Advent Begins with a Bright Star
Sleepy Hollow Presbyterian Church Newsletter
Weekly Happenings at SHPC
November 26, 2014

The Season of Advent Arrives - 

The New Has Come! 


     This Sunday, November 30, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. marks the beginning of the Season of Advent, traditionally a time of waiting and preparation for the arrival of the Christ child into the world.  We are invited to bring forth our most mystical selves as we wait for something that has come, is coming, and will come.  And since much of life is waiting, we ask ourselves, how well do we wait?  Is waiting a time of patient preparation, or of agitation and worry?  Come refresh your spirits with this service of contemplation and song.  The Church Boys and the SHPC Singers will bring us music of the season.  Our scripture passages are Isaiah 64:1-9 and 2 Cors. 5:17-20.

In This Issue
Bev piano
A Note from 
Pastor Bev


What a week we have in front of us!  We'll still be eating leftovers from our Thanksgiving feasts when we begin to transform our sanctuary into tones of purple and white, for Advent, the 4 Sundays before Christmas.  


The season of Advent invites each of us to resist the cultural pull to overindulge in just about everything, and instead to focus our spiritual energy on our connection to the Source of Life and Light.  How has Christ coming into the world made a difference to each of us?  How have we been made new? 


Here at church, we'll take time to reflect, sing and pray together, and continue to encourage each other and reach out to those who need an uplift.  This is a beautiful place to be for this holy season!


With Thanksgiving blessings to all of you, near and far,


November/December Calendar

Sunday, November 30

9:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m.
1st Sunday in Advent: The New Has Come!  
How Well Do We Wait?
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!

Thursday, December 4
7:00 p.m.

SHPC Singers Rehearse at Church

Friday, December 5
12:00 p.m.

Bible Study

Sunday, December 7

9:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

2nd Sunday in Advent - The New Has Come!
New Reality Means Change-  Yikes!
Guest soloist Jen Boynton sings 
O Holy Night
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!

Thursday, December 11
7:00 p.m.

SHPC Singers Rehearse at Church

Friday, December 12
12:00 p.m.

Bible Study

Sunday, December 14

9:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

3rd Sunday in Advent - The New Has Come!
Christmas Pageant - How Do We Show Our Love?
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!

Thursday, December 18
7:00 p.m.

SHPC Singers Rehearse at Church

Friday, December 19
12:00 p.m.

Bible Study

Sunday, December 21

9:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m.
5:00 p.m.

4th Sunday of Advent - The New Has Come!
Let's Re-Purpose
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!
Holiday Music Fest

Wednesday, December 24
7:00 p.m.

Candlelit Christmas Eve - Our Surprising God


NO Bible Study - Friday, Nov. 28
Bible Study meets at noon on Fridays in the Pastor's office, except this week! Whatever your experience with the Bible might be, you are welcome to come and learn and make meaningful friendships.  
While the Clock Keeps Ticking...Are We Listening?


Waiting for things to happen can be frustrating. Often our impatience is steered toward God. Why? Usually because we don't see things the same way God does. We feel limited by time, and God is eternal. We are focused on what's in front of us and God is focused on the entire landscape.


Yet "waiting on the Lord" is an important part of being faithful and obedient. The Bible says, "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him" (Lamentations 3:25) and "They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary" (Isaiah 40:31).


We are an impatient "microwave" society. And when we are forced to wait we become fidgety, fearful, anxious and sometimes depressed.


I have experienced all of the above. Have you? However, I am trying to employ a secret emotional weapon now. I have begun to focus on being grateful. It started by smiling during the day at people passing by. I would smile at a total stranger in the grocery store, a baggage clerk in an airport, or a back up singer in the studio. It's amazing the power of a smile. It's so disarming.


Try it. I promise you it will make you feel fabulous and always get a return smile. When you do, think to yourself "that person is one of God's gifts to the earth." Focus on God's love and care for them. Believe me, smiling will revolutionize your attitude and trigger a sense of gratitude in spite of your present circumstances.


Turning your focus off of yourself and onto others is invigorating. Gratitude turns what we have into enough. It brings hope. It turns denial into acceptance, and helps us cope with crisis. When demoralized, gratitude even has the power to energize. 


It is a real mystery to me why God chooses to make us wait, but while the clock is ticking I encourage you to smile, be grateful, and listen. God has chosen to make us wait for a reason. One reason may be so that we'll stop and finally listen to what God is trying to communicate to us. Can you imagine how often and how long we make God wait on us? There are certainly two sides to this waiting game. God is waiting for us and we are waiting for God. Therefore, I am sure if we read our Bibles faithfully and focus on listening for that quiet voice, the waiting game becomes a lot more meaningful and condensed.


