Welcome to New Community of Faith!

Worship Time: Sundays 11:15 a.m.

We are an Open, Welcoming and Affirming family church believing that Christ calls everyone without prejudice or distinction to love and worship God. Whoever you are; wherever you are on the journey; whomever you call family— you are welcome in our Community of Faith!

New Community of Faith
6350 Rainbow Drive, San Jose, CA 95129
Telephone: 408-253-1408
E-mail: revyarbrough@gmail.com

New Community of Faith is affiliated with
the American Baptist Churches, USA and
the United Church of Christ.
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Who Is in Our Midst

The beautiful post-resurrection stories are integral in helping us to begin to understand the living body of Christ today, of which we are all a part.  Most of the time when Christ appears among his disciples, he is appears to be very ordinary.  However, in Luke 24:36, Jesus startles, and even frightens the disciples because he appears right in their midst – in the middle of their conversation.  As we continue our Lenten journeys, let us contemplate that we are not making room in our hearts and lives for a second coming.  We are making room for the Christ that appears in all our ordinariness – the one who is not a ghost but who has flesh and bones.  The one who tries to come in peace; the one who asks, “Have you anything to eat? ”     

The questions for all of us are how is God calling us to be present in the living body of Christ today?  How are we being called to serve?  What is our deepest hunger and thirst? While we humans think we are looking for a quick, one size fits all answer so we can “get on with things,”  what we may really be yearning for is not so much an answer, but a way of living with, and responding to those who are already in our midst.  Those we can readily love and those we are tempted to cast out.  No, it is not always easy, but together we just might find the way to the Christ among us today.  

Come journey with us when you can.   We have The Guide, but your light would be helpful indeed.   

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Spring Rainbow Music Festival

Spring Music Festival

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The Journey Continues

The first Sunday of Lent is March 9.   We will begin the service with ashes, and then a blessing.  Jesus’ ministry had deep roots in the forty days he spent in the desert.  Despite his hunger and thirst which probably set in rather quickly, he calmly rejected the temptation of food, power, even magic that would enable him to fly. However, Jesus knew that, no matter how enticing the temptations were, they would never make him invincible. Such omnipotence is for God alone.  Therefore, he faced each temptation with a heart resolute in the simplicity of faith.

Lent is a time to recognize where our own resolutions may be falling short.  A time to recognize where the distractions and temptations of these times are proving to be incredibly disappointing.    A time to seek refuge in the stillness of God rather than the whirlwind of our habits.

Come join us during this season.  As Rumi said so eloquently in the prayer below, we do not journey in despair. We know that no matter how many times we fail to keep our good resolutions, God is with us.  We are not a lost cause.

Blessed be.

Rev. Sue Ann

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Your Invitation

Come, come, whoever you are,
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving—
It doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vows
A hundred times
Come, come again, come.
–Rumi   

Because God never turns away from us, we do our best to not turn away from one another. Come join us this Sunday for worship, communion, and a potluck afterwards. Take part as you feel called.  Come join us as we turn towards one another and to God once again.

Rev. Sue Ann

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Accepting the Invitation

For in wisdom must praise be uttered, and God will make it prosper.  Sirach 15:10

In the Hebrew Scriptures and the Apocrypha, the voice of wisdom is female.   In Proverbs 8 we read of wisdom being present at the time of all creation, at the very beginning of God’s work.  We also read of her “rejoicing in God’s inhabited world and delighting in the human race” (Proverbs 8:31).   While wisdom does have some dire warnings for those who choose not to seek her, nonetheless she is always setting a banquet for us, and calling us to partake of her feast of understanding and insight.  A very tempting invitation, and I am not certain why we do not accept this delightful invitation more often.

Each of us is given wisdom.  It comes from our very own lives, so it is unique, and can help sustain us throughout our lives.  However, too often, we simply disregard this sacred gift.  In the early mornings, I often  run through a school yard close to my home.   Invariably, I will spot at least one or two jackets children have left behind from the previous day.   These garments were needed in the morning chill, but in the warmth of the afternoon, in the midst of play, they were set aside and forgotten.  Of course, the morning chill will always return.   The children will eventually learn this.  That is the beginning of wisdom.

Creator. Wisdom. Spirit.   Always moving, always with us, always leading us.  Let us learn to take delight in this, and grow wise.

Rev. Sue Ann

 

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A Sharing

There is much good writing being done these days.  This poem by Mark Nepo came to me via Parabola, and I am grateful.  During my time with SpiritCare, I have indeed witnessed many old trees slipping into winter.  Yes, it is true, at times I do want to hold on to a good strong branch – to pause the inevitable journey that I am also on.  I cannot, of course, and that is a blessing.

May an answer come to you gently today.  Let us trust the unraveling.  It just might be an unveiling of a beauty whose time is coming, whether in an instance, or a lifetime.   As the author points out, it could happen anywhere.  It may not be immediately recognizable, but God will see to it that we will learn what we need to learn.  That is not a threat; it is a promise we can trust.

Transformation 

It could be the letter never answered,
the one in which you declared your love
in such a tender way, admitting to every-
thing. Or when the shell you brought all
the way from the Philippines is dropped
by some loud stranger you never wanted
to show it to in the first place. It could all
unravel the moment the shell shatters on
your floor. Or on a summer bench, your
eyes closed, your fear about to vanish, the
heat bathing you as bees begin to fly.

