PASTOR’S PONDERINGS—LOVE AND REPENTANCE
February is the month of Valentines, which for Christians can remind us of the Great Commandment Jesus gave, to love God with everything we’ve got and love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Mark 12:30). We also start Lent on February 17 this year with the call to repentance and a focus on our spiritual practices; we contemplate how we can turn to God once again.
Which leads me to ask, how might we repent, so that we can better love God and our neighbor? We will all have our individual things to work on. But I feel led for our Lent worship to use a resource to help us grapple with some issues related to society and systems, to grapple with ways that racism and white supremacy are woven into our lives and institutions, and what Jesus has to say about all of it. I’m going to be using a resource in Lent for Repenting of a Culture of White Supremacy throughout the season.
What are you talking about, Pastor? You may be saying. First a little bit about culture. Culture refers to all the unwritten and unspoken rules we learn from a very young age about how things go, the invisible ways of operating we tend to take for granted. From when you eat and with whom, to when it is appropriate to make eye contact, to how you speak to others and where your priorities are and on and on, all of this makes up a culture. If you have traveled to another country and gone beyond the standard tourist experience, you may have experienced what they call “culture shock.” Cultures are easily noticeable in foreign travel but there are many levels of subculture within a nation as well. Underneath these ways are values, and sometimes these understood values are so deep in our subconscious that is difficult to even articulate them.
What is a culture of white supremacy? Showing Up for Racial Justice’s website says “White supremacy culture is the idea (ideology) that white people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions.” We can know intellectually that that is not true, yet the culture that our country lives and breathes still reinforces elements of white supremacy culture to different degrees in different organizations, including churches. And people who are not white can also take on these values and unwittingly reinforce white supremacy, too.
Why do this now? Because it has become obvious in the past months and years that the sickness of white supremacy has infected our nation and is not going away on its own. People ascribing to this mistaken belief system and part of white supremacist groups were largely responsible for the domestic terror attack on our nation’s capitol on January 6 that resulted in six deaths. The on-camera killing of George Floyd is another example that we lived through in 2020. These examples are like the tip of the iceberg poking out obviously, but there are many ways that this sickness is hidden in our society. The gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to repent of sin, and this is one systemic sin that followers of Christ need to actively turn away from to more fully follow the One who loved across all of the dividing lines that humans try to draw.
How? Using the resource Disrupt Worship Project has come up with prayers and litanies to help us see Jesus’ call to repent of white supremacy culture. For while often accepted as “the way things are” none of the hidden values are in line with what Jesus came to reveal to us: a good God desiring fullness of life, harmonious community, appreciation of diversity and deeper understanding of those different from us.
In the book of Jonah, Jonah is a prophet tasked with announcing God’s judgment on his nation’s enemies, and against his hopes, the people actually repent, and God has mercy on them. They call a fast for everyone to participate in, the elites and ruling classes down to the poorest and even children and animals. All together they receive the prophet’s warning and change their ways. Repentance is not just for individual actions; if our whole nation repented together, how much different could things be? We serve a merciful God who loves us too much to let systemic sin continue to hurt all of us. I hope you will join us for the Lent worship and consider all of us together how to turn once again back to God and better love God and our neighbor.
JOYS AND CONCERNS AMONG OUR CHURCH FAMILY
Please continue to pray for cancer warriors Michael dela Montanya, Jacob dela Montanya, Gerard Laquerrier (friend of John and Pat), Linda Gourley (friend of Pastor Michelle’s mother), Irene Pasillas (Open Gate), and Chase Glosier (Steve and Kathy Botkin’s nephew).
Please keep Phyllis Martzen, Lisa Delgado and her family, John and Pat dela Montanya, Miyeko Cabello (Diane’s mother), Romeo and Norma Lozano, the Porras family, Rosalinda Vasquez and her family, Florence Brayfield, Marcia Williams, Terry and Nancy McKittrick, Molly Osato, Cherry Cadiente , Nanay Serios (Robert’s mother), Wilma Conner, Sandy Hansen, Antonio Saldana (father of Derek’s friend Jose), Dinuba Youth for Christ, Cruising for Jesus, domestic violence ministries, first responders, healthcare workers, Open Gate Ministries; teachers and students; and all those affected during the COVID-19 pandemic and lock-down in your prayers.
