PCBA NewsBrief, May 2009

Spring Conference

PCBA held its 11th annual Spring Conference at the Shell Ridge Community Church in Walnut Creek on Saturday, May 2. Nine of our churches were represented (along with guests from Tapestry Ministries in Berkeley and Bob Sittig from the Euro Caucus of the Evergreen Region). More than 70 participated in the conference.

Karen Shipp, Minister of Music at Oakhurst Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, led us in learning to sing a new song. Literally we sang new songs — from Korea to Zimbabwe — and we sang well indeed under her leadership. Using new hymns, we learned to use music as metaphors for the new songs that are always a part of our lives — our church lives and our personal lives — theologically, socially, and personally.

We are overflowing with gratitude:

  • to Karen for her leadership
  • to Brian Dixon, LeAnn Blackert and their planning committee
  • to LeAnn Flesher, Jennifer Davidson, Carol Louisell, and Ron Buford for leading workshops
  • to the people at the Shell Ridge Church for making the day comfortable in every way
  • to Karen again and Greg Ledbetter for their leadership of our closing worship.

[See Association Minister Paul Hardwick’s report from the Annual Meeting.]

Dolores Street Baptist Church

On Sunday, April 26, the Dolores Street Baptist Church, as we have known it, held its closing worship service. For a number of years, the Dolores Street church has been meeting in the Fellowship Hall of the Bethany United Methodist Church on Sanchez Street in San Francisco. Prompted in part by Bethany’s building renovation and a need to relocate again, the congregation decided to conclude its current ministry and launch a new start in the Fall.

Doug Donley, the church’s previous Pastor, and his family, along with Dale and Alice Edmondson, their last Interim Minister, and Paul and Linda Rae Hardwick, our Association Minister were present.

At the conclusion of the service, the congregation went outside and symbolically removed the church sign from the building. The congregation went to a local restaurant for lunch together.

Brian Dixon, the church’s current minister, will be developing a ministry to begin this Fall, and offer some opportunities for worship for current church members.


Following the passage of Proposition 8 last year, at one of our recent PCBA Board meetings, we had an interesting discussion in which we wondered about whether, or not, in the good Baptist tradition of Separation of Church and State, Baptist clergy should act as agents of the State when it comes to the blessing of marriage.

At the recent Convocation of the Alliance of Baptists, two of our Board members who were present, (Brian Dixon and Rick Mixon) introduced a resolution regarding the separation of church and state and the role of Baptist clergy in marriage, suggesting that the role is not to be agents of the state.

Another of our pastors, who was present at our Board discussion and at the Alliance Convocation (Jim Hopkins) understands that such a course of action might be an obstacle to people desiring a church marriage, and sees a new opportunity for teaching about the nature and meaning of marriage.

We will have lively and interesting discussions, and the opportunity to model how to grow together in the midst of new ideas.

Baptists Lunching Together

  • Wednesday, May 20 –
    Sumner Grant
    , Executive Director of MMBB, will speak
  • Wednesday, July 15 –
    Conversation about ABCUSA Biennial by participants

Lunch will be at noon at Grand Lake Gardens, 401 Santa Clara in Oakland. Please call Joan Thatcher (510 350-7008) with your reservation by noon the Monday preceding the lunch.

Joan has announced her retirement from her ministry as Coordinator of BLT. To acknowledge her efforts on behalf of us all, the PCBA Board has presented her with a certificate and a gift. Please be sure to share your gratitude to her for her gift of service.

Evergreen Update

In response to our earlier overture to the Evergreen Association of American Baptist Churches, on Friday, May 1, Rick Mixon, Jim Hopkins, and Paul Hardwick met with Bob Sittig, co-chair of the Euro Caucus of Evergreen.

We had the opportunity to share our hopes for what a closer relationship could mean and we talked about what PCBA and its churches could offer to Evergreen.

We look forward to an ongoing conversation as the year develops.

