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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Pondering John 20:27

“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Jesus

“To feed the hungry means to do away with militarism. To bless the children means to leave the trees standing for them.”

Dorothee Soelle as quoted in “Meister Eckhart”, Matthew Fox

We are called to touch the wounds of Christ.

We worship every at 1:30 via Zoom . Please contact the office if you would like the link.

Blessings,

Rev. Sue Ann

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Yes, It Matters

When I first read the following poem, I could feel the pear in my hand.  I touched  the burro’s ears with happiness.   I could see the kindly monk who would occasionally drop by.  I find this to be a humbling reminder that it matters how we treat the world.  It matters what we plant and what we eat.  It matters what we buy and what we throw away.  Who and what we care for.   What work we ask our fellow creatures (including humans)  to do day in and day out.  It matters how we tend to our souls because that is how we tend to all. 

 Our bee population is having to carry their burdens further and further  because we forget to create way stations for them.  Plant something, and herbs will do nicely,  to lessen the distance the little bee must  travel. Put some stones in your bird baths so they can pause and take a drink.  Even these simple steps will help us all taste the sacredness of  a really good pear.   


    Love Does That   

All day long a little burro labors, sometimes

 with heavy loads on her back and sometimes just with worries

 about things that bother only burros.    

 And worries, as we know, can be more exhausting than physical labor.  

 Once in awhile a kind monk comes to her stable and brings a pear,

but more than that, he looks into the burro’s eyes and touches her ears 

  and for a few seconds the burro is free and even seems to laugh,   

because love does that.    

 Love frees.         

 Meister Eckart

translated by Daniel Ladinsky in Love Poems from God      

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How To Let Go

“Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you.”

James 4:7-8   

 My “devil” is procrastination. I am often slow to take on what I perceive to be a difficult task. The irony is that procrastination takes an inordinate amount of energy and resources to maintain. Like any addiction, it has to be fed continually. Often, far more energy is needed to procrastinate than to simply do what needs to be done. It is a heavy burden because we have to continue to carry that which is incomplete or undone. We can end up carrying so much that things can end up either not being finished well, or dropped and forgotten about. 

 Yet, we always have a resource to help us. We can remember Jesus in the desert. When faced with temptations, he relied completely on God. He held on to the teachings and refused to succumb to the illusion that he could be powerful and mighty. He knew that was not his path, so he did not walk it. He refused to pick that burden up.   May we all have the wisdom to know when and what we should resist. There are often some unresolved issues and projects that God asks us to hold for a while. Our lives are works in progress. However, one of the gifts of prayer is that prayer can help us discern and prioritize what God wants us to take on, and when. I think what God always wants us to do first is to draw near to God. There we will find the wisdom and courage to take on what needs to be taken on. The rest we can confidently leave to God.  

 Prayer:  Holy God, too often we make things difficult for ourselves and those around us because we try to carry too much. Help us to decide what truly needs to be done and to trust that you will help us complete those tasks. We thank you because so often you bring us help through one another. You remind us that we seldom need to do everything ourselves. Help us to not turn our illusions of independence into idols that only increase our burdens. May we remember that to be in Christ is to be in relationship. Knowing that we journey together, may we stay open to one another and to be thankful for one another. We know that in that gratitude, we are giving thanks to you.  

 In loving gratitude we pray, Amen 

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Living into It

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 

   2 Corinthians 3:17  

 The Apostle Paul mentions freedom several times in his letters, and I always find his encouragement to live into our freedom inspiring. Part of the reason for my admiration is that Paul spent a lot of time writing from prison. Yet, his heart was free. At the beginning of the pandemic, I read a biography of Gandhi, who also spent much time in prison. Yet, in his heart and mind, like Paul, he knew only freedom. Gandhi was not Christian, but a devout Hindu who knew freedom because of his deep love of the Lord as revealed to him through the Bhagavad Gita. That is where he found the conviction to lead his nation to freedom without violence. It is a compelling, inspiring story, and one that Jesus would admire.

