for free admission. Ushers are also needed. See Pastor Rick, Dan Cudworth or Afan Huang or the flyers on the bulletin boards for more information.
  • Saturday, June 28, 9:30 AM: Assistant Pastor Search Committee in the Parlor.
  • Sunday, June 29, Third Sunday of Pentecost10:00 AM, Worship and Sunday School: “Prophets of Peace,” Pastor Rick preaching.
    First Patio Hour of the summer hosted by Caroline Shepard and Marilyn Hunwick.
  • Tuesday, July 1, 10:30 AM: Bible Study at the Terracesof Los Altos at Janet Maxwell’s apartment. The address is 373 Pine Lane,#2106, Los Altos. Let Pastor Rick know if you need a ride.
  • Wednesday, July 2 – 8:30 AM: Men’s Breakfast at Palo Alto Breakfast House, 2706 Middlefield, Palo Alto. All the men from our Church family are welcome.


  • Sunday July 6: Church Picnic immediately following worship. Come to church in picnic attire and stay for fun, food and fellowship

Summer Time…

Three candlesIt’s summer time and the living is easy, well maybe for some anyway. The rest of us keep plugging along. This week is especially busy for those of us who sang in The Choral Project – Dan Cudworth, Afan Huang and myself – as we prepare for our last concert series of the season. Pardon the shameless promotion but if you want to hear an exceptional choral concert of music you will love, I encourage to show up for one of these concerts. The music includes hymns, songs, and folk tunes from the Americas –USA, Canada and Latin America. Friday night will be in our sanctuary. Veterans, children and youth are eligible for free admission.

Saturday morning we will have the first meeting of our Assistant Pastor Search Committee. As I mentioned last week, Dan Cudworth, Don Ha, Melanie Ramirez and Hugh Satterlee have agreed to serve with Carolyn Shepard and me on this committee. We will look over job descriptions and lay out a process on Saturday. If you have input, please feel free to give it to any committee member and please hold us in your prayers.

Sunday we will spend more time with the prophet, Jeremiah. In this week’s text, we find Jeremiah in a battle with the court prophet, Hananiah, over true and false prophecy. Is it right to promise peace when it really is not on the horizon, nor have the people done those things that make for peace? What does it mean to be a true prophet of peace? After worship, we will enjoy the summer’s first patio hour, hosted by Marilyn Hunwick and Carolyn Shepard.

See you Sunday at 10 AM for Worship, Sunday School and fellowship on the patio.

God grant us more light, more love, more life as we journey together.

Pastor Rick

This Week at First Baptist (2/5)

  • CalendarThursday, May 15, 2014, 7:30 PM: Church Choir at in the Parlor.
  • Friday, May 16, 2014: Spire Deadline

  • Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 16, 17, 18, 2014, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM: Estate Sale at the home of Joanne Jones, at 2514 Webster Street, should anyone want to stop by.
  • Saturday, May 17, 2014, 8:00 PM: The Choral Project Concert, “The Art of Sound: Among Angels” in the Sanctuary. For more information:
  • Sunday, May 18, 2014
    10:00 AM: Worship and Sunday School:Growing into Salvation,” Pastor Rick preaching.

    11:30 AM: Adult Spiritual Formation: “Cultivating Joy in the Midst of Manufactured Desire” from Life on the Vine: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit by Philip Kenneson, led by Pastor Tripp, Parlor.

  • Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 10:30 AM: Bible Study at the Terracesof Los Altos at Janet Maxwell’s apartment. The address is 373 Pine Lane,#2106, Los Altos. Let Pastor Rick know if you need transportation.
  • Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 8:30 AM: Men’s Breakfast at Palo Alto Breakfast House, 2706 Middlefield, Palo Alto. All the men from our Church family are welcome.


  • Thursday, May 22, 2014, 10:00 AM: Women’s Breakfast at Corner Bakery Cafe, 3375 El Camino Real, Palo Alto. All women of our church community are invited to join in.
  • Thursday, May 22, 2014, 5:00 PM: Church Council inParlor.
  • Friday, May 23 and Saturday, May 24, 2014, 7:00 PM: iSing GirlChoir Concerts: ” Grow Together,” in the Sanctuary. For more information:
  • SUNDAY, MAY 25, 2014
    10:00 AM Worship and Sunday School:
    “Accounting for Hope,” Pastor Rick preaching.

    11:30 AM Adult Spiritual Formation: Cultivating Joy in the Midst of Manufactured Desire our series with Phil Kenneson’s book, Life on the Vine continues with a conversation about how many of our public conversations begin with the assumption of scarcity. What if, on the other hand, we started with the virtue of joy? What if our first assumption was simply to be joyful in what we have? We already have all we need to do the work to which God calls us.

Caroling, special music and Christmas Pageant

Advent Candles
Advent Candles

Thanks to everyone who participated in our annual caroling event and chili supper Sunday.  Thirteen of us caroled for members of our community who don’t get around so easily anymore.  Then we returned to the church for a delicious supper supervised by Sachiko Berry with her talented team of Eleanor Satterlee, Joanne Jones, Marilyn Hunwick and choppers extraordinaire, Paul Berry and Hugh Satterlee.  The weekend began with a wonderful introductory concert from the iSing Girl Choir led by Jennah Delp-Somers and Shane Troll and included a lovely worship service planned and conducted by our intern, Naomi.  (This in spite of her “Friday the thirteenth!”  If you have a few minutes, ask her about it.)  Thanks to Thelma (and Ron) Tuttle for overseeing and delivering our EHP Adopt-a Family project, as well as to everyone who participated.  Four families totaling 17 people will have a brighter Christmas because of our generosity.

