Friday, December 23, 2005

New Baby on the Way

Well, Micah and his girl friend Kimberly are expecting. Here the sonogram. Kimbery is sure you can see the face. Teri and I are happy to have another grandbaby on the way. Lily has a new cousin on the way.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Jammin at the open mic

I'm sitting using the free wifi at an open mic that Melia is putting on. Not many people here - so I felt brave enough to sing a few songs. How strange that the few people who were here decided to take that as their que to leave. I seem to have that affect on folks.... I used to play country music but no one could every figure out which country it was from...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Holy Huddles

Someone once criticized Sunday morning worship by calling it a holy huddle. I guess the put down is deserved when a church becomes self-centered and isolated from her community. But when church is Jesus-centered, servant-minded and turned outward towards her community a holy huddle could be a positive thing and a necessary part of being whole and healthy.

In football the huddle is a time for the players to gather behind the scrimmage line in order to plan the next play. In the best sense, Sunday worship is kind of like a holy huddle. A weekly time to gather together all the players on God's team so we can regroup and get the plans for the next play.

Could you imagine what it would be like for a football team if players stepped on to the field without attending the huddle? How could they ever hope to get the ball across the field? How could the coach plan the plays not knowing which players knew the plans or would show for the game?

With this in mind, part of the Faith Promise Card asked Westminster members to make worship and prayer priorities for 2006. I was encouraged to see that out if all the Faith Promise Cards received, 54 individuals pledged to make worship and prayer priorities for 2006. This is a great start, but I would like to see that number increase before the year is over. I'm hoping that at least 200 people would make a commitment to be in worship and to pray for our church in 2006. It is hard to be a winning team, when players miss the huddle. Consider sending a email (, phoning a message (294-7447 X12) or drop a note in the offering basket and let me know that you want Westminster to be winning team and will make worship and prayer priorities in 2006.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Jr High Time

Well, it's 2;26 AM and I just discover a wireless access signal in the Christain Ed building. What am I doing here at 2:30 AM? We are having a fun cool Jr High lock in! We went to see the new Narnia Movie - It was great! Earlier in the day we decorated a room to look like Narnia. The kids had to enter through a wardrobe and we had a lamp post and stone table. The thought it was pretty cool. Right now the girls are in one room watching movies and the guys are in another room playing video games. True jr. high!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Becoming one church with two main languages and many cultures

"For my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." From Is. 56:7

Our congregation is made up of individuals from many different cultures and countries. In 2003, we received a Transforming Church Grant from our denomination to help us grow as a church and explore this wonderful thing that God is doing at Westminster. In 2004, we were able to move Rev. Stella from a non-ordained position to an ordained call to Associate Pastor of Hispanic Ministries. Every Sunday, separate worship services are held in Spanish and English. There are many other Spanish classes and ministries during the week as well.

The goal is not to bring everyone to the same cultural behaviors, but to bring everyone to a more full relationship with God. We are committed to celebrating the differences between the people within the church and seeking to help each person meet God in the setting which they feel most natural.

Some of the activities associated with this effort are:

• Intentionally combine activities with English and Spanish speaking members
o Men’s Breakfast
o Women’s Retreat
o Mother’s Day Dinner
o Cross-Preaching
o Bilingual Services
• Build more leadership from Communidad Latinoamericana for the whole church –Deacons/Elders

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Celebrating Children and Youth, being intergenerational

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them..." From Matthew 19:14

Westminster has always placed high value on children and youth. We see the youth and children of the church as part of the body of Christ today, and the core of the church tomorrow. Over the next year, there will be an intentional emphasis on building Westminster's youth ministry.

Along with the value given to the children and youth of the church is a desire for healthy connections between all age groups. WPC has a strong belief that the older members of the church have valuable insights for the younger, and that activities and programs that encourage contact and cooperation among older and younger members of the church are beneficial to the vitality and growth of the whole church.

Some of the activities associated with this effort:

• New youth director for Jr. and Sr. High
• Develop volunteer staff for youth programs
• Fix-up CE Building
o Nursery remodeled
o Playground remodeled
o Bathrooms remodeled (3 more)
o Carpets in 2 rooms (3yr. old & computer room)
• Intentional intergenerational programming

Monday, November 07, 2005

Reaching out to others by showing God’s love in practical ways

"Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth" 1 John 3:18

We desire to reach out in a way that will allow and encourage open conversations about how God loves us.

Some of the activities associated with this effort are:

• Servant Evangelism outreaches
• A church-wide philosophy of ministry that focuses on practical applications of faith

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Becoming a faithful partner with our neighborhood

"The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood." From John 1:14, The Message

Westminster is actively involved with many of the neighborhood associations, business associations, and volunteer groups operating in the same community as the church building. Many of these groups currently use the Westminster facilities for meetings. Neighborhood involvement is a response to God's call to be good stewards of the world. It is also a way to live out God's command to love our neighbors. As Westminster takes seriously its commitment to the local community, all church members will be inspired to be good stewards in their own local communities.