You who worship with me have heard me say that wherever we are, God is there. Nowhere can we go that God will not go with us. Therefore, the freedom to love is always with us. We cannot be separated from God’s love, no matter what mistakes we make. Love frees us. Hate, worry, and distraction do not. We are always free to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Love is meant to be shared freely.  This is what Jesus asks of us. Let us say yes to that commandment and know that our love can never be contained. Love is of Spirit and cannot be boxed or shelved for a later time. Love lives and is eternally on the move. Blessed be. 

   
Blessings,

Rev. Sue Ann

This Sunday we spring into Daylight Savings Time – or perhaps go grudgingly – but go we must if we are going to take part in society. If you plan on attending church or some other function, remember to set your clocks forward.

Please call the office if you need our Zoom information. Blessings on your Sunday and every day!

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Finding Wisdom

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”  James 1:5-6.

I often find myself lacking wisdom, so I am grateful for the author of James and his reminder to pray. In times of confusion, we can always turn to God who will help us discern the next step. God does not get wrapped up in our confusion as we tend to.  God does not hold our weaknesses against us, but rather is always willing to provide loving guidance. However, we do have to remember to ask. We must be willing to open our hearts and minds to God, and – this is important – surrender the outcome to God.  Our egos, however, really want to come up with the solutions on our own. The ego wants to be heroic, maybe even famous. This is not the path to wisdom and peace. Fortunately, we each have a sacred soul that has no interest in conquering the world, but rather living in relationship with it. I am reminded of some lines from a beautiful poem written by Alfred K. LaMotte entitled, “Love Doesn’t Need a Story”:


“Whether you feed the multitudes today

or only wash the dishes

makes no difference at all.”   

  I once took a daylong cooking class in a commercial kitchen. I was struck by how difficult the work must be to do day in and day out. People are on their feet for hours. More than once I thought the heat from all the burners would surely do us all in. I also learned that as heavy pots and pans seemed to perpetually fill the large sinks, people who wash dishes are incredibly heroic. The same is true of the people who make beds, vacuum floors, empty the trash, and check out our groceries. Being heroic means going about our daily lives, however we are called, with humility and grace. Through prayer, we can learn how to live our lives in such dignity whatever our circumstances we find ourselves in. God is always willing to go where we need to be.   

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The Lenten Journey Begins

“And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’ And Jesus answered him,“It is written, ‘[we] shall not live by bread alone. Luke 4:1-4′” 

 Some years ago I often visited a woman who had lost her eyesight in midlife.  She frequently expressed gratitude for a Sunday school teacher she had when she was young. That teacher insisted that the children memorize some scripture, and it was a habit that she kept up even as an adult. Being able to recite some of her favorite passages brought her much comfort when she could no longer physically read the Bible. I am not good at extensive memorization, but I do like knowing some very short pieces of scripture that I can use as prayer. “Be still and know that I am God,” helps me when I am restless or worried. “Be not afraid,” is another that I often use.  

This scripture from Luke is the beginning of the story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert. When the tempter showed up, Jesus did what my friend did. He quoted scripture that he had memorized, and that gave him strength to not fall for temptation’s trickery. Here, Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 8:3: “He humbled you by making you hungry and then feeding you the manna that neither you nor your ancestors had ever experienced, so he could teach you that people do not live on bread alone.”    People often think of Lent as a time of giving something up. Yet, I think it goes deeper than that. It is a time to reconnect and deepen our relationship with Christ. Please remember that your faith journey is unique. May your time with scripture and prayer bring you closer to God this Lent and always. It is true: we do not live by bread alone.  That would be opting for a very poor diet when we are continually offered so much more. 

    
Love and Blessings,
Rev. Sue Ann

So good to see some of you on Ash Wednesday. The small bowl in the picture are the ashes from a few palms from 2019 that I had kept. Tyler burned them on Wednesday. I will keep them at least through Lent.

