Sunday, October 8
Title: Pipe Organ Basics and the History of the SAPC Organ: Estey Opus 2886
Description: While the sound of a pipe organ is a familiar one, the construction and mechanics of the instrument are often a mystery to many of the people who hear it played every Sunday. We will explore how a pipe organ works (hint: it is a giant box of whistles!) and delve into the history of the Estey pipe organ at Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church though original correspondence on the building and installation of the instrument, recently obtained from the Estey Museum and Brattleboro Historical Society.
Luba Kravchenko has been on staff at SAPC since 2003 and has served as Director of Liturgical Music since 2007. In addition to her work at SAPC, Luba is an active music teacher in San Francisco. She teaches piano through her private studio, is on the Pre-College piano faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and does musical theater vocal coaching and accompanying through San Francisco Arts Education Project. Luba is also involved in a variety of organizations which promote improving the standards of music education: she is a member of the College of Examiners for the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program and serves on the State Executive Board of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers.
Mary Morganti retired in September 2015 after more than 40 years as an archivist and librarian in San Francisco and Berkeley. Most recently she was the Director of Library & Collections at the California Historical Society; had previously managed manuscripts processing at UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library; and began her professional career working in corporate archives. Mary served as archivist as well as the choral & instrumental music librarian at her former parish, and miraculously remains friends with the choir directors and organists she has sung with since the age of 12!
October 15, 22, & 29
Title: Wisdom from the East
Description: For two hundred years, streams of wisdom from Asia have flowed into the Bay Area. Join us as we learn more about these religious traditions and what they can say to us.
Sunday October 15: Hinduism
Sunday October 22: Buddhism
Sunday October 29: Confucianism and Daoism
Steve Carson has an M.Div from Union Theological Seminary in New York City and has worked in churches in New York, Boston, and San Francisco. He has years of experience as a public school teacher, which included teaching Asian cultural history. Last year he taught a series here at SAPC on “Christology: Who Do You Say That I Am?” He looks forward to joining us again and engaging these deeply interesting religious traditions.
Title: A Town-Hall Luncheon Meeting with Jack Bethards
Description: Come, have lunch and learn about our organ with Jack Bethards, director of the Schoenstein Organ Company (stewards of the SAPC organ since its installation in 1930), will present an in depth look at the world pipe organs, give updates on the current state of the SAPC organ, and a vision for the possible future of our historical instrument.
Jack Bethards, president and tonal director of Schoenstein & Co. Organ Builders, is internationally known as a pipe organ consultant specializing in evaluating instruments and planning programs for renovations. He is a San Francisco Bay Area native and holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. He has been a professional musician and is currently active in the American Guild of Organists. He is past president of the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America and member of the American Institute of Organbuilders, the International Society of Organbuilders, and the Association Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. He is on the National Council of The Organ Historical Society and serves on the advisory boards of several organ preservation societies. In over 45 years of pipe organ work and research, Mr. Bethards has been a frequent lecturer and contributor of articles to professional journals. A major thrust of his study, including work abroad, has been Romantic organ building in France, Germany, England and America.
November 12, 19 & 26
Title: Looking into Calvin’s Teachings on Creation, Nature & Science
Description: I have little background in John Calvin’s theology. I recognize, though, that I am part of a deeply Calvinist society. He is a cornerstone of the Reformation and a theological foundation for some of our core assumptions as a society. As we face ecological devastation and global warming, how are we influenced by Calvin?
We will discuss some of his teaching on Creation, Nature, and Science. Calvin encourages us to study nature to understand its Maker. At the same time, he warns us that science is of little help in opening up spiritual knowledge. We will look at his principle of accommodation as it relates to scriptural inerrancy. We will puzzle over his sense of an anthropocentric universe made for a now depraved, but still gifted, humanity.
The Rev. Fr. Dale Trunk was a Capuchin Franciscan Friar for 25 years. After ordination, the Order sent him to Rome for graduate study in Franciscan Spirituality. Returning to California, he served as seminary director, hospital chaplain, and associate pastor. In 1998, after cycles of burn-out, he “retired” from the Order and the priesthood. Currently, Dale ministers as a Flight Attendant, spiritual director, and gardener.
December — Advent Retreat — Saturday, December 2 — Mercy Center
Title: Advent: Season of the Unexpected
Description: As we prayed through the Advent texts, we were struck by a sense of the unexpected, the beginning of something new, of unpredictability. There is a search for signs of the times, and an awareness that they could all be missed by lack of attentiveness. John the Baptist appears in the wilderness, seemingly out of nowhere, with a message of repentance and of hope, as he speaks of the one greater who is to come. Mary’s song of praise and courage is filled with sudden wisdom. The appearance of the angel is a surprise that changes Mary’s life, as she says yes to what seems impossible.
Our stories may be less dramatic than those of these texts, but we, too, face the unexpected and unknown. The familiar scriptures and music of Advent and Christmas can open us to new insights, sudden understandings, a new vision or path for our lives. Let us be attentive to the Holy One who walks with us, and be open to God-moments of surprise in this season
The Rev. Jeffrey Gaines is Pastor/Head of Staff of Seventh Avenue Church and has served this community since December 1991. He received his Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ in 1979 and his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA in 1975. From 1979-1991 Jeff served First Presbyterian Church of Monterey. From 1995 – 2003 he was also Executive Director of Spiritual Directors International. The Rev. Jenna Meyers is Associate Pastor at Seventh Avenue having received her Master of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 2015 and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion and Philosophy from Cornell College, Mount Vernon, IA.
