Special Studay Coming

DON'T MISS OUT!!!!!

"Saving Jesus Redux " is a 12-session video exploration of a credible Jesus for the 21st Century. It's about the relevance of Jesus for us today. This new study begins on Monday evening, January 10th at 7 pm on Zoom only.  Christy will send out the Zoom link weekly.

The basic format for each (approximate hour) session includes conversation around a 30-minute video, provided readings and a guided discussion. There are 12 major themes for the study. The first week's theme is an Intro: Jesus Through the Ages. Other themes include for example: "What Can We Know About Jesus (And How)?" "Jesus' Ministry of Compassion." And, "Why Jesus is Worth Saving." All 12 themes look interesting and thought provoking.

So join us on Zoom, Monday evening January 10th at 7 pm. 

Conversation on the Unhoused Population in Vallejo

On Thanksgiving Sunday, Patrick, an unhoused neighbor of ours was found killed on our doorstep. Many of us were not only heartbroken at the situation, but also carry guilt over not having the resources to help this gentlemen long before this occurred. We know that we could only do what was in our power, which was not much, but it doesn't have to be this way. This horrible incident has awakened our souls to the fact that we can no longer be silent and complacent on the issue of homelessness. It is dangerous and inhumane to sit back while people are on the street without the safety of shelter. The only way to move forward is to turn this situation into something positive. So what is a good first step?

On January 9th after the church service we will be meeting with Dionne Carter, the new Executive Director of the organization Vallejo Together, to discuss options for us to become more involved in helping our unhoused community. Vallejo Together's mission is to foster change, awaken hope and offer opportunities to neighbors and families impacted by homelessness and related crises. They fulfill this mission by bringing together and collaborating with community members, leaders and organizations to provide vital services and solutions.

We met with Dionne a couple weeks ago and found out about some dynamic projects they are working on. There are several ways we might be able to help. There is volunteering with one of the local shelters or food distributors. There is an Interfaith Council being formed between area churches in an effort to support each other. There are training sessions available to learn about who our homeless population is, and how to interact humanely with them. Vallejo Together will also be working on long term solutions on finding stable affordable living situations for the homeless community. Common Ground has been attending meetings regarding this as well. There is a real energy in Vallejo Together right now, and we should not let it pass us by.                                                                                                  

Bakeoff Report

The Great Common Ground Bake Off Dessert Auction is complete! The planning committee would like thank everyone who baked, donated, ate, cleaned, and played bingo! All of your help has paid off and we raised over $1700!

This money will go into the general fund which will help pay the salaries, teaching, training and insight of our organizers and for our membership in IAF. Common Ground is owned and run by us, its members. We are the leaders and the ones who decide on the issues we want to work on. We need to sustain our power-building activities so we can expand on what we have already achieved and to continue our work in the future. 


There is always time to donate more! Perhaps you were out bid on a dessert? Well, you can still donate that amount to the fund. Or maybe you just want to make a personal commitment to our work. Please go to http://www.commongroundiaf.org/donate to make a contribution!

If we want to continue this work, we must keep building our community power. We have all the momentum right now so let's keep it up!

So what's next?

On December 9, from 6 to 8 pm at the HUB in Vallejo, we will have our last Leaders Meeting of 2021, where we will concentrate on planning the January delegates assembly. We will also have a nice send off party for Lizzy Gore, who has been our Organizer for the last 3 years, as she heads to continue her work in San Antonio, TX.

Thank you all again!

Virtual Faire Returns

Our ecumenical Global Holiday Faire committee made the decision to once again only have a virtual online Faire this year. While we discussed various ways to have the Faire in person with as many safety protocols in place, the concerns over the health of our shoppers and volunteers pushed us to cancel the in person portion of the Faire. But like last year, the virtual Faire is open! Visit globalholidayfaire.org now!

Last year, we raised over $8,700 with our online effort. Let's top it this year. On the website, in addition to all the organizations that were there last year, you will also find the links to two new groups, Project Have Hope and Azizi Life, two wonderful fair trade organizations. That brings our total to seven great places to shop for gifts for everyone on your list. For the person who has everything, you will also find two opportunities for alternative giving through Heifer International and Arbor Day Foundation. And be sure to look at the bottom of the page for information on how to support some local Vallejo charities which need the help at this time.

We are collecting donations for three of these groups — The dePaul Women's Center, The Amador St. Hope Center, and Genesis House. Covid has hit all of these organizations hard. If you want to make a donation to the Faire (100% of your generous donation will be split evenly between these 3), you have several options. There is a Donate button on the Faire website under the Neighbors in Need box. You can also donate through Tithe.ly, just make sure to select Global Holiday Faire under the Give To pull down menu. You can also send a check into the church. Make your check out to First Christian Church, memo it Global Holiday Faire.

A flier for the Faire went out to the Google Group. Please forward it to everyone you know. Post it on your social media. Print some out and hand them out to people. Without a physical in person presence, we need to get the word out about the website to as many people as we can. Please encourage your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors to skip Amazon for their online shopping this Holiday Season!

Also, the website isn't done yet. Check back regularly for updates as new organizations and coupon codes will hopefully be added soon! Thank you in advance for helping to make this Virtual Holiday Faire a huge success!

A Note From the National Crop Hunger Walk

Join us for the 2021 National CROP Hunger Walk on World Food Day, October 16th and end hunger in the U.S. and around the world! Walk on your treadmill, in your neighborhood, in a park with friends – you choose the location and the experience. Walk one day - 3.7 miles (the average distance a woman walks for water) or take the Weekend Challenge and walk 11.1 miles (3.7 miles for 3 days). Every step you take, every dollar you raise makes the walk shorter for neighbors in need by providing clean water, emergency food as well as livelihoods and access to education. Sign-up and start raising funds TODAY at www.crophungerwalk.org/usa!  Contact info@cwsglobal.org for more info.