Some of the activities associated with this effort are:

• Create a greater awareness in the congregation of WPC's community involvement.
• Further a common understanding of the Biblical basis for community involvement
• Increase Westminster’s visibility in the neighborhood
• Making our property more attractive and accessible

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Yoda's Parents

Here is Yoda Baby with her Star Wars parents!

Yoda Baby

I'm interrupting all this church talk to post a picture of my granddaughter as Yoda.

Inspiring personal outreach in our own communities and around the world

"You are the light of the world….let your light shine…" From Matthew 5:14 –16

One statement from a town hall meeting was something like this:
" I see a big emphasis on the church reaching out to its local community, but where do I learn how to reach out to
my friends and my community? "

One of the primary ways we see God working through Westminster is in the actions of church members reaching out to their neighbors.

Westminster is called to provide the training we each need to effectively reach out to our neighbors and show God’s love to those around us. A picture of this ministry would show the members of our church spread out through all of the neighborhoods in which we live and work, each individually reaching out to the people we know.

Some of the activities associated with this effort are:

• Making worship and prayer a priority
• Short Term Missions program
• Strategy to assimilate new people
• Leadership Training program
• Small Group Ministry

2006 WPC Vision

"So that the follower of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." From 2 Timothy 3:17

Over the last two years, there has been a deliberate effort to seek out God’s will for our church. This has included the work of the Vision Team formed in 2004, a series of Town Hall meetings with the congregation, and a large portion of the Session activities during 2005. Church leaders have been seeking God's leading, listening to you, and searching their hearts to discover what God is doing in the midst of our church. Early on in the process the session decided not to cast their own visions and ask God to bless what they wanted to do. Instead, the session has been seeking to discover what God is already doing because it is blessed already.

The results of this effort have been summarized in the following description of the primary objective of the church for the near term:


This vision comes directly from our mission statement and grows out of two presuppositions that are core values of Westminster. The first is a firm belief that all people have a God-given purpose in life. The second is the conviction that God calls the church to equip and inspire people to answer that call. The qualifying words, "of all ages,” speak to our commitment to seeing everyone of any age as a vital part of God's church.

I'll be blogging the descriptions of the major objectives and characteristics of the planned ministry of Westminster, and a set of specific goals for Westminster for the next 12-16 months.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Heading Home

We were happy that Dad could be near home for the rehab part. They sent a van and transported him to Placerville.

Sitting Up and Walking

The big challenge was to get up and walk!

Post Op

Here is dad on the the leg exercise machine and some other post-op pictures

See the surgery

This link (click on "see the surgery")shows great pictures of an actual knee replacement

When you ge there click on the photos link - unless you have a great amount of spare time and want to perform a virtual surgery...

At the hospital

As we waited the doctors came in ant marked Dad's legs and explained the prodcedure.

Dad's Surgery Day One

Here we are getting ready to go to the hospital at about 5:30 AM

Monday, May 16, 2005

Another baptism picture


Lily Mann was baptised last Sunday. It was Pentcost Sunday and the Holy Spirit was with us as we worshipped! Melia and Micah renewed their baptisms and promised to raise Lily in the faith and teach her about Jesus. The congregation stood and promised the same. Lily smiled as I carried her around and showed her off to everyone. It was a great day!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

I came across this web site that sells "de-motivational" materials. It is a tongue in cheek response to companies that sell motivational materials such posters, plaques and cups with sayings that are designed to inspire. This company,, designs the same sort of items, but they are designed to discourage. Their poster product lines have names like: Team Breakers, Positive Negations, and Megalomaniacal Maxims. I found the collection to be quite amusing. But then, you know me…

One poster struck me in a way that was never intended by the designer. The poster pictured a beautiful close up of one drop of water plopping gracefully into a serene placid pool. The title read, "Irresponsibility: No one raindrop believes it is to blame for the flood."

As I was smiling, I thought about attendance at worship. I imagine that no one is surprised that a pastor's thoughts would flow in that direction. It occurred to me how wonderful it is to worship in a church that is full and well attended. There is an enthusiasm and spiritual life in a well-attended worship service that rises and grows like a refreshing, renewing, flowing flood. Would that every Sunday would be as well attended as Easter Sunday!

I think most of us choose to attend worship by determining what we might get out of attending worship. Will we like the music? What will the sermon be about? Will I get something out of it? The poster from Despair.Inc made me think that we also come to worship to contribute to the whole worship experience by being a part of it. I doubt if anyone person attending feels responsible for the flood, but we are. Each person who makes that decision to get up, get dressed and attends worship joins with the next and makes up the congregation each Sunday. Together we are the body of Christ and each individual member contributes to the wholeness of Christ's body. Together our praises rise up like a flood. And no one raindrop believes it is to blame for the flood, but it is! Hope to see you Sunday at 10:30 AM. It won't be the same without you.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Seminary 20th Reunion

Here are some pictures from the 20th Anniversary of the class 1985 at SFTS.

Somewhere I have the same pose from 20 years ago - I must find it. We were thinner and had more hair!

Scott Hall

This is a watercolor by Nancy Chinn of Scott Hall pictured above.

