Janice, Gene & Ali in concert

August 19th, 2012 – 4:00pm
$10 donation for appetizers, wine, soft drinks goes directly to West Valley Food Pantry.  Kids are welcome – you can even listen from the playground outside.

Learn more about the band

Listen to samples of their music

Learn about the concert series

St Luke is pleased to welcome Janice, Gene & Ali, who have just produced a lovely album of sacred music.  From their website: “The human voice is a glorious creation, animated by the breath, the spirit itself.  The Book of Genesis gives us the voice of God, speaking or singing the universe into creation.  In this thoughtful and inspired album the words are central; the voices are clear and pure. The songs signify. The words are discovered anew and their meaning is revealed.  Representing a range of musical traditions, coming from a variety of musical worlds—Latin, pop, country, jazz, zydeco, blues—the singers align in perfect praise. All glory be to God!

Janice, Gene and Ali first sang together on September 3, 2011, at the memorial service for Pastor Gary Marshall at Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Santa Monica. The exceptional clarity and intensity of their rendering of traditional American Christian music was palpable.  In the weeks that followed the idea slowly grew that a recording would be a gift to lovers of this kind of music as well as a suitable memorial to Gary Marshall and Kathryn Skatula.  Kathryn Skatula, a gifted musician and actress, had often served as Pastor Gary’s assisting minister before her passing from ALS in 2008. Ali’s life partner, she was beloved by many in the church and the LA entertainment community. The recording commemorates Kathryn’s exemplary Christian witness as well as the ministry of Pastor Gary.”

God’s love the reason

The late Timothy Lull, who taught at our seminary in Berkeley, said somewhere that in Lutheran ethics, what we do in life may not be as important as why we do it. Are we doing this to earn favor and praise? Or does it flow out of the experience of knowing ourselves loved, “sharing the joy of faith in Jesus Christ,” as we say in our mission statement?

These questions are relevant, first, to what’s happening at church, with regard to our recent thinking about worship space. The book some of us read on this topic (“Place of Encounter” by D. Foy Christopherson) begins with these words: “The church has no building code, save proclaiming Christ crucified and risen … [Martin] Luther’s worship reforms were made in support neither of the old and traditional nor of the new and innovative, but rather in favor of what may be effective in communicating the gospel clearly and pastorally.”

It’s challenging, first, to even ask the question: “Does our space work to proclaim Christ clearly?” We may hope to stay with purely practical considerations, “how to make the altar area more accessible,” raising other questions (does communion need to be accessible in that way?) requiring a vision for worship and what the space is for. Isn’t it true that buildings can be powerful, inspiring or sad? That a clean and comfortable living room and table where everyone has a seat really matters to the quality of life?

So can space configuration really aid in communicating Christ? If we’ve been at St Luke for 30 years or grew up in a similar church, we may have powerful associations between our faith and the furnishings of the sanctuary. But people new to the church may not have those associations. Maybe they just find our sanctuary odd, beautiful, old-fashioned, or interesting. Is sharing the joy of faith in Jesus Christ our primary consideration as we think about the floor or placement of the musicians? Or preserving what seems traditional, or doing what seems new and trendy? Is God’s love for all people the bottom line?

These aren’t just questions relevant to worship space! On Sundays we’re hearing Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, where he says: “ I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (3:18-19)

I like that phrase, “to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” It’s not just knowing “about” God’s love, as a person might learn in seminary, but knowing ourselves loved – opened and vulnerable to God’s care and grace – a “power” that Paul prays for. It’s not just something individuals know, but a comprehension shared “with all the saints” – which is why it may be important for us to have forums together on important questions and in general, to help one another experience God’s love.

And the more we know this love “that surpasses knowledge,” the more we’re blown away by its “breadth and length and height and depth.” There’s no area of life – be it work or relationships or worship space redesign or politics – where God’s love is in any way irrelevant. To the questions “what shall I do and why,” God’s love is the guide and the reason.

Serving in Worship – August 2012 (Update)

Dates are now correct

August 5th
Greeter – Bill Thoma
Usher – Janet Thoma
Acolyte – Tierna D’Arcy
Lector – Larry Ivanjack
Counters – Jensen/Jessen
Communion Bread – Sue Ivanjack
Altar Guild – Joy Wenzel
Altar Flowers – Linda Weaver
Lockup – Grace Road Church

August 12th
Greeter – John Coughlan
Usher – Jim Brucia
Acolyte – Jacob Colao
Lector – Kirsten Wylie
Counters – Jones/McGarrah
Communion Bread – Sue Ivanjack
Altar Guild – Joy Wenzel
Altar Flowers – Erik & Janice Pontoppidan
Lockup – Grace Road Church

August 19th
Greeter – Julie Jensen
Usher – Arne Jensen
Acolyte – Joe Hillesland
Lector – Brad Wood
Counters – Ivanjack
Communion Bread – Sue Ivanjack
Altar Guild – Joy Wenzel
Lockup – Grace Road Church

August 26th
Greeter – Lynn Schilder
Usher – David Schilder
Acolyte – Kristofer Hammon
Lector – Helen Schnieders
Counters – David Primuth
Communion Bread – Sue Ivanjack
Altar Guild – Joy Wenzel
Altar Flowers – Joy & Sybil Buff
Lockup – Grace Road Church