If anyone would be interested in joining a group of us on Saturday, October 16th for a walk along the waterfront, please let Carl Cordes know. Will start around 10:00 in back of the ferry building and walk 1, 2 or 3 miles, depending how you feel. If you can’t do this, please consider a donation.

Thanks!

New Education Class Coming

You are invited to join us for an interesting exchange of ideas, thoughts, questions, feelings and knowledge as we explore the Bible, including scriptures, stories, myths, and miracles. We will be meeting hybrid style, both in church and on Zoom from 9:30 am to 10:15 am Sunday mornings, starting September 5. Those who wish to meet at church will meet in the Fellowship Hall; those who prefer to meet on Zoom will use the same Zoom link used for worship.

We are going to begin our study with scripture. Each week 3 people will be asked to bring to our study a scripture — a favorite, one that is troublesome, one that is difficult to understand or one that is challenging in some other way. It may be a scripture you think would be interesting to explore. There will be no time limit; we may get thru only one scripture in a week, or we may get through 2 or 3. But we will plan to have 2 or preferably 3 people prepared each week with a scripture.

Through our discussions and sharing of scriptures, we will hopefully gain new knowledge and insight which will help us to understand not only scripture but also ourselves more fully.  When we have exhausted the scriptures we wish to discuss, we will move on to other stories in the Bible. We are excited to get started and look forward to  hearing and seeing scripture through you.

We're Back!

On July 25, twenty of us gathered for our first worship service in the sanctuary since last March. Another nine of us joined the hybrid service via Zoom. It was so nice to see this group in the sanctuary while also knowing that we had people from all over the country (including Texas, Minnesota, and Arkansas!) joining us online.

The process of getting us back to this point has been long. Moderator Sonya Blevins has worked with Pastor Christy Newton to lead discussions in various forums (congregational meetings, Admin Council, Ministry Council, etc.) of how best to re-open in a safe and meaningful way. On July 4th, we had a very nice in person service in our Peace Garden and on Zoom. We had two other “practice runs” with small groups working in the sanctuary to test out the technology for these hybrid services. Carl Cordes spearheaded this effort with new technology and worked with several others in the church to test out the camera and audio equipment to make sure the service could be enjoyed by everyone involved in the sanctuary and at home.

Overall, we were pleased with how the first sanctuary service went. There were definitely some hiccups and bugs that need to be worked out. This is going to be an ongoing process as we work with the technology and try new things so a meaningful worship experience can be had by everyone in the congregation.

A big Thank You! to everyone who worked to make this service possible. For many of us, it felt so good to be back home in our sanctuary. These last 16 months have been very hard and we are certainly not out of the pandemic yet. But, some sense of normalcy is so important for our mental, emotional and spiritual health. July 25th was a big first step in that process of getting back to “normal” in our life at First Christian Church.


In Person Worship Services Return July 25!

Our first in-person service since the shelter-at-home restrictions began will be July 4th. Another bit of freedom to celebrate! We will be meeting at 10:30 outdoors in the Peace Garden, and worship will also be live-streamed on Zoom. Some tents will be set up, but shady seating may be limited so please check the weather beforehand and come dressed for outdoor temperatures and sun. We’re following worship with a bring-your-own picnic lunch, to give us all a chance to get caught up with one another.
 

On July 11th and 18th, we are returning to Zoom-only worship while Pastor Christy is on vacation. Please join us for worship; you’ll see familiar faces in the virtual pulpit those Sundays.
 

On July 25th, we will resume worship together in the Sanctuary! Work has been done throughout the church in our absence; it will be wonderful to enjoy the updates. Planning for the service on the 25th is still in progress; we would like this service to be welcoming and meaningful, so please let Beth and/or Christy know what will help make the return to communal worship resonate for you. Our services will also continue to be on Zoom; the church recently purchased new video equipment to (hopefully) make that a seamless transition.

Global Holiday Faire is Here!

 “One Stop Shopping - Double Your Holiday Giving” is the slogan for the Ecumenical Global Holiday Faire. Usually, that one stop is the Fellowship Hall on the first Saturday of December. This year, we are doing things differently, and that one stop is our virtual marketplace at www.globalholidayfaire.org which is already up and running! Plus unlike our first 22 years, this year’s Faire will be going from October through December.

Visit the website now to shop at five non-profit organizations - SERRV International, Concern America, Global Mamas, Women’s Bean Project and Gifts for the Journey. You can find something for everyone on your list at these sites. And for the person who has everything? Think about an alternative gift through Heifer International or Arbor Day Foundation, which are also part of our marketplace. When you shop through any of them, your purchase helps someone in need - thus doubling your holiday giving. Plus, some of these organizations have given the Faire’s shoppers exclusive coupon codes which you can find on the website.

Every year, the Faire also supports several Vallejo charities. On the website, you will find information about them and ways to donate to them to help carry out their important work. On the site, you can also make a donation to the Faire itself. The money collected through those donations will be split between the Amador St. Hope Center, Genesis House and the dePaul Women’s Center.


Another way to help is to spread the word. Tell people about it. Post a link to the website on your social media. Email it out to everyone you know. There are people who can’t shop the Faire in person who now can participate for the first time. Soon, we will send out a flier which can be distributed electronically too, so keep an eye out for that. Getting the word out and encouraging as many people as possible to do their online holiday shopping through www.globalholidayfaire.org instead of commercial websites is key.

This is a totally new way of doing our Faire and we hope we can have a similar impact to last year when we raised over $15,600. Look for more announcements about other ways that you can support the Faire in the upcoming weeks (and months). And again, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.