News Letter: August 27, 2014

unique Christian community bound by God’s love, sharing our love with others

St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church

St. Paul’s Weekly E-Newsletter

 Contemporary Jazz Service this Sunday

This Sunday is the fifth Sunday in August and as is our tradition AMPT will be leading in worship.  Howlett Smith will be back on the organ and keyboard this week and we have organized a service of contemporary, religious jazz music, prayer and meditation.  Please bring your friends and plan to attend.

A Prayer for (Honest-to God) Work

Great God, you are wind in the dark, fire on the far hill, cold water in a desert time: we have always known that we are all on the stormy heath. We have always known that justice without a roof is no justice at all; that a justice with no walls is a travesty; that a justice nailed to thin air is a desecration of the human heart.

There is, after all, only one family in the long view— the view from the eye of God, which looks to every corner of earth. No child lives outside of our care, when human hearts beat within us— the ones you gave us, so like your own. Come, spirit of God, spirit of love, spirit of kindness spirit of tenderness, spirit of generosity, spirit of justice… mighty spirit of all prophets in all times. Call us alive to a work worthy of us and you.  Amen

Engaging Faithfully in Cultures of Violence


“Engaging Faithfully in Reconciliation and Peacemaking in Cultures of Violence” is a mission event being sponsored by Pacific Presbytery on September 27th at Knox Presbyterian Church from 8:30 am to 2:25 pm. The cost is a recommended donation of  $15 and child care will be provided. If you have questions or to register go to or call (310) 670-5076.

Is your pledge paid up?

We know how easy it is during the summer to forget to pay your pledge, so please make sure that your pledge to St. Paul’s is paid and up to date.  Thanks so much for your support!

Part 122

Being Presbyterian

Part A:  A Social Creed for the 21st Century  was actually written in 1908 to address the harsh practices in early 20th Century industrialization.  It is based on John 10:10 which states, “. . . That all may have life, and have it abundantly.”  This creed was approved by our General Assembly in 2008.

Inspired by Isaiah’s vision of a “peaceable kingdom,” we honor the dignity of every person and the intrinsic value of every creature, and pray and work for the day when none “labor in vain or bear children for calamity.” (Isaiah 65:23).

The creed contains three sections . The first celebrates the full humanity of each woman, man and child, all created in the divine image as individuals of infinite worth, by working for full civil, political and economic rights for all; no forced labor, human trafficking or exploited children; employment for all; the rights of workers to organize and share in workplace decisions; protection from dangerous working conditions and benefits that would enable full family life;  and a system of criminal rehabilitation, based on restorative justice and an end to the death penalty.

Next week we will explore the second section which lifts up the deep connections of our human family and the following week we will cover the third section which makes a pledge for us to be peacemakers in the world and stewards of God’s good creation.   You can read more at

The national Self Development of People (SDOP) committee will be meeting in LA on September 20th for a Partnership Day.  If you know of an agency that would qualify for SDOP funding, please let them know about this.

Do You Know the Bible?

Answers to last weeks questions:  (1) Stephen (2) seven (3) They blew trumpets and smashed jars. (4) ravens (5) eight years old (6) Daniel

  1. What town did Joseph and Mary live in when the angel Gabriel visited them?
  2. On what day of creation did God create humanity?
  3. To whom did Jesus first appear after his resurrection?
  4. Which disciple said, “Show us the father and it will be enough for us”  while talking to Jesus?
  5. How long did it take for Nehemiah and the other Israelites to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem?
  6. What was God’s sign of promise to Noah about never flooding the whole earth again?


News Letter August 22, 2014

St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church        

Christian community bound by God’s love, sharing our love with others

St. Paul’s Weekly E-Newsletter

“Giving Gifts”  Is this Week’s Sermon Title

This week’s lectionary sermon text is a familiar passage from Romans 12:1-8.  Our guest organist this week will once again be Robert Galbreath.