Happy Thanksgiving! I am "smiling" from L.A. surrounded by an orchestra rehearsing the soundtrack to our show.





Please Remember in Your Prayers
Praying Hands

Jean Brockett, mother of Jody, for full recovery, and for Jody and her father;
Ethan Russell, for full recovery from surgery;

Carolyn O'Hara, for healing, and for strength and support during her recovery;

Evan Peltzman, for healing and complete recovery from a broken heel, and for strength and support during his recovery;

Andrea Proster, for complete healing, and for her sister Nancy Elberg, for strength in companioning her;

Clyde Ongaro, and his loved ones, for God's comforting presence;

Jerry Lambert, for healing, and for blessed assurance of God's constant presence;

For the people of Ferguson, Missouri, and for a way forward to bring justice where racial injustice prevails;

For those dealing with financial stress as the holidays approach;

For the sick, for health and hospital workers, and for the family and loved ones of all those impacted by Ebola virus;

For the unhoused community as the winter rains come without a permanent shelter in Marin County, and for our local government, for the wherewithal to create and fund a permanent shelter;

For the caretakers, that they may have more rest and joy;

For all those living in places of darkness and violence, for peace, shared humanity, health, housing, food, and hope.


Please take time this week to pray for those on our list.


Back to the top 

SHPC Children and Youth - 
Mark your calendars (:


Please bring the children and youth (MOLOTH) to church for the next 3 weeks for Christmas pageant practice!  We start this Sunday, Nov. 30 with MOLOTH on the hand chimes!  


December 7th - MOLOTH meets (1st Sunday)


December 14th - Christmas Pageant -- bring family and friends!




Volunteers Needed for REST!


SHPC is providing meals and a warm welcome to our unhoused neighbors on the first Monday (men at St. Rita's in Fairfax) and second Tuesday (women at the Wellness Center in San Rafael) of each month from December 2014 - April 2015.  


Volunteers are needed!!  Information and sign-ups available online:


If you'd like more information about the program, you can contact Shannon Mong at 



With thanks,

The REST Team


Let's Talk! Fall Discussion Series
from 10:45-noon each Sunday

November 30: End of Life Medical Ethics - with Fred Morfit

Coming up:
- Starting in December: Religion and Science - can they talk?

Richard Peltzman
Matt Ehlen
Cathy Sarkisian
Fred Morfit

Food Barrel Ministry & Donations

As Thanksgiving approaches, our own Wil and Betty Swalberg want to remind us that donations of non-perishable food items are greatly appreciated! Here are some suggestions for food items to donate:


Canned Proteins: tuna, salmon, chicken, peanut butter


Canned Fruits (in own juice or light syrup preferred): pears, peaches, pineapple, fruit cocktail


Fruit Juices (100% juice preferred): all sizes including juice boxes


Grains: pasta, rice, macaroni & cheese


Packaged Beans: pinto, black, great north


Canned Vegetables (low sodium/no salt added preferred): corn, carrots, green beans, peas, spinach, mixed veggies


Soups, Stews & Chili: vegetarian and meat


Multigrain Cereals: Cheerios, Cornflakes, Grapenuts, Raisin Bran, Kashi, etc.


Alternative foods: wheat-free, dairy-free, nut-free, vegan



With gratitude,

Wil and Betty Swalberg


SHPC Session Votes to Sponsor Short Elementary School's Garden Project


Our own Patti Vance has befriended the Short School in San Rafael, where 93% of the children are at or below the poverty level, and where our fresh garden tomatoes are more delicious than candy.  Now Patti is helping the Short School put in their own garden.  At its November meeting, the SHPC Session voted to sponsor the project,

which will help pave the way for grants to the garden, and our Mission team is providing a seed donation of $500 to the garden. Talk to Patti if you feel called to help the Short School Garden Project.

The Cook's Cozy Corner

Are you ready to try a new stuffing for your bird tomorrow?  Here's one with a California flavor:


Sourdough Stuffing With Kale, Dates and Turkey Sausage by Jeff Gordinier


Find the recipe here! 


Happy Thanksgiving from Michael Durphy


Warm Wishes Backpack Assembly and Distribution Day - Dec. 6th


Marin County is not immune to the persistent problem of homelessness. Estimates place the number of homeless residents in Marin between 1,770 and 6,000, and school officials say there are at least 1,500 homeless children. Let's help them all stay warm this winter. Warm Wishes creates a personal relationship between our volunteers and the street community when once a year volunteers distribute 5,000 "Street Packs" or backpacks stuffed with new, warm gloves, scarves, hats, wool socks and rain ponchos to homeless men, women and children, living on the streets of the Bay Area. 