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Staying in Touch

On Saturday, my husband needed to make a delivery to a restaurant here in San Leandro. I had not yet had lunch and I knew they had a patio, so I decided to go with him. It was so pleasant to sit, eat a sandwich that someone else had made, and watch people. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood, and there was much laughter and conversation. Before the pandemic, this experience might have seemed rather ordinary, even mundane. However, today, even with everyone still masked, felt like a holiday

Earlier this week I also had a wonderful conversation with a good friend over Zoom. We have been getting together this way about once a week for awhile now. She lives a couple of hours away, so even before the pandemic we did not get together very often, but rather relied on email and phone calls to stay in touch. Like our Sunday services, Zoom has allowed us to see one another’s faces, and what a blessing that has been. At times it seems as if there is no distance at all between us. Perhaps one of the lessons of this time is that even in a pandemic God continues to call us together. Whether we come together virtually or in person, we are connected. The Body of Christ knows no boundaries. We are woven together into a great expanse of love that is vast and yet so close. May we never take any of this for granted.

Love and Blessings,

Rev. Sue Ann

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Preparing for Lent

In Christian Meditation or what is also called Centering Prayer, we rest in what I think of as alert relaxation. The mind, of course, is always buzzing with plans for the future or worries about the past. The mind loves to be in control and it can be tiring trying to keep up with it. However, in meditation, it is possible to become aware of the mind’s wanderings and gently bring it back to the present with a simple mantra. Yes, the mind will soon be off and running again, but again, we say the mantra and gently bring it back, much like the movement of a gentle wave. The mantra I generally use is peace. I envision returning to peace. It is only in the present moment when we can experience the peace of Christ. Despite what the mind tries to tell us, we have only this present moment, and this moment is all that is needed to experience God.

Many cultures and traditions practice meditation, including our secular society. What sets Christian meditation apart is our intention to make room for Christ in our lives and in our hearts. In our time of meditation, we simply sit with God and one another. Over time, we find we can carry that Presence into all aspects of our lives, relationships, and in our work. This Lenten season I invite you to join me for meditation via Zoom. In our time together we will start with a short reading to help focus our intention. We will then sit for no more than twenty minutes, and conclude with a few minutes of discussion and spoken prayer. I am envisioning that we will be together for about an hour. If you are considering joining me, please let me know what days and times may be best for you. Do you prefer afternoon or evenings? I am not adverse to holding two sessions a week, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, if there is interest. Also, please consider inviting those not part of our community to join us. Since we begin anew in every session, those unexperienced in meditation as well as the experienced are welcome.


Questions? Just let me know. I look forward to sitting with you.


Love and Blessings

,Rev. Sue Ann


God is a mystery and our own life is a mystery. In the presence of mystery what we must do is let the mystery be. Allow the mystery the fullness of its own being. Allow it to reveal itself. When we meditate that is exactly what we do. We allow God to be God. We allow ourselves to be in [God’s] presence. That is the extraordinary power of it.
Moment of Christ (copyright 1984, page 62), Father John Main, OSB

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Take a Moment

There is so much going on. Fires, Covid-19, racial inequality, economic disparity, 9/11 rememberances. It is hard to know where to begin with our prayers. However, I did find this prayer in a sweet book entitled “When I Talk To You, a Cartoonist Talks to God” by Michael Leunig. I know we want to rush through these difficult times, however that may not be what God has in store for us. Let us be willing to walk the slow walk, learning as we go. Let us pay attention to one another. May this be a calming meditation for us all.

“Across the difficult terrain of our existence we have attempted to build a highway and in so doing we have lost our footpath. God, lead us to our footpath; lead us where step by step we may feel the movement of creation in our hearts. And lead us where side by side we feel the embrace of the common soul. Nothing can be loved at speed. God, lead us to another way of being.”

Let us continue to try to walk the path of following Christ together.

Rev. Sue Ann

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In The Times

Let us pray for all who are on the move from the fires: humans and all the creatures of the land, sea, and the air. Let us pray for those who are fighting these fires and their families who are keeping vigil.

Holy One, We pray your mantle of peace and protection will surround all of those who work in harm’s way, who are injured, sick, afraid, or worried about their home. Help us to know how to reach out. Thank you for keeping watch on us all. We lift these beautiful words from Psalm 139 to you:


Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

Amen
Psalm 139:7-12

We pray for Tanya and her home. We pray for the school children and their families. We pray for one another. We pray for peace in our nation and the world.

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