Insight Prison Project Restores Humanity
Sleepy Hollow Presbyterian Church Newsletter
Weekly Happenings at SHPC    
January 22, 2015

Fear v. Forgiveness

Criminal Justice Sunday in the PCUSA


          Forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian tradition.  In the Lord's Prayer, we pray that we might be forgiven as we forgive others. This Sunday, January 25, 2015, Criminal Justice Sunday in the PCUSA, at 9:30 a.m., we'll examine our commitment to practicing forgiveness, and explore the intersection of our identity as a forgiving people with our attitudes towards those in the criminal justice system.     


          Our country has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. The prison population has increased from 300,000 people in the early 1970's to 2.3 million people today.  One in every three black males born in this century is expected to be incarcerated.  Hundreds of thousands of nonviolent offenders have been forced to spend decades in prison.  There are more than a half million people in prison for drug offenses today, up from just 41,000 in 1980.  Thousands of innocent people are imprisoned because they are too poor to afford adequate legal representation.  Spending on jails and prisons by our state and federal governments has risen from $6.9 billion in 1980 to nearly $80 billion today.  This is a broken system; this is a system based on retribution and cruelty, not a system based on fairness, restoration, and rehabilitation.

          Scripture reminds us to care for, visit, and minister to the prisoner, as if the prisoner is our Lord (Matthew 25:36).  We can start by learning about the work of the Insight Prison Project at San Quentin, and the Equal Justice Initiative (Bryan Stevenson), and become inspired to change the narratives and norms that have taken our criminal justice system so far down the wrong road.  Our SHPC Singers will inspire us, too! 


In This Issue
Bev piano
A Note from 
Pastor Bev

Those of you who were here for our Dr. MLK, Jr., remembrance service last Sunday morning know that the energy in the church was about to lift the roof off the building!  Huge thanks to our musicians, Stephen, Michael, and Bill, our Singers, Hallie Foster and the children and youth for their terrific commemorative musical presentation, and Jeri Rayford.  Wow!  

Sunday mornings are always a co-creation; each one of you makes a great positive contribution by being here and bringing good energy to support the community.  Together, we are co-creating a meaningful experience, and building a better world. 
                   With gratitude,
January/February Calendar

Thursday, January 22
7:00 p.m.

Choir Practice - New Singers Welcome!

Friday, January 23
12:00 p.m.

Bible Study

Sunday, January 25
9:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m.
4:00 p.m.

PCUSA Criminal Justice Sunday
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!
MOLOTH hosts Botswana Night!

Thursday, January 29
7:00 p.m.

Choir Practice - New Singers Welcome!

Friday, January 30
12:00 p.m.

Bible Study with Lora East

Fri., Jan. 30 - Sun., Feb. 1

Westminster Woods Women's Retreat

Sunday, February 1
9:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m.

Pastoral intern Lora East preaching
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!

Thursday, February 5
7:00 p.m.

Choir Practice - New Singers Welcome!

Friday, February 6
12:00 p.m.

Bible Study

Sunday, February 8
9:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m.
10:45 a.m.

What Keeps the Unity in Community?
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!
Let's Talk with Jack Hamilton - Conflict, the Unexpected Gift!

Thursday, February 12
7:00 p.m.

Choir Practice - New Singers Welcome!

Friday, February 13
12:00 p.m.

Bible Study

Sunday, February 15
9:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m.

"Fat Sunday" Musical Extravaganza
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!

Wednesday, February 18

Ash Wednesday

Friday, February 20
12:00 p.m.

Bible Study

Sunday, February 22
9:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m.

ANNUAL MEETING of the Congregation
Coffee and Refreshments - All Welcome!

Thursday, February 26
7:00 p.m.

Choir Practice - New Singers Welcome!

Friday, February 27
12:00 p.m.

Bible Study



Bible Study - Friday, Jan. 23 -
Fear v. Forgiveness
Mt. 25:31-46; Luke 11:1-4

Whatever your experience with the Bible might be, you are welcome to come and learn and make meaningful friendships.  

Galloping From Discovery to Delivery


Isn't it fun to discover new things? I'm always excited when I discover new approaches or solutions to something I've been locked into doing the same old way for years. Sometimes this discovery process is accidental, sometimes its a conscious effort on my part, but in general I often learn and make significant changes from trying different approaches to different situations.


I'm in New York this week watching 29 extremely talented actors discover the nuances and emotional cadences of their roles. Its fun to watch these phenomenal performers experiment as they discover what works and what doesn't when rehearsing a scene.


I have to admit, there are also some uncomfortable moments in the process, when a performer delivers what they feel is spot on and the director lovingly (or not) steps in and makes an adjustment or correction.


