Giving With A Smile

Along with buying scrip gift cards, you can help support our children being able to attend youth summer camp programs through use of a personal Amazon Smile account. Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase to Niles Discovery Church every time you buy something.

It’s simple to set up, whether you have an existing Amazon account or not. And once you have Amazon Smile bookmarked on your computer, it’s easy to rack up funds automatically as you purchase all the items you want (and sometimes need 🙂 through Amazon just like you normally would.

As the beneficiary, the church has an Amazon account where all our pooled money is placed. We can then access the funds that we have earmarked for youth summer camp programs. And the money can really add up. Amazon Smile has generated over $134 million for charities to date.

Several church members have already designated Niles Discovery Church as their Amazon Smile charity. To date, they have generated $178 and every day it grows a bit more. Now is your opportunity to add .5% of the hundreds or thousands of dollars a year you spend on Amazon (at no additional cost to you!) to help our campers. The more of us that do it, the quicker this nest egg will grow and be put to good use.

Follow the instructions below to sign up for Amazon Smile or look in the church hallway wall under the Finance Committee banner.

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Activity at the Parsonage

Bill Palleschi for the Ministry of Property

The Ministry of Property Team (MOPs) wanted to let the congregation know about the happenings at the parsonage.  While the minister was away the MOPs played.  Ha ha!  Or Ah ha!

A lot of overdue maintenance was implemented. Carpets were cleaned. The master bathroom was painted, and a new medicine cabinet and LED light fixtures were installed (see pictures). Much-needed repairs to fence posts were completed. We shared the fence expense with three  neighbors. Leaves and mulch were removed from the roof gutters, and the exterior of the building got washed.

One task still to be done is installing a new air return grill and filter in the living room; the grill is on order at Dale Hardware.

The MOPs have Mark Twist to thank for performing the renovation to the master bath and John Hollowell for tweaking the garage door rendering it fully operational, thereby saving the congregation a considerable amount of money.  Thanks also to John Smith for finding us an outstanding general contractor whom the MOPs fully endorse.  If you have a home problem and need a contractor or need carpets cleaned, ask us and we will give you contact information.

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Happy Toilet, Happy Church

By Bill Palleschi for the Ministry of Property

We are reaching out to you, with gloved hands, to ask you to please refrain from flushing wearable hygiene garments.  Our toilets, as great a flusher as you can find, cannot handle disposable sanitary items including baby diapers, Depends, etc. 

The Ministry of Property is investigating appropriate receptacles that can be located inside the bathroom stalls.  We are also acquiring reminder placards to add to each bathroom stall.   

It costs the church several hundreds of dollars to clear a plugged toilet.  The good news was that the recent blockage was confined to one toilet (see photo at right).  If the blockage had gone a little further, all the toilets would have been affected.

Thank you for your time and attention to this request.

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The Best Junk In Town!

It is that time of the year when we gear up for our big fund-raising event – The Flea Market! Last year our church netted $9,000 for the month of August.

Sunday, August 25, is the date for the 55th Annual Niles Antique Faire and Flea Market. On that day, Downtown Niles is closed to traffic. Antique and food booths are set up, and hordes of people descend on Niles. We even sell parking spaces in our lot.

We also have a big Flea Market right here in our Fellowship Hall at the same time. To prepare, our congregation and friends clean out closets, garages, and storage places, in order to donate used but good items to the church. These wonderful treasures are priced, displayed, and sold during the month of August.

As soon as donations are received, we will begin pricing, displaying, and selling, even though the big Flea Market sale dates aren’t until August 24 and 25. We rely on your donations arriving EARLY so that members of the church can shop and buy. Our doors opened for your precious donations on Wednesday, July 24. This year it is especially important to bring things early because we have a shorter selling time than usual. The flea market team appreciates your donations. However, please be sure your donation is clean, usable, and not torn, stained, broken, chipped, dirty, or unpolished. You may bring things to church on Sundays, weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., whenever office staff is in the church, or call Alta Jo Adamson, (510) 713-1333, and she will arrange to open the church.

