The Deckers Rock the House at the Holiday Music Fest!
Sleepy Hollow Presbyterian Church Newsletter
Weekly Happenings at SHPC    
December 23, 2014

Candlelit Christmas Eve

Surprising Gifts

7 p.m.

All Are Welcome!


     Come to church this Wednesday, Dec. 24, at 7 p.m. for a beautiful service celebrating Christmas.  We'll sing carols and be uplifted by song from our own Charlotte Phillips, Stephen Iverson, and the Hamilton Family.  We'll delight in the new Hand Chimes and in music from The Church Boys.  Our traditional candle lighting and Silent Night will bring light to the darkness and warmth to a winter night.  Bring your families, neighbors, and friends to share the hope, peace, love, and joy!


First Sunday After Christmas 

Sunday, Dec. 28 at 9:30 a.m.


     Was 2014 a good year for you?  And how was 2014 for the world? What are our metrics for determining how good - or bad - the old year has been?  This Sunday, Dec. 28, the last Sunday of 2014, we'll share our highs and lows of 2014.  Like beachcombers searching for shells, we'll seek wisdom from our shared experience.  Our scriptures will be Psalm 49 and Luke 2:22-40.  We will have special guests!


In This Issue
Bev piano
A Note from 
Pastor Bev


It's here!  After a beautiful Advent season, we have arrived at Christmas Eve and Christmas.  Out of all the wonderful moments in our services over the last 4 Sundays, one of my favorites happened this past Sunday, when I asked the children: why are we so happy at church about Jesus' birth?  Why are we singing Alleluia? Immediately, Andrew Brouwer pointed to the Advent wreath, with its 4 lit candles, and said, "Because Jesus brings us hope, peace, love, and joy."  Amen.  


May each of us answer God's call to be hope-bringers and peacemakers, and experience God's love and joy in this season and forever.


     A blessed Christmas to you all!


December/January Calendar

Wednesday, December 24
7:00 p.m.

Candlelit Christmas Eve - Surprising Gifts  

Thursday, December 25


Sunday, December 28
9:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m.

Making Meaning - A Very Good Year?
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!

Sunday, January 4
9:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

Epiphany Means We're Awake!
MOLOTH meets - Special Guest Alec Kenilvort
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!

Sunday, January 11
9:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m.

Cathy Sarkisian preaching 
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!

Sunday, January 18
9:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

Remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King- What Is God Calling Us to Do about Race Relations in the USA Today? 
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!

Sunday, January 25
9:30 a.m.

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

Racial Reconciliation is the Road to Peace- Taking Action
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!
MOLOTH hosts Botswana Night!
Friday, January 30 - Sun. Feb. 1
Westminster Woods Women's Retreat



No Bible Study - Friday, Dec. 26 or Friday, Jan. 2 - Holiday Break

Ordinarily Bible Study meets at noon on Fridays in the Pastor's office. Whatever your experience with the Bible might be, you are welcome to come and learn and make meaningful friendships.  
Why is a change in environment and focus is important?

Thank goodness Jesus was born. Thank goodness God left the great beyond and established a residence on earth. By doing so our Lord in the person of Jesus became a dynamic "agent of change".

Jesus's teachings and activities threatened the political environment of his day and challenged the status quo in religious circles. Jesus proposed real changes in people's attitudes and behavior. His teachings were popular and attracted a significant following.

Change is good. And sometimes change is best initiated in a new environment where our focus can be streamlined. But this isn't always easy. Especially if the changes you want to make are radical and have far reaching effects.

The biggest change one can ever make is committing to honoring the Lord with one's actions, attitudes, and behavior. By doing so we become stepping stones (instead of stumbling blocks) to God's purposes. This is not a casual commitment; it is a major commitment.

Romans 12:2 reads "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God-- what is good and acceptable and perfect." We also need to remember that real change is possible because "If you are in Christ, you are a new creation; old things are passed away; and all things are new" (2 Cor 5:17).

When your life honors God, your environment begins a natural transformation. Your daily focus is more on God's purposes than your own. You become a participant (and a meaningful one) in the divine blueprint designed for your immediate surroundings.

Yes, thank goodness Jesus was born. For through his life and transforming teachings he changed the world by establishing a new environment for those who heed God's call. Now it's time to see if Jesus' work and efforts will change our environments in 2015. 

C. S. Lewis has said "In order to move forward, you have to let go first"... so, here's to letting go ... and moving forward in 2015!

From Atlanta (with my Mom) ... your friend, Paul


Back to the top 
Please Remember in Your Prayers
Praying Hands

All those who are separated from their loved ones at Christmas;

All those who are sick or struggling with illness or disability of any kind, especially during the holidays;

The divorced and widowed;

Those who are struggling to make financial ends meet;

Jean Brockett, mother of Jody, for full recovery, and for Jody and her father;
Carolyn O'Hara, mother of Laurie, for healing, and for strength and support during her recovery;

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

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

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

For victims of violence everywhere, may they know healing and peace;

For the unhoused community as the winter storms come;

For our church community, for unity in the Spirit and energy for mission in the new year.

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


Back to the top 


What a Wonderful Holiday Music Fest!  




Millie Millar's son Gary said it was our "best ever!" Many thanks to ALL our participants, and to our superb team of Cathy Sarkisian, Stephen Iverson, and Hallie Foster (M.C. and joke master) who make this happen every year! Much appreciation to the behind the scenes prop master, Mark Sarkisian. 


Jessie Gauna's spirited solo performance of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen delights the audience


And Grandma Millie's Soul Food Jamboree is welcome here ANY time!





