Thursday, May 28, 2015

Motorcycle Ministries Visit Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp

The Prodigal Sons Motorcycle Ministries Group came to Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp to share their Christian faith, music, skits and testimonies. Approximately 30 Motorcycles, cars and vans arrived to share the day with the wards. Several youth in the ministry shared their stories of inspiration with the wards to show them that it is possible to make positive changes and live a healthy and happy lifestyle.
They were at camp for about four hours. There were about sixty volunteers sharing words of hope, encouragement and inspiration with the wards. They held dance contests, singing contests and had an opportunity for people to share their stories with others. The guys  were also able to look at the motorcycles and talk individually with the volunteers. The volunteers also offer mentoring for youth, and shared their information. The guys enjoyed the opportunity to have a relaxing day with a great group of optimistic people sharing words of wisdom.
Pictures and editorial by YCC Brady

Mike Roots
Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp
PO Box 1040
13630 Aqueduct-Volcano Rd.
Pine Grove, CA 95665
Division of Juvenile Justice
(209) 296-7581
fax: (209) 296-5241

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mike Weaver of Big Daddy Weave in Concert with Special Guests Josiah James and His Piper - Sun June 14

Mike Weaver of Big Daddy Weave will be in concert at Grace Fellowship Church 8040 S. Highway 49 Jackson, CA  on Sunday, June 14 at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets are $12 General, $25 VIP/Meet & Greet, $15 at the door. Tickets available from Grace Fellowship Church, The Lighthouse Christian Bookstore in Jackson, and
Big Daddy Weave is a Contemporary Worship Band that began their career in 2002, and still going strong today.  Their popular songs are “Let it Rise”, “Redeemed”, “Every Time I Breathe” and their latest hit “Overwhelmed”. Mike Weaver will be playing these songs and others in a worship acoustic set.  He will be sharing his testimony and joy in the Lord.
Two other local talents will be joining the evening Josiah James from Auburn and His Piper from Sacramento.  We look forward to seeing you there.

If you would like more information, please contact Lisa Spiro at 209 223-1971 or email at

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Holy Spirit at Work in our World - Rev. Karen Faye Siegfriedt

By the Rev. Karen Faye Siegfriedt; Trinity Episcopal Church, Sutter, Creek, CA   5-24-15

        Und als der Tag der Pfingsten erfüllt war, waren sie alle einmütig beieinander.  Und es geschah schnell ein Brausen vom Himmel wie eines gewaltigen Windes und erfüllte das ganze Haus, da sie saßen…und sie wurden alle voll des Heiligen Geistes und fingen an, zu predigen mit anderen Zungen, nach dem der Geist ihnen gab auszusprechen.  (Luther German Bible: Acts 2:1,2,4)   Do you understand all this?  If not, let me try again.

