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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May 31 Worship Service

Members, friends, and family of New Community of Faith will be joining Celebration of Faith and other South Bay churches for a joint worship and prayer service on May 31st.  There will be no service at New Community, but please join us at the Billy DeFrank Center in San Jose.  The address is below.  Worship will begin at 11:00 a.m.  Enter through the back door.

938 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126

All are welcome!

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Pentecost

Pentecost

The story of Pentecost comes early in the book of Acts, chapter 2 to be exact.   “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. ” (Acts 2:1-4).

Yes, truly amazing.  However, what is even more amazing is that in that moment, everyone understood everyone else, and this, of course, is the great dream of the church.  That somehow we actually come to understand, and even love our fellow human beings.  Like the story of Pentecost, albeit a little less dramatically, we do see glimmers of this understanding, especially when we follow Paul’s encouragement (1 Thessalonians 5:19)  to “not quench the Spirit.”  We really cannot do that, of course. The Holy Spirit will move as it will, and cannot be contained.  However, we do want to move with the Spirit, not be left behind in the confinement of our egos.

Let us come together this Sunday and let the Spirit have its way with us.  Jesus assures us that this Spirit is truth.  Therefore, we can have confidence in its ways.   We are being led to love.  We can try to go our own way, but ultimately we all will learn that there is nowhere else to go but to God.  God is the the Alpha and Omega, and God is love.   Let us keep practicing  coming together.  Together, we can find our way to the love that already abides in us.

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Charm City Blues: Baltimore and trauma-informed community

revyarbrough:

I went to seminary with Derrick and he has given me his permission to share his insightful writing.

Originally posted on derricklweston:

I’ve been in Baltimore for going on three months. It’s hardly any time at all. There’s a part of me that doesn’t feel entitled to what I am feeling tonight. I’ve fallen in love with this city pretty quickly. It has been a refuge for me, a place to start over. As a Steelers fan, I am predisposed to wanting to hate this city, but there is so much more to life than sportsball and the people of this city are pretty lovable. Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods. Baltimore is more so. I work in three neighborhoods separated by mere blocks. They each have a distinct flavor to them despite their proximity and overlapping concerns. Baltimore is about twice the size of Pittsburgh. It has all of the amenities you would want in a major metropolis while feeling interconnected enough that you could easily find yourself running into the…

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Meet Your Neighbors

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was a stranger and you invited me in.”   Matthew 25:35

Let us remember that all of nature, including ourselves, needs safe refuge.   And yes, church can be a safe place.   Come join us when you can.

Meet the Neighbors 1 Meet the Neighbors 2

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It Is Still Easter!

Bede's Easter

An Easter insight by Bede Griffiths (d.1993):

“Christ had to go through death in order to enter the new world, the world of communion with God. We have to go through death with him, both as individuals and as societies.

It is the only way.

This is the challenge that faces the world today. We are passing out of one world, the world of Western domination. Something new is emerging. Our patriarchal culture is being challenged at every level. It is a moment of trauma, of birth. And in these great movements of change we can discern the purposes of God and of [God’s] Kingdom. ”

I thank Diana Butler Bass for this quote.   Perhaps our vision of God, of Christ, of the church, and one another is just too small.   Letting go of our treasured ideas is seldom easy, but if we do it together, we can then grow together.  Yes, it is still the Easter season.  Come wonder and grow with us.

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The Door That Is the Cross

I assure you that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it can only be a single seed. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.  

John 12:24    

If we pause, even for a moment,  to reflect on any aspect of the journey from Ash Wednesday to Lent, to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, we have a chance to open the door of our heart to our mortality, and in that moment we understand that we are so much more than our mortality.  If we muster up the courage to look at , and dare to walk through that door, we are reminded that no matter what, our understanding of the wonder of life and death is just too small.  Therefore, we must live, and we must die, and live again.  That is our cross and we must experience this dying and living for ourselves.  Only then can we learn to not fear, but to know only gratitude for the cross that we each must bear.  Jesus told this story with his life: we do not have to die in vain.  That in relinquishing our small deaths today, accepting the struggles and surrendering to God what we need to let go of, we can bear much good fruit.  That fruit is not just for ourselves, but for life itself.   That is Easter.     

Maybe someday, all humans will know this, and more importantly, live this.  Oh, what a world that would be. 

 Blessings to you in this sacred time of learning that God is always there, in the midst of it all, inviting you, in love, to walk through one more door.  We journey together.  Blessed be.

Easter 2015    

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At Joyce Akers’ Memorial Service

Several folks from New Community of Faith attended the memorial service for Joyce Akers on February 22, 2015. Rev. Sue Ann gave the eulogy.