Please continue to pray for our country, that cooperation, truth, justice, the Constitution, and civility will be honored. Pray for the COVID-19 vaccine distribution to go smoothly.
NEWS BITS FOR THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY 2021
Pastor Michelle will live-stream her Sunday sermons on Facebook at 10:30 AM (more information enclosed), and she will be leading four “Grace Groups” via ZOOM. Old Testament Bible Study will gather every Wednesday at 11:00 via conference call. Prayer Group will convene on Thursdays. Ad Council will meet February 16 at 10:00 AM via ZOOM.
Virtual Coffee Hour will be held following Facebook live-stream and Zoom worship service every Sunday, and following Holy Communion on February 7 !! (Please have bread and juice ready for virtual Communion.) On February 16 at 12:00 noon, Pastor Michelle will offer a Zoom Ash Wednesday Service. Watch for the link in your Worship Helps.
Our first in-person outdoor worship October 8, 2020, at Romeo and Norma Lozano’s backyard was attended by 29 people; our second in-person service on November 15 was attended by 43 people; and our third in-person service on December 20 was attended by 36 people; our fourth in-person worship on January 10, 2021, was attended by 38 people, including 14 in person and 24 people online!!
Palm Church Ad Council has decided to forego our scheduled February outdoor in-person worship service due to the current high numbers of COVID cases in this area. When we are able to meet together again, please continue to observe the health and safety protocols: Wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose, no physical greetings, no singing, and please remain six feet away from people you aren’t related to !! (Some disposable masks will be available.) Facebook livestream and Zoom service will continue to be be offered. RSVP Marian Clifton, 834-5135 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Annual Soup and Pie Lunch will not be held due to COVID.
Congratulations to Philip Martzen and four NASA colleagues on receiving the 2020 Samuel M. Burka Award from the Institute of Navigation for their paper titled “Characterization of On-orbit GPS Transmit Antenna Patterns for Space Users.”
We don’t understand it, Phil, but we are very proud of you anyway !!
WAYS TO COMMUNICATE WITH PASTOR MICHELLE
I pray that you are all staying safe and well! These times of pandemic can bring extra pastoral care concerns. Please, if you would like a phone call or visit, let me know! Reaching me on my cell phone is probably the best way, (805) 233- 5796. We can also set up a Zoom to “see” one another if you like. (I just ask that if it’s not urgent, to not call on Monday, my day off.) For now according to the Conference protocol, if you would like a visit I can stand outside of your house and talk to you from 10 feet away, looking at you through a window, and talking “live” or on the phone if we can’t hear each other. If you are on Facebook and would like to be “friends” there please send a friend request to Pastor Michelle Magee. Out of respect for your privacy I won’t request you, but I would be pleased to be friends on that account if you like! Please also like our church Facebook page to see updates there, and you can see the livestreamed worship MOST Sundays at 10:30am: https://www.facebook.com/PalmUMCDinuba/videos/.
Email is great too: email@example.com. You should also be getting a weekly guide to an at- home devotional to do, and you can catch the sermon in print form on my blog on the website too: palmumc.org under the worship tab. Blessings! –Pastor Michelle
1—Tom Magee 2—Bob Ishida 3—Donna Sadahiro
4—Michael Kurihara 5—Andy Fern 6—Andy Clifton
8—Iris Yamagata 9—Winnie Cadiente
10—John Viloria, Matt Shaver 11—Diane Domingo
12—Ricky Pipkin 14—Mark Shaver 18—Judy Hernandez
22—Elaine Sciacqua 25—Colleen Gray
26—Angelica Gonzalez 27—Jessica Serios
God continues to call us to thankfully be good stewards of all we have received. Please remember, even though we aren’t presently using our facility, we still have bills to pay: salaries, utilities, insurance, etc. Your tithes and offerings are VERY important !! Snail-mail (USPS) always works, and now we have the convenient option of online giving through our web-site or Facebook !! Give it a try – SEE OUR NEW GIVING PAGE. Thank you !!