        “Quando il giorno della Pentecoste giunse, tutti erano insieme nello stesso luogo. 2 Improvvisamente si fece dal cielo un suono come di vento impetuoso che soffia, e riempì tutta la casa dov’essi erano seduti. 4 Tutti furono riempiti di Spirito Santo e cominciarono a parlare in altre lingue, come lo Spirito dava loro di esprimersi.”  (Italian translation of Acts 2) Comprende?
        “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” (NRSV  Acts 2:1,2,4)   Even in English, I don’t really understand what happened on that day of Pentecost some 2000 years ago when the disciples were all together in one place.
        We are told that the Holy Spirit was so powerful on that day that the disciples were given the gift of being able to speak in different tongues, allowing those who gathered from other nations to understand what the disciples were saying.  This is one of those unique, powerful experiences that is difficult to describe in words.  And while we might not fully understand this description from the Book of Acts, what we do know is that this experience of the Holy Spirit was so profound that it transformed the disciples from a frightened, discouraged group of followers who had lost their leader, to a courageous, confident group of witnesses who went out into the world to spread the good news of Christ despite the many challenges to their own lives and safety.
        And while the Holy Spirit can affect an immediate and profound change in a person or a community, most of the time its effects are more subtle and gentle.  So what I would like to do is to review the Holy Spirit at work in the world today and in the past.  I will incorporate today’s biblical readings as well as those other biblical texts that speak about this Spirit of God, the giver of life, the third person of the Trinity, the One who spoke through the prophets and leads us into all truth.
        From the very beginning, the Holy Spirit was active in creation.  The first chapter of the Book of Genesis describes the Holy Spirit as an agent of creation:  “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while the spirit (the wind, ruach) of God swept over the face of the waters.”  (Gen.1)
        Oftentimes, the awesome power of God is described by speaking about the Spirit of God entering into people or into a dismal situation that seems hopeless.  For instance, after the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, there were skeletons scattered all over the land.  After the exile, the prophet Ezekiel felt the hand of the Lord upon him and was brought out by the spirit of God and set down in a valley full of bones.  In this dream of his, he was to prophesy to these bones:  “Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause spirit (breath) to enter you and you shall live.” (Ez. 37:5)  This is a vision that the prophet Ezekiel had of God, promising new life to a people who had suffered great loss and forced out of their homeland.  It is a prophecy of hope for a new future.  The good new is that the spirit of God flowing through us and through our society can bring new life to what is dying, new hope to those who are discouraged, new power to those who are ready to throw in the towel, and a new vision to those who are stuck in dark ways of thinking.  We only need to be open to this spirit, the One who inspires us and who can lead us forward.
        Sometimes the spirit of God can touch our emotions, creating an ecstatic experience of the Holy.  Some people have had this kind of ecstasy at a Cursillo, or at a high intensity Charismatic service of renewal, or sitting alone on a mountaintop.  If you have had such an experience (which the mystics refer to as “the consolation”), you know how this can change the way you look at life.     The Book of Samuel reports that when King Saul was on his way to Gibeah, he met a band of prophets and the spirit of God possessed him, and he fell into a prophetic frenzy along with them. (1Sam.10)  Maybe this is what happened to the disciples on that day of Pentecost when they heard a sound “like the rush of violent wind” that filled the house and where tongues of fire rested on each of them.  Afterwards, they began to speak in other languages.  And while these experiences of the Holy Spirit are dazzling, most of the time an encounter with the Spirit of God causes a simple warming of the heart, an insightful dream, a prompting to do a random act of kindness, an awe-filled moment of appreciation for beauty or a willingness to withhold judgment.
