Church Family Newsletter | November 27, 2021
Called to Serve: The Highest Calling
First of all, we want to thank each and every one of you for your support and encouragement through this past year. It has not been an easy one, but we have had some wonderful ministry moments and blessings over the obstacles and challenges of this past year. We know that you too have had some extenuating circumstances, but praise God for His goodness, mercy, and faithfulness. We have been able to keep our doors open to the community and we have been enriched again by the privilege to meet and worship in person once again.
So many of you have been generous with your giving over these pandemic months - treats for the staff, encouragement cards, phone calls, etc. The love poured into us gave us the fuel to keep us going. But now as we get into the busiest season of the year, we covet your continued prayer support.
Every year, we literally come in contact with hundreds of people from our community that contribute to the mission of The Salvation Army. Our community members:
- Donate to our physical or virtual red kettles
- Give clothes, food, and toys towards our Christmas program
- Unload, organize, and help to distribute food and produce to persons in need
- Clean and organize our storage rooms and closets - even decorate our facilities
- Contribute money and or goods towards the food pantry or seasonal giveaways
- Volunteer their time to pack food, organize toys and gifts, distribute gifts or meals
Your schedule may not give you the flexibility to participate in these ways. Or maybe you feel that you cannot physically handle the tasks that are requested of our volunteers. However, there is one important thing you CAN do: PRAY. Pray for all that happens. Pray for the staff. Pray for the volunteers. Pray for the donors. Pray for those who oppose us. (Yes, even them!) Pray for the officers. Pray for our divisional, territorial, national, and international leaders - in The Salvation Army and in government.
Then, IF you are available, we would encourage you - members of our fellowship and leaders to be present. Your presence amongst the volunteers is important. With a team of 7 individuals, we cannot always answer every question volunteers may have. Yes, we pray with our volunteers at the start of every opportunity. Yes, we tell them what our mission is all about. Yes, we tell them that we do everything because of God's love for us. But your friendly face and first-hand knowledge of The Salvation Army and your own personal witness cannot be replicated otherwise. You are needed!
If you have a Salvation Army logo apparel, wear that. Or wear your uniform! We would love for the outside volunteers to meet you, and see God's light shining through you. We need you to help promote the ministry and mission of The Salvation Army!
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name without discrimination.
(Disclaimer: The video was created by the United Kingdom & Ireland Territory in December 2012. The numbers are off now, but it does give a beautiful picture of our services that are still happening today.)
Majors Gwyn & AnnMarguerite Jones, Cadet Cody Trimmer, and the Concord Corps Staff
Thanksgiving Day Meal
We were contacted a few weeks ago by Cynthia from the Berkeley Food and Housing Project about serving a Thanksgiving Dinner for Veterans spread out across Contra Costa County. Cynthia had 40 veterans that she has been working with and she knew they would be alone on Thanksgiving. Some were living in their own homes, some were in shelters, and unfortunately, others were living under a bridge and homeless.
When Cynthia asked us we immediately wanted to jump at the chance. Serving a Thanksgiving meal to the homeless is something we here in Concord have wanted to do for a long time, and this was a great opportunity to show the veterans they were not forgotten and loved by Jesus.
With the help of Chef Michael Tongson, we put a menu together and started collecting supplies. The church community came together and provided all of the items necessary to prepare a 5-star meal.
Chef Michael, with the help of Rondi H., came in on Monday and brined six turkeys. On Wednesday, Christian L., Chef Michael, Rondi, Cindy H., and Roberto M. all came in and cut the onions, pear, garlic, etc. to have it all prepared for cooking Thursday morning. At 4 AM, we were warming up the ovens and started cooking the turkeys. At 8 AM, Stella Cade and Susan Van Brocklin joined us and started on the yams and stuffing. By 10 AM, the turkeys were cool enough to start cutting and we started filling the serving containers. Cynthia and Fatima of the Berkeley Food and Housing Project came to pick up and deliver the food.
I want to thank my guys from our Transitional Living Program, Chef Michael, Christian, Roberto, Robert, Michael, Ryan, the ladies from our church, Rondi, Stella, Cindy, and Susan for all of the hard work and energy they put into making this a fun experience. And I also want to thank Cynthia and Fatima from the Berkeley Food and Housing project for blessing us this unforgettable experience.
The Meaning of Grace
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. [Ephesians 2:8 NIV]
There is a reason that many of our words in English have Greek and Latin roots. Much of our western culture is based on ideas and institutions that originated in Ancient Greece and were adopted as ideals by the Romans. The Romans then spread these ideas into their empire and were then carried on by the established Christian church. It’s why we espouse democracy and elect senators and make music in the Ionian and Aeolian modes!
That’s not to say that alternative philosophies and cultures weren’t known or available — Judaism stands as a beacon of truth in ancient pagan times — but since societies were isolated from each other there was not much interaction with eastern traditions and ideas. It is interesting to note, though, that it was eastern philosophers who showed up to worship the Christ child after following his star!
The Ancient Greek civilization had a concept and a word that described something truly extraordinary. Aristotle defined “charis” or “grace” as something which was exceedingly beautiful and unexpected and which was spontaneously shown without any sense of obligation or expected recompense. It was virtuous in every way and in all circumstances and derived its wonderful qualities from itself without regard to any other influence.