ONLINE WORSHIP SERVICES
HOW TO LISTEN TO PALM CHURCH 10:30 am SUNDAY SERVICES
WITH PASTOR MICHELLE (and virtual Communion on February 7 )
“LIVE” through Zoom using a phone for audio only
1. Dial 1-669-900-6833 OR 1-346-248-7799
2. After prompt, enter Meeting I.D. 901-220-3185, and hit #
3. After prompt, hit # again, Option—Try Speaker Phone
LISTEN AND VIEW PASTOR MICHELLE’S
PALM CHURCH 10:30 A.M. SUNDAY SERMON every week
on FACEBOOK LIVESTREAM (and VIRTUAL COMMUNION on SUNDAY, February 7)
(even if you aren’t a member of Facebook !!) or you can watch a previous Sunday service.
If you get the Log-in Window, Click on “Not Now.”
► When the Live Video appears, click on the red LIVE button
Please leave a Facebook comment (If using a computer, click on video to open the Comments field) or click on an “Emoji Bubble,” or send Pastor Michelle a text (805-233-5796), OR send Marian an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the purpose of attendance record. Thank you !
Please have juice and bread ready for virtual Communion on Sunday, February 7
TO PARTICIPATE IN VIRTUAL COFFEE HOUR FOLLOWING THE SERVICE
“LIVE” through Zoom using computer or smart phone
(or audio only—see instructions above for dial-in, hit * 6 to un-mute yourself)
Join Zoom Meeting—
OPEN GATE MINISTRIES ON-GOING NEEDS
511 North “K” Street, Dinuba 559-591-1241
Feminine Products and Diapers
Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
Lotion, Shampoo, and Hairbrushes
Coffee and Creamer
Juice and Children’s Snacks
Ziploc Bags (quart and gallon size)
Aluminum Foil / Paper Grocery Bags
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Socks and Pajamas- All sizes
February 2021 Worship Tasks
Greeters / Ushers
7 Janice & Robert Serios
14 Winnie Cadiente
21 Diane Domingo, Taye Abe
28 Quincy Yada, Jessica Serios
It has been good to be with you for outdoor worship. Thanks to everyone for maintaining distance, wearing masks, and observing all the health and safety protocols so we can care well for one another!! Palm Church Ad Council has decided to forego our scheduled February outdoor in-person worship service due to the high numbers of COVID cases in this area.
It is important to RSVP so we can let you know if the date is changed!! If you plan to attend the next in-person outdoor service, please RSVP Marian Clifton (email@example.com) or 843-5135.
We will continue with online worship via Facebook Livestream and Zoom at the regular time 10:30 AM in the meantime every Sunday, and the Zoom coffee hour. Thank you for your continued faithfulness in sharing Christ wherever you are.
Newsletter Editor: Marian Clifton
Worship Bulletin Editor: Kathy Lamb
Webmaster: Sandy Hansen
Office Hours: Tues./Thurs 10:30-4:00
Office Phone: 559-591-0746
Listen to Pastor Michelle’s sermons at –
Church Location: Tulare and “P” Streets
Sunday Service: 10:30 AM—Facebook Livestream and Zoom Worship
Palm Church Administrative Council
Nancy McKittrick–Ad Board Chair, Assistant Treasurer
Susan Yoshimura–Education Chair, SPRC co-Chair
Jerry Munson—Finance Chair, Financial Secretary
Janice Serios—UMW President, Youth co-Chair, SPRC co-Chair
Marian Clifton—Missions co-Chair, co-Recording Secretary
Aiko Takeda—Missions co-Chair
Katherine Rodriguez—Missions (Outreach), Youth co-Chair
Cathy Yada—co-Recording Secretary
Derek Fujinaga—Lay Leader, Annual Conference Delegate,
Interim Trustee Chair
Pastor Michelle Magee—Nominations Chair
Aiko Takeda—Missions co-Chair
Norma Lozano—Worship Tasks Coordinator