Niles Discovery Church Daily – Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Today’s Prayer

My genesis is in you, O God,
my beginnings are in Eden,
my origins are those of every man and woman.
Forgive me the falseness of what I have become,
the ugliness and divisions of which I am a part.
Restore me to the truthfulness of my birth in you,
the heritage of all that has being.
Renew me this night in the genesis of my soul,
the beauty of Eden deep in each created thing.

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

In the Days Ahead

(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.)

See the Paschal Triduum and Easter section of this email.


11:30-12:30 – Monday Morning Bible Study. Join us every Monday morning on Zoom for a discussion about the coming Sunday’s scripture lesson. Click here to join us.

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.


A Pastoral Word

I’ve been wondering if I’m keeping myself too busy. I think that maybe I am. If you look at the “Something You Can Do Now” section of today’s “Daily,” you’ll see two opportunities that both seem important to me, both happening in the next few days. The only thing is, this is Holy Week and I want to keep my focus on the Jesus story. And, just because I can do something, it doesn’t mean I need to do something.

Maybe for you it’s the opposite. Maybe you’re feeling bored, so finding things to do while you shelter at home is important. In that case, find something to do. It’s just not the case for me. I’ve been busy trying to figure out how to be a pastor in the midst of a pandemic. It feels a little like trying to build an airplane as I fly it.

Here’s my bottom line:  Whether you’re doing too much or too little, don’t lose track of the story we’re remembering this week. Check out the Paschal Triduum and Easter section of this email for ideas of how you can keep your faith a central part of this week. Then pick and choose the rest of what you do carefully. As our “Inspiration” above reminds us, this is a marathon; we need to pace ourselves.

Shifting subjects, there are two other details I want to share.

It is really important to me that the “Zoom with the Children” gathering is a safe space for our kids. That’s why I started requiring registration for that meeting. If you missed out on it this week, please register here so you can join us next week.

Also, just an FYI, tomorrow’s “Daily” will be mailed at around 9:00 a.m. and will have a different look … because it’s specific for Maundy Thursday. We’ll still send out a Saturday edition.

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.

Anytime on Easter – 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.


Pledges and Donations:  If you are able to keep up with your pledge or if you are able to continue making donations to the church, please do so. We continue to have and pay expenses. Checks mailed to the church (by your or your bank/credit union) are deposited weekly. Contributions made online ( or through the Givelify app are processed almost immediately. Cecilia continues to record your giving in our records. Thank you for helping our church continue to be a voice of hope in our community.

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 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!

Something You Can Do Now

Take a Bystander Intervention Training:  Offered Friday at 11:30 a.m., this one-hour, online, interactive training will teach you Hollaback!’s 5D’s of bystander intervention methodology. We’ll start by talking about the types of disrespect that Asian and Asian American folks are facing right now, then move on to the positive impact that bystander intervention has on individuals and communities – and how to do it. Learn more and register here.

Attend Fremont’s Earth Day Summit:  Organized by a dynamic 15-year-old from Fremont who has won several international awards in the last year for her greywater saving devices, this Earth Day Summit, this event (on Saturday, April 11, 10:00-noon) will celebrate the work of local students and reveal plans for the Tri-Cities and beyond. There will be invited speakers and fun. Learn more and register here.

Start collecting for a SAVE ditty bag. Each year, Niles Discovery Church receives a special offering for SAVE (Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments). The offering includes ditty bags, hand sewn bags filled with personal hygiene items. This year, the special offering for SAVE will be on the first Sunday of May, so if you would like to start collecting the contents for a ditty bag now, you can read more about it here.


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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