This Sunday we will conclude our Advent season, the time of preparation for Christmas.  The theme is Let Us Build a House where All Are Named, their Songs and Visions Heard” and my sermon is titled “Love Is on the Way.”  As we’ve been reminded in our Advent Adult Spiritual Formation time – “This world is wild as an old wives’ tale and strange the plain things are “ (G. K. Chesterton, “The House of Christmas”).  So we here the promise of a baby born to a young woman – an ordinary occurrence – only this baby will be God living among us!  Indeed plain things become strange in this season and we wait and watch in wonder.  The service will hold an abundance of music; our choir will be augmented by several singers from The Choral Project as well as friends and family.  It promises to be a good day.

Following the service we will hold our annual Christmas Brunch in the Fellowship Hall (bring finger food to share,) featuring the world premier of “The Adventures of the Grinch, Nope, Dan Who Misplaced and Generally Neglected our Savior and Messiah, Christ Jesus (Amen): Episode 1,” a video Christmas Pageant created by our children and youth.  It will be another full and fabulous day to share with a family member, friend, neighbor, colleague or stranger or two.  See you Sunday at 10 AM.

May God’s new thing flourish within us and among us.
Pastor Rick

PS  Don’t forget Christmas Eve worship at 5:30 PM on Christmas Eve.  This will be a lovely candlelit service for the whole family.

June is bustin’ out all over

13-06-01.mixon.fw“June is bustin’ out all over.” In the midst of a heat wave, windows are open to catch any little breeze, everything is green and blooming, allergies are operating full throttle, and we’ve entered, post Pentecost, that long, lazy season in the liturgical life of the church called Ordinary Time. Ordinary though it may be, we still have some excitement on the horizon. The first Sunday of this month we will be privileged by the presence of Cathleen Falsani, sharing with us some mutual experiences of grace. “Story = Grace” is our theme. This is the culmination of a month‐long study of her excellent book, Sin Boldly: A Field Guide to Grace. I commend it you as ideal summer reading. One of the key things Cathleen says in her book is this: “Justice is getting what you deserve. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. And grace is getting what you absolutely don’t deserve. Benign goodwill. Unprovoked compassion. The unearnable gift.”

“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound…” Indeed, it is a sweet sound, sometimes a sound too sweet for our very pragmatic understanding. We all know that salvation can’t be earned but do we really believe it? Do we grasp how thoroughly God loves and accepts us with whatever our limitations and failures? It’s often a struggle to let grace enfold us, to feel its warmth, to bask in its light, to let its healing wash over us, making us whole. So we fail to see that amazing grace is around and within us in the simplest beauties and wonders of daily life – the tree, the flower, the breeze that blows, the stream that flows, the warm smile, the helping hand, the love that forms and sustains friendship and builds community.

Later this month, I will represent us at the inaugural session of a new phase in American Baptist life. The biennial meeting will no longer be a business meeting for the denomination. It is now called a Mission Summit and is designed to inspire
and build up the missional life of the ABC‐USA. This is an interesting experiment in a way to do church at a denominational level that will enable all American Baptists to work together in the service of God. I am very pleased
that Don Ng, the distinguished pastor of First Chinese Baptist Church in San Francisco, is the nominee for President of the ABC‐USA and is taking a key leadership role in this effort at denominational transformation. Don is an old friend whose vision and judgment I trust deeply.

It is interesting that this Mission Summit (and the next, in 2015) will be held in Overland Park, Kansas, a place where I lived from 1950 to 1953. Some of my earliest memories are of those days when my father was the founding pastor of Prairie Baptist Church in Prairie Village, Kansas. So, this represents a kind of homecoming for me. I hope to attend that church on Sunday morning of the Biennial. In addition, I will attend the pre‐biennial theology conference at Central Baptist Seminary (the school from which my father earned 3 degrees,) led by our friend, Jennifer Davidson, from ABSW. Then I will stay for the board meetings of the Association of Welcoming Baptists. It will be a full and, I trust, rich week. Wally Bryen will preach on June 23 in my absence.

What else can we say about June? There will be an intergenerational cookout and time for volleyball and visiting on Friday, June 14, in honor of Father’s Day. The church choir will end its season on June 16. Adult Spiritual Formation for
June will include our Sunday with Cathleen Falsani; a follow‐up on our Sunday with her and our study of her book on June 9; some reflection on The Awakened Heart: Opening Yourself to the Love You Need by Gerald May, one of the books from my spiritual direction program; and a last go for the season at “The Newspaper in One Hand…an occasional discussion of what’s happening in the world in light of the gospel.”

And there will be singing. Jan reminds us that The Bay Choral Guild, the group with which she sings will be performing in our sanctuary on Sunday, June 9 at 4:30 PM. The concert is entitled “Our American Heritageʺ and will feature music
from colonial days to the present. You won’t want to miss the wonderful opportunity right here in our building. And if you’re feeling a little more adventuresome, The Choral Project, the group in which Dan Cudworth, Ruth Winter (who is helping us out in the church choir through June) and I all sing will be presenting concerts in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz on June 8 and 9. Our concerts, entitled “Earthsongs” will cover a cross section of music from the classical to world music to pop music. It will be a fun event as well. More detailed information is available for both groups is available elsewhere in the  June Spire.

Which brings us back to grace. For me there is no more open door to grace than in the experience of music – heard and performed. I thank God for all the amazing music that has graced my life and, I hope, yours as well. May our lives flow on in endless song and may the God of grace author the music of all our days.

Pastor Rick