June’s Documentary: Gay Chorus Deep South

Our June documentary, Gay Chorus Deep South, follows the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus on its tour of the American south, in response to a wave of discriminatory anti-LGBTQ laws in Southern states and the divisive 2016 election. Led by Gay Chorus Conductor Dr. Tim Seelig and joined by The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir; the tour brings a message of music, love, and acceptance, to communities and individuals confronting intolerance.

As part of our Second Saturday Documentary Series, Gay Chorus Deep South will be shown via Zoom Saturday, June 11, at 1:30 p.m. There will be a discussion immediately following the film led by Fred Baumer. Fred is a bass in the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and participated in the tour. You can register for this screening and other films in the series at https://bit.ly/SSDSZoom.

Over 300 singers traveled from Mississippi to Tennessee through the Carolinas and over the bridge in Selma. They performed in churches, community centers, and concert halls in hopes of uniting us in a time of difference. The journey also challenged Chorus members who had originally fled the South, to confront their own fears, pain, and prejudices on a journey towards reconciliation. The conversations and connections that emerge offer a glimpse of a less divided America, where the things that divide us; faith, politics, and sexual identity are set aside by the soaring power of music, humanity, and a little drag.

Gay Chorus Deep South challenges us to accept its hopeful message at a time when our paranoia and cynicism are defensibly at an all-time high. It is our assumptions, the film suggests, more than any particular prejudice that widens the chasm between our differing ideologies. And then it goes further to propose that by making an effort to communicate with one another through the universal language of art, we can potentially move towards extraordinary healing.

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May’s Fellowship News

Registration Required
To enhance the safety of your Zoom experience, we require advanced registration for Zoom meetings held on the church’s Zoom account. You only need to register once for a repeating event. Find the registration links in the descriptions of the scheduled events.

Using the Facility
Niles Discovery Church is officially allowing groups to use the building, much like we did prior to the pandemic shutdown. The Ministry of Property Team and Cabinet used that time to streamline facility use paperwork and now we have all new request forms and policies and procedures.
If you are interested in reserving a room (single-use or long-term), contact Mikele to get copies of all the documents you need to complete your reservation. Please do not assume that any preexisting arrangements automatically populate in the calendar.

Weekly Bible Study – Every Monday (no class May 9)
Monday Morning Bible study continues to Zoom from 11:00 a.m. to Noon. The scripture they study is typically the scripture for the coming Sunday’s worship service. Everyone is welcome. Register at bit.ly/mmbsreg.

Daytime Fellowship Group – Monday, May 16
The Daytime Fellowship meets on the third Monday of the month, bring your lunch to this monthly Zoom gathering. We share the same meeting link as the Monday Morning Bible Study, so join by registering for the Bible Study (bit.ly/mmbsreg).

Cyber Geezers – Tuesday, May 24
This is a gathering of retirees who are interested in learning more about computers, the Internet, etc. They meet on the first Tuesday following the third Wednesday (I’m serious) 1:30-2:30 p.m. The group gathers on Zoom. Please contact Jerry Sabo (jlsabo3@comcast.net) for more information. 

Lap Robe Tying Group – Wednesday, May 24
This group is back to meeting regularly, on the fourth Wednesday of the month 10:00-2:00 p.m., in the Fellowship Hall with COVID protocols in mind. Please contact Judy Molander (jumolander@aol.com) to be added to the group’s email list or if you have suggestions for organizations that might want some donated lap robes. 

Green Team Meeting – Wednesday, May 4 and Wednesday, May 18
You’re welcome to join the Green Team, a group leading our congregation to address the climate crisis. They meet on the first and third Wednesdays of the month from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please contact Susie Claxton (veroclax@sbcglobal.net) for information on joining the group and attending meetings.

Announcement and Newsletter Submissions – June deadline: Thursday, May 12, 8:00 a.m.
Please send announcements and articles as you write them to Mikele at admin@nilesdiscoverychurch.org. She will post them on our News Blog as she receives them and will submit them for publication in the following issue of The Bell (if appropriate in terms of timing). In addition to typical newsletter news, we hope to fill each issue of The Bell with reflections, photographs, poems, and so forth by members and friends of the congregation.

Retirement Reinvention Group – Thursday, May 19
This group meets on the fourth Thursday of the month. Contact John Zlatnik (jzlatnik49@mac.com) for information about joining this Zoom gathering of retirees who are supporting one another as they explore new ways of being retired people. 

“We Are One” Rally – Thursday, May 26
The Tri-City Interfaith Council’s monthly “We Are One” rallies have returned. Gathering from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month at the corner of Walnut Ave. and Paseo Padre Pkwy., each rally has a different theme. May’s rally has the theme “Vote Like Our Democracy Depends On It.” You are welcome to make and bring signs.