As I watch this process, I have surmised there is a definite parallel to what I'm observing and what happens in each of our lives. There is a "discovery process" we go through before we hit our stride and "deliver" to the world who we are and how we choose to act. We each experiment, stub our toe, and eventually settle on what works for us as we navigate our day to day lives.


Over the years as an executive, I have discovered that being nice is effective. I have to admit, I have been both - nice and "not so nice." Also, I have learned that being patient is often much more effective than pulling rank and demanding my way on the spot; even though the latter feels so good at a time of confrontation. A third thing I've discovered is to pick your battles. In the world I'm in, being right all the time isn't the best approach - everyone around me is smart, talented and deserving of their opinions. 


So, as we grow and mature, I believe every day we are continually realigning who we are and who we want to become. The good news is, in our case,  we have the best Director of all - God - guiding this realignment..


Phil 1:6 is my favorite verse of scripture, "Being confident of this very thing, that God who began a good work in you will bring it to completion ..."  In other words, God is a part of our journey. God finishes what God starts, God does not give up on us and believes in the process of discovery.


Tuesday of this week was my 64th birthday and, in my view, Phil 1:6 is the biggest ongoing "present" I could ever receive. I read it often and celebrate knowing I'm not alone in this journey of discovery. In fact, "I know I'm not what I want to be yet, but it's good to know I'm not what I used to be" (Tim Storey).


So, as I go to rehearsal every day, I'm reminded that these actors only have a few weeks of discovery left before they have to deliver decisive and dynamic performances. Thank goodness we have a lifetime of discovery. Don't feel rushed. Just keep discovering and growing. Change is good.


From New York, your friend Paul

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Please Remember in Your Prayers
Praying Hands

Cat Caldwell and her family as they mourn the loss of Cat's mother;

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

Ahmed Abu-Aly, for healing;

Patty Sanders, for healing for her hip;

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 all those impacted by the criminal justice system, for justice and restoration; For relief from oppression for prisoners everywhere; 

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.

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


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MOLOTH (Middle School Youth Group) - JANUARY and FEBRUARY SCHEDULE


- Sunday, January 25 at 4 p.m. - BOTSWANA NIGHT with the Baigrie Family.  All are invited to travel to Botswana for an evening!  Bring friends!

- Sundays, Feb. 1 & 15 @ 9:30 a.m. w/ Charles

Travel to Botswana by

Photo Safari 

with the Baigries

Sunday, January 25th 

4:00-6:00 p.m.


In the summer of 2013 we spent 4 weeks off the grid, living out of a Landrover and exploring one of Africa's last un-spoiled wildernesses. We observed animals in their true habitats, many of which animals may not exist in the wild in 20 years time (Lions especially). We cooked over a fire at night, carried our own water, followed GPS coordinates instead of roads and encountered people whose lives are very different to our own. We took ourselves in to, at times dangerous, unfamiliar territory, but also loved being in the arms of Africa, with all that she has to offer. Our conversation will range through the not so small topics of conservation, how it feels to do new and unfamiliar things, unplugging the whole family from their devices and taking a chance to see how other people live.

Being a two-photographer family, there will also be lots of beautiful photos!

We will have snacks and refreshments and will likely be done by 5:30-5:45 p.m., with time to hang out afterwards, or go home to prepare for Monday AM!

Many thanks,
The Baigrie Family

Let's Talk! 
January 25 at 10:45 a.m.
Tentative - Insight Prison Project Guest Speaker

What are we called to do about the criminal justice system and mass incarceration in the USA today?

Richard Peltzman
Cathy Sarkisian
Fred Morfit

Presbytery of The Redwoods to Vote on Marriage Equality Amendment 14-F
at its next meeting on
Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 10:00 a.m.
Fairfield Presbyterian Church
2100 Pennsylvania Avenue
Fairfield, CA

Sharon Adams, Clerk of Session, and Pastor Bev will be driving to Fairfield on Tuesday, February 3rd to vote on Marriage Amendment 14-F. This is the proposed amendment to the Presbyterian constitution which changes the definition of marriage from between "a man and a women" to between "two persons."  It passed on the national level last summer, but now needs to be ratified by more than half of the presbyteries (regional bodies).  If you would like to attend the Feb. 3 meeting, please contact Pastor Bev.


The Covenant Network of the PCUSA reports:

86 presbytery votes are needed to pass Amendment 14-F. It has not been uncommon for presbyteries to be decided by 5 votes or less - and a tie counts as a 'no.'  Furthermore, margins and overall vote totals matter going forward.  Even in a presbytery anticipating a no vote, witness to inclusiveness represents progress.


