CUPC NEWSLETTER // January 2017

pastor's pen | from the session | announcement

PASTOR'S PEN/// Following the Light of the World in the New Year

"In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, 'Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.'"
- Matthew 2:1-2 (New Revised Standard Version)

Happy New Year! I pray and hope that 2017 will be a joyous and peaceful year for all of you reading this.

One of the things I appreciate about the beginning of the year (in addition to all the 'traditional' things like Japanese New Years food, special gathering with family/friends, etc.) is that one of the first special days in the liturgical (church) calendar is Epiphany. Every year, January 6 marks the ending of Christmastide and celebrates the arrival of the magi who traveled from the East to worship Jesus. Traditionally, we call them the 'three kings/wise men' but the number of the visitors is not mentioned in the biblical text (it's based on the number of gifts they brought), and they were probably more like astronomers/astrologers who studied the skies and stars instead of kings or magicians as we know them today.

In any case, I am very fond of one of the messages that the story of these magi bring to us at the beginning of the new calendar year. The Epiphany story tells us that the magi discovered and followed the light of a new star all the way from 'the East' to Judea where Jesus was. They followed the sign of what they saw to be a new king, a new realm coming into being. They pursued this light until they found it.

We celebrated the birth of the 'Light of the World', Jesus, last month at Christmas. As we have entered into the new year, Epiphany reminds us that we shouldn't stop with just the celebration of the cute baby Jesus in the manger. Like the magi, we need to follow and pursue this Light who has come, who showed us what it meant to live a life full of faith, justice and peace. And as we follow the Light, we are then called to reflect that Light to those around us.

Many people make 'New Year resolutions', marking the beginning of something that will happen anew. People look toward the year in anticipation for acquiring a new skill or achieve a goal. Perhaps, as those who follow Christ and his ways, could our first resolution (at least spiritually) be one that seeks and follows the 'Light of the World', wherever it may take us? And as we seek and follow, could the second resolution be to reflect that Light, wherever we are placed?

May God lead us as we enter into a new year, giving us the will and strength to follow Jesus, the Light of the World. May we then go out and reflect that Light to the various places that hold darkness around us. And may we together, with God's power, make this world a little brighter, ushering in the new realm of Christ coming into being.

Seeking to follow and reflect the Light together,
Pastor Grace Kaori


pastor's pen | moments from CUPC session | announcement

FROM THE SESSION///

The session, acted on the following items on December 11, 2016:
  1. Approved to dismiss the membership of Douglas and Kaeko Inori to San Lorenzo Japanese Christian Church.
  2. Approved to make the pianist position permanent.
Everyone is invited to attend our regular session meetings. The next regular session meeting is on January 22, 2017. If you are interested in how the session, our governing body, discusses ministry at CUPC, please come and join us! You are also welcome to read the minutes, which are public documents. The minutes are available in the church office.


pastor's pen | moments from CUPC session | announcement

CUPC

ANNOUNCEMENT//

COMMUNITY MEETINGS

Please calendar January 15 (Sun) and February 5 (Sun) as dates for you to attend community meetings to provide input for our main kitchen and bathroom renovations. They will be held at 11:45am in the Social Hall, immediately after coffee fellowship. Please see Chris H. or Pastor Grace if you have any questions.

While we have secured funding for this major renovation, it will be necessary for us to work around the public school schedule. Our renter's, Nihonmachi Little Friends, calendar coincides with that of the school district. For that reason, we anticipate a start date of the week of May 29th, after Memorial Day, when school will be out of session.

The exterior of our building is also in need of repairs. We are hoping to address those repairs during the week of spring break. We will share more specific information as those plans are finalized.

SPECIAL PRESENTATION

Please come and join us for the special presentation and discussion with Sumbul Ali-Karamali co-hosted by LIFT and Social Justice Outreach Ministry Area on Sunday, January 29, from 12:30 pm at CUPC. Ms. Ali-Karamali will share her experiences of growing up as a Muslim American in US, as well as debunk popular myths that people hold toward Islam/Muslims. If you wish more details, please see Sandy L, Alex K. or Jeff L.

MEN'S GROUP

Please come to our next bible study on Saturday, Feb 11th at 9am. Pastor Ron Chin will be talking about his book Waiting on God in a High-Speed Culture. You can buy his book when he speaks or order it online at amazon.com. Pastor Ron worked in the Silicon Valley for a number of years before being called into the ministry.

Also, please join us on Saturday, Feb 18th at Harding Park for a round of golf at 9am. We'll start with the driving range practice and then tee off at the Fleming par 3 course. If you wish more details, please contact Rod S.