What’s Up JULY 2020

July 2020, Volume 3, Issue 7

In this issue, read about:

Celebrating Our Graduates

For our June 14th worship, Cyndi Chin-Lee created a slide show of our 2020 graduates, most of whom are pictured above:

  • Akane Irish (elementary school, daughter of Jeff Irish, granddaughter of Patty Irish)
  • Michael Cooley (middle school, grandson of Evan Hughes)
  • Angela Beaumont (high school, daughter of Carol Beaumont)
  • Joshua Ching (high school, son of Cynthia Chin-Lee and Peter Ching)
  • Suuley Hachard (high school, grandson of Evelyn Wong)
  • Elias Dalton Thornton (high school, grandson of Cathy Dalton)
  • Laila Thompson Wainer and Thompson Holifield (high school, grandchildren of Ed and Gail Thompson)
  • April Healy (college, daughter of Ellen Hartog)
  • Matthew Keller (college, son of Beth and Rick Keller)
  • Alex Merkle-Raymond (college, daughter of Kathy and Lee Merkle-Raymond)
  • Anita Silver (college, daughter of Jim and Susan Phinney Silver)
  • Alyson Melzer (doctorate)

Virtual Choir Anthem

The choir had continued to meet after the shelter in place came into effect. We had tried many different things at our zoom rehearsals: we sang easy songs with individual members muted, we had a month long “music school” with each week having a different topic – sight-singing, theory etc. Then it became clear that the choir, and myself included, was getting a little frustrated with not being able to sing a regular piece of choral music! 

We had all seen and commented on virtual choir recordings – how amazing many were and how a few choir members had sung in a virtual choir. I made the decision that we would make it happen. I spent a day trying to find appropriate choral anthems that would work. A choir rehearsal was spent reading through these anthems and we all decided to start with an easier anthem that we had sung in church. 

The very next day I received an email from Emily Brewer of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. She asked if First Pres would like to present a virtual choral anthem for the Peace Fellowship Breakfast at General Assembly on June 24. The anthem would be a specially written 5-verse text about peace, sung to the tune of Joyful, Joyful! I presented this idea to the choir and everyone agreed to the project. We had a deadline of June 17 so we had to get busy – we had a little over two weeks to finish!

Andy Chislett

Here is some info about the technical process. First, Andy created electronic base tracks that played each part (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) separately for us to listen to. We had the choir members listen to the tracks using headphones while they took videos of themselves singing their part of the song in sync with Andy’s tracks so we would all end up together. Some members submitted multiple videos of themselves singing different parts (e.g. soprano and alto or tenor and bass) so that we would have more voices for the finished project. That was one fun advantage of recording separately and editing the videos together and also why you see some “twins” in the video.

I edited the videos together into the final product with DaVinci Resolve. First I looked at how many I received and planned how to fit everyone into the screen. Then I took one video at a time, shrunk it down so it would fit with the others, and manually lined up the singing so it matched with the other videos. I used an audio waveform that showed up on the video to help me line it up, but also did it by what sounded right. I also adjusted the volume on the tracks so that each person would be about the same volume. I wanted to make sure all of the parts sounded balanced at the end. At the end, I applied some audio effects (reverb and compression) to make the sound quality a little nicer since what you hear from a microphone is different than what you hear in a real space when you’re listening to a performance. This was my first time doing this so I had to figure out quite a few things along the way, but it was really cool to hear how it evolved as I added all the voices.

Here is a link to the version that includes Andy playing the organ: 


Karen Huddleston

Virtual Farewell to Geoff Browning

After twenty-five years at FPCPA Geoff Browning has moved to Lacey, WA, to begin the next chapter of his life with his fiancée Janice. He gave the prompting at our June 21 Zoom service, and after that we celebrated his years with us. We were delighted that his children, a few relatives and a couple of former FPCPA pastors were able to join us. Here are some of the many ways in which Geoff has touched our lives: 

He counseled several “generations” of young people on conscientious objection – Jay Henderson and Jeremy Mineau, Alex and Chris Iyer, and Joshua Chin-Lee. The young people and their parents are very grateful for that experience. He taught both pre-school and high school Sunday school. The former used a dinosaur-based curriculum and the latter used pop culture as a springboard for talking about following Jesus. He also co-led several confirmation classes. 

He was a faithful member of the Social Justice Ministry and pushed us to deepen our views about Palestinian issues and becoming a Peace Church. He went on the BorderLinks trip in 2019 and attended various events in support of immigrant families. He’s been a friend of Cool Planet and especially helpful with our GA overtures for Divestment from Fossil Fuels. 