        In today’s reading from the gospel, Jesus speaks about the Holy Spirit “coming alongside” the disciples as the paraclete, to give them strength, knowledge, ability, and encouragement after he has departed from them.  This paraclete, this Spirit, this advocate, counselor, and comforter is the Holy Spirit who will replace Jesus’ physical presence in the work.  No longer will the disciples be able to look outside themselves to gain counsel from Jesus but rather they will have to search inward, trying to discern God’s wisdom as they embark on a new chapter in their life.  That is why they immersed themselves in prayer and stayed together as a community of faith.  For without prayer and community, it is very difficult to discern the will of God.  This is because we have so many emotional demands that cloud our judgment and what the ego might think is God’s voice is simply our own needs and desires.    Is there a way we can discern the many spirits out there in our world?  And how do we know which spirit and which voice comes from God?  One of the ways we can discern whether our ways are God’s ways is to measure them against Jesus’ path of compassion.   Another way we can discern if the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives is by its fruit:  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.  If you are experiencing this fruit as the result of your labors, you can be sure that you are on the right path.
        Jesus said:  “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and declare to you the things that are to come.”  (John 16:12-23)  When I think about all the issues facing us in the modern world, I am very aware that the Bible, which contains the words of Jesus, lacks specific guidance on many of our problems.  Things like radioactivity, cloning, and factory farming weren’t even on the radar during his time. How do we think about these topics today and are we doing the right things?  This is where we need to depend on the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth who guides us into all truth.
        The Health Ministry Board at Trinity has decided that we need to have some important conversations regarding certain areas in our lives that have little precedence in Scripture. We pray that the Spirit of Truth will lead us into all truth through honest and thoughtful discussions.  To that end, we are going to present 3 forums to the Amador Community:  Making conscious medical decisions, dying with dignity, and human rights for transgender people.
        You see, in first century Palestine, the average life expectancy was about 35 years.  People died early and so much of Jesus’ ministry was about healing and comforting.  He didn’t speak about how to make good medical decisions later on in life, or whether or not we should fill out a DNR or whether it was ethical to take medicine to end a painful life.  In ancient Palestine, hardly anyone reflected on issues of sexuality and gender.  It was assumed that all human beings were created alike. We mustn’t be afraid to discuss difficult topics.  Jesus said:  “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”
        So, whether you have fallen off a horse, been blinded by the sun, and filled with a powerful presence of the Holy Spirit like St. Paul such that you will travel to the ends of the earth for Jesus… or whether you are more like me and are only “inching toward the kingdom of God”, all of us are called to witness to God in the world today. The disciples received the gift of tongues from the Holy Spirit and shared this gift by spreading the good news.  What gift are you willing to share?  The good news is that all of us have received at least one spiritual gift for the building up of the kingdom of God.  To some are given the gift of healing, knowledge, or faith.  To others are given the gift of practical ministry like caring for the needy, hospitality, encouraging, acts of mercy, administration, and giving aid.  I know that my spiritual gifts include teaching (which I share freely) and discernment (which some of my friends have described as my “crap detector.”)
        I recently read a story about a 16-year old girl, Nicole Ticea, who recently developed an early-stage HIV test that can provide rapid results using only a pinprick of blood.  This 11th grader wanted to create a test that would be easy, low cost, widely accessible, and provide results in less than one hour.  Nichole is excited about its potential to improve people’s lives and has found the research experience rewarding. Her brilliance in the field of science is a gift from God. Her dedication, determination, and long hours to develop an HIV test is how she shared her gift to make this world a better place.
        The Christian journey is not just about belief and personal spiritual experience.  At its core, the Christian life is about sharing our gifts.  It is about bearing witness to Christ, in accordance to the gifts given us, “to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world and to take our place in the life, worship, and governance of the Church.”  (BCP 855)  When we recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit and allow it to direct our lives, we “are brought into love and harmony with God, with ourselves, with our neighbors, and with all creation.” (BCP 852)   What more could one want in life?
        “Breathe on me breath of God.  Fill me with life a new.  That I may love what thou dost love and do what thou wouldst do.”  (Gospel Hymn)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Interfaith Food Bank Volunteers Needed!

