Much Accomplished at Annual Meeting

annual meeting graphicThe agenda was lengthy for an Annual Meeting, but things went surprisingly quickly because there was little discussion on most of the items. “I think that means we did our homework,” Pastor Jeff said.

In addition to approving minutes of the congregational meetings held during the preceding twelve months, the congregation

  • endorsed a resolution repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery that will be voted on at the Disciples of Christ’s General Assembly this summer,
  • adopted the Strategic Plan developed by the Strategic Planning Team,
  • amended the Bylaws to establish a new Ministry of Hospitality and Fellowship Team and focusing (and renaming) the Ministry of Evangelism Team, and
  • elected the full slate of Officers and Ministry Team Chairs presented by the Nominating Committee.

Cabinet:
Moderator:  Jim Thomas
Vice Moderator:  Mark McConville
Clerk:  Cathy West
Treasurer:  Beth Rasler
Ministry of Spiritual Life Team chair:  Val Parker
Ministry of Property:  John Hollowell
Ministry of Christian Education Team Chair:  Beth Armstrong
Ministry of Social Concerns:  Judy Zlatnik
Ministry of Hospitality & Fellowship Team chair:  Alison Kieft
Ministry of Evangelism Team chair:  Matt Espinoza 

Auditor: Mike Thompson

Parking Lot Discussion: The one item that evoked some discussion was one that was only advisory. The Cabinet, with the assistance of the Ministry of Property Team, has been looking into both the need for expanding the parking lot and the associated costs. The congregation was divided as to how important expanding the parking lot is and was nowhere near consensus on how such an expansion should be paid for.

At their meeting two weeks later, the Cabinet decided to ask the people who are responsible for locking up the church each Sunday to also look at the parking situation just as worship lets out. The Cabinet hopes to collect six months of data showing for each week how many empty parking spaces there are, if any cars are parked on “squirrel hill” (as the Ministry of Property Team affectionately calls the grassy area at the far west end of the property), and how full the parking along the south side of Niles Blvd. seems to be. They hope that with this data they will have a better idea of the need for expanded parking. In the meantime, if you have a question, idea, or opinion about parking at the church, please contact our new Moderator, Jim Thomas.

 

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Special Offering scheduled for May 14

CWS BlanketsThe May Special Offering is for Church World Services “Blankets+” program. Each year, CWS distributes thousands of blankets around the world to people in crisis because of poverty and disaster. A blanket brings warmth. A blanket brings love. Be part of the love. Learn more at https://cwsblankets.org/.

This offering will be officially received on Sunday, May 14. 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 and click the “donate” button at the top of the page.

Niles Discovery Church receives a special offering each month. With that many possibilities for special giving, you may need to choose which ones are most important to you. You can see the schedule of special offerings at http://bit.ly/speoff2017 or call the church office we will mail you one.

The April Special Offering raised $695, to be split between Pacific School of Religion and Chapman University. Thank you so much from your generosity.

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South African and Israeli Systems Compared in Second Saturday Documentary

Roadmap-To-Apartheid_ARTThe parallels between South Africa’s former practice of separating citizens by race and Israeli apartheid are drawn in “Roadmap to Apartheid,” a documentary that will be screened at 1:30 pm, May 13, at Niles Discovery Church, 36600 Niles Blvd., Fremont, at Nursery Ave. The Second Saturday Documentary Series is free and open to the public.

The late Nelson Mandela, first democratically elected black African president of South Africa and tireless opponent of apartheid said, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

Film-makers Ana Nogueira of South Africa and Eron Davidson, a Jewish American-Israeli, released their film in 2012 to acclaim and criticism. A wide-ranging discussion concerning the politics of race, religion, and security will follow the screening.

The Second Saturday Documentary Series is co-sponsored by Niles Discovery Church and the San Jose Peace & Justice Center. For more information, call 510 797-0895 or visit http://bit.ly/nilesssds.

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Jeff’s Jottings

Jeffs Jottings

Pastor Jeff

I recently came across an article about the 10 qualities of creative communities. The authors conclude that faith communities that exhibit these 10 qualities are more vital and better able to respond to a culture that is in flux, shaping the future of religion in the process.