January 14, 21 & 28
Title: Disability Theology
Description: Disability theology is the field of theological inquiry focused upon a couple big questions, which include two that we’ll focus on: first, where do we find disabled experience in the story of our God? And second, how do we make space for different bodies and experiences in our lives and congregations?
Over our three sessions, we’ll look at what disability means in all its contexts: from legal and medical, to political and social — and certainly what it means to the heart of theology and the church. We will deeply discuss the theological insights of cutting edge disability theologians, and also share the insights of our own stories. It’s my hope we can all learn more about disability theology as a field, and how it can help us all to deepen our relationship with God and each other.
Lucas Walker is Pastoral Care Associate at San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS). He has an MDiv and MATS from SFTS, focusing upon Religion and Psychology, with special emphases on disability, feminist, queer, and pagan theologies. He has been Associate under the SFTS Chaplain for the last five years, and worked as a pastoral care provider at SFTS for 7 years. He is a Colorado native, where he formerly worked in HIV/AIDS social services, and was also a volunteer sexual assault and domestic violence crisis counselor.
February 4 & 11
Title: An Exploration of Christ Actually: Reimagining Faith in the Modern Age by James Carroll
Description: Carroll has written many books, including novels, a memoir, and several books of history and theology, including Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews: A History. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s question: “Who is Christ actually for us today?” inspires this new book. During our time together we will respond to suggestions he makes about who Jesus is for those who wrote the gospels, for Paul, and for us today. James Carroll writes from the perspective of a practicing Catholic, a progressive Christian, and a scholar. Reading the book is not required, but would enhance our discussion if you can find the time.
The Rev. Joan Huff is a retired Presbyterian minister who loves to read. She served a number of congregations before joining the circle here at 7th Avenue about 16 years ago. She preaches here occasionally, helps some with the Children’s ministry, and volunteers at St. Anthony’s Food Pantry once a week.
March 11, 18 & 25
Title: Feminism and the Still-Speaking God: Modesty in the Abrahamic Traditions
Description: In a world where gender roles are understood to be less and less absolute, prominent voices in feminism often condemn religion for its historic oppression of women. However, empowerment has come to be synonymous, for many, with strict adherence to norms of “feminine” sex appeal. As Kim Kardashian West posts nude selfies with the hashtag #liberated, and Beyonce stands in front of a “FEMINIST” sign in little more than a bathing suit, can we find a middle ground between covering-as-oppression and hotness-as-power?
In this three-week series, we will discuss each Abrahamic tradition–Judaism, Islam and Christianity– focusing in on their verses and practices surrounding modesty for men and women. Historically these ideals have been used to body-shame women; is there a different, more useful in today’s world, way to interpret them?
Lauren Shields was inspired by the modesty traditions of Islam and Judaism–while attending a Christian seminary– to take on her own self-imposed adherence to the restrictions of what she came to call “The Beauty Suit.” She blogged about it, and eventually wrote a book about her experience (The Beauty Suit: How My Year of Religious Modesty Made Me a Better Feminist, Beacon Press 2018). She is seeking ordination in the United Church of Christ. She lives in San Jose with her husband.
April 8 & 15
Title: The Untethered Soul
Description: Does your mental voice chatter nonstop? Do the conflicting, fickle voices in your head obscure the authentic you? Michael Singer’s book The Untethered Soul provides practical insights on how to let go of the inner chatter and live from your true essence. Join us for an interactive, experiential exploration of who you really are.
The Rev. Scott Quinn was ordained a Lutheran minister and served for five years as an associate pastor of a congregation in Dallas, Texas. His career includes working as an educator and spiritual director at an interfaith spirituality center in Austin, Texas; serving as Director of Community with The Chaplaincy Institute, an interfaith seminary and community in Berkeley; and currently he is the Executive Director of the Marin Interfaith Council in San Rafael. Scott is also a supervisor of spiritual directors, is Core Faculty for The Chaplaincy Institute’s Spiritual Direction program, and has been on staff with San Francisco Theological Seminary’s Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction. www.scottquinn.net.
April 22 & 29
Title: Reformed and Always Reforming
Description: This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation which began when Martin Luther in 1517 published his 95 theses. The two-week class will examine the history and ideas of the Reformation primarily through the writings of Luther and John Calvin. We will trace those ideas through to today to observe their lasting influence on modern Christianity and ask what it means even now to be a “Reformed” church like the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Tim Cahn is an attorney who teaches law at Golden Gate University Law School and is General Counsel to Inner Sunset Community Advocates, Inc. (ISCA). Tim also serves as a director on several non-profit boards, including the Intellectual Property Law Center, Friends of Villa Grande, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, and the Presbytery of San Francisco Property and Finance Committee. He is also an active member here at SAPC.
May 13, 20 & 27
Title: God is Gone Up with a Merry Noise
Description: Music celebrating the season of the Ascension. The gospel accounts of Jesus’ ascension into heaven have inspired composers throughout the centuries. In this three part series we will explore a number of these masterpieces and consider how the music opens the story of the ascension to us in new ways. No previous musical experience is necessary. Come with open ears and an open heart and join us on the journey.
John Prescott holds a PH.D in musicology from U.C. Berkeley. He is also a spiritual director, having completed training at the Spiritual Direction Institute at the Mercy Center Burlingame. John is an Episcopalian and a Third Order Franciscan. He has lead retreats on music and spirituality since 2002.