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.
Date: January 5
Title: Organ Restoration — The Next 100 Years (Phase II)
Description: Jack Bethards of Schoenstein Organs will be with us to explain the final phase of our work to restore our Estey Organ. He will show us, a behind the scenes look, at the work that has been done as we look forward to completing this project.
Facilitator: Jack Bethards is president and tonal director of Schoenstein & Company Organ Builders. He is internationally known as a pipe organ consultant specializing in evaluating instruments and planning programs for renovations. Mr. Bethards 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.
Dates: January 12, 19, 26
Topic: “Growing Up Fundamentalist & Finding Faith After It”
Description: In this class we will explore what it was like to be raised in a fundamentalist home, moving away from it coming out as a gay man, losing faith all together and then rediscovering it in a new way.
Facilitator: 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 seven years, and worked as a pastoral care provider at SFTS for 9 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.
Dates: February 9 & 16
Topic: White Fragility: A book discussion with Members of the SAPC book club, facilitating
Facilitators: Member of the SAPC Book Club will lead this discussion.
Dates: March 8 & 15
Topic: Being a Psalmist
Description: We are psalmists. We hear bits of psalms in conversations nearly every day. One man will quietly express his faith. A woman will acknowledge the gift of strength in a time of challenge. Sometimes a reference to God is wrapped up in anger or frustration. Sometimes tender, sometimes vulgar, we bring God into our lives much more often than we realize. Writing psalms extends those informal passing references. When we talk with God on paper, a passing thought or strong emotion can come to a resolution. We can follow it to a satisfying point of clarity.
Facilitator: The Rev. Robin Crawford is a retired Presbyterian minister and retired attorney. He has led many retreats, two of which are “Friendship as a Spiritual Path” and “Finding God in your Anger.” He has a MA in Creative Writing and a PhD is in pastoral care, with an emphasis on fostering conscious contact with God. Robin has been married for 47 years. His wife, Nancy, is a retired Montessori first grade teacher. Raina and Char, their adult children, have found partners and careers they love.
Dates: April 19 & 26
Topic: Accidental Mystic: Falling in Love with the Divine
Description: Are you a mystic? Do you contemplate the Mystery at the core of your own being? Do you yearn for a deeper aliveness and a more intimate connection with the Essence that permeates all things? In this class, we will explore teachings and practices to awaken us to the Sacred Mystery that is our truest identify. In the process, we might accidentally discover that what we’ve been urgently seeking has been present all along.
Facilitator: 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.
Dates: May 10, 17, 24
Title: Roots, Identities, Blind Spots, and Visions
Description: This three-part series will draw on the ideas of several insightful thinkers to seek fresh perspectives on the turmoil we see every day at the juncture of religious and political conflicts in North America. Busting through the myth of blue states and red states, we will find new understandings of how we have gotten to where we are and where we need to go now. How are religions and regions a lot like human beings in terms of psychological development? How is God calling the church to change and adapt to new realities in our splintered country?
Facilitator: Carol Campbell has been thinking a lot lately about history, a subject she majored in at college. She is starting to feel somewhat historic herself as the candles no longer quite fit on the birthday cake. She is writing a memoir to clarify the meaning of her own history, and is fascinated and often horrified by the history unfolding in the larger world today. She lives in shameless optimism and gratitude in Oakland with her wife Jane and has been part of SAPC since 2012.