Interfaith Food Bank Volunteers Needed!

The Interfaith Food Bank is trying to rebuild its volunteer roster.  If you are looking to fill some time, build your resume, get some exercise, and give back to the community, the Food Bank has a variety of opportunities to do so.  
We are looking for volunteers to work both on-call and weekly shifts.
Please email or call Assistant Program Coordinator Claire Gunselman  or 209-267-9006.
Positions available: 18 years and older

Receptionist   Greet clients, handle phones, answer questions, distribute information, minimal office support.  
Intake   Interview clients and confirm information in client database.
Input   Data entry and donor correspondence.
Warehouse  Sort, bag, and shop for client orders and help clients to their vehicles.  Some lifting up to 25 pounds
Food pick up  Rides with driver to pick up and drop off food donations.  Requires some lifting up to 40 pounds and weekend shifts available
Drivers   Drive Isuzu box van, Sprinter van, and/orInternational Diesel Bob Tail to pick up and drop off food donations. Print-out of DMV record required (fee reimbursed upon request).  Some lifting up to 40 pounds and weekend shifts available.

Please consider supporting this need.

Thank you,
Tom Thompson

Executive Director

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sermon: Moving Forward in Changing Times - By the Rev. Karen Faye Siegfriedt; Trinity Episcopal Church, Sutter Creek

Readings: Acts 1:15-26; John 17:6-19  Ascension Sunday/7B
By the Rev. Karen Faye Siegfriedt; Trinity Episcopal Church, Sutter Creek, CA   5/17/15

            Have you ever had a loved one taken away?  I have.  I am no stranger to loss and grief.  My mother was suddenly taken away from me from a bleeding, brain aneurysm while my brother died unexpectantly at the age of 44.  When I graduated from seminary, the majority of my fellow classmates were whisked away to different churches all over the United States, leaving a void in my heart where the joy of friendship resides.  Then of course, there were all those experiences of unrequited love that broke my heart and left me grieving.  Perhaps you have had similar experiences where people you have loved have suddenly died, or moved away, or just slowly faded into the background, leaving you bereft and a bit ungrounded.  It seems that loss and grief are part and parcel of the human condition, something that requires healing as a well as the courage to move forward with new plans even in the face loss and disappointment.
            In today’s reading from the Book of Acts, Jesus has been taken away from the disciples for the second time.  As you recall, he was brutally executed on a cross by the Roman officials.  This was the first time he was taken away from his disciples who fled in fear and became despondent.  They had thought that Jesus was the one who would redeem Israel and they began to wonder if they had backed the wrong horse.  But then unexpectantly, Jesus reappeared.  He was not the same as he was before his death, but different.  In this new phase, he seemed to fade in and out, move through closed doors, never returning to his original ministry.  These post-resurrection experiences of Jesus gave the disciples new hope for a new future.  But then Scripture tells us that soon after, Jesus was taken up into heaven where a cloud took him out of their sight. {Acts 1}   In other words, the strong presence of the risen Christ that the disciples had felt and experienced, left them for good.  And the way the biblical writers recorded this absence was with the word anlambano which means to take up or to seize.  It is a good word to describe Jesus’ departure.  It is also a good word to describe our own experience of having a loved one snatched from our presence. 
            I often think about the loss and subsequent grief the disciples must have experienced when their beloved teacher was taken away for good.  But I also think about the loss and disappointment they must have also experienced when they lost Judas as a member of their inner circle.  Here was Judas, hand picked by Jesus, numbered among the twelve, given a share of the ministry, having financial gifts and probably a good organizer.  My hunch is, having traveled and worked with Judas for three years, the other apostles became close to him.  After all, they depended on one another for companionship, safety, and team ministry.  But then things seemed to collapse after Judas betrayed Jesus.  He then either committed suicide (according to the gospel of Matthew) or fell on his head (according to the Book of Acts).  Whichever way he died, Judas was no longer among them and a void was created in their group.  Imagine the loss and grief that must have arisen among the remaining eleven after having given their lives to such a great cause, a cause that seemed to be diminishing in size.  What would you have done in these circumstances?  How would you have responded?
            It is easy to get paralyzed in situations like these; to think that the world has come to an end.  In the midst of chaos and uncertainty, it is tempting to believe that the darkness has won and that it is time to throw in the towel or cut your losses and leave.  I know that I have had these thoughts before and maybe you have too.  That is why today’s reading from the Book of Acts has become so meaningful to me because I am encouraged when I see others move forward in the face of loss and disappointment.  Let’s take a closer look at how the 11 apostles responded to their situation in 1st century Jerusalem.