American Baptist Biennial

American Baptists will gather in Pasadena for their Biennial meetings from June (25) 26-28. The theme for the gathering is These Hands…These Feet. The program will include action on proposed changes in ABC structure that have been discussed and proposed in recent years.

BPFNA Peace Camp

Where There Is Justice, then Peace Will Come is the theme of this year’s Baptist Peace Fellowship Peace Camp.

The exciting news for those of us on the West Coast is this year’s location – Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Ogden is only about 750 miles from the Bay Area.

Dates for Peace Camp are: July 20-25. The Rev. Angela Yarber and the Rev. Greg Ledbetter of the Shell Ridge Community Church have leadership roles at the camp. Rita Nakashima Brock from the Bay Area will lead Bible Study.

For more information: check at your church, or go to:

Alliance at Asilomar

A number of PCBA Churches are members of the Alliance of Baptists. For your information, and planning for next year:

The 2010 Alliance Convocation will be held at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, July 29-August 1. This will be their first conference on the west coast.

Shoreline Stroll

Once again PCBA will cooperate with the Seafarers Ministry of the Golden Gate in sponsoring the Annual Shoreline Stroll. The Stroll is a 5K walk along the waterfront in Oakland. Our participation last year helped the Seafarers Ministry generate an additional 50% support from the Stroll.

The Stroll begins at 10:00 a.m. (registration at 9:30) at the Maritime Center in Oakland (4001 7th Street) on Saturday, September 26 and will be followed at 11:30 with a Church Picnic (tickets available @ $ 5.00/person). For more information, contact the Seafarers at 510 893-3104.

PCBA Finance

In our last NewsBrief we reported that the financial year for 2008 ended with a deficit. That will be the case again this year.

Once again, much of the difference can be attributed to congregations that are shifting some of their mission giving to American Baptist Mission Support through their Region. It appears that will be true again this year.

PCBA depends on the gifts we receive from our churches and from individuals. Please use the enclosed envelope for your current gift.

News and Notes

On Sunday, April 5 the Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church honored their pastor, the Rev. Jim Hopkins, as they marked the 20th anniversary of his ministry with them.

The Rev. LeAnn Blackert, pastor of the San Leandro Community Church, has announced her resignation as of Sunday, June 7. A farewell service and reception are set for that afternoon at 4:00 p.m. All are invited. She will become the minister of Mt. Paul United Church of Canada, in Kamloops, BC. After 8 ½ years, she and her partner will be able to live in the same home! LeAnn co-chaired this year’s Spring Conference — her talent and creativity will be missed.

Also remember the family of the Rev. Augie Bau in your prayers. Augie has been diagnosed with kidney problems, his wife Katherine is recovering from chemotherapy, and Katherine’s father is recovering from a serious fall.

We extend our sympathy:

  • to the Rev. Grant Hanson whose wife Fern died on Friday, May 1. Grant and Fern had been married for over 65 years. A memorial was held at Oakland First Baptist Church on Saturday, May 9.
  • and to the Dr. Shirley Jones whose husband Dick (the Rev. Richard) died on Friday, May 8. For years, Dick’s leadership in our denomination represented the best in peace and justice ministries. A memorial service is planned for May 23 at 2:00 p.m. at the Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church.

The First Baptist Church of Palo Alto recently hired the Rev. Mike McGuire to serve as Pastor of Educational Ministries/Church Administrator. The Rev. Rick Mixon serves as Pastor.

The Fairview Community Church had an “incredible experience” in March as President Barack Obama landed in his helicopter just 200 yards from the church building! The Rev. Sarah Halvorson and church members set up chairs in the church backyard to watch the festivities in Costa Mesa.

Kristen Hopkins from the Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church will travel to Zimbabwe in June for three weeks with a team of nurses to work in a hospital clinic. The mission tip is being coordinated by Journey Partners and the Alliance of Baptists.

The Rev. Julia Burns-Robinson continues her recovery from recent strokes. Please remember her in your prayers.

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