What’s Up August 2020

August 2020, Volume 3, Issue 8

In this issue, read about:

Musical Notes from Andy

New Virtual Choir Anthem for Homecoming Sunday
After the success of the choir’s first virtual anthem, the choir is planning to begin another virtual anthem to present at Homecoming Sunday (formerly Ingathering) on September 13. The anthem will be We Are Not Alone by Pepper Choplin, which is fun and not too challenging! It would be wonderful to have a larger choir this time. Many choir members sang two parts the first time, if you were wondering why you saw the same person twice in the video! For instance, some would sing soprano and alto and some tenor and bass.

Therefore, I am inviting all of you from the congregation to consider singing for the Homecoming anthem. Perhaps you love to sing, but don’t want to make a larger commitment to sing in the choir. This would be a wonderful opportunity to sing and share your gifts for a single event. For the virtual choir, you would make a video recording of yourself at home and submit the recording to a link that will be given out. Your video will then be made into a larger video collage of all the videos to produce a “virtual choir.” The choir members found the process daunting at first, but agreed that it was a really fun and rewarding experience!

If you are interested in singing or have any questions at all, please contact me at andy@fpcpaloalto.org. I will be happy to walk you through the process. If you want to participate, let me know by August 3; the final date to submit recordings to Karen will be August 23.

Talent Show on Friday, August 7, 7:30 – 8:30pm

Please consider sharing one of your talents: playing a musical instrument, singing, reading poetry, telling a short story, a family skit, dance, presenting artwork you’ve made, etc. I know you all have many different talents! The show will be open to all ages and ability levels. The object of the show is to have fun in a very relaxed environment. There will be a dress rehearsal, date and time TBD, to ensure everything runs smoothly. I’d imagine the length of each performance will run no longer than 5 minutes. If you would like to participate, or have any questions at all, please contact me at andy@fpcpaloalto.org. You can register at bit.ly/FPCPATalentShowAug7.

I wish you all a safe and healthy rest of the summer!

Would you like a “Church pal?” or to be on our Prayer List?

Are any of you feeling unusually isolated these days? The Care and Compassion Ministry offers two ways to increase personal contact within our congregation:

• Would you like to be in touch regularly with another member of our congregation? We are collecting names of people who might be interested in either making or receiving a regular call, and we will match people with each other. Pairs of people might decide they prefer phone calls, email or FaceTime. It’s entirely up to each pair. And pairs can decide how often they might like to be in touch, and later how long they want this to last. This might be a great way to get to know someone new.

• Alternatively, we invite others simply to use your Church Directory, pick up the phone and occasionally call folks you miss seeing. Or you could email someone and just check in to see how they are doing. Just knowing that someone is thinking of you can brighten anyone’s day.

If you would like to be matched up with another person, please send an email to our Care and Compassion team at prayer.request@fpcpaloalto.org. Let us know your preferred phone number or email for contact. Or, feel free to contact us if you wish to talk with one of our team members about concerns or health issues you might be experiencing, or if you would like to be included on our Prayer List for any reason. We will start an official prayer list again by having Bruce mention those who wish to be included during the “Prayers of the People” time in our services. Or, if you prefer privacy, you can still be on our prayer list with just our Team knowing.

Small Groups

NEW: Bruce will lead a Bible Study on Philemon at 6:30 pm on Thursdays, August 13, 20, 27. Here is the link to register: bit.ly/FPCPAPhilemon. Philemon is one chapter long, so not much reading is required!

The Faith Issues in Film group will meet over Zoom on Saturday, August 15, at 10:30 am, to discuss the 2016 film Moonlight. Directed by Barry Jenkins and starring Maharshala Ali, this film won three Academy awards.

Moonlight takes a soulful look at three defining chapters of a young black man’s life in Miami. His journey to manhood is guided by the kindness of the community, but he’s also affected by abuse, bullying, and homophobia. This film defies glib categorizing. Good and evil are closely intertwined. Where is God? This is truly an unforgettable drama that stays with you long after the viewing.

We are always open to new members, but please watch the film before the meeting. Contact Ellen Forbes (eforbes820@att.net) for details.

The Intersectional Reads monthly book group will take a vacation in August and will resume in the fall.

Social Justice Ministry

Hotel de Zink
We are entering the final week of a Hotel de Zink month that was very different from other years. The kitchen was locked but Javier moved a refrigerator and a microwave into Fellowship Hall and Closet 9, which has a sink, was kept open. The guests kept their mats and belongings in ~8×8 sq ft areas, each of which had a chair and a tray for eating. The hall was opened earlier than usual and food was dropped off in disposable or recyclable containers, with many providers ordering food to be delivered from local restaurants. After August 1st there will be a deep cleaning of Fellowship Hall. Thanks again to all who participated!