Habitat for Humanity Building In Southern California

I am thankful to Roche Vermaak from Brentwood Presbyterian Church for the following information.  Here is a great way to get involved in mission beyond our own walls:
We have a FREE Habitat for Humanity build day on Thursday September 11 in Lynwood from 9-3:30. 9/11 is the National Day

Please email Chris (email below) if you can join us. Blessings,  Roché

From Habitat: We are in need of volunteers on September 11 on the build site in Lynwood. For more information or to volunteer email to confirm a spot. There is no charge for participating.

The 2014 Directory Is Now Available

We are indebted to Elders Frank Millin and Lois Hines for updating St. Paul’s Directory.  The latest edition of this will be available Sunday at worship.  Please remember to pick up your copy.

St. Paul’s sexton, Veronica Casillas, is recovering nicely from surgery and is very appreciative of the cards and best wishes for her recovery.  We are indebted to her husband and family for taking on her job during her absence.  She has been cleared by her doctor to return to work on September 8th. 

Part-time Weekend Janitor

St. Paul’s in currently looking for a part-time (3 hours) weekend janitor.  For more information or an application call the church office. 

Make sure that “Embracing God’s Mission” is on your calendar for September 27th at Knox Presbyterian Church.  This event sponsored by Pacific Presbytery will take an in-depth look at violence and how the church can both prevent and respond to violence in our families, schools and communities.  RSVP at

Part 121

Being Presbyterian

Our newsletter is late this week because I was attending a meeting of the Seminary Support Network in Chicago during the first half of the week.  Presbyterians take education very seriously (we touched on this a couple of weeks ago as our students started returning to school.)

It is understood throughout most of the Christian Reformed traditions that our clergy will be well trained.  For most that means an M.Div. degree — a Masters of Divinity.  Presbyterians maintain a network of ten seminaries to accomplish this task:

Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Columbia Theological Seminary

University of Dubuque Theological Seminary

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary

McCormick Theological Seminary

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Princeton Theological Seminary

San Francisco Theological Seminary

Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary

Union Presbyterian Seminary

I invite you to keep these institutions, their faculty and staff and their students in your prayers as a new school year begins.



Do You Know the Bible?

Answers to last week’s questions:  (1) over nine feet tall (2) sycamore (3) “Let my people go.” (4) Peter (5) Jonathon (6) Aaron.

Which of Jesus’ followers was stoned to death, becoming the first Christian martyr for Jesus Christ?

How many days did Joshua and the Israelites march around Jericho until the walls fell down?

How did Gideon’s army win against the Midianites?

What types of birds brought food and water to Elijah?

How old was Josiah when he became king of Judah?

Who was thrown into a den of lions?


News Letter August 13, 2014


St. Paul’s Weekly E-Newsletter


Catherine Hughes to Preach this Sunday

Rev. Catherine Hughes will preach this Sunday at St. Paul’s.  Her text will be Matthew 15:21-28 and her sermon title is “Hang in There.”  Robert Galbreath will once again be the guest organist for our worship service.


The ministry and mission of the Presbytery of the Pacific is as varied as the people and cultures that inhabit its communities.  On Saturday, September 27th from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. a mission event titled “Engaging Faithfully in Reconciliation and Peacemaking in Cultures of Violence” will be held at Knox Presbyterian Church.  All are invited to attend this event and explore ways of “embracing God’s mission.”  The cost is $15.  Childcare will be provided and you can register at


Summer Traveling Mercies

Some of us are already headed back to school while others of us are getting in a last minute summer trip.  Last Sunday we prayed for several folks from St. Paul’s who were traveling; my cousin is in Spain and my brother and his wife have just returned from a trip to Alaska.  As the summer winds down and we begin to get ready for our busy fall schedules let us pray for safety and protection on our journeys, where ever they may take use.

Most gracious God, as I explore your creation be my companion, guide and protector during my journey.  Keep me from all danger, misfortune and temptation.  By your divine power grant me a peaceful and successful journey and safe arrival.  In you I place my hope and trust and I gratefully thank you for your daily presence and protection in my life.  Amen.