View of Montgomery Chapel from the top of the hill.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


I don't know why, but I just changed my web page and blog to Orange. What do you think?
Was blue better?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Men's Breakfast

We had a great turn out at the men's breakfast. We are studying Ps 15. The Women of Communidad Latino Americana cooked us a great mexican breakfast.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Westminster in the News!

From the Rosegarden Resident:
Westminster Church keeps its food drive going on a year-round basis
By Mary Gottschalk

Hunger isn't seasonal, which is the reason Mary Fatula and the congregation at Westminster Presbyterian Church collect food for Second Harvest Food Bank on a year-round basis.

On the first Sunday of each month, those attending services at the Shasta Avenue church are encouraged to bring food and place it on the steps in front of the Communion table.

"We try to make it such a huge pile of food that the elders can't make it up to serve Communion," Fatula jokes.

Donations have yet to prevent people from getting to Communion, but occasionally it is difficult to get to the table.

The efforts by Westminster members were recognized at a ceremony Feb. 16 where Fatula accepted Second Harvest's Community Champion Trophy for the highest total donation in the 250-and-less participants category.

The trophy, which is actually a plaque, honored the 3,496 pounds of food and $1,175 donated by Westminster members in 2004--food and money that goes to an average of 163,500 people in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties each month.

"Mary has been a champion for us getting food to Second Harvest," says Steve Norman, pastor of Westminster. "She writes up announcements every month to remind people."

Fatula's announcements go beyond simple announcements. Each month she makes a presentation, offering a theme for the month.

"I have some silly thing I say about it," she says.

For February she carried a large bowl to the Communion table and said, "When I think of Super Bowl, I think of soup."

She then asked congregants to bring cans of soup for Second Harvest in February.

In January, she suggested oatmeal and for March she says she's thinking green and asking for green vegetables in honor of St. Patrick.

Fatula doesn't want to limit donations to just one type of food, but says she finds making suggestions makes it easier for people to remember and participate.

She keeps a list of the foods most wanted and needed, which she's happy to share with anyone who asks.

At Christmas, she pretended to go through a long list of things to do and gifts to buy; then, she says, "I crumpled it up and said, 'Forget that list. I have the list of most needed foods.' "

She then urged the congregation to fill a grocery bag with items from the Second Harvest list.

Westminster's participation in the food drive is now in its fifth year, and Fatula has headed the effort from the start, watching donations rise each year.

In 2000 the congregation collected 601 pounds of food; in 2001 it was 2,811 and in 2003 it was 3,320.

Companies such as Cypress Semiconductor, Cisco Systems and Applied Materials dominate the annual recognition ceremony, although there is a category for schools and community groups.

"I look over who gets the special awards, and most times it's companies--a lot of really big companies that give huge amounts of food," Fatula says. "Most times, it was a holiday food drive. We are one of the few organizations that do it year-round, and it feels good."

When church services end, Fatula and others put the donated food into the barrels left for them by Second Harvest, which comes by once a month to pick up full barrels and leave empty ones.

Fatula says the church averages two to 21Ž2 barrels a month, but some months they collect enough to fill four barrels.

Fatula welcomes donations from the community at large and says they may be dropped off at the church during the day.

Westminster Presbyterian Church is located at 1100 Shasta Ave. at The Alameda. The church office telephone is 408.294.7447.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

More about stealing garbage

I'm still concerned about my garbage being stolen. I did a google search on the subject to see if other folks have had their garbage stolen or maybe confessions of garbage stealers. I found nothing about stealing garbage. I found many comments about stealing garbage cans. It seems like there is a lot of garbage can stealing going on, but not much about stealing the garbage and leaving the can. I'm thinking about setting at trap next week to catch the garbage thief, if he/she strikes again. Possibly a rat trap on top of the garbage. Any other ideas?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Strange things...

I had a strange thing happen last night. Someone stole my garbage! I put the trash out at 9 PM and then later decided to dump the cat litter box and went out front to the garbage can and it was empty.... I checked the neighbor’s trash at 4 different homes and they had full trash cans. I’m not sure if it is the FBI, CIA, A crazy person or terrorists.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Experiencing God's call

I'm preaching this week on how we experience God's calling in our lives. How do we know when God is calling us? The Bible text is Samuel's call. He heard God's voice so clearly that he thought it was Eli, but it was God calling his name.
What would it be like to hear God's call as clear as Samuel did? I wonder why we don't hear God like that very often. In the scripture it says that, " In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions." It also says that Samuel didn't recognize the Lord's voice because " Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him."

I wonder if the reason we don't hear from God is because the word of the Lord and visions are rare in these days or because we don't know God very well and so we don't recognize his voice?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Cool Cartoon


Invocation in·vo·ca·tion n
1. a calling upon a greater power such as God or a spirit for help
2. a short prayer forming part of a religious service
3. the act of calling upon or quoting something such as a law as a reason or justification
4. a casting of a spell in an attempt to make an evil spirit appear, or the spell itself

At a recent church committee meeting the leader began his opening prayer, "O Lord, we call you into our presence."

It was an ordinary enough prayer and I'm sure it was well intentioned, but it struck me as very odd. Should we call God into our presence or should we be called to acknowledge that we are in the presence of God?

But what about all those scriptures about calling on the name of the Lord?