Puzzle Exchange and SCRIP Sales
Drop by the patio (east end of the church building) on Fridays 1:00-2:00 p.m. to exchange your puzzles and while there you can purchase gift cards through our SCRIP program. These sales help send our youth to summer camp. Many Thanks to Alta Jo Adamson and the Finance Committee for making this program a continued success.

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Community of the Great Commission Work Weekend

The Disciples of Christ Men’s Ministries committee is inviting all the men of the region – this, of course, is not just for men, please invite others who might be interested – to come to the Community of the Great Commission (CGC) for a time of work and fellowship. Beginning 1:00 p.m. Friday, May 13 and ending sometime after lunch Saturday, May 14, the campground will be hosting a bring your own bedding, $5.00 a meal, work weekend.

Besides working to help improve the camp for the summer programs, we will be enjoying our company with games, singing, Christmas lighted campfire, and more. Please RSVP to Tina Heck at tinasueheck@yahoo.com with the number of meals you will be present for and if you are spending the night. There is no age limit. The need is great. If you have any questions about the event, please feel free to contact Carl Cordes, President of the Men’s Ministries of CCNCN, at cccrafting@comcast.net.

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Camp Tamarack 2022

Explore Our Still Speaking God, Nature, and Creation

Camp Tam is in the high Sierra, roughly 60 miles east of Fresno, at over 7,000 feet. A rustic outdoor setting, nestled among towering pines, gives the feeling of the Sierra wilderness. The area around the camp has seen little development. A meandering creek runs through the edge of camp. Shade from tall Lodge Pole pines and Sugar Pine trees, and the elevation, keep daytime temperatures cool – usually 70s to 80s, but the temperature can dip to the 30s at night.

Early bird registration is open, now through May 20. Lock in your summer camp plan for only $270 per camper and save $20 over regular registration rates. Due to staffing constraints, middle school and high school camps have been combined. Please note the change in date for high schoolers from prior publications.

·  Junior Camp (entering grades 4-6): July 17-23

·  Middle School/High School camp (entering grades 7-12): July 24-30

The Niles Discovery Church Ministry of Education Team – Scrip Sales Account will financially support our children wishing to attend camp this summer. Please register your campers and send a copy of your paid registration form to MCE team member, Barbara P King at barbarapking076@gmail.com to receive a $200 reimbursement per child.

The weeks at camp vary, but typically include small-group discussions on a scripture-based theme for the week, a Talent/No Talent Show for campers to show off their skills, skits, jokes, or none-of-the-above, daily evening worship services, hiking in stunning forests, swimming, games and sports, crafts, and dance parties. Each week is an opportunity to praise and explore our Still Speaking God, nature & Creation, and friends both familiar and new.

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The Historic Vocations of the Church with a Contemporary Twist

In May, Pastor Jeff and Pastor Brenda will be preaching a sermon series they are calling “Looking Back; Stepping Forward: The Historic Vocations of the Church.” The series will explore stories from the beginnings of the church in the Acts of the Apostles. In these stories, we see the followers of Jesus learning and growing as a new faith emerges. And we see five callings of the church develop, five vocations.

These five callings – traditionally known by their Greek names: kerygma (preaching/proclaiming), diakonia (service), didache (teaching), koinonia (community/fellowship), and leitourgia (prayer/worship) – will be explored in the sermon series, looking back to how they show up in the ancient church, and stepping forward as we ponder how these traditional vocations might look as the church moves into a new reality that is emerging.

“The whole sense of what it means to be church and how we do church – all of church – is shifting.” Pastor Jeff said. “This is because of the pandemic, the advent of new technologies, and global crises like climate change. The church must constantly adapt to the realities of the world if we’re going to faithfully build the beloved community Jesus calls us to.”

This sermon series will be both informative and challenging – informative because of the historical information that is shared, and challenging because it will talk about faithful change, and change is almost always hard.

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Outdoor Worship and All Church Picnic

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School Kits for Refugee Children

Throughout this month, Pastor Brenda and the Ministry of Social Concerns Team will be collecting materials and funds to create school kits for Church World Service (CWS). After watching millions of people become displaced by the war in Ukraine, Pastor Brenda desired a way to make a difference in the lives of refugees. “I know I can donate some money—and I have—but I really wanted to do something tangible, something with the gifts of my hands. I thought that one way to do this was to put together school kits for CWS, an organization that has been serving the displaced people from Ukraine.” School kits supply the basics for a child to go to school in a new place: notebooks, pencils, crayons, a pencil sharpener, scissors, a ruler, and an eraser, all placed in a child-sized cloth or canvas tote bag.

