Outreach Opportunities

Come join us in November as we collect non-perishable food for Second Harvest and warm outer and under clothes for the homeless.   There will be bins in the back of the sanctuary for your donations.  Sunday morning worship begins at 11:15 and a potluck lunch always follows.  Come  join us as we share the harvest that is our lives.

Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.

Mark 4:28


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Yellow Bird Magnolia

I recently watched a Nature rerun of a look into some of the work of two Papua New Guinean biologists as they tracked and recorded the elaborate mating dances of the various species of the bird of paradise (the feathered variety, not the plants).  Working in the jungles of this remote land does not look easy, and the patience to sit in a blind for days joined only by mosquitoes is not for the faint. However, I am grateful for their tenacity. The dances of the wildly beautiful male birds are stunning.  They spread their wings and strut, puff, sing, and even swing upside down from a nearby branch while flaunting vibrant feathers of every hue, shape, and length.  Some males were so diligent about clearing the dance floor of loose twigs and debris before the big dance that I think we could use one around the house.

However, maybe even more striking for me was the respectful, even tender way the biologists interacted with the tribal members who covet the colorful and dramatic feathers for their own elaborate dances. The study became a way to help the tribes understand how to preserve the headdresses created from the feathers to help alleviate some of the pressure on the bird population today.  Such balancing acts we all need to learn. There is no part of nature that is not under some pressure from human activity, and no doubt, these tribes are experiencing encroachment as well. We humans have a long history of coveting beauty,strength, and land at any cost.  Alas, it seems even dancing can take a toll.

The picture that is attached is not of a bird of paradise, but a yellow bird magnolia.  A friend and colleague helped to identify it.  Over the past few months, I have been surprised at the number of magnolia trees I am seeing in this area of San Leandro.  Photographing the blossoms can be a little tricky.  If the tree is mature, most of the flowers are too high to photograph.  Also, the blossoms are short-lived.  More than once I have kept an eye on an unfolding flower for a day or two, only to return and discover that I missed the apex.  Fortunately, I am left, not with mosquito bites, but the whiff of a slight, sweet fragrance that perhaps is more intense in the hot, humid climate of their native south.  

I understand the wind is expected to shift today, making the day grow hot.  I am grateful for what I have seen, for the next time I am out and about, it will be different.  We cannot control the wind, but maybe we can dance a little more lightly.

God saw how good it was, and God blessed them saying, “Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas; and let the birds multiply on the earth.” 
Genesis 2:22   
For more information on the program, go to this LINK

Yellow Bird Magnolia

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Sunday Mornings

Sunday mornings probably finds most pastors in their study or office.  They may be in prayer or meditation.  They may be reading scripture or a devotional and reviewing their sermons – beautiful and worthy practices. However, my Sunday morning prayer time is often started in the kitchen. Sometimes I bake biscuits or scones. Some mornings I put together a salad, slice some fruit, or make sandwiches.  I do this because at New Community of Faith we gather at the the table for lunch after our service.  To say that our meals are eclectic is an understatement, and I cannot claim they are always nutritionally balanced.  Yet, generally everyone brings something to share, and we often do have a fairly healthy lunch.  However, what really matters is that over this simple meal we talk of things, and the sojourner is always invited to the table.  I think my ministry literally comes to fruition when I say, “Please join us for lunch.  There is plenty.” 

Yet, please do not assume that my time in the kitchen is not prayerful.  I think I have always prayed in the kitchen.  I pray for those the food will feed, and for those who who have succumbed to believing that there is no table for them.  For those who search.  For a world at war.  For sustainable farming.   I give thanks for those who taught me to cook.   I give thanks for pots and pans.  For Moses and Martha.  For Christ.  For learning that cooking always leads to more cooking. That from one meal comes another, and there lies is a profound blessing.      
Blessings on your autumn harvest.  May you find great joy in the receiving and in the sharing.   Let us remember, Christ comes as host, and Christ comes as guest, and everyone, no matter how hungry or thirsty, are always welcome at this table.
Rev. Sue Ann  
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. 
Ezekiel 47:12
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“Humility is about learning your place in the universe, about not making either yourselves or your nation anybody’s god. It is about realizing that we are all equal players in a common project called life.”  – Sister Joan Chittister, “The Radical Christian Life.”   

While we may never completely understand our place in the universe, we can perhaps learn that we do have a place in community.  Come join us as we explore what it means to be a faith community today!  



