Welcome to New Community of Faith!

Worship Time: Sundays 1:30 p.m.
We are currently worshiping via video conferencing. If you would like to join us, please call or email us. Contact information is below.

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!

Church building

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

New Community of Faith is affiliated with
the American Baptist Churches, USA and
the United Church of Christ.
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Light

How precious is your love, O God! We take refuge in the shadow of your wings. We feast on the rich food of your house; from your delightful stream you give us drink. For with you is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light.  Psalm 36:8-10  

 Last Sunday we talked about setting our lamp out on the lampstand with determination and purpose. Our conversation has stayed with me, so I am not surprised that when this morning as I was watching our dog make his way down the stairs, I was reminded of this psalm. His vision is poor, but he gets around quite well. I was also reminded of a conversation I had some years ago with a gifted pianist and composer. He mentioned that one of his early teachers was blind. I cannot remember if she had ever had sight, but regardless I found the story compelling because he also said that she helped him see and understand the keyboard in a way that he never forgot. He and I really did not get to go into a deeper discussion, but our short conversation has stayed with me. I suspect that her “seeing” was deeply rooted in hearing, not only the notes, but the space between the notes. I also suspect that she trusted her hands to know the way. The fact that her teachings stayed with him all these years is a beautiful testimony to the tenacity of life. I would have loved to have watched and listened to one of her lessons. 

 This psalm reminds us that light is a gift from God. We can share this light with others, but we can’t generate it on our own, nor can we hoard it. We can, however, continually return to our fountain of life that is within. Whether we believe this light and love comes from God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, or another sacred name does not really matter. What matters is that we learn to trust that such love freely shines for all. Let us learn to pay attention to it. That is how we can find our way to one another and to God.

  Blessings,

Rev. Sue Ann

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Baptism

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we will be revisiting the story of Jesus’ baptism. I find the story both moving and encouraging. John was reluctant to baptize Jesus; he felt Jesus should baptize him. Yet, to that plea, Jesus simply replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15).” Then John consented. There, in the desert by the river, John’s ministry was coming to a close as Jesus’ ministry was beginning. It is a poignant telling, and most assuredly one that is worth exploring in community. What are your beliefs about baptism? What does being baptized mean to you? Anything? As some of you have a Catholic background, and some of us are Protestant, there may be differences in our beliefs. Such differences are part of what makes this community so rich so let us explore them.


Just a few reminders:

Meditation in the Christian tradition is offered on Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. via Zoom. Come join us for a short reflective reading, 25 minutes of sitting meditation and a brief conversation afterwards. Meditating with others is a rich experience. God waits in silence for us. This I believe Jesus knew.

In addition, beginning Monday, September 20 at 4:00, I will be leading a book study on Sister Joan Chittister’s book, The Gift of Years, Growing Old Gracefully. Sister Joan is a Benedictine nun who is a strong voice for women (including the ordination of women), children, and the poor. At 85 years old, she is no stranger to the aging process which all of us are undergoing at this very moment. If you want to come check out the study before buying the book, that is fine. In fact, if you don’t even want to buy the book, you are still welcome to come and take part. After all, we are all aging.


On Sundays we continue to meet both in person and on Zoom. When we gather for worship in person, we ask that everyone to adhere to these protocols for the health and safety of the community. If for some reason you cannot, you are welcome to join us via Zoom. There is so much going on in our communities, nation, and our world. Let us come together to pray. The world needs our heartfelt attention and compassion.

  1. We will continue to meet outside. We won’t be singing, but Rusty and Richard will alternate Sundays to play piano for us.
  2. No gathering in Room 1 and no sharing of food. However, all are welcome to bring their own lunch or snacks. Bringing your own filled water bottle is highly recommended.
  3. Physical distancing is to be maintained. If you have not been vaccinated, please wear a mask. May we all do what we can to make certain everyone can stay healthy.

Please call the office if you would like the Zoom information.

