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Pastoral Letter, October 26, 2023

To the Saints in San Carlos:

As the news broke last night of yet another mass shooting, some kind old friends wondered via text and Facebook, not knowing my exact whereabouts, if I was safe and anywhere near Lewiston, Maine.  I do know the place.  I moved here from the town of Gray, which is some twenty miles south of there.  Lewiston/Auburn is one of many fall-line twin cities in Maine; a hospital and college are there; a sports bar where I watched Notre Dame games; an old mill town reinventing itself; a dear place.


Do pray for those dear people, as we pray every day for peace in the Middle East, for peace in Eastern Europe, for peace in our own hearts, for peace in so many troubled places.  

I append some paragraphs from the Maine Conference Minister at bottom.


Around here, we will celebrate Martin Luther and the Reformation this Sunday; All Saints Day the following Sunday, November 5.


I will have more information about "Theology on Tap" as plans shape up.


Please join me and some friends from back east for Evensong this and every Wednesday evening at 3:30.


Speaking of the Peace of Jerusalem, I have been in touch with Rabbi Nate Ismay of Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City ever since I arrived here some two years ago.  I have told him that we pray for him and his congregation weekly, and for the peace of Jerusalem.  I am looking to contact a nearby Moslem congregation.


We have been invited to a Harvest Supper on November 17, 2023 at 6 pm at the Congregational Church of the Peninsula.  The other Congregational churches invited are Island United Church of Foster City, College Heights Congregational Church in San Mateo, Congregational Church in San Mateo.  Our host will be Congregational Church of the Peninsula (newly merged First Church of Redwood City and Congregational Church of Belmont) at 751 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont CA 94002.


I attended a Meet and Greet at the Senior Center, 601 Chestnut Street, meeting Mayor Adam Rak and members of the staff of Assemblymember Diane Papan.  The Senior Center is a wonderful resource and great place to meet new people.

I also met a young artist there who is showing her work at the Farmers Market on Sunday morning, November which reminds me to give the Market an honorable mention as a great place to shop before coming to worship.  Handsome poster:


The informal Mahany Hall Committee has renamed itself, more accurately, I think, The Community Church Property Committee.  We are looking for a volunteer to help us find people who need a concert venue, namely our fine new and acoustically wonderful sanctuary and Mahany Hall.  Please spread the word.


Readings for this Sunday:


Exodus 20:1-6

God spoke all these words: 

I am God, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of a life of slavery.  No other gods, only me.  No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim.  Don't bow down to them and don't serve them because I am God, your God, and I'm a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me.  But I'm unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.


Acts 24:10-15

The governor motioned to Paul that it was now his turn. Paul said, "I count myself fortunate to be defending myself before you, Governor, knowing how fair-minded you've been in judging us all these years.  I've been back in the country only twelve days - you can check out these dates easily enough. I came with the express purpose of worshiping in Jerusalem on Pentecost, and I've been minding my own business the whole time.  Nobody can say they saw me arguing in the Temple or working up a crowd in the streets.  Not one of their charges can be backed up with evidence or witnesses.  "But I do freely admit this: In regard to the Way, which they malign as a dead-end street, I serve and worship the very same God served and worshiped by all our ancestors and embrace everything written in all our Scriptures.  And I admit to living in hopeful anticipation that God will raise the dead, both the good and the bad.



Maine Conference Minister's Prayer:



Our hearts are in pain, our spirits are shaken. We are in deep prayer for the victims and families of this latest horrific mass shooting in the heart of our state. Please be safe. Shelter in place until the shooter is apprehended. Dear Ones, we hear of these horrible shootings around our country too many times. And now we experience and witness closer than we had hoped or imagined. My prayer is that we will allow God to hold us, believe that our prayers will comfort, that we will reach out to one another for solace.

Please know I am here for each of you and all of you. Do not hesitate to call me on my cell phone 207-616-6704. I am available anytime. Please let me know how you are.

Here is a suggested prayer:

O Holy One, you pray for us when we do not have words—with groans and sighs too deep for words. Wrap your loving arms around the victims, the families and friends who have lost loved ones, those who have perished and are now in the surround of your eternal arms. In our shock and disbelief, help us to remember to breathe in your Spirit of solace.

Please stay safe, Beloved.

With deep love and prayer,

The Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola, Ph.D.

Conference Minister

Maine Conference United Church of Christ


- Pastor Richard Hyde

Community Church of San Carlos

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