San Leandro Dahlia Society

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At Silicon Valley Pride 2014

New Community of Faith was there at Discovery Meadow in San Jose for this year’s Silicon Valley Pride Celebration.  Here are a couple of photos:

New Community of Faith at Silicon Valley

Logan Piper

Logan Piper, Church Moderator

Logan Piper, Richard Urbanek, Rev. Donna Smith-Power

Logan Piper, Richard Urbanek, Rev. Dona Smith-Power

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Sunday, August 17th Service

On the 17th, New Community of Faith will be celebrating the Christ among us at Silicon Valley Pride at Discovery Meadow in San Jose.  Come join us! We will have a table set up, and we would love to meet you!

We will be back to our usual schedule and location the following Sunday.

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Myths and Realities About the Holy Land

a Palestinian-American Christian Perspective

Download the PCAP_flyer

Thursday, June 26, 2014
First Baptist Church
305 N. California Avenue, Palo Alto

Special guests Tarek Abuata and Ghassan 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 United States. They believe that achieving peace requires ensuring justice and human rights for Palestinians. American churches can and must play a leading role in advocating for a just peace among all people in the region.

For More Information: donamaysp@sbcglobal.net; marthameyer@sbcglobal.net; jeanettecool@sbcglobal.net

Sponsored by Bright Stars of Bethlehem | Church Council of First Baptist Church, Palo Alto | First Lutheran Church, Palo Alto | Grace Lutheran Church, Palo Alto | Board of Trustees of New Community of Faith, San Jose | Social Justice Ministry of First Presbyterian Church, Palo Alto | St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Palo Alto | University Lutheran Church, Palo Alto | Valley Presbyterian Church, Portola Valley

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Uniting for Justice Conference June 5-8, 2014

unitingforjusticeFellowship of Affirming Ministries
UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns

Oakland Coalition Gathering Flyer Schedule

Oakland, CA, June 5-8
Come for all or part!

Meet Andy Lang, Executive Director of the Coalition
Reception • Thursday, June 5 • 7 pm
First Church Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94704

All other events at
City of Refuge, UCC, 8400 Enterprise Way, Oakland, CA 94621
(very near the Oakland airport)

Pre-Conference: “Story, Connection, Power”
Friday, June 6 • 10 am to 4 pm
In the morning, come for a time of connecting our personal stories with the bigger stories of orientation, gender identity, race, class, ability, justice and more. In the afternoon, we’ll find ways to work together toward a new vision. To know each other is to increase our power! Lunch will be at local restaurants.

Fellowship/Coalition Gathering
Friday evening through Sunday afternoon • June 6–8, 2014
Gathering, worship, workshops, panels, resources, play, connection, performance and celebration on Saturday night. We will end with the City of Refuge’s regular Sunday service beginning at 1:30 pm. Meals will be at local restaurants, except for dinner on Saturday which is an additional $15. No charge for attending only worship on Friday night and/or Sunday afternoon.

Dinner & Celebration
Saturday, June 7, 2014 • 6:30 pm
Food, music and celebration!

Register for all events or just single events or single days at:
Hotels within walking distance to City of Refuge.
Public transportation nearby (BART trains to Berkeley or San Francisco.)
Meals are not included in registration prices.

Organized by Bishop Yvette Flunder, founding pastor of City of Refuge and Presiding Bishop of the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries and Phil Porter, Coalition Moderator and Minister of Art & Communication at First Church Berkeley.

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Rev. Geoffrey Black, UCC President, on landmark marriage law case

A Message from The United Church of Christ General Minister and President

The UCC Files Landmark Lawsuit in North Carolina

The General Synod of the United Church of Christ (UCC) filed a lawsuit, Monday, April 28, 2014 in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, arguing that North Carolina marriage laws limit ministers’ choices, violate the principle of “free exercise of religion” upon which the church is built, and restricts the freedoms of religion and expressive association guaranteed in the First Amendment. Hear a word from the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, on the denomination’s decision to join this landmark case.

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Why Are You Weeping?

But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one by the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been.  And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”    She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.”  John 20:11-13   

Easter is an excellent time to ask ourselves this very question.  Why are we weeping?   Is it because we are trying to hold on to an outdated idea the midst of change?   Are we so focused on an empty tomb that we are not seeing the life that is all around us?    Are we really letting ourselves experience God’s transcending love, or are we clinging to some outdated notion of how our lives should be?   Like Mary, we may have more questions than answers, but also like Mary, we will eventually see.  This is the promise of Easter.       

Mary discovered that Jesus was standing right next to her.  However, this was not the Jesus that she so yearned to see, and he was not going to resume his former role.  He was on the move, and whether we like it or not, so are we.  God is calling us all to new life, and new vistas.  Christ is among us.  Let us rise up and go.

Rev. Sue Ann    


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