Epiphany Calls Us to Wake Up and See God in the World
Sleepy Hollow Presbyterian Church Newsletter
Weekly Happenings at SHPC    
January 1, 2015

Celebration of Epiphany


          Happy New Year!  The start of a new year is a wonderful time to wake up to God's presence in our lives and in the world.  This Sunday, January 4, 2015, at 9:30 a.m., we begin our celebration of Epiphany by remembering the three Magi who followed a bright star to see God made manifest in the baby Jesus.  What joy!  How is God revealing God's power in our lives?  Epiphany calls us to wake up and see!  Our scripture passages are the beautiful Isaiah 60:1-6, 19; Matthew 2:1-12; and Ephesians 3:1-12.


In This Issue
Bev piano
A Note from 
Pastor Bev

Do you make New Year's resolutions?  Do you share them with others?  I love reviewing the old year and then spending some time on New Year's Day coming up with resolutions for the New Year.  In year's past, there have been some long lists!  This year I am keeping it simple; I have just three.  First, worry less and pray more; that is a recipe for joy.
Second, let the small stuff (disappointments, setbacks) stay small.  Third, keep love at the forefront.  God is love and Emmanuel, God with us, means God's love with us, now and forever.
Blessings to you all for the New Year!


Wishing Everyone a Wonderful 2015! 

January Calendar

Sunday, January 4
9:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m.

Wake Up!  It's Epiphany!
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 on The Book of Mark
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!
Let's Talk resumes - with Cathy Sarkisian

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!

Fri., Jan. 30 - Sun., Feb. 1
Westminster Woods Women's Retreat



No Bible Study - 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.  
Just Say Yes...


Jesus's life, with the people of his day, was one that drew attention, stirred controversy, and revealed much about God. To lay the foundation for his divine authority and connection to divine truth, Jesus said in John 10:30, "I and the Father are one," Jesus even shared that "before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58), and "I am the way, the truth and the life."


So as we prepare for the New Year, let's look at some of the most important emphases of Jesus's teachings. If we, many years later, can grasp their significance and incorporate them into our daily lives, we will have a smart and productive 2015.


"Blessed are the Peacemakers" - Christ wants us to promote a serene peaceful atmosphere around us. St. Gregory of Nyssa interpreted this beatitude as doing God's work God's way. In other words: being involved with activities and difficult situations while demonstrating respect for others and employing patience and wisdom. Keeping the peace among us is a tall order. With different personalities, different agendas, and different trigger points, it would be great in 2015 if we focused on bringing composure, calmness, and positive energy to whatever situation we are engaged in managing.


"What good will it be to gain the whole world yet forfeit your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?" Each of us is discovering what it means to be the real "me." So often our situations prevent us from being the real "me." The "me" God meant us to be, and gifted us to be is worth discovering. In 2015 I believe we can consciously make strides in feeding our souls (the real "me"), allowing the real "me" to surface more often, and actively plugging ourselves into God's blueprint for our surroundings. That's where real happiness is found - not in who ends up with the most earthly toys, but being "free to be me."


"Abide in Me" -  Jesus clearly promoted an ongoing relationship with him. While we are quiet, while we are active, while we are studying and reflecting we can build a closer familiarity with our Lord - a man who overcame death and is alive today. Jesus is committed (every day) to our effectiveness, happiness, and self worth. Jesus is asking us to be reconciled to him, accept forgiveness from him, and be inspired by what he has in store for those who love him. 


I am writing to you today from Las Vegas where I am spending New Year's with my Producing partner Jonas Neilson and a group of wonderful people who are backing our musical. I am on the 38th floor of one of the biggest and fanciest hotel/casinos in town. And yet, here I sit studying and pondering the radical teachings of Jesus high atop "sin city." I actually think that is appropriate, for understanding the balance between our spiritual lives and secular lives is critical to a healthy God-ordained journey.


As we look forward to an exciting 2015, I would suggest we "JUST SAY YES" to these three emphases from the teachings of our Lord. They are a terrific way to open the book of opportunity for 2015.


Your friend ... Paul


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Please Remember in Your Prayers
Praying Hands

The family of Clyde Ongaro, who died December 30, may Clyde's spirit be blessed and may the family be surrounded by God's comfort;

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;

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.


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In Memoriam
Clyde Ongaro
      Clyde Ongaro, beloved husband of Merle and father of Haden and Barrie, beloved father-in-law of Marie, loving grandfather and great-grandfather, died Tuesday, December 30, 2014 with his beloved Merle by his side.  We thank God for the life of Clyde, and we surround Merle and the family with our prayers and our loving support.  

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!


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! will be back January 11 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.


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 - https://ww2.eventrebels.com/er/Registration/RegistrationForm.jsp?ActivityID=12137&ItemID=46607


Register for EAD -- https://co.clickandpledge.com/advanced/default.aspx?wid=32582


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!  http://officeofpublicwitness.blogspot.com/2014/12/pcusa-office-of-public-witness.html
  • 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 shpchurch@comcast.net or call us at 415-453-8221