Culver City Blues

Culver City Presbyterian Church is hosting a showing of the film “The Blues of South L.A.,” lunch and a jam session this Sunday starting with worship at 10:30 a.m.  It is free and all are welcome

Being Presbyterian                                                                                                          Part 120

As we approach the beginning of the new school year I thought is appropriate to reflect a bit on the churches understanding of education.  Presbyterians/Reformed Christians take educational mission seriously.  We value information and education, learning about the world and how it functions.  We value vocational education, developing God-given talents in order to fulfill the vocation to which we have been called.  And fundamentally we value transformational education, as the Brief Statement of Faith says: “The Spirit gives us courage…to witness to Christ as Lord and Savior, to unmask idolatries in church and culture, to hear the voices of people long silenced, and to work with others for justice, freedom and peace.”

Education is one of the hallmarks of the Reformed tradition.  From Calvin’s Geneva, to John Knox’s dictum for all of Scotland,” a school in every parish,” to American and all parts of the world, education has been and continues to be a central feature of Presbyterian/Reformed ministry.

Presbyterian/Reformed churches have always looked to the Bible as the foundation for all matters of faith and practice.  Therefore it is to the Bible that these churches have turned for guidance in shaping the spirit, strategy and content in ministry of education.  In studying the Scriptures we see that education has great importance for the people of both the Old and the New Testament.  To learn more visit:


News Letter July 23, 2014

A unique Christian community bound by God’s love, sharing our love with others                                                                                                                                                                                                                        July 23, 2014


St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church

Worship in Fellowship Hall this Week

We will worship one more week in the Fellowship Hall as our sanctuary continues to be refurbished.  We are going to be talking about the Kingdom of God this week and will be using the parable of the mustard seed told by Jesus in Matthew 13:31-33.  Michelle Dixon will be serving as the Lay Liturgist and this will be the Chancel Choir’s last Sunday before their August break.




 Transformational Ministry in the City

Lets start with the word transform: a. to change in composition or structure, b. to change the outward form or appearance of, c. to change in character or condition.

Yes, it is about change. There is no getting around it. So, church and transformation together is about the church changing. No, this is not change for change sake. This is about change for God’s sake and the world’s sake. Notice this does not say for our sake. Church is not about us, it is about God’s work in the world. Therein is a major insight into one of the ways we need to change!!Of course, it is somewhat about us, but only as we are in service to God’s redeeming work through Jesus Christ in the world.

The impetus for transformation comes from the realization that things have changed (and are changing) in the world enough that the church has got to pay attention. The day of the professional minister is over. The day of the missionary pastor has come. The day of the churched culture is over. The day of the mission field has come. The day of the local church is over. The day of the mission outpost has come.  What does all of this hold for St. Paul’s?

 Have you turned in your survey?

Two weeks ago the session invited you all to lunch following worship and asked you to fill out a survey.  We really appreciate your participation in this and we thank you for your cooperation.  Now, it seems that some of you took the survey home and we need to get those back, so if you have the survey in your possession please fill it out and bring it back this Sunday.  Session is eager to pull together the information gathered in this questionnaire.  If you didn’t get a copy of the survey and you would like to fill one out, call the church office and one will be sent to you.


Congregational Meeting

There will be a brief congregational meeting following worship this Sunday for the sole purpose of changing our by-laws from two (2) to three (3) years for the length of term elders and deacons serve.

 Part 117

Being Presbyterian


There has been much in the news about the conflict in Palestine and Israel these past two weeks.  The Presbyterian Church has had a presence in this area in the form of two international missionaries.  Let me introduce them:

Jake Fraser is a member of St. Columba by-the-Lake Presbyterian Church in Pointe-Claire, Quebec. Jake spent three months in 2013 in Jayyus, a village along the Israeli West Bank barrier. Jake graduated in 2013 with an Honours degree in International Studies from Bishop’s University in Quebec. Jake wrote of his experience in Jayyus: “It’s hard to believe how much my life has changed.”