Would you like to help unpack and price merchandise? Can you haul items to the church? We need volunteers every day in August, to help us make this a blessed event. On weekdays, volunteers are needed to hang around and sell, sell, sell. If you are interested in helping, please contact Carrie Williams ( or Jim Thomas (

When it is time for the official Flea Market weekend, we will be staffed by church volunteers in two-hour increments throughout the day. These hours are especially important to fill. Generally speaking, everyone rolls up their sleeves, pitches in, and it is loads of fun!

Donation Suggestions: Tools, Books, Children’s Toys, Games (with all the pieces), Children’s Furniture, Jewelry, Hats, Purses, Shoes, Musical Instruments, China and Glassware, Antiques, Collectables, Knickknacks, Holiday Decorations, Linens and Blankets, Working Small Appliances, Patio Accessories, Office Supplies, Trunks,  Chairs, Desks, Other Small Furniture, Exercise Equipment, and Sporting Goods.

Merchandise Restrictions: No Sofas and other large, heavy furniture (without prior permission); No drapes or drapery rods; No sinks and toilets; No old microwaves, TVs, or obsolete electronics; No heavy, old sports equipment; No clothing; No broken or obsolete tools; No old travel books or obsolete manuals.

Considerations for Book Donations: Novels of mystery, romance, history, adventure, family, science fiction and so much more; Nonfiction of all types; Children’s books in good condition; Both hardcover and paperback books.

PLEASE DO NOT BRING: Pamphlets; any instructions for using technology, especially for computers; comics or coloring books; and torn, worn, or stained books.

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Jeff’s Jottings

Most months I try to write a column on one theme. This month, you get a hodgepodge of thoughts, making this column truly live up to its name, “Jeff’s Jottings.”

My Travels

By the time you read this, I will have returned from the Disciples of Christ’s General Assembly. I’m writing this before I leave because of press deadlines. I’ll have a round up of both the General Assembly and the United Church of Christ’s General Synod, which I attended in June, in this space in the September edition of The Bell. Also, for the record, I’ll be taking three weeks of vacation this month.

August’s Documentary

I am proud of our Second Saturday Documentary Series. Each movie we screen brings an important issue of our shared life to light. Sometimes we select a film with a strong spiritual dimension. This is true of this month’s film, Risking Light, a film about the transformational power of forgiveness. I urge you to attend the screening on August 10, 1:30 p.m., in the sanctuary. You can read more about the film at

Upcoming Worship Services

August 11 is “Mobile Pantry Sunday.” There are several things I’d like you to bring with you that day:

  • First, please bring an open mind. The order of worship will be different from what your used to.
  • Second, please bring any school supplies you’re donating to the August Special offering ( Children and teachers in our congregation are encouraged to bring their personal school supplies, too.
  • Third, please bring some non-perishable food for the Tri-City Volunteers food bank.

Hold on to all these things as worship begins. We’ll bring the school supplies and food forward at different times during the service.

The worship service on August 25 will be very simple, since most of you will be working on the Flea Market.

In September, we will be marking a Season of Creation. See to learn about how your photography can be part of our worship during those weeks.

Housing Navigation Center

It now seems pretty certain that the City of Fremont’s new Housing Navigation Center won’t be on our property. The City is now considering two properties and opposition to both is being organized. The people whose lives can be changed by a Housing Navigation Center need us to speak up. One way you can help do this is by signing this petition ( endorsed by the Cabinet.

We have learned that Housing Navigation Centers are effective programs for moving people from homelessness to stable housing. This is especially true when the program participants have more than 30 days in the program (the situation with many of the beds in San Francisco’s Navigation Centers). Having up to six months in the program with an additional six months of supportive services after being housed is a formula proving to have impressive results. And a formula that saves the tax payers lots of money.