Blessings,

Rev. Sue Ann

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Comings and Goings

My thanks to Rich and Tito for leading worship this Sunday. I will be preaching in Sunol at Little Brown Church. If you need the Zoom information for this Sunday, please call the office.


There are other changes I want to alert you to:

Beginning September 1, meditation in the Christian tradition will be held on Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. via Zoom. Come join us for a short reflective reading, 25 minutes of sitting meditation and a brief conversation afterwards. Meditating with others can be a very rich experience that should be explored. God waits in silence for us. Let us go together.

.In addition, beginning Monday, September 20 at 4:00, I will be leading a book study on Sister Joan Chittister’s book, The Gift of Years, Growing Old Gracefully. Sister Joan is a Benedictine nun who is a strong voice for women (including the ordination of women), children, and the poor. At 85 years old, she is no stranger to the aging process which all of us are undergoing at this very moment. If you want to come check out the study before buying the book, that is fine. In fact, if you don’t even want to buy the book, you are still welcome to come and take part. After all, we are all aging.


We continue to meet both in person and on Zoom. When we gather for worship in person, we ask that everyone to adhere to these protocols for the health and safety of the community. If for some reason you cannot, you are welcome to join us via Zoom. There is so much going on in our communities, nation, and our world. Let us come together to pray. The world needs our heartfelt attention and compassion.

  1. We will continue to meet outside. We won’t be singing, but Rusty and Richard will alternate Sundays to play piano for us.
  2. No gathering in Room 1 and no sharing of food. However, all are welcome to bring their own lunch or snacks. Bringing your own filled water bottle is highly recommended.
  3. Physical distancing is to be maintained. If you have not been vaccinated, please wear a mask. May we all do what we can to make certain everyone can stay healthy.

Remember, you are blessed and loved!

Rev. Sue Ann

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Let’s Talk

This morning I was able to hear part of a keynote address by the African American activist and author Ruby Sales. I so appreciated her encouragement to create a Beloved Community, rather than a world compartmentalized by the color of our skin or our preferred sexual partners. I am over simplifying, so let us talk about this on Sunday. I think New Community of Faith has always taken a position that we all are beloved children of God. However, I think we always need to look at what does it mean to live in a nation run by a few billionaires? What language are we using? Are we being encouraged to come together or to remain completely separate? What are the implications of each? What is the role of technology and who is being left behind as more jobs become automated? How is God calling God’s people to be in this world? How do we tend to this earth so that all children (human and otherwise) will be able to grow into who God is calling them to be? Let’s talk.


We continue to meet both in person and on Zoom. When we gather for worship in person, we ask that everyone to adhere to these protocols for the health and safety of the community. If for some reason you cannot, you are welcome to join us via Zoom.

  1. We will continue to meet outside. We won’t be singing, but Rusty and Richard will alternate Sundays to play piano for us.
  2. No gathering in Room 1 and no sharing of food. However, all are welcome to bring their own lunch or snacks. Bringing your own filled water bottle is highly recommended.
  3. Physical distancing is to be maintained. If you have not been vaccinated, please wear a mask. May we all do what we can to make certain everyone can stay healthy.

God continues to call God’s people together. Blessed be.

Rev. Sue Ann

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Tending to Christ

SpiritCare now knows of five long-term care communities who are now closed to a Covid breakout. This is why I keep stressing our protocols and encouraging people to get vaccinated. What happens when a long-term care community closes? Residents and patients have to stay in their rooms. Friends and family cannot visit. Such isolation may help protect elders and others from Covid, but such precautions come at a very high cost. If you have not been vaccinated, please make arrangements to do so. Encourage anyone you know who is not vaccinated to do the same. Jesus tells us to take care of the frail and old and getting vaccinated is to let Christ’s love abide in us. It is our responsibility and blessing to do so. A friend of mine recently told me a story of a friend of hers who was eating a McDonald’s hamburger while telling her he refuses to get a vaccination because he does not know what is in them. She asked him, “Do you know what is in that burger that you eat almost every day? Do you know where that meat came from or where and how it was processed?” Of course, he did not.


