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Advent and Christmas: From Generation to Generation

The Christmas story is about the stories of different people coming together to enact a big thing: the coming of a savior to the world. As we read through and study the scriptures in this season, we come to a line from Mary’s song of protest and praise:

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
(Luke 1: 48b-50)

Despite the challenges and vulnerability, she faced, Mary could glimpse the scale and scope of the good news she was part of bringing forth. This good news transcends time and space—it was and is bigger than just her. Christ is coming for collective liberation: God’s redemption is at work for years to come. Therefore, the promise is meant to be lived out and passed on from
generation to generation.

This season we will invite you on a journey. We invite you to look at the characters in our scriptures and wonder: What did each character pass on or contribute? How did each character participate in God’s liberation and love? Which characters try to thwart God’s justice and what can we learn from them? What is our role now? What is our generation’s task? What will we carry forth, and what should we leave behind? The root word of “generation” is “gen” meaning “origin” or “birth.” Our theme is also a call to action: what are we being called to generate or bring forth? What have your ancestors and those who have come before you passed on for you to continue? Who are the spiritual elders in our community who planted the seeds for the things that are now blooming? What seeds are you planting for the future?

From Generation to Generation… reminds us of the ways our lives, histories, actions, and stories are interconnected and woven together. In the midst of narratives, policies, and rhetoric designed to divide us, what does it look like to practice belonging to one another? The work of God is always unfolding— in and through us. This Advent season, how will we carry it forth?

Sunday December 3rd: There’s Room for Every Story” Through the lens of the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1, we’ll take a look at how our individual and corporate stories intertwine with the God story of the Bible

Sunday December 10th: “God Meets Us in Our Fear” We will reflect on Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel in Luke 1 as we today face times of uncertainty and fear and are also called upon to trust in God.

Sunday December 17th: “We See God in Each Other” Further along in Luke 1, we read of the encounter between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth. In this moment of profound solidarity, Mary and Elizabeth see the divine in one another. From generation to generation, we can see how God is at work in our relationships.

Sunday December 24th (morning): “We Can Choose a Better Way” We look at the story of Christmas in Matthew 1 and reflect on how Joseph chose the better way of grace and inclusion. We will reflect on how God calls us to choose the better way today.

Seven Marks of Vital Church Communities

New Worship Series and Bible Study begins on Sunday, October 8th

The Holy Spirit’s power is constantly changing, reforming, and revitalizing the Church. This worship and Bible Study series will use scripture to examine our in such transitional work. We will read, study, and discuss texts related to seven positive indicators (referred to as marks of congregational vitality) that communities of faith can possess. Along the way, we’ll examine:

1. Lifelong Discipleship Formation (Acts 2:42-47)

2. Intentional Authentic Evangelism (John 4:1-41)

3. Outward Incarnational Focus (Romans 12:1-21)

4. Empower Servant Leadership (John 13:1-20)

5. Spirit-Inspired Worship (Isaiah 6:1-8)

6. Caring Relationships (Galatians 6:1-10)

7. Living a Wholehearted Faith (Mark 12:28-34)

Adjusted In-Person Gathering Rules Approved by Session

The Session has approved at their May meeting adjusting our in-person COVID protocols as of Monday, May 22, 2023. We will make wearing masks optional for gathering indoors at the church.

We made this decision based on the reduced risk levels in the Bay Area, and the fact that practices of mandated mask wearing is largely gone in our community, even in medical settings.

Please note that we will continue other aspects for in-person gathering, including:
• Taking individual attendance at each event by the organizer/convener
• Asking that any attendee report to the church if they acquire COVID so we can let others know to test
Finally, this is an adjustment of our practice at this time. If circumstances change, we will adjust our practice accordingly.

PS – We recognize and support anyone who continues to mask at the church.


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