Intergenerational Worship Services Scheduled on September 4 and October 2

Bring the grandchildren, invite friends who enjoy the arts, and anyone who believes we need to help take care of Creation

On Sunday, September 4 and October 2, our congregation will experience a different style of worship designed to include people of all ages and abilities. We will begin and conclude together as usual, but the sanctuary will look different. There will be areas set up for experiencing worship through visual arts, music, discussion and improvisational drama. We will hear the Noah story retold in September and visit with the Good Samaritan in October. Instead of a sermon, we will reflect on the stories from scripture at worship stations. Samantha Rasler, the Liturgical Art Team, Ofer dal Lal and Judy Zlatnik will lead people at the stations.

Be sure to bring a small photo of your pet to be added to one of the Caring for Creation posters.

Sunday School will be provided for preschoolers only. We ask parents to designate an adult or older child to stay with smaller children at worship stations.

Cindy Sojourner is designing these intergenerational worship services. Worship will return to usual order on the other Sundays in September and October. If enough people enjoy this style, we may add an occasional intergenerational worship service in the future.


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Racists Anonymous Group Starts September 4

Ignore it, it won’t go away.

Sundays, September 4 – November 27  4:00 – 5:00 pm

We are beginning a Racists Anonymous (RA) 12-Step group at Niles Discovery Church because we need to help remove racism from ourselves and society. Pastor Ron Buford, originator of RA, selected Niles Discovery to help launch the second phase of RA:  20 new RA groups.  (Read more – Racists Anonymous Begins)

racisim-it-stops-with-me.jpgPastor Ron Buford helped us name our church and helped the UCC pilot the “God Is Still Speaking” campaign.  He believes we are all a bit racist. To end racism, we need to create time to reflect on how racism impacts our lives in ways that we have or haven’t noticed because of privilege, lack of privilege, isolation, fear, education, housing, family, and societal norms and structures. We need to devote time for reflection on how our racism impacts others. We need God and community to help us heal the harm.

 Please consider joining us for 1 hour a week for 90 days.

 RA is a non-confrontational model in which participants will admit we need the help of community and a higher power to rid ourselves of racism. We will not try to fix each other. Each person who attends will attend to one’s own healing. There will be room to notice how intersectionality, life experiences, media and push models to end systemic racism have impacted our experiences of racism.

Consider the following questions:

  • Do you think racism has or hasn’t had an effect on your life?
  • Do you think there’s nothing, or something more you can do to help?

We will meet in the middle Sunday School room with the round table on Sundays from 4pm to 5pm, September 4 through November 27. You are welcome to join us.

 For more information, contact Cindy Sojourner at

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Women’s Retreat scheduled for September 23-25


Mission Springs Conference Center

WOMEN’S FALL RETREAT at Mission Springs will be September 23-25, 2016  The theme this year is Understanding Our Stories. The featured speaker will be Diane Weible. Diane is the UCC conference minister in Northern California-Nevada. The registration deadline is fast approaching: September 9. There is a brochure in the church hall with registration forms available. So far we have 5 women planning to attend and hopefully some others will seriously consider this wonderful spiritual experience among the beautiful redwood trees in the Santa Cruz retreat area. Contact Brenda Loreman or Judy Molander for more information.



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The Evening Women’s Fellowship will begin the 2016-2017 season at Judy Molander”s home (45531 Cheyenne Place, Fremont) on September 14 at 7:00 PM. The theme for this year is Hospitality and the title for Lesson 1 is “Let the little children come.”  The scripture is Matthew 19:13-15, Mark 9:33-37, and Luke 18:15-17. We are all children of God and this lesson models hospitality towards the most vulnerable and gives us a glimpse into the nature of the kingdom of God.  All ladies are welcome.

Lab Robe Tying Group  met on July 27 from 10 AM – 2 PM in the fellowship hall at church. 7 present and tied 6 lap robes were tied.  Due to the flea market, the lap robe tying group was not able to meet in the fellowship hall for the regular August meeting. Therefore, a small group met at Judy Molander’s home. We will be back to our usual meeting on September 28. This group meets the fourth Wednesday of the month January – October.  In September and October, we will be deciding where to donate the lap robes that have been made recently. If you know someone who would like one of the lap robes or a group that could use several lap robes, let Alison, Judy M. or Dorletta. know   There is no charge for the lap robes.

All ladies are invited but let Dorletta know if you plan to attend as lunch is provided.

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Strategic Plan Takes Shape

strategic-planningAt a Town Hall Meeting after worship on July 17, the Strategic Planning Team (SPT) shared its work with the congregation. So far, the team has created new mission and values statements and narrowed all the ideas for projects down into two broad goals.