If you feel inspired to help, join Pastor Brenda by gathering supplies, creating tote bags, or just showing up to help put the kits together. “I know that these kits may not be going directly to children displaced by the Ukrainian war, but Church World Service has certainly distributed school kits to children displaced by this conflict, and the kits that I make will go to replenish the supplies of kits that CWS always needs to help children be successful in school while living as refugees.“ Pastor Brenda will be collecting supplies all through the month of May and will be putting the kits together on Friday, May 27, and Saturday, May 28, 1:00-3:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. You can contribute to this service project by donating school supplies, making or purchasing tote bags, or by showing up in May to help Pastor Brenda put the kits together, box them up, and send them off to Church World Service. For specific directions about what to purchase for the kits, see the list here, and for more information check in with Pastor Brenda.

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Lunch and Bunco

A special Fellowship Opportunity

The Ministry of Hospitality and Fellowship Team invites you to stay after worship Sunday, May 15 for an afternoon of friends and fellowship. Sponsored by the same team that has brought us such wonderful events as the Zoom Halloween Parties and Secret Valentines, this one will be “can’t miss” as well. We will start with a light lunch on the patio followed by a round of Bunco in the fellowship hall.

Never played Bunco? No need to worry. If you can roll five dice, you can play the game. It is quick-moving, fun, and easy. A game for all ages. There will be prizes and plenty of conversation. Give it a try and you just might like it.

There is a sign-up sheet in the fellowship hall for small sandwiches, salads, chips, and desserts. If you have any questions or would like more details, please contact Alison Kieft.

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Second Saturday Documentary Series Presents:

Icarus – The Truth about Sports Doping

Our May documentary, Icarus, follows Academy Award Winning director Bryan Fogel as he sets out to uncover the truth about doping in sports. A chance meeting with a Russian scientist transforms his story from a personal experiment into a geopolitical thriller involving dirty urine, unexplained death, and Olympic Gold.

As part of our Second Saturday Documentary Series, Icarus will be shown via Zoom Saturday, May 14, at 1:30 p.m. There will be a discussion immediately following the film led by Andrew Adamson. Andrew is a member of Niles Discovery Church, lives in Fremont, and works in South San Francisco at Genentech as Director of Facility Systems and Information. At UC Davis he had significant experience in long-distance bicycling and other athletics. He is aware of and is sensitive to the influence of drugs on upsetting the level playing field in competitive sports, and the resulting effects on individuals and society in general. You can register for this screening and other films in the series at bit.ly/SSDSZoom.  

While investigating the furtive world of illegal doping in sports, Fogel connects with renegade Russian scientist Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov—a pillar of his country’s “anti-doping” program. Over dozens of Skype calls, urine samples, and badly administered hormone injections, the two grow closer despite shocking allegations that place the scientist at the center of Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping program. When the truth is more complex than imagined, and accusations of illegalities run to Russia’s highest chains of command, they realize the power is in their hands to reveal an international sports scandal beyond compare.

Exemplifying the special bond between filmmaker and subject, this is a portrait of the sacrifice some people will make to stand up for the truth. Icarus places you at the heart of an international game of cat and mouse, where any miscalculation can cost you your life.

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May Special Offering: SAVE-ing the Abused 

“We believe that every person has the right to live in peace.” – SAVE Mission Statement 

Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments (SAVE) is a local organization that provides shelter, support, and educational opportunities for individuals and families so they may end the cycle of abuse, heal, and have the freedom to reach their full potential. The program includes a shelter/transitional housing program and an Empowerment Center offering crisis support, referrals, and assistance with food, clothing, and, even, restraining orders. SAVE has also created education programs for police officers and medical personnel specifically addressing the needs of domestic violence victims and provides Teen Dating Violence Awareness presentations to schools. 

We will be collecting for SAVE for the entire month of May. In addition, you can choose to prepare a SAVE Ditty Bag. These bags are filled with things like shampoo and conditioner, soap, deodorant, a toothbrush and toothpaste, etc. However, when an abused person comes into the local safe house, possibly carrying nothing, they are given one of these bags. These small items will help begin the journey to safety and wellness. Instructions and bags are available during the puzzle exchange on Fridays, 1:00 p.m. You can come to the patio entrance at the church to receive materials and to return completed bags which will then be delivered to the shelter. These bags and items will be blessed during worship on Sunday, May 8.  

As with all our special offerings, you are welcome to give at any time (always make checks payable to Niles Discovery Church) or online go to our church webpage and click the “donate” button at the top of the page then select “SAVE” from the Special Offering options. Niles Discovery Church receives a different special offering each month. With such varied opportunities for giving, you may want to decide which are most important to you. For a complete list of the 2022 special offerings please visit bit.ly/SpecialOffering2022.

Last month, you donated $420 for the future leaders of the church, which will be split between the Pacific School of Religion and Disciples Seminary Foundation. We are training the future, thanks to your generosity! 

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