A Different Kind of Politics

On January 21st, Common Ground held its first Action of 2020. Members of our church, along with 12 other organizations in Vallejo, Napa, and Fairfield gathered in the gym at St. Basils Church to use our voices, and to tell our stories. Many stories dealt with issues around housing like rentals and mobile homes; issues with education and schools; issues with vacant lots and trash on the road; issues with aging family members; issues with police relations and community safety. All of the stories were very personal, and all of them were heard by the community, City Council members including the Mayor, police officers, and county politicians.

By the end of the evening, Common Ground got commitments from the Mayor, the new Police Chief, two current County Supervisors, and two people running for the seat, to meet with them to discuss these issues and work toward solving them.

This is the different kind of politics Common Ground wants. They want to be at the forefront of the issues, and have a seat at the table with the people who hold the power to change it. They do not want a few making all the decisions for the many.

Community organizing isn’t glamorous or flashy. It is hard work that takes dedication and time. Of course we all wish that change could happen overnight, but in reality, sustainable lasting change takes a long time. You need to do research, talk to people with knowledge, and speak with the community which is impacted, so you can create plans that are grounded in reality and will stick.

On February 11th from 6:30pm to 8:00pm Common Ground will have its first Leader Meeting since the Action, hosted by our church in the Fellowship Hall. They will talk about the Action and about where to go from here. If you would like to have a seat at the table, you are all encouraged to attend.

Worship Planning Retreat

On Saturday, January 18, from 10:00-2:00, we will have our next Worship Planning Retreat, which will be an opportunity for anyone—and everyone—to come together to help envision and chart a course for our worship services over the next 3 months, including Lent and Easter. We will read scripture together and brainstorm themes, songs, poems, prayers, art, and ways we might structure our worship time. Everyone is welcome! So, bring yourselves, your ideas, a lunch, and snacks to share. We will share a refreshing and life-giving time together, while doing the work of the church—it is a retreat, after all! I look forward to seeing you there!

Common Ground 2020 Kickoff Action

Exciting things are happening in Common Ground and we want you to join us! After the new year we will hold our Kick-off Action for 2020 "A Different Kind of Politics". The event will take place in the gymnasium at St. Basil the Great Catholic Church on 1/21/20 from 6:30 to 8.

Common Ground members and members of our community will be represented, as well as several power people in the Vallejo City Council, candidates for County Supervisor, and members of the City of Vallejo staff. We are also expecting the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, Jaime Soto, to visit and listen and support our community.

We will have Common Ground members telling their stories to the people who hold the power, and asking for their support in moving forward with two main issues affecting our city – the Vacant Lot Ordinance and the Housing/Rental Crisis. We also want you to share your story and your concerns about this community face to face with city and county officials and staff.

We are expecting over 200 participants from the community and Common Ground member groups. Our community is changing, and together, through organizing, we can have a seat at decision making tables.

A Special Blue Christmas Service

The holidays are always full of heightened emotions and expectations. Our culture readily celebrates the excitement, joy, and consumption of Christmas, but many of us also experience difficult feelings during this time of year. It is easy to get lost in the demands, activities, lights, shopping; the holidays can be quite stressful.

At our Blue Christmas Service, we create a quiet, peaceful, and supportive place where you are invited to slow down and recognize whatever emotions you may hold—including anxiety, stress, sadness, loneliness, depression, overwhelm, frustration, grief, loss, addiction, uncertainty. We will provide a space for anyone having a difficult time during the holidays—anyone needing to acknowledge some pain or loss they are carrying—and anyone simply needing to take a long, deep breath and slow down—in the midst of this season. 

All are welcome to join in this beautiful and contemplative candlelight service, which will be held in our sanctuary on Saturday, December 21, at 7:00 p.m., the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. 

Join Us For Advent!