If you have a vote in the Presbytery of the Redwoods, please plan to be at the meeting, prepared to speak and vote in favor of 14-F -- and bring as many other supporters as possible with you.  


Everyone can do something to help. Please consult our simple organizing outline here.  


And please be in prayer.  Others will be praying for you! 


The Covenant Network has a growing set of online resources to help spur your own thinking; included are biblical reflections demonstrating that those favoring a more inclusive understanding of marriage do so because of, not in spite of, the teaching of Scripture.  In addition, here are

It is important that every supporter shows up! 



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.

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.
Food Barrel Ministry Update
Thank you to all who donated food items to the Food Barrel. Wil Swalberg took 85 pounds of food items to the SF-Marin Food Bank at the end of December! Thank you Wil and Betty for all of your good work!

This is a year-round ministry of our church community to the hungry, and we are so grateful to Wil and Betty Swalberg for all the heavy lifting!
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: Jan. 25 and all of March 

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
Action Alert: Tell the 114th Congress to Bring Democracy Back to the People


January 21, 2015 marks the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, defining a corporation as a 'person' with the same free speech rights under the First Amendment as individuals. Moreover, it held that political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution. This decision undid campaign-finance law that protected voters from undue corporate influence and prevented corporations and unions from electioneering. Now, they can influence elections by funding campaigns through political action committees and financing political ads.


The Citizens United decision set a precedent for the further opening of campaign spending by wealthy individuals and interest groups. In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission that corporations and wealthy donors are no longer limited in their aggregate biennial contributions to campaigns.


Together, these decisions have created a disaster for the promise of democracy - a promise that says that every voice counts. More now than ever, the voices of profit-seeking corporations and special interests are louder and hold the attention of our elected officials more than the voices the average Americans.


Tell your Representatives to support a Constitutional Amendment to put democracy back in the hands of voters. 


In the past five years, we have seen an unprecedented amount of spending each election cycle.  These large contributions by corporations and wealthy interest groupshave influenced our nation's policies. Legislation to end gun violence address climate change, and pass just immigration reform have failed partly due to hefty campaign contributions from the companies that profit from these social problems. Our lawmakers are beholden to the interests of those that help them get elected. For example, ninety percent of Americans support some kind of gun control, like universal background checks, yet such legislation lies fallow in Congress. Lawmakers and and private interests have facilitated the appalling privatization of our prison system, because they stand to make money on the backs of prisoners.  Little will change until we demand that the wealthiest no longer have greater access and power over our lawmakers than the average citizen.


The Christian Call to Respond


As Christians we are called to be prophetic in how we care for the most marginalized and vulnerable people in our nation. They are the ones most affected by the disproportionate voice of money in politics. To be good partners and advocates for the issues that matter most to them, we must stand for change.


In "Lift Every Voice: Democracy, Voting Rights, and Electoral Reform," the 218th General Assembly stated that:


"Large sums of money, and the time needed to raise it, dominate our electoral and legislative processes. Money buys access to legislators as well as to the details in legislation. If they reject special interest money, candidates fear that their opponents will outspend them-and spending counts: incumbents almost always raise more money than challengers, and the candidate who spends the most money almost always wins. (For House seats, the number is more than 90 percent.) Because the Supreme Court has ruled [that] campaign contributions are a protected form of "speech," the most important reform to enhance the voice of citizens and reduce the role of powerful special interests and big money in elections is public financing. Under such systems, candidates or parties receive public funds to replace or augment private money. Public funding can curb the appearance of the influence of big money over lawmakers, encourage candidates with limited resources to run for office, and allow politicians to spend less time raising money and more time serving their constituents." [emphasis added] - Lift Every Voice: Democracy, Voting Rights, and Electoral Reform. P. 14


Write to your Members of Congress, asking for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United.


Is Campaign Finance Reform Possible?


In September 2014, the Senate voted on a joint resolution, Democracy For All, that would overturn Citizens United and McCutcheon v. FEC, as well as establish that Congress and the states can regulate election spending. This was a historic vote; even though it failed to receive the 60 votes necessary to end debate, it is the farthest an amendment of this kind has advanced. It showed that concern for the undue influence of money in politics is growing among our legislators. We are calling for the 114th Congress to bring a Constitutional Amendment back to the floor.


The Office of Public Witness is participating in a broad-based effort to highlight the damage Citizens United has done to our democracy in the last five years. On January 21, we will join with our partners in the faith and advocacy community to rally in D.C. in front of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to bring attention to the issue.


Join in our efforts to bring democracy back to the people.


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