Geoff served as the Peacemaking Advocate for San José Presbytery and is the last person in the PC(USA) in that position. He also served for many years at Stanford as Campus Minister for UCCM, teaching classes in Liberation Theology, leading trips to Central America, hosting potlucks, and even dressing up as Darth Vadar at a John Yoo protest. 

Most recently he has served as a Parish Associate at FPCPA, helping Bruce during his first year with us. We’ll miss Geoff a lot, but in this new world we live in, we hope that he’ll continue to join us for worship services, small group and committee meetings, so that we hardly know that he’s moved.

Social Justice Ministry

Hotel de Zink begins July 1st

Joan Roy has been managing signups and almost all of the slots are filled. Thanks to all who have signed up. To get in on the fun, go to https://signup.com/client/invitation2/secure/336987608653600083/false – /invitation.

We have once again asked Covenant to join us in providing some of the meals. We have figured out the logistics for setting up Fellowship Hall for individual living spaces and no access to the kitchen, and Joy Sleizer has been following what has worked well at the other churches who have recently hosted Hotel de Zink. 

Accompaniment Team Update

We have had a couple of team meetings, talked with our liaison to IM4HI and have decided to end our formal accompaniment as of the end of August. Tereso is still out of his restaurant jobs, but he has recently had a few days of work with a construction crew. In March, April and May the team collected ~$300 each month for him to support his family here and in Guatemala. The team and a few individuals who contacted the team contributed. We have committed to continue to give him $300 a month for June, July and August and have asked the larger congregation to contribute to that. If we receive more than $900, we will give the excess to Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity (IM4HI.) Checks can be made out to and sent to Oscar Rosenbloom or you can use PayPal to send money to Margaret’s account (margaret_rosenbloom@hotmail.com.) If you need a tax deduction, then you should send money directly to IM4HI. Contact Pat Kinney for details.

Poor People’s Campaign Mass Gathering and FPCPA Watch Party

On Saturday, June 20 at 7am, about a dozen people from FPCPA watched the virtual Poor People’s Campaign Event. We had some discussion during and after during a Zoom Watch Party, and we want to continue that conversation with the congregation soon. Stay tuned for details. 

Letter Writing with VOTE Forward 

Melissa Kirven and Pat Kinney have agreed to be co-Team Captains for a Vote Forward GOTV (Get Out the Vote) campaign. We both feel that voting is a very important way to stand up for Social Justice, and that letter-writing from home is something we can do right now. We have committed to receiving and distributing 1000 letters for people to write at home by August 15, providing their own postage and envelopes. Stamps are available online from www.usps.com

This sounds daunting, but it is only 25 people writing 40 letters each; we each used to write 20 letters at the parties that we held in Fellowship Hall. We may host some virtual letter writing parties to help motivate people. Please contact Melissa (mkirvenbrooks@gmail.com) or Pat (pkinney@ix.netcom.com) if you are interested, and we will arrange delivery or pickup. 

This info is also available at fpcpaloalto.org/get-out-the-vote/. Feel free to enlist friends and neighbors! 

Pat Kinney

Small Groups

The Faith Issues in Film group will meet over Zoom on Saturday, July 18, at 10:30 am, to discuss the 2019 film Just Mercy. The movie tells the true story of one of Bryan Stevenson’s (Michael B. Jordan) first cases as a young lawyer. In 1989, he traveled to Monroeville, Alabama, in hopes of overturning the wrongful conviction of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), an innocent black man who spent six years on death row.

This film is available for free throughout the month of June on various platforms, including YouTube, GooglePlay, Amazon, Vudu, FandangoNOW and Apple TV. For more info, go to https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/stream-just-mercy-free-june-180975044/.

We are always open to new members, but please watch the film before the meeting so that you can participate in the discussion. With the timeliness of this film, we hope that many new people will join us. Contact Ellen Forbes (eforbes820@att.net) for details.

The Intersectional Reads monthly book group will take place over Zoom on Monday, July 13, at 7pm. Please see fpcpaloalto.org/events/intersectional-reads-book-group-3/ for more information. We will discuss Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery by Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah.

You can purchase it at: https://shop.reachandteach.com/book/9780830845255.

Monthly Calendar 

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



Please note that many of the staff will be taking some time off the week of July 6 – 12. Please contact staff members during this time of campus closure by using the contact info listed on the church website: https://fpcpaloalto.org/contact-us/