A Word from Our Pastor 2010 July Hospitality


Christians are called to show hospitality: it is a way of reflecting the love we have received from God – so we share that love with others, by showing generosity in whatever way we can. This summer, we will have many opportunities to invite others to be part of our community, or just enjoy a friendly visit. A speaker I heard several weeks ago posed the question, “What would your church be like if everyone in the church showed the same enthusiasm for inviting others to church events as you do?” Inviting others to church – for fellowship, for a concert, for Bazaar, for worship – we have many opportunities to practice Christian hospitality. We shouldn’t rely on “someone else” to do the inviting! If each person invites someone, our community would be brimming over with new people who will be able to experience the love of God in our community. We are not trying to force anyone, convert anyone, or make anyone uncomfortable: we are just trying to share the good things we have received from being a part of BMUC.
We are so happy to welcome Daruma no Gakko to share our facility for the month of June. It is such a delight to have 100 happy kids (and almost as many staff people) all over the church in the mornings. There are sounds of laughter, scent of delicious food being cooked (by children!) and colorful craft items on display. Last week they shared their yaki soba with me, and it was very tasty. I encourage everyone to attend the Gakugeikai end of term program on Friday, July 16 at 7pm at MLK Jr. Middle School in Berkeley — all are welcome.
We are also grateful to JASEB and its constituents for being so flexible in terms of sharing space and making schedule changes to accommodate Daruma. It’s great to see some of the JASEB seniors interacting with the young people. We are so blessed to be able to serve our community by providing a place for these meaningful connections to be made.
We are still in the midst of making plans for “wacky” August, so the dates are not yet firm. However, we are planning to have a guest speaker from United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, who will let us know about what church people from our Annual Conference have been doing in mission, and the opportunities we have for participating in similar events.
We are also planning several opportunities to learn more about Islam and to meet with local Muslims. This is part of our Christian responsibility to show hospitality to our neighbors. Further, in light of our Japanese American heritage, we feel it is especially important to reach out to the Muslim community because of the unfair discrimination they have experienced since the 9-11 World Trade Center tragedy.
The major Muslim religious celebration, Ramadan, takes place in August, so we will have opportunities to join in. It is important to begin by knowing something about the religion, so I will be teaching a class on AUGUST 1 and 8 (both Sundays), beginning at 9:30 a.m. on the basics of Islam. The news focuses primarily on Muslim extremism, so it is particularly important for us to be find out about “everyday” Muslims, people just like us, who are raising families, working hard and who are part of a worshipping community. There are many such Muslims living in this area – have you noticed the “halal” market on San Pablo, not far from University Avenue? Muslims have regulations about how their food is prepared (how animals are slaughtered), and the market on University provides the supplies so that Muslims are able to follow the guidelines of their religion. We will also schedule a Friday movie night, when we will show an interesting film regarding Muslims or Islam. We hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity to get to know our neighbors.
Also during the summer, our choirs will be busy preparing for the Choir Blast that is scheduled for September 25/26. Please be thinking about who you will invite.
So, this summer, do your part as a hospitable Christian, and welcome folks who come to our church for the wide variety of reasons I have described above, and invite others who will enjoy what we have planned!
–Rev. Naomi