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 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 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.

Johson Garden Re-Dedication

The Johnson Ranch Garden Re-dedication is now written into the noble history of First Christian Church Vallejo. Sultry, smoke-tainted air did not deter 25 enthusiastic FCC members and guests present at the August 22, 2020 event from delighting in the lush witness to faith, persistence and sweat-equity on beautiful display. The garden renewal project that has evolved over many months is the result of a partnership between First Christian Church Vallejo and Sustainable Solano, a garden-based community development organization in Solano County. 

Completion of the project, in the works for nearly two years, was complicated by cautions related to our current COVID situation. Work groups were limited in size and, therefore, the site prep and planting took longer than originally planned. The result is very gratifying. Already an abundant assortment of fresh organic produce has been donated to community food programs. The harvest is on-going. This garden is an essential element of the culture of First Christian Church.  

Pastor Christy opened the re-dedication program with a welcome and prayer. Carl Cordes related the history of the garden, the legacy of Lyston and Louise Johnson and their passion for alleviating hunger, and the 2009 Disciples Miracle Day volunteer effort that constructed the original garden boxes. Allison Mezzera reported on the partnership with Sustainable Solano. Shannon Kitchens lifted up the vision and mission of the garden as a source of community connection and nutrition support in our neighborhood and City. Gabriela Estrada, Sustainable Solano Project Manager, and Garden Designer Scott Dodson led a tour of the garden, describing the water-wise construction and purposeful plant selection. Suzanne Awalt invited those present to participate responsively in a Dedication Litany that focused on gratitude for the land, the toil, and the faithfulness to vision that brought the garden to life as a sustainable source of nutrition, and the daily work of farmers and agricultural workers who produce our food and care for the land.  Boxes and buckets bursting with freshly-harvested pumpkins, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, squash, tomatoes and chard were set out for guests to take home with them. Amador Street Hope Center also received some of the produce.   

The Garden Committee members are Allison Mezzera, Carl Cordes, Shannon Kitchens, Glenda Goode, Jeanne Cordes, and Suzanne Awalt. We especially thank Allison and Carl for their leadership and faithfulness to the garden ministry. Come enjoy the garden! It’s harvest time!

Cross Chat

The Elders are planning to hold a few socially distanced gatherings over the next few months.  Our first gathering will be September 5th at 9:30 AM in the Peace Garden!  This will be a time to nurture our spirits and simply be in community with one another. Bring your masks, bring a chair, bring your hearts wide open. Anticipated duration of the gathering is 45 minutes to an hour.  Safety is our top priority! Only do what you are comfortable with. We will be socially distanced, masks on, and hope to see you at some point in coming months!

Worship Planning Retreat

On Saturday, September 12, from 10:00-12:00, 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 Advent. We will read scripture together and brainstorm themes, songs, poems, prayers, and ways we might structure our worship time. Everyone is welcome! So, bring yourselves and any ideas you have. We will share a refreshing and life-giving time together, while doing the work of the church. We look forward to seeing you there!

Come to the Garden

The Sustainable Solano Garden Committee would like to invite you all to a Garden Tour and Dedication of the much improved Johnson Garden!  This will take place on 8/9/20 at a time TBD.  Gabriela with Sustainable Solano will present the new Garden Plan and show us what is newly planted.  Then we will have a small service to dedicate the garden and thank Sustainable Solano for all of their help.

This will be an in-person outdoor socially distanced event, so please bring your masks, and chairs if you need them.  We are also working on covering the event live on Facebook or recording for those of you who may not want to come out to the church.

What a great tie-in to our Pentecost season theme, Welcoming the Spirit, focusing on the various ways the Spirit manifests in a garden—digging, planting, watering, blooming, sharing. 

When Will We Be Back In Church?

That’s something probably all of you have wondered over the last few weeks. We get mixed messages: Sacramento says churches can meet in person (with restrictions), local health departments add criteria, the reopening of workplaces and shops has begun and the number of Covid-19 cases is rising. In the face of all the uncertainty, the Administrative Council voted to keep the church building closed through August to all building users. That doesn’t necessarily mean that in-person worship will resume in September; Admin will be reviewing the risks and benefits of reopening at their August meeting. Some churches have already resumed in-person worship; we hope to learn from them what a successful reopening will look like and what steps we need to take to keep everyone in our congregation safe. In the meantime, we are taking this opportunity to replace the well-worn carpet in the Sanctuary, parlor and stairs. When we get back together, it will be in a (finally!) completely refurbished Sanctuary.

Just because we won’t be in the building doesn’t mean we can’t meet, however. The Elders are planning a gathering in the courtyard. While it may not be a full-blown worship service, it will be an opportunity to connect, to pray together, to feed our spirits with much-needed community. Stay tuned for more information. Until then, see you on Zoom.

Sustainable Solano Update

On April 21 a group of us met with representatives from Sustainable Solano to continue talks for the refurbishment of the Johnson Garden. We spoke of some changes to make in the garden in order to have more food growth, and to bring in pollinators to help the environment. This includes a new irrigation drip system, planting 2-3 more fruit trees, and vine growing fruit & veggies that can fill the fence line. The next steps will include a design made by the professional landscaper on the SS staff. Once we have approved the design he will get to work.

Part of this project originally had our congregation and the community volunteering to install the new plants. Unfortunately during this time of crisis, that is no longer an option. So the SS landscaper will be performing the work. Down the line, maybe in a few months, there will be opportunities for us to help and to get the community involved as well. For now, we will try to document all of the happenings as best as we can in order to keep our community involved.

We will keep you posted as we get more information!

Common Ground Update

In reaction to the crisis we are all in, on Thursday April 23rd, Common Ground held a Countywide Conversation Zoom conference. With over 50 participants, we heard stories - stories that impact our families, our friends, and our communities. There were several people on the line from across the county who have not attended a Common Ground meeting before. From the League of Women Voters to Solano Volunteers, it ran the full spectrum of organizations. We hope that out of this we will find more allies and people to work with us on the ground working with and/or connecting services and resources in our city & county. So far we’ve got a Food Distribution Team, a Renter Issues Team, and a Spanish-Speaking Team. And we’re working on getting a COAD (Communities Organizing Action in Disasters) for Solano County up and running.

We also discussed Support for Solano County Emergency Renter Protection Ordinance. The ordinance has 3 main objectives: no late fees for missed rent payments, a 12 month grace period for renters to pay back what they owe, and a hotline for tenants and landlords who have questions regarding all the changes. On Tuesday April 28 the County will be voting and we ask that you call and/or email your County Supervisors and ask them to vote YES on the Ordinance.

Worship Planning Retreat

On Saturday, May 9, from 10:00-12:00, 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. We will read scripture together and brainstorm themes, songs, poems, prayers, and ways we might structure our worship time. Everyone is welcome! So, bring yourselves and any ideas you have. We will share a refreshing and life-giving time together, while doing the work of the church. We look forward to seeing you there!