After all of the wonderful activities of November, Advent begins on December 1. We celebrate Advent for the four Sundays before Christmas by preparing our hearts once again for Christ to be born into the world. During this time, we will light special candles, read inspirational scripture, sing powerful songs, and decorate our worship space with beauty and anticipation. This year’s Advent theme is “Prepare the Way. . . .” And together, we will once again prepare the way for Christ to be born and transform our world. 
Throughout Advent , we have several special events going on:
On Dec. 8, 15, and 22, we will collect new socks and underwear, as well as gently-used coats, sweaters, and blankets for people in need.  
On Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 5:00-6:00 p.m., you are invited to a Full Moon Labyrinth Walk at the Earthrise Retreat Center with Pastor Christy Newton. Earthrise Retreat Center is located at 101 San Antonio Road, Petaluma, CA 94952. We will meet and carpool from the church at 3:45 p.m. For more information and to register, visit https://www.veriditas.org/event-3524955. The event is free.
On the evening of Saturday, Dec. 21, at 7:00 p.m., we will hold our Blue Christmas Service to make space for the complexity of emotions arising during this time of year.
We hope you join us and participate throughout the Advent season!

Haircuts 4 The Holidays

Did you hear? First Christian Church Vallejo is excited to announce that we are giving away Free Haircuts 4 the Holidays/Cortes De Pelo Gratis para Las Fiestas. This is for anyone who otherwise can not afford to get one for themselves!
There are two dates: 
November 23rd, 9 am to 1 pm and December 21st, 9 am to 4 pm. 
In addition to the haircuts, those who come will also get a free lunch and a hygiene kit (with things like toothpaste, soap, a comb, etc.) to take away with them. Donations and volunteers are needed and greatly appreciated! For more information or to volunteer, contact our Minister-in-Training Renae Earl, nae2nae@att.net.

Global Holiday Faire

The 22nd Annual Ecumenical Global Holiday Faire is coming and we are very excited about the plans that are underway for First Christian Church's largest Mission Action event of the year!

The Faire will be Saturday, December 7, from 9-3 and as always will feature gift items from around the world. This year we will be raising money for 16 different local and global non-profit organizations. We are particularly excited to have Azizi Life as a new organization this year. They have beautiful hand made items from Rwanda which will be a very welcome addition to our returning gift items. We are also excited that after a few years absence from the Faire, the popular ceramics from Milestones of Development will be back this year! Plus, there will be new items from long time returning favorites such as SERRV, Gifts for the Journey and Concern America. As always there will be "re-gifted" items for sale as well as crafts, gift baskets and baked goods. In addition to great shopping opportunities, homemade lunch will be for sale and choirs and musicians will be performing all day to add to the festive atmosphere.

For more information about the Faire, visit globalholidayfaire.org. And remember to 'like' the Faire on Facebook!

Book Study Coming

First Christian Church is excited to be sharing an up and coming book study starting January 2020!

We will be reading and discussing the book “So You Want To Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo. The hope for our time together is that it will be conversational, inward-looking, and challenging. The day and time is TBD based on the input of the congregation, but once that is known, we will update this post. 

Anti-Racism Training

On Saturday, November 2, our church will be hosting the Regional Anti-Racism Training, from 8:00-4:00. During this Anti-Racism Training, part 1b, we will review the materials from 1a including definitions of racism. We will also work to understand the powers of racism, how they show up in the church and everyday life, and how we can collude with the systems that keep these powers in place.

We will explore how racism’s power has shaped us into being.  Dismantling racism frees us all into being what God intends God’s creation to be — free.

It is important as part of our faith journeys to become more anti-racist and pro-reconciling. All DOC clergy, lay people, and people of other denominations and faith traditions are invited and encouraged to attend. No prior training is required. Registration information can be found on the Regional website at https://ccncn.regfox.com/20191102anti-racismtraining . The cost is $45 and includes a light breakfast and lunch. If you are willing to help with setting up and serving lunch, the registration fee will be waived. Let’s have FCCV show up in force!