Welcome to the month of March at Grace Baptist Church.
Several new things will begin this month. First, we’ll have a new discipleship class for beginners. This is a great opportunity to engage in learning some deep basic notions about the bible and our Christian walk. Second, a new class for seasoned Christians who need to be nurtured and encouraged in their journey of faith and service. Finally, Dr. Divya Reouk will start a series of three classes for parents of young children. All these classes will take place monthly.
Don’t miss these opportunities to learn and grow with your family of faith!
The Grace Staff
Birthdays This Month
Glenn Vaughan 3/05
Tim Kellogg 3/21
Joanne Schmidt 3/23
Phil Mastrocola 3/26
Renita Fleming 3/27
Mitch Baio 3/29
Peter Simensen 3/29
At the church we call sanctuary that room we designate as sacred space to come in touch with God; there, we worship God and God extends his grace to us. Sanctuary is a room. But in a different sense, sanctuary is a movement among churches to open our doors to those who are persecuted.
In the City of San Jose, churches are feeling the call to become sanctuaries to immigrants and refugees. These sojourners are in a very vulnerable position right now. We are talking about two kinds of population: on one hand, undocumented immigrants who have taken a risk and come to this country escaping situations of war or economic debacle; on the other hand, refugees who were welcomed by our country and offered protection, but with the change of administration see their future as bleak.
Why do people come to America without proper documentation? They come for different reasons. Some are so close to us that crossing the border becomes an easy solution. When poverty destroys their hopes, and violence in the streets threatens the future of their children, these courageous individuals risk everything to find new hope in the USA. Others come here from afar; they come by plane and stay here without an immigration status because staying home may mean total destruction. In any case, all of them leave their roots, their family, their culture and come to a strange nation that will become their new home.
Refugees are coming with a little more security because the government has told them they will be welcomed. They also leave behind a life that is familiar to them and exchange it for one of surprises and uncertainties. But, their hope is huge and they celebrate their new land. America has always been a land of opportunities where strangers would become members of the tapestry of cultures that is our country.
However, we are living the nightmare of seeing our neighbors threatened by an administration that wants them out of here: families are separated, children put in foster homes, hard working people sent to jail, and international relations jeopardized by hasty executive orders.
In the midst of this scene, churches are called to open their doors and protect the innocent. This is not done without risk, this is not done lightly, but it needs to be done. As Grace knows very well, no ministry endeavor comes without its share of messiness and chaos. But when human lives are at stake, we need to pay heed to the call of the gospel to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and offer a home to those who are destitute.
Grace Baptist Church is already a sanctuary to those who are homeless. Now, the community is knocking on our door and asking if we can become a sanctuary for the immigrants and refugees who feel persecuted and threatened. Would it be more messy and complicated? Of course it would! Jesus’ ministry was messy, complicated and dangerous, but he didn’t doubt for a minute to give it all, all for each one of us.
Community of Grace
The Lighthouse Campus Ministry
Campus ministry has taken some interesting turns in the last month. The Campus Chaplain, Mike Daggett, continues to faithfully go to chapel to help Rev. Kathey Crowe, of Canterbury Bridge, the Episcopal Campus Ministry. The Ministry has also continued to create and pass out food bags on campus. Though these programs are helpful with providing a space for students to come and meditate, be prayed with, or address their food insecurity needs it is nothing new. So what is new? In a close partnership with the Canterbury Foundation, the foundation that operates Canterbury Bridge, we have opened up space in the church to house students who are struggling to find a place to live while they are attending school. Here is what Rev. Kathey has to say about the program in the Evangel Newsletter…
There is more good news to share from campus ministry! With wonderful partnership from Grace Baptist Church, on San Fernando Street across from SJSU and where I have my campus office, we have been able to set up an alternative living space for students who have been sleeping in their cars. We were ready to open the dorm on Monday, February 6th. This week, thanks to putting fliers in all of the local businesses, the word is slowly getting around.
I woke up last Saturday morning realizing that this project was a reality and felt the responsibility of it with some trepidation. I suppose if one doesn’t have some of those feelings, then there may be little understanding of what the commitment is really all about. After a time in prayer, peace come over me and I bolted into action – buying pillows, blankets, a coffee pot and other necessary items to get the dormitory and the common area ready to welcome those students in from the cold and the rain. As I write to you, we have two students living in residence and one we should be doing intake on this week. We set up the dorm putting a new pillow, towel and hygiene kit on each bed. We hope to be at full capacity – 12 students – before too long.
Realizing that when people live in close community and proximity, problems usually come up. To help diffuse some of that tension before it gets started, Mike Daggett, the Baptist chaplain, and I will be holding weekly community gatherings just to fellowship over dinner with students and check in with them. We have a little dining area set up too – nothing fancy, but serviceable.
I really am grateful to the many people who have donated towels, hygiene kits (another shout out to the 4th grade class at Saint Andrew’s) and money to help us sustain this project. I am working to get the interest of the SJSU Alumni Association, hoping that some of their members might want to make regular donations to Canterbury Bridge so we can keep going in the fall. My thanks to one of our Canterbury Foundation board members, Gerry Chartrand, for being our liaison to SJSU alumni. I am also delighted that a student on the crisis committee wants to write an article for the Spartan paper about what we are doing to house students who can’t afford the rents around the campus and can’t commute to their homes in the San Joaquin Valley and sustain study.