Accompaniment Team Update
Tereso has some work at a restaurant and occasional days of work with a construction crew. We asked the congregation to contribute $900 to allow us to give him $300 a month through August to help with his expenses here and in Guatemala. The congregation responded generously and we gave a small excess to Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity (IM4HI). Oscar and Margaret Rosenbloom coordinated that effort. Our formal accompaniment will end in August, with Kelly, our liaison from IM4HI, leading a final team meeting.

Puente is preparing to provide school supplies and backpacks to more than 250 South Coast students. You can donate on their website (mypuente.org), mail a check to P.O. Box 554, Pescadero, CA 94060, or purchase items directly from their Target registry at http://tgt.gifts/puenteschooldrive2020. They also would appreciate hand-sewn masks of various sizes; for more information, contact Pat Kinney (pkinney48235@gmail.com).

Letter Writing with Vote Forward
Although we can no longer host parties, we have continued this project by accepting 1000 printed letters for people to complete at home, providing their own postage and envelopes. We had a good response from our congregation and friends, and so all the letters were quickly distributed. Initial feedback indicates that we could accept another 1000 to be completed and mailed out in October. Contact Melissa (mkirvenbrooks@gmail.com) or Pat (pkinney48235@gmail.com) if you’d like to get in on the next round.

Social Justice Meetings
Instead of a meeting in June, we watched the Poor People’s Campaign Virtual March together and had a short discussion afterward. In July, Bruce facilitated a virtual retreat to talk about future directions for the Social Justice Ministry. Members of Cool Planet and the community at large also attended. We had lively discussions about possibly choosing one main focus for Social Justice and the FPCPA community and came away with no decisions and much to think about. To be continued.

In Memoriam: Donna Ambrogi and Dick Roe

For over a decade, beginning in 1976, Donna and Tom Ambrogi were an important presence at FPCPA, along with several other former Catholics attracted by the church’s liberal theology and social activism. Tom had been a Jesuit; Donna came from a politically and socially conscious Jewish family and had converted to Catholicism while studying at the University of Chicago. She went on to do theological study at USF and the Graduate Theological Union before joining the ecumenical campus ministry at Stanford. She and Tom met at an ecumenical conference and, appropriately, had an ecumenical wedding officiated by Barbara Troxell, a Methodist minister who later became an Associate Pastor at FPCPA.

As the oldest student in her class at Stanford Law School, Donna became interested in aging issues and, as a lawyer, founded a legal support center for advocates of the frail elderly, wrote legislation for which she lobbied in Sacramento, and taught Aging Law and Health Law. After retirement, she and Tom volunteered for two years in South Africa before moving to Pilgrim Place in 1996. Not surprisingly, she continued her aging and health care advocacy while actively participating in leadership at Pilgrim Place.

Tom died in 2015; Donna died peacefully in her apartment on June 8, 2020. Those of us who knew them still have a sense of loss.

Dick Roe was Interim Associate Pastor at FPCPA from 1990-1994, working with Diana Gibson from Dick Symes’ leaving until Jeff Vamos’ arrival.

Dick grew up in San Francisco, graduated from UC Berkeley and the Pacific School of Religion, and was ordained as a Congregational minister. During his time in Berkeley he met Gerri McCormick. They were married for 66 years, until her death in May 2019, and raised their four children in Palo Alto, creating community with everyone whose lives they touched. In their latter years they were active in the Ladera Community Church.

Dick served as campus minister at Stanford and San Jose State, pastored several churches, and directed the Santa Clara Council of Churches. As a volunteer, he served as the Executive Director of MidPeninsula Citizens for Fair Housing and was a member of Palo Alto’s Human Relations Commission. He was a lifelong advocate for justice and civil rights, dating back to his participation in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer.

Dick died on June 8, 2020, after a short time in home hospice. His children ask that we, in the words he so often used to end a wedding or church service, “go forward and embrace all that is good and life-affirming in this world.”

Monthly Calendar

See https://fpcpaloalto.org/calendar-of-events/

On Sunday, August 9, Valley Presbyterian will participate in our Zoom worship and
on Sunday, August 30, Sunnyvale Presbyterian will join us.

Virtual Office Hours
Though the physical church office is currently closed, staff are available online and over the phone to help. Please contact staff members by using the contact info listed on the church website: https://fpcpaloalto.org/contact-us/