Sue Ann, Drew, Richard, and John

Peter and SuzieRichard

Suzie and Dona

Piper and Bonnie

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Room for Us All

I found this morning’s UCC devotional rather bittersweet.  As a child, I knew of a couple of families who had their living rooms set aside for special company.  One woman in particular stands out in my memory.  Now that I look back, I think that usually silent room probably symbolized much for her.  I do not think she was very happy living in that small West Texas town.  Perhaps she was trying to save part of herself for a more gentile time.  I am not sure it ever came.
I have always taken heart that there is room for us all, and we are invited to not only visit, but to abide with God.  We are not treated as strangers. We belong.  Let us open the doors and live fully into all the rooms of our lives.

Rev. Sue Ann

March 16, 2015

Room
Mary Luti

“In [God’s] house, there are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare one for you?” – John 14:2

When I was young, I knew a family that was fanatically protective of their  living room. The armchairs and sofa had plastic covers. The carpet was unblemished. The end tables were Pledged to an impossible sheen. The parents threatened mayhem to any kid who tried to go in there. Not a lot of living went on in that living room.

I’ve since learned that family wasn’t unique. Apparently lots of parents enforced a rule about never entering the best room in the house. It was reserved for special company, and that wasn’t their kids. To this day there are probably thousands of adults out there who routinely look warily over their shoulders before setting foot in a living room.

Harmless enough, I guess, unless you’ve also come to believe that it’s normal to be confined to the kitchen, the basement, or the closet. That it’s normal to be barred not only from the best rooms in the house, but also from the best parts of life. That it’s not just living rooms you don’t deserve to enter. That you’re not special company, and never will be, ever.

By his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus entered every living room in God’s house of joy and removed all the plastic, spilled wine on the couch, and tracked a little dirt across the rug. ‘There,’ he said when he was done, ‘all prepared for the most special guests. Come in, all of you. Come in.’

Prayer
Give me a ministry of invitation, gracious God. Let me help Jesus fill with cherished guests the living room of life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Luti is Interim Senior Pastor, Wellesley Village Church, Wellesley, Massachusetts.

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Sunday, March 15

As I forward this devotion, I am hearing a great deal of bird song in the air.  It is beautiful and restores my soul.   These birds are doing what God has created them to do.  My prayer is that we are all able declare our presence in this world in a welcoming, creative way.   I don’t sing well enough to call it harmonious, but I think that is exactly what God hears when we come together.

On Sunday, March 15 please join us for our book discussion beginning at 10:15.  We will be discussing everyone’s favorite topic, rejection.  How do we move forward from what we understand as rejection? Does rejection have the last word?  Jesus’ life tells me no, but let’s talk about it.And finally, just a reminder that if you are so inclined, please share in worship your favorite encouraging scripture in worship tomorrow.   If you cannot be with us but want to share your scripture, just drop me a note.

Peace in the journey,
Sue Ann

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Feel Your Heart Beat

Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22

This spring is quite a busy season for me.  I am struggling between many roles that I can’t run away from. This busy life forces me to live following a strict order for my work. The first thing always in my head is to make sure that my work is done correctly.  Follow a time table; make sure there are no mistakes; then, go forward to another task.  No reflection; no gratitude; and no Sabbath.  Work demands that I pay attention only to it.  At times, work can be very jealous.  When I cannot focus on it, work responds to me with chaos, disorder, and mistakes.

However, when I break my obsessive relationship that I have with my work, I can see something new; I can hear new sounds.  There is something more important than work itself.  I think the Lenten season is all about making a break, establishing a new relationship, and remembering who has given us all things — remembering who I am, and remembering that I am a living creation.

As I read Psalm 107, I let my all schedules and concerns go, and I just enjoy my breath and heartbeat for a few minutes.  I try to listen the sounds my body makes, my heartbeat, my breath, even my stomach, and so on.

How can my heart keep beating?  How can I keep breathing?  Here is another living miracle. “God rescues us from grave.”  A little bit of time for sensing my inner sounds makes me new.  Remembering makes us new.  Remembering gives us space for gratitude.

Wherever you are in your busy day, I invite you to listen for your heartbeat.  It can be a good first step for finding an inner rhythm that can lead you to a way of gratitude.

“Give thanks to God, for God is good.  God’s steadfast love endures forever.” Amen.

Daniel Jihun Kim
SFTS M.Div. Student

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The Journey

Last Sunday  I was blessed to read the eulogy at a memorial service for Joyce Akers, an elder I had met several times, but did not know due to her advanced Alzheimer’s.  Several generations of friends and family were present. How wonderful to hear her vibrant life remembered by so many. This poem was on the back of the printed worship service and I did not see it until yesterday.   I think it fits all our journeys.  They certainly vary, but in so many ways are the same.

  

Bridge to Future 

Roads that wind round canyon walls
Like corridors round learning halls
Points of light there on the ground
Will draw you with familiar sounds
Gather there the tools you need
Advice is there for you to heed
Spread the word as given you
And do the work you’re supposed to do
Travel where your heart does tell
Let your knowledge serve you well
Things will flow as to their course
You need not fear, or push, or force
All things come as time dictates
Though time has come for what you wait
The door is open once again
A bridge for futures now and then.   

Robert Langley   

The Bridge

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