It could happen anywhere you linger
too long, anywhere you stop hauling and
counting, when your mind spills its tangle
of lists. Often it comes with the relaxation
of great pain. When the hip finally mends
enough to step. Or your need to know
is broken by a bird lifting into light.

Or when succeeding in being something
you’re not. Being influential when you’re
shy. Or rugged when you’re tender.

Or while watching an old tree slip into
winter, like the one thing you won’t let
go of dropping all its leaves.

When the elements in all their beauty
reshape our eyes, it is God’s kiss: gentle
as erosion. When you could crumble in
an instant—all your pain, salt waiting
for a wave—you are close.

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Epiphany Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Twelfth Day of Christmas, Epiphany, or the Celebration of the Three Kings, much like the rest of Christmas, is a hodge-podge of beliefs, customs, celebrations, and gift giving.   And also, like Christmas, Epiphany is a season, lasting right up until Ash Wednesday.  In other words, our new sightings and understandings (Epiphany can be translated as revelation or sudden insight) may not all come at once, so we can be patient.

In the beautiful story of the magi in Matthew 2:1-12, the gift-bearers are not numbered and they are not named.   There is no further mention of them or the gifts that they brought.  Yet, we cannot help but be inspired by this mysterious tale of dreams, daring, and outlandish gifts.  Perhaps because we, too, are called to boldness and generosity, and a willingness to go forth? Let us set our compass and follow.  Let’s be counted among those who came.  There is plenty of room in this story for us all, and the Light of Christ still shines.  Blessed be.

For someone on earth will see the star, 

Someone will hear the angel voices,

Someone will run to Bethlehem,

Someone will know peace and goodwill,

The Christ will be born!

From Christmas Comes by Ann Weems

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Sunday, December 29

We are still in the Christmas season!  This Sunday, Rev. Bob Matthews will be leading the morning worship and Christmas reflections.  Please see his prayer below.

Rev. Bob Matthews is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. He was ordained in 1991 in the midst of a 29-year career with the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. While with Alameda County he served as Deputy Director of the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs and as the founder and Director of the Alameda County Faith and Health Partnership Project, the first such program of any public health department in the nation. Bob has also served as pastor at UCC congregations in Oakland and Pleasant Hill California.He has served as Chaplain at Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Hayward and currently serves as Chaplain at John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek. Bob is married to Rev. Marjorie Wilkes Matthews who is the pastor of Plymouth UCC in Oakland.

A Christmas Prayer by Rev. Bob Matthews

This Christmas, Holy One, come gently – or boldly –

Invade our busy lives with Your wondrous peace.

This Christmas, Holy One, come gently – or boldly –

Illuminate our confused thinking with Your clear vision.

This Christmas, Holy One, come gently – or boldly –

Infuse our timid loving with Your audacious grace.

This Christmas, Holy One, come to us as You came to the stable in Bethlehem….

Take the unprepared places of our lives and make them  fit for your dwelling.

This Christmas, Holy One, send us out into the world,

filled with Your spirit. In the name of Christ, we pray.

Amen.  

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Who Are We?

This devotion comes to us through the daily Still Speaking Devotion.    We do take on many roles in this life, but in truth, we have only one role:  that as beloved children of God.  We continue to be given the gift of Jesus so we always have a star to follow.  We have also been given the gift of one another, so we never travel alone.   We need not fear the darkness.

Who Am I?

Tony Robinson

“Praise God, sun and moon: praise God, all you shining stars! Praise God, all the angels; praise God all God’s host.” - Psalm 148

Martin Luther described sin as life curved in upon itself. The theme of today’s psalm, praise, is pretty much the opposite of that. Praise is life opened out, expansive, a jubilant response to a gracious and astonishing God. What’s especially wonderful about this psalm of praise is that it includes all creation in the great chorus. Perhaps this is part of the reason that many of the manger scenes we see at this time of year aren’t limited to human beings alone. They include sheep and goats, a donkey or a cow. They unfold beneath the starry sky and sheltering trees. Sometimes it can seem that all creation is somehow caught up and united in praise of God.

Such experiences tell us something about who we truly are. At one time or another, most of us wonder what life is really about and why we are here. We may think of ourselves as producers or professionals, as family members or citizens. All of these are important and have their place. But most of all we are, I think, worshippers. Whether kneeling at some manger, shouting praise unto the highest heavens, murmuring our gratitude before mystery, we are worshippers. And the reason for our praise? While we were yet sinners, Christ has come for us; while we were yet far off, Christ has come to us.

Prayer

“Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord.” And for this we praise you this day and all our days. Amen.

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The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Come join us this Sunday morning as we light the candle of joy and welcome our musician friend, Ms. Doris Williams.  Doris received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Early Music at the University of Rochester, MI.  At Stanford University, she won a graduate fellowship in vocal music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.   Her talents and her knowledge run deep, and it always inspiring to celebrate God’s presence with her.

If you cannot join us in the morning but are free later in the day, there will be a singing of carols at the church 4:00 p.m., followed by hot cider and good conversation. Rev. Dona Smith-Powers will be leading the singing.

We joyfully look forward to being with you whenever you can join us!

Let the hearts of those who seek God rejoice…            (Antiphon: Elaine Kirkland, 1994)

 

 

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