Magan Haycock, a member of Calvin Presbyterian Church in Abbotsford, BC, served in Tulkarm from November until February 2014. Tulkarm is a Palestinian town in the northwest corner of the West Bank. Magan graduated in 2013 with an Honours degree majoring in Political Sciences from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Let us keep this area in our prayers!

Do You Know the Bible?

The answers to last weeks questions:  (1) John, (2) six, (3) two by two, (4) twelve, (5) in a fiery furnace, (6) twenty shekels.

  1. How many commandments did God give to Moses?
  2. In which book of the Bible will you find the story of Adam and Eve?
  3. Who went to heaven in a chariot of fire?
  4. God told Abraham that his offspring would be as numerous as what two things?
  5. Who told David to flee from King Saul?
  6. Which prophet anointed Davis as King?




Home Study July 20, 2014

All readings for the Week
Genesis 28:10-19a with Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24 or
Wisdom of Solomon 12:13, 16-19 or Isaiah 44:6-8
Psalm 86:11-17
Romans 8:12-25
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Focus Questions
1. Have you ever found yourself “in a limbo of [your] own making”?

2. When have you found God in “unexpected places”? How did that feel?

3. Do you ever make promises to God, in gratitude or perhaps for persuasion?

4. How do you think our scientific age deals with dreams and their spiritual meanings?

5. What dreams matter most to you, and to all of us?

All alone in this limbo, full of anxiety, and exhausted from his journey, Jacob settles into the vulnerability of sleep, and the dream of heaven and earth before him in that “unplace.” That is exactly where God comes to meet Jacob in “unexpected places” (the theme of the 2015 UCC General Synod, by the way), to talk with him, and to renew the promises that have been given to his grandparents and parents before him. Our colorful history and misdeeds matter not one bit when God decides to call, or better, when God comes looking for us, perhaps even pursuing us. Taylor writes: “Jacob is nowhere, which is where the dream touches down–not where it should be but where he is.”
There is the dream, and there is the interpretation of the dream. Many scholars connect Jacob’s vision of heavenly beings, messengers perhaps, going up and down a ladder to heaven, with the Babylonian ziggurats that the biblical authors would have known well. Richard Pervo writes imaginatively of the “Babylonian temples, with a penthouse apartment for the god and a ground-level chamber for formal receptions,” but–speaking of imagination–Greidanus invites us to picture the response of the people of Israel, in exile in Babylon and so far from home, when they heard these promises of God’s unfailing presence to Jacob (and his descendants, surely), no matter where they go. After all, in a little while, Jacob’s name will even be changed to “Israel,” which surely must have touched the homesick exiles in their deepest hearts.

There is a tension for people of faith in our love for our places of worship, our sacred spaces. While Holly Hearon claims that “God is not associated, ultimately, with place, but in relationship and promise,” we embodied creatures do experience God in places that we can feel, places that we can cherish, places that evoke memories, places that we mourn when they are destroyed. I remember a scene in the movie “Romero,” when the church is destroyed and the people are devastated, and the archbishop walks bravely back in to recover the Eucharist. That is an embodied and sacred experience. In a similar way, so is the sorrow of my friend, whose childhood church and place of her ordination is now closed and for sale.

Terence Fretheim writes beautifully about our need to create places of worship, “because human beings are shaped by place as well as time.” Thinking back to Jacob and thousands of other ancestors who wandered, who were led, who were taken in exile, who went on pilgrimage, we find his words inspiring for us, too, their descendants in faith: “The rhythms of the ancestors include the rhythm of journeying and worship; their journeys are punctuated by moments of worship at specific places. Yet the place never becomes a final objective, where one settles in; it provides sustenance for the ongoing journey.” One of my favorite images for the church is that of a “base camp,” where we are fed and rested for the journey outside its walls, but I must acknowledge that we are prone at times to see ourselves always at work, or to be constantly reminding ourselves dutifully of the need to work, and we miss the encounters with God that may happen at any time, anywhere, in so many places of blessing. Devotion by Kate Huey.  Read more at: