Niles Discovery Church Daily – Monday, April 6, 2020

Today’s Prayer

That in the elements of earth, sea and sky I may see your beauty,
that in wild winds, birdsong and silence
I may hear your beauty,
that in the body of another and the interminglings of relationship
I may touch your beauty,
that in the moisture of the earth and its flowering
and fruiting
I may smell your beauty,
that in the flowing waters of springs and streams I may taste your beauty,
these things I look for this day, O God,
these things I look for.

~ by John Philip Newell, excerpt from Sounds of the Eternal: A Celtic Psalter


The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) regions have been asked to pray for health care workers during Holy Week. Our region is asked to pray Tuesday, April 7. People can choose their time to ask God’s presence and protection for all of those caring for people with COVID-19 and other serious illnesses.

Calendar (for the next few days)

(Doing what we can to make your Zoom experience safe, we are now using “waiting rooms” for some of our meetings and require advanced registration or others.)


2:00-3:00 p.m. – Community Drop-In. A simple a time to chat, hang-out, and pray. One of our Pastors will be present. Bring your own coffee; no agenda; just a time to be together. This link,, will take you to the Community Drop In every time it’s held.


9:00-9:30 a.m. – Pray with Terri Hord Owens. The General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) – one of our denominations – invite you to pray with her when she livestreams on her Facebook page. You do not need to have a Facebook account to join her.

2:00-3:00 p.m. – Community Drop-In. A simple a time to chat, hang-out, and pray. One of our Pastors will be present. Bring your own coffee; no agenda; just a time to be together. This link,, will take you to the Community Drop In every time it’s held.

3:00-3:30 p.m. – Zoom with the Children. The kids of our church are invited to join Pastor Jeff on Zoom for conversation and sharing. You must register for this event. Click here to register. This week’s assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to bring a toy you deeply love and the story about how it came to be part of your life. (Of course, parents and grandparents and other interested adults are welcome to listen to what the kids have to share, too.)


10:00 a.m.-noon – Retirement Reinvention Group. During the Shelter In Place order, we need this time to offer each other support, and to receive it. Contact John Zlatnik for information about joining this Zoom gathering of retirees who are supporting one another as they live into new ways of being retired people.

See, also the Paschal Triduum and Easter section below.


A Pastoral Word

Well, my friends, this is going to be a short Pastoral Word because what I was planning to write about ended up being the new section of our Daily newsletter, “Paschal Triduum and Easter.” It’s right below this Pastoral Word, and it lists offerings for worship, prayer, and reflection that are available during the three holy days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday (the Paschal Triduum), and on Easter. Some are things our church is doing; some are offerings from the wider church.

If you’re at all like me, you’ve been trying to find a way to give these days of sheltering in place a rhythm. “A schedule,” I say to myself, “will make the days feel a little more normal.” And here the church goes, offering things to participate in that are going to mess up any semblance of order a schedule was trying to create.


And that’s the point. No matter what’s happening in the world and in our lives, the events of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday should interrupt our routines, call us to reflection, deepen our spiritual awareness, and give us a hope that passes understanding.

So, come. Participate in something that will draw you out of yourself and deeper into the story of Jesus – at least for a few days. You’ll be better for having done so.

Pastor Jeff

Paschal Triduum and Easter

The Paschal Triduum is the fancy name for the the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of Holy Week. Traditionally, worship over these three days is seen as one continuous worship service and then end with the Great Vigil of Easter (traditionally a late Saturday night). Here are some options available to you this year.

Maundy Thursday – April 9

9:00-9:30 a.m. – Maundy Thursday worship and assignment. Join Pastor Jeff and Pastor Brenda in a simple service of prayer, scripture reading, reflection, and assignment. (The assignment will also be emailed to everyone on this mailing list at about the same time.) Join this simple service by clicking here.

12:30 p.m. – Worship with the United Church of Christ. We don’t have the details yet. All we know is that the leaders from across the life of the denomination will be leading a streamed worship service. Watch here for more details as they emerge.

7:00-7:30 p.m. – Maundy Thursday assignment check in. This is simply a time to check in with each other about how you did with your Maundy Thursday assignment. Join this gathering by clicking here.

Good Friday – April 10

9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. – Meditations on the Seven Last Words of Christ. Every hour on the hour, we will repost one of the 7- to 8-minute meditations on the seven last words of Christ that were live streamed last year on our Facebook page.

9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. – The Northern California Nevada Conference’s virtual Chapel. Come in as you have time throughout the day to meditate, post prayer requests in the chatroom, and view meditative 5- to 7-minute looping videos based on the Stations of the Cross. The meditation on each Station will be up for half an hour and then change to the next station, moving through all 14 Stations of the Cross during this time period. Enter the chapel at any time while it is open by clicking here. Pastor Jeff contributed to this Conference-wide project.

Easter Sunday – April 12

10:00-11:00 a.m. – Easter Festival Service. Join us for our Easter Festival Service on Zoom. Registration is for our Sunday morning worship services is required. Go to to register.

Time to Be Announced – Worship with the Disciples of Christ. We don’t know what at what time, yet, but at some point during the day, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will be streaming an Easter Worship Celebration on their YouTube channel. We will update this announcement when we have more information.

5:00 p.m. – Great Vigil of Easter. Grace North Church in Berkeley is inviting us to join them as they celebrate the Great Vigil of Easter on Easter afternoon. Click here to join them. And download the liturgy (ahead of time) here.


Special Edition of The Bell:  The Shelter In Place (SIP) order has left our plans for April in a state of flux, so our Pastors decided that we wouldn’t produce a regular edition of The Bell in April. Instead, they started this almost-daily email. That has left our The Bell editor with a special opportunity – if you’re willing to do some writing and take some pictures. We would like to do a special edition of The Bell, a “Stories from the SIP” edition. Over the next two weeks, you (and this is a very inclusive “you”) are invited to take pictures, write stories, and draw pictures about your experience of living under the Shelter In Place order. Submit these to by this Thursday, April 9, and our intrepid editor will create our “Stories from the SIP” edition of The Bell that we will make available via email. So, tell your story!

Giving by App:  The church has signed up with Givelify to be the app to allow your giving from your smart phone. Pastor Jeff downloaded, set up, and used the app today. Read about his experience here. You can watch a video overview of the app (once it’s set up) here.

What You Can Do Now

Make (and use) masks:  The Centers for Disease Control is now recommending that people where a cloth mask when in public to help reduce spread of the novel coronavirus. Kaiser Hospital in Fremont is recommending the mask production that follows these guidelines. You can download and print these directions by clicking here.

Learn stuff.


About Jeffrey Spencer

A lover of God and puns, Jeff Spencer is a pastor in the United Church of Christ (with standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)) and the author of a curriculum on the Death Penalty for adults (and older youth) in churches. More information at He serves as Senior Pastor at Niles Discovery Church in Fremont, CA.
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