While not necessarily commandments, here are the guidelines for our in person worship every Sunday at 1:30 p.m.. We continue to ask that everyone to adhere to these protocols for the health and safety of the community. If for some reason you cannot, we ask that you join us via Zoom. Please call the office for Zoom details.

  1. We will continue to meet outside. We won’t be singing, but Rusty and Richard will alternate Sundays to play piano for us.
  2. No gathering in Room 1 and no sharing of food. However, all are welcome to bring their own lunch or snacks. Bringing your own filled water bottle is highly recommended.
  3. Physical distancing is to be maintained. If you have not been vaccinated, please wear a mask. May we all do what we can to make certain everyone can stay healthy.

God continues to call God’s people together. Thank you for continuing to faithfully tithe to the community, and my gratitude to the board who recently approved a donation to SpiritCare. Donations can be made in person on Sundays, or you can continue tp mail your checks to the address at the bottom of this newsletter.

Blessings,

Rev. Sue Ann

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The Commandments

Earlier this week, I attended a Torah study on Zoom. I really know too little of the Hebrew scriptures and Jewish traditions, so I hope to attend more sessions. The rabbi who was leading the session talked for just a couple of minutes about the ten commandments. I had not thought of the commandments in quite some time, but when she said that the commandments were given to the people in order for them to stay in contact with God it made sense. I begin to think that if we try to adhere to them, the commandments might also help us to stay in right relationship with one another. On Sunday, let us take a look at these ancient commandments and explore if they are still pertinent today. If you want to read ahead, you can look at Exodus 20:1-14 and Deuteronomy 5:6-18.


While not necessarily commandments, here are the guidelines for our in person worship. We continue to ask that everyone to adhere to these protocols for the health and safety of the community. If for some reason you cannot, we ask that you join us via Zoom.

  1. We will continue to meet outside. We won’t be singing, but Rusty and Richard will alternate Sundays to play piano for us.
  2. No gathering in Room 1 and no sharing of food. However, all are welcome to bring their own lunch or snacks. Bringing your own filled water bottle is highly recommended.
  3. Physical distancing is to be maintained. If you have not been vaccinated, please wear a mask. May we all do what we can to make certain everyone can stay healthy.

God continues to call God’s people together. Thank you for continuing to faithfully tithe to the community. You can bring your donations to the worship service, or mail your checks to the address at the bottom of this newsletter.

Blessings,

Rev. Sue Ann

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Welcome!

Hybrid worship has begun! Last week I realized that I have grown so accustomed to Zoom, that I tend to focus on the computer a little too much. I shall try to be a little more flexible. It is nice to hear the pianists in person and to see those who have not been able to join us on Zoom. However you feel called to join, please do so.

I do find I like outside worship, and I am grateful for the trees and the shade they provide. The temperature has been moderate, and that is certainly helpful. Let us continue to be cautious and mind these protocols:

  1. We will continue to meet outside. We won’t be singing, but Rusty and Richard will alternate playing piano for us.
  2. No gathering in Room 1 and no sharing of food. However, all are welcome to bring their own lunch or snacks. Bringing your own filled water bottle is highly recommended.
  3. Physical distancing is to be maintained. If you have not been vaccinated, please wear a mask. May we all do what we can to make certain everyone can stay healthy. That is what it means to be part of a community.

God continues to call God’s people together. This Sunday we will be exploring gentleness and self-control as we finish our study of Galatians 5:22-23. Thank you to those who continue to faithfully tithe to the community. You can bring your donations to the worship service, or mail your checks to the office. Prefer to worship via Zoom? Just call the office. Someone will get back to you.

Worship is celebrated Sundays at 1:30 p.m.

Blessings,

Rev. Sue Ann

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Change is Coming (Always)

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road ,though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always…I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton


If things go as planned, we will be returning to worshipping in person on July 11. Here are some guidelines, but please note all is subject to change.