            In today’s reading, Peter takes the helm as a leader and makes a suggestion to fill Judas’ spot with another disciple.  Instead of perseverating about Judas’ betrayal and getting stuck, Peter suggests that they choose another man to replace Judas to be a witness to the resurrection.  This new person must have accompanied them during the ministry of Jesus, from his baptism to the day he was “taken up.”  Two names were put forward:  Justus and Matthias, both of whom who met these qualifications.  Then they all prayed, lots were cast and “the lot fell on Matthias and he was added to the eleven apostles.” {Acts 1}
            Now many of us would be appalled at choosing such an important candidate by rolling the dice or flipping a coin.  In fact some people, companies, and even churches spend months or even years trying to find the ideal person for a position.  They would never permit the casting of lots to choose between candidates.  My personal belief is that there is no “ideal candidate.”  There are qualified candidates, candidates who have good character, and candidates who seem to be a good match for the job.  The better you personally know a candidate, the better chance you have of predicting their performance.  Both Justus and Matthias were qualified, of good character, and known to the other apostles.  They were chosen after much prayer.  And so the ‘casting of lots’ seems like a reasonable process when needing to choose between two, equally qualified people. 
            I admire the 11 apostles who did not allow their losses to paralyze them from moving forward even though they were uncertain of the future.  They allowed appropriate time to pass as they moved from fear to grief to prayer and then finally into action.  In spite of all their trials, they came up with a plan and then executed it.  The New Testament never mentions Matthias or Justus again and we might wonder what happened to them.  Was Matthias successful?  Did Justus stick around?  Did the apostles do the right thing?  We will never know for sure.  But this we do know.  They did not throw in the towel or remain discouraged.  Instead, they moved forward with an action plan in the best way they knew how.  What more can be expected of us human beings?
            Most of us have had something precious taken away from us.  Maybe it is our health and we have to learn how to move forward with a “new normal” being grateful for what we do have rather than despondent with grief for what is diminished.  Some of us have had a dream for our family unit, hoping that our children and parents and grandparents will embrace one another in a circle of love.  But then, someone dies, or another falls into a dark place, or a child moves far away, or becomes too busy, or chooses to alienate himself from the family.  How do we respond to such disappointment?  Others of us are suffering from economic insecurity, where wages are not keeping up with expenses or retirement income is less than expected.  How do we proceed in this kind of environment?
            Last week, there was a lot of media attention to the recent “pew research” on the health of the Church in the United States.  The statistics showed what we already know:  The number of people claiming to be Christian is falling. The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.  Fewer people are attending church and church attendance at both Catholic and main line denominations is in a steep decline. 
            For me, this is a great loss.  I have always believed that the Christian path, especially as expressed by the Episcopal Church (and other main-line denominations) is like a pearl of great value.  This path of disciplined compassion as modeled by Jesus can save our world from deep darkness.  And yet this path is no longer recognized as a pearl of great value.  This became more obvious last week here at Trinity when we had a very low attendance at the 10:30 service.  It used to be that on Mother’s Day, attendance would be high as adult children would come to church with their mothers and then take them out for some special time on that special day.  Now, children refuse to attend church at all so that mothers must forgo church services if they want to be with their children.  From my perspective, this Christian path of health and wholeness, this pearl of great treasure, feels like it is being taken away or at least being put back in the shell in a society that values other ways of walking in the world.     

            2000 years ago, in the crucible of uncertainty, when everything seemed to be falling apart, the disciples of Christ remained faithful in prayer, seeking the will of God, and moving forward in a world that turned out different from what they had expected.  Today, in these days of great change and uncertainty, where so many people and things are being taken away or changing before our eyes, may we too be sustained by the apostles’ example by following in their footsteps.  How?  By remaining faithful in prayer, by seeking God’s will, and by continuing to move forward in the best way we know how.  May God send us the Holy Spirit to comfort us, strengthen us, and lead us into all truth.  Amen.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

2nd Annual "Swing to End Hunger" Interfaith Food Bank Benefit Golf Tournament - Fri June 12

Maui Vacation raffle still open! Benefits the Interfaith Food Bank


A DIAMOND associated RESORT-
ENTRY $25.00 EACH OR 5 FOR $100.00
JUNE 26TH - JULY 3RD 2015