If you are interested in this project, I still need towels. Like me, you may have some in your linen cupboard you would like to donate. Because Grace Baptist runs a shower and laundry program for folk on the street, towels seem to frequently walk away. I went through my linens at home and donated a good pile of towels to the student program making room in my linen cupboard – everything looks so clean and orderly when I look in there now!
To close, I recall my assignment in school to read the work of theologian Dorothy Sayer on the Trinity. Her description of Divine idea (God the Father) becoming incarnate in us (the Christ within) and then manifesting in the world as the action of the Holy Spirit has seemed more real to me these days. Praying and thinking about how to solve real problems, seeing solutions and watching them manifest through the effort of so many people has been a real demonstration of the work of the Body of Christ – a small example of thy kingdom come, they will be done. What a great privilege it is to watch the Spirit move!
Continuing to pray and listen, Deacon Kathey.
In other Campus Ministry News, our Campus Chaplain, Mike Daggett, participated in the annual Ashes to Go, Ash Wednesday, rite at the SJSU Spartan Memorial Chapel. Throughout the day ministers from all over San Jose imposed almost 800 students and faculty with the sign of the cross on their foreheads, and gave blessings to each individual focusing on their specific needs and concerns. It was a powerful, and exhausting, experience for everyone involved. Thanks to Rev. Kathey who faithfully organizes this event every year. The program has been such a success in previous years that it was featured in the Spartan Daily, the SJSU newspaper, and one of the students created a video of Ash Wednesday 2015, Check it out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?
American Baptist Women’s Ministry
At February’s ABWM meeting, while guest speaker and GBC member Penny Hogg spoke on how we need to make a little effort to love others, Joy Sweeting, Doris Vaughan, Marge Burns, Celaine Krois, and Joanne Schmidt rolled bandages made out of donated sheets for the Congo mission hospitals. The next ABWM meeting will be March 13th at 7 p.m. in the Walter’s Room with guest speaker being Joanne Schmidt. We will also be rolling more bandages.
February 2017 GBC Leadership Minutes
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Church Moderator – Celaine (Call to Order) at 6:34
Opening Prayer – Mike Daggett
Present: Liliana DaValle, CeCe Krois, Dennis Glover, Debi Simonsen, Nathan Henning, Daniil Reouk, Marge Burns, Bill Brooks, Stephen Riddle, Mike Daggett, Phil Mastracola,
Absent: Rosa Guererro
Last Month’s Minutes –accepted as presented
Treasurer’s Report – Daniil/Nathan
Congregational giving.$9,519, Budget $8,200,Total Income $39,815, Budget $39,150,Total expenses $39,220. Budget $37,519. Net Income,$595 Budget $1,621.
- Shower Program finances
- Additional Sunday Offering Counters still needed
- Report on apartment rental – Patrick and Caregivers
Pastor’s Report – Rev. Liliana See printed report
- Progress on getting City grant monies
- Progress report on establishing a 501c(3) for GBC , Social good. Subject to a 10% administrative fee. Still pursuing
- Horace Mann Neighborhood meeting report
- New member’s class.
- City relations
- Compliance Order. Laid out options
Task Force Report – CeCe/Dennis/Bill/Phil/Liliana
- Progress on new boundary fence for Homeless Camp site
- No Sleeping outside of church while Winter Emergency Shelter is open
- Cleanup of Fireside patio area – looks great
- Task Force meeting tomorrow (Friday) at 10:30 a.m.
Associate Pastor’s Report – Nathan staying busy preaching and worship leading
Campus Ministry Report – Mike
- SJU Student Shelter report-Alternative Student Housing
Ministry Team Reports:
Administration – Bill
- Roof and Solar Panels progression reports
- Kitchen water heater replacement progress
- Armstrong behind schedule due to weather
- Motion for Bill to move forward with the electrical room expansion for the solar cut out and will report back to leadership with cost. Motion carried with one abstention.
Community Life – Rosa/Jason
- Fellowship, may need 3rd Sunday coverage.
- Upcoming events – nothing until April
Mission & Outreach – Phil
- A lot of people donating. People are calling Phil asking what we need. He also says money
- Need to promote this ministry. Suggesting a campaign to promote this ministry.
- What is unique about our program.
Spiritual Formation – Debi
- Adult Sunday School Class- restarted
- Divya classes Early Childhood health 4th Tuesday March April and May
- Two new classes by Rev. Liliana, new Christians Class March 7th and leadership class 6:30 March 21
Worship – Stephen
- Regular Sunday greeters and ushers needed, Had Shelter participants to help. May continueDeacons – Marge Continue to take communion to Henry
- Vice Moderator Chair selection/volunteer Moved and Seconded For Debi Simonsen and unanimously passes
- Next Leadership Meeting, March 16, 2017
Closing Prayer – Rev. Liliana
GBC Church Clerk
- March 7, 6:30pm – Discipleship Class in the Walters Room
- March 8, 11:00am – Staff Meeting in the Walters Room
- March 15, 11:00am – Staff Meeting in the Walters Room
- March 15, 6:30pm – Choir Rehearsal in the Music Room
- March 21, 6:30pm – Monthly class for leadership
- March 22, 11:00am – Staff meeting in the Walters Room
- March 22, 6:30pm – Choir Rehearsal in the Music Room
Weekly Bible Studies and Small Groups
Sunday School – 9:45am
Grace Baptist Church Information
(child care is available)
College and Young Adult service
Sunday’s at 7pm (on hold)
Rev. Dr. Liliana Da Valle