  1. We will be meeting outside. We won’t be singing, but Rusty and Richard will alternate playing music for us.
  2. There will be no gathering in Room 1. There will no sharing of food, but all are welcome to bring their own lunch or snacks.
  3. Physical distancing will be maintained. If you have not been vaccinated, we would appreciate your wearing a mask. We are, for the most part, an older congregation, and there are some health concerns. May we all do what we can to make certain everyone can stay healthy.

Rich is exploring what is possible with making our in-person service available on Zoom. I do think Zoom, while it has its frustrations, has worked well for us. I have so appreciated our conversations over the past year and a half. However, God is always doing a new thing, so let us be willing to be led into this new time. For now, plan on coming together on Zoom this Sunday and the following Sunday, July 4. Thank you, Rich, and everyone, for all you do to serve the community.

Blessings,

Rev. Sue Ann

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In Praise

I will lift you up high, my God, the true king. I will bless your name forever and always. I will bless you every day.  I will praise your name forever and always .The Lord is great and so worthy of praise!  God’s greatness can’t be grasped. One generation will praise your works to the next one, proclaiming your mighty acts. 

 Psalm 145:1-4, Common English Bible

Psalm 145 is a Psalm of praise, attributed to David whose reign flourished in 1000 BCE. I often forget how ancient the Psalms are. I have recently learned that the name David can be translated as Beloved. That means that we could all address one another as David, but then, that would quickly get confusing. Still, I love the idea of everyone going about their day, addressing all they meet as a Beloved One. We can, at least, do that in our hearts.

 In the United Church of Christ, there is not much royalty language in our current liturgy. Some of this is probably because we are deeply rooted in the Congregationalists who fled to this country to flee the reign of English royalty. It is also a reflection of UCC’s commitment to inclusive language. However, if King David, or someone in his court, did write this Psalm, he is expressing humility as he refers to God as the true king, the One that he serves. The One to whom all creation must bow. Hopefully, not out of fear, but because God is so completely beyond our comprehension. No human can understand God, but David, the beloved one, is right. We do continue to praise God generation after generation. I am grateful. 

How do we praise God? We can do so through gratitude, daily devotions, and caring for God’s creation. Our praise includes being attentive to one another because no matter how far we might go astray, there is no one who is not one of God’s beloved.

Let us care. Let us serve Let us praise.

Blessings,

Rev. Sue Ann

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Unending Diversity

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done.
 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
    tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
  let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
  seek God’s face always.

Psalm 105:1-4

My husband and I live just off of I 580, across from the Dunsmuir Ridge. This time of year the ridge  turns gold and the grass will soon yellow as the heat increases. It is  quintessential Northern California terrain. I love the tender green of spring, but I find the gold beautiful as well. This is the time of year when  well over 100 goats are brought in to keep the vegetation down. If I stand at my bathroom window and look over my neighbor’s roof, I can watch them graze on this part of the ridge.  I find them fascinating to watch. The baby goats are full of energy and like most kids everywhere, they love to run, jump, play pranks, and eat. The older female goats keep a watchful eye on them. The males watch over the herd, and the herding dogs keep a wary eye on anything that is not a goat.  It is a system that has worked for generations.

What I have noticed over the past couple of days is that there are three primary colors of these goats: white, brown, and black. Yet, few of the goats are a solid color. The three colors combine in a myriad of ways, and while I have not done a scientific study, there does not seem to be a repetition of any pattern. Some closely resemble another, but there always seems to be a difference. Maybe one has black ears, and another white. Perhaps  the patterns on the body vary.  I can’t get close enough to see the eyes, but I suspect they may vary some as well.
I am reminded God’s creation is ongoing, and continues to diversify.  That includes humanity. The color of our skin, hair, and eyes vary. Some of us are quite young, others much older. However, like goats always look like goats, humans look like humans.  We may move, laugh, sing and cry differently, but we do so in a human way. May we remember that no matter our age, the color of our skin and eyes, God’s Spirit is in each one of us. May we always treat one another with the dignity that God’s Spirit deserves.  We are part of God’s good creation.    

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