Flea Market

The Flea Market is our annual, all-hands-on-deck fundraiser. Your help is needed to make it successful. Here’s how you can help:

  • Donate your no-longer-needed treasures. Bring them on Sundays or on other days when people are in the building. Look for the designated donation drop-off spot in the fellowship hall. Do not leave donations outside.
  • Sign up to help price, display and sell items in the weeks leading up to the big weekend. The sign-up sheet in on the window in the fellowship hall next to the hallway door nearest the kitchen. Marilyn Singer will make sure you have a way to get in if you don’t have a key.
  • Sign up to work the big weekend. All of Niles will turn into a giant garage sale the weekend of August 24-25. We need as many people as possible working that weekend. Watch for your opportunity to sign up.

See for more information about the Flea Market.

Pastor Jeff

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August Documentary: “Risking Light”

Documentary Explores Uplifting Stories of Resilience and the Difficult Work of Forgiving the Unforgivable.

A mother grieves a murdered son in Minneapolis. A Cambodian youth is forced into slave labor. An Australian toddler is torn from her loving family in the name of government-sanctioned genocide. These were the events that plunged Mary Johnson, Kilong Ung, and Debra Hocking into a world filled with unimaginable trauma and loss. Yet each one not only survived but thrived. How did their journey through grief bring them to profound compassion? How did they find it in their hearts to forgive the unforgivable?

Risking Light is a thought-provoking documentary that dares to ask, “What would the world be like if we all forgave one another?” The public is invited to a free screening of the film on Saturday, August 10, 1:30 p.m., at Niles Discovery Church, 36600 Niles Blvd., Fremont. A discussion will follow the screening.

Produced, written, and directed by Emmy-award winner Dawn Mikkelson, Risking Light takes and international, multi-cultural look at how people cope with the tragedy of the past and move forward to create fulfilling lives. The ability to forgive, but not forget, forges powerful bonds, emotional healing and community action that extends beyond the personal to universal truths that benefit us all.

Shot on location in Minnesota, Cambodia, and the Tasmanian region in Australia, Risking Light began generating attention in 2011, when the short video about Mary Johnson and O’shea Isreal’s story went viral. In 1993, Johnson’s son Laramiun Byrd was murdered by then 16-year-old Israel in Minneapolis. Johnson carried around pain and hatred toward Israel – until she visited him in prison. Their story brought restorative justice to light, and along with it, the difficult question of how do we talk with one another when egregious acts have occurred? How do we overcome personal pain to reach healing? Risking Light goes deeper into the stories than broadcast journalism allows, revealing insights that stay with the audience long after the credits roll.

The Second Saturday Documentary Series is co-sponsored by Niles Community Church and the San Jose Peace and Justice Center. Learn more about the series at

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August Special Offering

For many kids who come from families struggling with poverty, getting a new backpack and school supplies is a luxury beyond their reach. However, these tools can make all the difference in the world to their future success. How can a child be expected to excel in the classroom without the basic tools to learn? Studies show that when kids have new supplies of their own, their grades, classroom behavior, and engagement all improve. Their self-esteem increases. And, most importantly, their attitude towards school and learning improves.

In 2018 the United Church of Christ adopted the following Mission statement: “United in God’s spirit and inspired by God’s grace, we can love all, and seek justice for all: for the children, for our neighbors and for creation.”

It’s time to put God’s love to work by sharing. Please help us give students the start they need to the school year with a new backpack and supplies. The Ministry for Christian Education has been collecting backpacks and school supplies since the beginning of July to donate to the Fremont Family Resource Center, which serves the Tri-City area. They will continue to receive those donations until August 11.

We will be officially receiving cash donations for this effort on Sunday, August 11. As with all our special offerings, you are welcome to give at any time (always make checks payable to Niles Discovery Church.) You can also give online: go to our church webpage at and click the “donate” button at the top of the page.

Niles Discovery Church receives a special offering each month. With so many possibilities for special giving, you may need to choose which ones are most important to you. You can see the complete schedule of offerings at

Bring in your personal school supplies for blessing

For many years, we have had a special offering of school supplies; we have prayed over them, asking God to bless the supplies, the children who will use them, and their teachers. But we have left our own kids and teachers out of the blessing. That is going to change this year.

On August 11, we will bless the collected school supplies for distribution by the Family Resource Center. Kids and teachers in our congregation are welcome to bring their personal school supplies, too, to be blessed.

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