The draft mission statement,

—“Following the example of Jesus, Niles Discovery Church welcomes all people, grows in our relationship with God and each other, and serves our neighbors near and far,”—

and the five values

inclusion, compassion, nurture, stewardship, and open-mindedness—

were well-received by those attending the meeting. There was good discussion around the two goals, including some suggestions for revision that the SPT will consider in its upcoming meeting. To see the goals and the mission and values statements in more detail click here.

The next step is for the SPT to flesh out the strategic plan with strategies and projects to help us meet the goals, and the team would like the congregation’s help with this. As you shop the flea market items in Fellowship Hall this month, check out the two posters on the windows next to the patio. A goal is listed at the top of each poster, and there are pens available for you to write your suggestions for projects and strategies that you think will help us achieve those goals in the next two or three years.

You may also contact SPT Chair John Smith or Pastor Brenda if you have questions or suggestions to offer.

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Updated Mission, Values Statements & Goals Proposed

Current Purpose and Mission Statements from our Bylaws:

The purpose of the Niles Discovery Church is to be a progressive, open and affirming church that serves the Bay Area Community, uniting in God’s love for all people regardless of race, age, nationality, physical ability, marital status, family configuration, mental ability, economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, religion, faith, or creed, encouraging them on the adventure we called the faith journey.

Our mission is to be a community based on Jesus’s message of love where all people can worship, learn, grow spiritually, and be welcomed and respected. Our goal is to transform our progressive Christian faith into loving actions that will include our neighbors, near and far. Our lives depend on our abiding faith in the all-inclusive love of God through Christ, and our commitment is to share this faith journey with others.

Proposed Mission, Values and Strategic Plan Goals

The following proposed Mission and Values Statements would replace the Mission and Purpose statement in the Bylaws and shown . This requires a congregational vote.


Following the example of Jesus, Niles Discovery Church welcomes all people, grows in our relationship with God and each other, and serves our neighbors near and far.



  • Living out our Open and Affirming commitment by expressing God’s all-inclusive, extravagant love for all people, regardless of race, age, nationality, physical ability, marital status, family configuration, mental ability, economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, religion, faith, or creed
  • Creating a community of faith that is intentionally diverse and anti-racist


  • Caring for each other and ourselves as Jesus cares for us
  • Striving toward a just society worldwide, where everyone has a fair share of resources to live with dignity
  • Putting our faith into action through service to our community


  • Creating a safe place for people to bring their doubt, their questions, and their whole authentic selves
  • Encouraging people of all ages on the adventure we call the faith journey
  • Committing to life-long learning and deepening of our faith


  • Managing our community’s human and financial resources in a sustainable manner
  • Implementing practices to sustain and repair the earth’s resources


  • Engaging with the Bible seriously but not literally—wrestling with its meanings, exploring its mysteries, and understanding its relevance for our lives today
  • Recognizing that the study of science and the practice of faith can be complementary and in harmony
  • Drawing from diverse sources of wisdom for our spiritual journeys

 Goal One:  Increase our intergenerational, multicultural, hands-on mission and service by at least two projects per year.
 Goal Two:  Encourage the faith journeys of all members and visitors by increasing participation in programs by 10% annually.




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Racists Anonymous Begins


Racists Anonymous: Begins With Us Pledging To Rid Ourselves Of Racism

Racism: Ignore It…and it won’t go away. 

Racists Anonymous originator Ron Buford thinks we are all a bit racist. He’s developed a 12 step program designed to help rid the nation and perhaps the world of racism. Our church has been chosen to help launch the second phase of Racists Anonymous. The intention is to build a movement of people who pledge their lives to being mindful of our own racism; being mindful of our powerlessness to rid ourselves of racism without each other; and consciously turning it over to the higher power. Many approaches are needed to end racism. This is not a push approach to end racism like Black Lives Matters, which emphasizes confronting external forces and patterns of racism, which can unfortunately create unintended resentment. The Racists Anonymous 12-Step focuses on our need for internal change. 

We will begin with one group that meets weekly or bimonthly. We will create a safe and confidential place for listening to one another. We will set aside judgments, assumptions and reactions to improve our hearing of the truths and experiences of others and ourselves. Instead of going to judgment and disagreement, we will go to wonder. We will wonder what brought a person to think or act that way. We will not try to fix others. While we use our I statements and focus on healing self with the help of community and the higher power, we will trust that this work will heal us and future generations. Will you pledge to join this movement to rid ourselves and the world of racism? Is there anyone else you know who might join this movement? Please contact Cindy Sojourner at to help determine date and time preferences for the RA 12-Step and for more information.




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