“Charis” is the root of our word “charity”.
So the word for grace was well understood in pre-Christian culture and quite literally was put on a pedestal to be admired. The pinnacle of art was to create something “graceful” and have it displayed for all to enjoy.
It’s not surprising that when early Christians were writing to each other in the New Testament and were looking for a word to describe the exceedingly beautiful and unexpected characteristic of God that had been displayed in the life, ministry, and sacrifice of Jesus, the word that sprang to mind was “charis”!
Here was a characteristic of God that nobody expected.
The “gods” (small “g”) expected (demanded) devotion and sacrifice and were capricious and inconsistent in whom they chose to pester on any given day. But the true creator of the universe is emphatically and demonstrably not like that. He loves indiscriminately and lavishly and without precondition. His magnificent and beautiful grace is a gift(!), and the only possible benefit which might conceivably accrue to him is the requited love of his creation (to whom also he gave the gift of choice!).
If we are to be faithful reproductions of the character of Christ, then we too should be spontaneously and indiscriminately showing “charis”. We should be committing random, and sometimes targeted, acts of kindness with no expectation of anything in return. This is, of course, the basis for “agape” love!
I think it’s significant that when writing to the churches he started and was helping to develop, Paul most often opens his letters with two words — praying for “Grace and Peace” (“charis” and “shalom”) to his readers.
It does us all good to “give thanks, with a grateful heart” every day for what Paul describes as this “indescribable gift”.
I pray that
and abundant blessings will be on you and yours!
The Salvation Army's Response to False Claims on the Topic of Racism
In recent days, The Salvation Army has come under fire due to a voluntary discussion guide on racism published by the International Social Justice Commission. Regrettably, elements of the guide led some to believe we think they should apologize for the color of their skin, and that The Salvation Army may have abandoned its Biblical beliefs for another philosophy or ideology. Despite sharing accurate information, groups with combative agendas capitalized on these elements for political gain. We must remain steadfast in our mission to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
For that reason, the International Social Justice Commission has removed the resource for appropriate review. The below language will be added to the ISJC website.
Consistent with its scriptural foundations, The Salvation Army stands against racism in all forms. Our International Positional Statement on Racism makes that clear.
Elements of the recently issued “Let’s Talk About Racism” guide led some to believe we think they should apologize for the color of their skin, and that The Salvation Army may have abandoned its Biblical beliefs for another philosophy or ideology. That was never our intention, so the guide has been removed for appropriate review.
As we always have, we affirm that racism has no place in our organization and in the communities in which we operate. That would be in direct conflict with how Jesus has called us to love. We are thankful for those who have fostered healthy dialogue about the important topic of racism in our country and for your local efforts to combat it. Through that internal discussion, International Headquarters realized that aspects of the “Let’s Talk About Racism” resource needed reevaluation in order for it to be very clear that The Salvation Army hasn’t abandoned its beliefs for one ideology or another.
We understand that you have many have questions about our beliefs. To ensure they have accurate information, a revised statement has been posted on our website HERE.
The Salvation Army National Headquarters
This Week's Schedule
9:00 AM - Jr Praise Team Rehearsal - Chapel
10:00 AM - Corps Cadets & Sunday School - Library & Prayer Room
11:00 AM - Worship Service - In-Person and Facebook
12:15 PM - Singing Company Rehearsal
1:15 PM - Jr Band Rehearsal & Music Electives
6:00 PM - Men's Bible Study - Fireside Room
7:00 PM - Songsters Rehearsal - Chapel
8:00 PM - Senior Band Rehearsal - Chapel
10:00 AM - CAMEO: Christmas Crafts with Susan Edward - Fireside Room
3:00 PM - Angel Tree Gifts are DUE#
#There is still time to choose a child or senior angel.
6:00 PM - YouthForce: Service Project & Mini-Christmas Party
8:00 AM - Food Packing (Volunteers Confirmed)
10:00 AM - Set-Up Fireside Room for Christmas Concert
Next Sunday: Invite Your Friends & Family!
Windows on Christmas: Advent Series
Life is all about perspective, and our own perceptions can be clarified and enriched by seeing life’s events through a number of different windows. A fresh look, a different angle can revolutionize our appreciation of truths that might be in danger of growing stale and tired. This Advent we will be looking through new windows gaining a fresh perspective provided by those who were there, allowing us to see and feel what they saw and felt, and to learn from their responses to these wonderful and powerful events of Christmas.
May we, with grateful hearts, join in the exaltation of the Christ, God’s glorious gift to us! Come and worship…worship Christ, the newborn King! (Windows on Christmas, pp. 11-12, 32)
We hope that you can join us on Sundays at 11:00 AM or on Facebook Live (The Salvation Army Concord Church).
Here are the themes and speakers/meeting leaders for the day:
11/28 - The Window of Exaltation - Angels (Cadet Cody Trimmer)
12/05 - The Window of Wonder - Mary (Major AnnMarguerite Jones)
12/12 - The Window of Obedience - Joseph (Majors John & Pamilla Brackenbury)
12/19 - The Window of Worship - Shepherds (Major Gwyn Edward Jones)
12/26 - The Window of Witness - Anna (Major AnnMarguerite Jones)