I hope that authors are right, because I think we’re doing pretty well with all of these qualities.

It struck me to be a little strange that the first quality identified is Bounded. One might assume that creative communities would be so far outside the box that nothing is left inside. Actually, they found that having some constraints of religious tradition and ways of operating supports boundary pushing. I think we’re pretty good at boundary pushing within the constraints of our tradition and ways of operating.

Creative communities, the authors say, are Authentic, but I don’t fully get what their buzz-word explanation means, so I’m interpreting this to mean that creative communities have integrity, that the face they present is accurate to who they really are. I think this is true of us as well.

Creative communities are Embedded, committed to a particular place and want to make a difference there. This is true of us.

Creative communities are Pollinating, more interested in spreading ideas than in establishing or maintaining institutions. I think Niles Discovery Church is willing to take risks in an effort to spread the really big idea of love.

Creative communities are Embodied, in the flesh. I think we get the radical good news that is in the incarnation. We don’t separate the “spirit” and “flesh,” but recognized that the flesh alive here and now is just as sacred as whatever it is that lives on in the life after this life.

Creative communities are Activated, taking ideas and putting them into action. We are definitely a congregation that wants to get our hands dirty making the world a better place.

Creative communities are Empathetic, grounding their actions in care and compassion, often for marginalized people. I think this is also true of our congregation – so true that I think we always want to be better at it.

Creative communities are Networked, connected within and across traditions. Again, this is true of us. In addition to our connections to our denominations, we have three church members who are active in the Tri-City Interfaith Council (which is three times the norm).

Creative communities are Enfranchised, more interested in welcoming ideas from many points of view rather than adhering to a strict hierarchy. Why this can feel “loosey-goosey,” our structure that encourages the formation of Special Ministry Teams to undertake new ideas is designed specifically for Enfranchisement (we just didn’t have the world for it at the time).

Creative communities are Adaptive, responding to new social challenges and opportunities with a sense of possibility, rather than a sense of fear. I think that most of the time this is true of us, too.

We won’t have time in our Annual Meeting for me to offer any sort of a “state of the church” address – we simply have too much business to conduct. I hope this column has sufficed as a summary of the state of our church’s health. I welcome your feedback and/or assessment.

See you at the Annual Meeting and in worship.

Peace, Pastor Jeff

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Deepening Membership gathering focuses on Nurturing Faith

eco-faith-1After completing their four-part, every-four-months rotation of Deepening Membership gatherings, Pastor Jeff and Pastor Brenda have come back to their original topic:  Nurturing Faith.

Long-time members and people who are brand new to Niles Discovery Church are invited to attend the gathering in the Fellowship Hall on Wednesday, May 24, 7:30-9:00. Advanced registration is not necessary. The gathering will include sharing about practices that have nurtured your faith and a brief presentation about opportunities to nurture your faith at Niles Discovery Church.

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Call to Annual Meeting

annual meeting graphicNotice is hereby given that the 2017 Annual Meeting of Niles Discovery Church will be on Sunday, May 7, following worship in the Fellowship Hall. Business items include voting on two bylaws amendments, adopting the strategic plan, electing church leadership, and endorsing a resolution going to the DOC General Assembly. Your attendance is prayerful and urgently requested.

The Annual Report (which includes the agenda and all the business items) is available in the Fellowship Hall and online at http://bit.ly/2017NDCannualreport.

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Special offering for April

The April Special Offering will be split between Pacific School of Religion and Chapman University. Pacific School of Religion is the nearest seminary that trains future United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ pastors. Chapman University is our “local” UCC- and DOC- related college. Your support of these two educational institutions helps train the future leaders of our church and our world.

This offering will be officially received on Sunday, April 9. 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 and click the “donate” button at the top of the page.

Niles Discovery Church receives a special offering each month. With that many possibilities for special giving, you may need to choose which ones are most important to you. You can see the schedule of special offerings at http://bit.ly/speoff2017 or call the church office we will mail you one.

Thanks to your generosity, the March special offering (to be split between the UCC’s One Great Hour of Sharing and the DOC’s Week of Compassion special offerings) raised $1310 for disaster response and development grants. We are making lives better, thanks to your generosity!

 

 

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