JOIN US! for Street Pack assembly day:


Saturday, December 6th

9:00 a.m. SHARP

Unity in Marin

600 Palm Drive

Novato 94949

Coffee & treats! Lululemon Corte Madera will be on hand with free coffee and a morning treat for our hardworking volunteers.

Suggested volunteer donation: Adults $10.00 | children FREE (no one turned away)

Sign up to volunteer 

The winter accessories, manufactured under the direction of and funded by Warm Wishes, help homeless individuals survive the difficult weather months. Just $20.00 covers the cost of one Street Pack.

Donate online


Prefer to send a check? Please mail to:
Warm Wishes
5800 Northgate, Suite 250
San Rafael, CA 94903

More Info: or call 415-472-0211. 


Now's your chance to share your cooking and your love! Thank you and bless you for taking a hot meal and your love to Wil and Betty on Wednesday nights.
It Takes a Village 


If the the noise around the coffee urn each Sunday is any indication, it sounds like most of the congregation enjoys Fellowship time following Sunday service.


Fellowship time is organized by your Deacons, but we rely on everyone pitching in to help. While each Parish is assigned a month for Fellowship, that time may not be convenient for your schedule. So now you can sign up online! Just click here and pick a Sunday that's most convenient for you.


You can choose to set up and make coffee, bring a savory snack, a sweet snack, supply juice for the kids and creamer for the coffee, or help with clean up. Please take a moment to sign up now... or wait until your Deacon calls on you for help in these months:


November - Parishes: Cat Caldwell and Laura Taylor

December - Parishes: Patti Eisinger and Carolyn Goodman

January 2015 - Parishes: Cat Caldwell and Nancy Elberg/Frankie Eakes

February 2015 - Parishes: Laura Taylor and Patti Eisinger

March 2015 - Parishes: Nancy Elberg/Frankie Eakes and Patti Eisinger


Sign up now before the good slots are all taken!


Greeters Needed for Sunday Mornings: November 30 and December 14, 21

Help with our ministry of hospitality by signing up to be a greeter!  All you have to do is get to church by 9:15, light the candles, and hand out bulletins with a smile. Thank you to all who have signed up so far!

Jody Brockett Schmetz, 
Worship Elder
17th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Service

You are invited to join the Marin Interfaith Street Chaplaincy's 17th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Service
Wednesday, November 26th
7:00 p.m.

First Presbyterian Church
1510 Fifth Avenue
San Rafael

A brief reception will follow. Please bring offerings of clean or new
sleeping bags, blankets, raingear and socks for our friends on the street (no other clothing please).

A free-will offering will also be received to support the work of The Marin Interfaith Street Chaplaincy

For more information: Chaplain Paul 415.302.0248

Daily Devotions for Advent

The San Francisco Theological Seminary invites all to join the community in daily email devotions for the season of Advent from Dec. 1-25. Devotions are written by students, faculty, staff, alums, trustees, and are emailed near and far to those who wish to connect with SFTS during this season of waiting. The theme this year, "Listening for the Word Made Flesh," invites us to join the multitude in awaiting the arrival of the Word incarnate, Jesus the Christ, and look for signs that he is in our midst to this day. 


Just follow this link to sign up and receive emails.  


With thanks,

Lora East


40th Annual Service of Lessons & Carols: Listening for the World Made Flesh

Friday and Saturday, December 5th & 6th

7:00 p.m.


San Francisco Theological Seminary Stewart Chapel

105 Seminary Road

San Anselmo, CA 94960


The theme for the 40th annual Service of Lessons & Carols, "Listening for the Word Made Flesh," asks us to join the first Advent listeners to listen for a Word of Scripture and to listen for the Word made flesh in our midst.


Join us for a beautiful night of singing and worship in historic Stewart Memorial Chapel, followed by a reception with cookies and hot cider. This Christmas tradition attracts people from throughout Marin, from a broad spectrum of religious persuasions, making it one of the most popular campus events all year.


Our very own Lora East will be singing during this event!

Contemplative Service of Music & Light  - MOLOTH Welcome! 

Intern Lora East will be contacting our MOLOTH youth and families to see who's interested in attending this event.


Youth from several different spiritual traditions will lead a Contemplative Service of Music with simple teaching about the holy days that occur in the month of the winter solstice. All are welcome to this free public event.  


Tuesday, December 9th
7:30 p.m.

Congregation Rodef Sholom
170 N. San Pedro Road
San Rafael

For more info send an e-mail to: or 
call (415) 456-6957

Please click on the link below to let us know you are coming:

We look forward to seeing you on December 9th!

With thanks,
Marin Interfaith Council

Sleepy Hollow Presbyterian Church, 
100 Tarry Road, San Anselmo, CA  94960
Allie Duro, Editor/Office Administrator
E-mail us at or call us at 415-453-8221