Photos From the Christmas Love Pageant!














MOLOTH (Middle School Youth Group) - JANUARY SCHEDULE


- Sunday, January 4 (come for the service and stay after until 11:30 a.m.)Special Guest Alec Kenilvort, drafted by the Colorado Rockies, will share his experiences and talk about making good choices.


- Sunday, January 18 at 9:30 a.m. - Join in the remembrance of Dr. King and meet with youth leader Charles Wei after the service for discussion.


- Sunday, January 25 at 5 p.m. - BOTSWANA NIGHT with the Baigrie Family.  All are invited to travel to Botswana for an evening!


Thank You for a Beautiful and Inspiring Season!

Our Flower Guild: Patti Vance, Jody Brockett Schmetz, Frankie Eakes, Peg Maclise, Millie Millar, Merle Ongaro, Linda Peltzman




woodsWestminster Woods Women's Winter Retreat, Friday, Jan. 30-
Sunday, Feb. 1st

Come nurture your body - mind- and spirit with a weekend away in the woods for inspiration, outdoor time, contemplation, relaxation, and fun.
All women are welcome!  If you have questions, talk to Lori Lopin or Sue Burr. To sign up, click here.

Let's Talk! is on Holiday Break - See you in January for more fascinating discussions!

Richard Peltzman
Matt Ehlen
Cathy Sarkisian
Fred Morfit

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 --
Thank you so much to all the volunteers who have made our church so warm and welcoming in 2014 with coffee hour hospitality!


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.


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

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
Celebrating Another Great Year for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness


Dear Friends of Justice Advocacy Work and Ministry:

I am thankful for your support of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness in Washington, DC. We could not do our work without you. I am writing you to give a few updates on our work this past year and a brief look forward.


Youth and Young Adult Emphasis


In 2014, we completed a three-year initiative to focus on youth and young adults. Thousands of youth and young adults were impacted by our efforts. We will share an impact study with the denomination during the first quarter of the year. Due to the great success of our three-year commitment, we are launching a second phase of our initiative with more of an emphasis on justice advocacy training and leadership. Training young adult justice advocates and activists to engage in coalition- and movement-building in local communities will be the new emphasis of this work. This process is already being implemented through our Internship, Summer Fellowship and Young Adult Volunteer initiatives and will continue to grow.

See our theological basis for work with young adults published in the First Quarter 2012 Advocacy as Discipleship publication, "A New Organizing Model: Young Adults are Essential for a new Era of Political Advocacy." 


Compassion, Peace and Justice Training Day and Ecumenical Advocacy Days


The U.S. makes up only five percent of the world's population, and yet we incarcerate a quarter of the world's prisoners. With private, for-profit prisons that incarcerate, but fail to rehabilitate, the United States' "justice system" fails to achieve justice on multiple levels. A failing public education system, eroding worker protections, and a minimum wage that traps families in poverty has left persons vulnerable to the desperation and behaviors that lead to incarceration. Militarized police forces that racially profile, while killing innocent children of color, further exacerbate a problem where private investors are permitted to profit from the incarceration of human beings.


We erect fences to keep persons from crossing our borders while creating the very economic and political turmoil, oppression and violence that leads people to migrate in the first place. We use our purchasing power to support companies that employ slave labor and buy products that contain conflict minerals. It is time to build a movement to achieve systemic changes that releases the prisoners (literal and figurative) from the bondage of unjust laws and leadership.


Two events comprise our Advocacy Training Weekend. "Compassion, Peace and Justice (CPJ) Training Day" is a one-day Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-focused training event that provides interaction and information regarding the work of the denomination. Held at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC, on April 17, 2015, together we will share worship, fellowship, education, networking, and training in order to better engage Presbyterians in the work of building a movement for justice.


CPJ Training Day precedes Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD), which brings together 56 ecumenical organizations to sponsor a "how-to" advocacy-training event. Together, "we will confess our personal and corporate failure to break the chains of poverty, racism, and greed institutionalized in our laws, economy, and social behaviors that collude to perpetuate human exploitation and strip people of their civil and human rights." Advocacy Days will take place April 17-20, 2015.


Join the Advocacy Training Weekend beginning with Compassion, Peace and Justice Training Day on Friday, April 17, 2015, at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church and stay the whole weekend for Ecumenical Advocacy Days, which will start on Friday evening, April 17, at the Doubletree - Crystal City, VA (just across the river). The weekend will conclude with lobby day on Capitol Hill on Monday, April 20, 2015.


We have drawn over 300 Presbyterians to these events each year since 2011. We are hoping to bring more in 2015. Please register today and share the information found about the Advocacy Training Weekend with your friends, church groups, Presbyteries, Synods and other congregations in your community. 


Register for CPJ Day -


Register for EAD --


Celebrating Advocacy Victories

  • Celebrating the great news on US-Cuba relations! Thanks to all of you who have been responding to our action alerts on this issue!
  • After 100 days in Sanctuary at University Presbyterian Church, Luis Lopez Acabal returned to his home and family on Friday, December 12!  Read more on our blog.
  • Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have passed the ABLE Act, which will "unlock the doors of financial freedom" for people with disabilities and their families, who must either be independently wealthy or live in poverty in order to receive the support and services they need. The President is expected to sign this bill into law - perhaps the most important stride forward in legislation for people with disabilities since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) itself. Read more from our partners at the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition's (IDAC) Facebook page.

I give thanks each day for the way God has blessed this ministry and for you, who are our partners in ministry and mission. May the joy and peace of this season be yours and may we move into a New Year with hope and thanksgiving.



J. Herbert Nelson, II

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