Dates: September 8 & 15
Title: A look at the History of Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church
Description: 2019 marks the 116th anniversary of the founding of Seventh Avenue. Let’s again explore the fascinating history of the church, from its beginnings in the Haight, its move to the Inner Sunset, its growth and struggles, its movement into the new millennium and a new vitality, the beginnings of a new sense of what Church can be. We can answer questions such as: Where do those stairs go? What do the windows mean? What is really under that false ceiling? Who were the founders that are named on the marble plaque in the front of the sanctuary? What did we do during the turbulent 60’s? We will explore the church building, hear eyewitness accounts and peruse early documents. As we pull back the pages of our unique history and see how -as a congregation- we listen for God’s word for us today, modeling the radically inclusive welcome of God, tending the Holy in ourselves, one another, and creation…always striving to be the Christ in the world. Join us…it will be fun!
Facilitator: Gail De Bellis has been a member of Seventh Avenue since 1972. She has served on Session and Council many times, written numerous Mission studies, taught and coordinated Church School over countless years and currently serves on the Building and Personnel committees. With an abiding interest in 7th Avenue history, she and Ruth McCreight presented an historical perspective during the 100th Anniversary. Gail looks forward to revealing Seventh Avenue’s fascinating history on its 116th Anniversary.
Dates: October 13, 20 & 27
Topic: Speaking of Faith
Description: Often when we think of what it means to speak of our faith we think of evangelism and quickly turn and run in the opposite direction. But if a relationship with the Divine and participation in a community of faith are life-giving to us, why don’t we speak out more about it? We don’t hesitate to recommend a restaurant that we love or a TV show that we can’t wait to watch. How much more so should it be with our faith that is core to our very being? Join us for three weeks of examining our discomforts around speaking of faith and seeking new ways to engage this practice through the key concepts of belonging, behaving, and believing.
Facilitator: The Rev. Dr. Leslie Veen is the Director of Contextual Education for Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley. In this role Leslie assists the students in getting out of the classroom and into various ministry settings to put what they are learning into practice. She is also a Parish Associate here at SAPC as well as an active member of the Presbytery of San Francisco.
Dates: November 10, 17, 24
Topic: Let Go! Let In! Get It! Grow Up! — Facets and Cycles of Spiritual Growth
Description: Human life grows through struggle, but not all struggle gives life. Our lives move through cycles of “hello” and “goodbye” as we keep evolving along with the rest of the cosmos. Ancient Neo-Platonic idealistic dualism came into Christian spirituality as “The Three Ways: Purgative, Illuminative, Unitive.” This theory has guided many in their spiritual growth. However, various uses of “The Three Ways” have led to an attitude of denigrating God’s good Creation, and seeing being human as an unfortunate condition from which we need to escape. Another approach is to see Creation as the outpouring of God’s love, and being Earthling/Human as an invitation to co-creation through the choices we make as Creation continues. Translating the Neo-Platonic notions to: “Let Go! Let In! Get It!” and adding a fourth facet of “Grow Up!” can guide us in engaging our matter-spirit creaturehood as our path with and to God rather than a condition that requires a spiritual escape hatch.
Facilitator: 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.
Date: Saturday, December 7
Place: Mercy Center, Burlingame, CA
Title: Advent Retreat — Opened by the Unexpected
Description: As the Worship Working Group prayed through the texts for Advent, we were struck by many references to the unexpected, and the call to be open to what is currently unknown. We are told to be ready, present, awake; to live in a state of awareness, doing ordinary tasks with a sense of expectancy.
During this day-long retreat we’ll consider what it means to be opened by the unexpected in our life with The Holy.
Facilitators: 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.