Commentary Archives

GOINGS ON at Saint Paulus:

Delay, delay, delay…….But maybe there is a light at the end of our development process. It appears as if the architects, the church’s development committee, and the developer are finally getting on the same page. The last piece of the puzzle is what the exterior of the new church facility will look like in relationship to the housing complex to which it is attached. The agreement is that the complex will accent the presence of Saint Paulus. We are trying to make good on the agreement but within the limits presented by the developer. Agreement will happen in probably another couple of weeks. When accomplished the developer will press the City of San Francisco for a construction permit, Saint Paulus architects will provide plans for the interior of the church, and there will be groundbreaking by early summer. The place will take shape over the following 18 to 24 months, with occupancy by mid-2019. It been a long trek since the fire that consumed the church building in 1995.

In the meantime, Saint Paulus is now in celebration mode – we have reached the 150th year of our ministry here in San Francisco. More on this God given opportunity later.

GOINGS ON at Saint Paulus:

Our nearly 10 year pursuit of a secure future development to house and reestablish a physical presence of Saint Paulus was finally put on the fast track on the last day of June.  On that day the officers of the congregation signed the final documents deeding the long held property of Saint Paulus at Gough and Eddy Sts. in San Francisco into the hands of a capable and well financed development firm, Maracor Development.  This “closing” is bringing to a conclusion the laborious and time consuming approvals of the City of San Francisco including an Environment Study, a Shadow study, multiple reviews and studies made by the San Francisco Planning Department, required code reviews and adjustments, and on and on.  The construction of an eight story housing complex with the new home of Saint Paulus claiming the corner of Gough and Eddy, a 10-12,000 square foot space, deeded in perpetuity for the church’s mission work will rise out of the historic site on which the famous, iconic Saint Paulus Lutheran Church building stood for over 100 years before being consumed by fire in 1995.

Construction awaits the final “master building permit” at which time ground breaking and full scale construction will begin, hopefully by year’s end.  The construction phase will be between 18 and 24 months.  During these next couple of months the people of Saint Paulus will be giving shape and identity to the interior of the future Saint Paulus Church center. 

GOINGS ON at Saint Paulus:

We welcome Bonnie Hestand as our new Saint Paulus Church Secretary. Bonnie began on March 2, and will be providing ministry support for Saint Paulus from lOAM-2 PM Monday through Friday. As a result, most church business will be confined to these four hours a day. Access to the church at other times will depend on either church activities going on or volunteers available to keep the place open, particularly in the afternoon from 2 until 5PM. The Church Council is presently looking at options available to extend the access to the church facilities. Please drop by and get acquainted. The development project at our homestead at Gough and Eddy streets. is approaching the end of the entitlement period, the time during which all the legal issues, the city regulations, and environmental reviews are examined and resolved. One of the final steps is to provide the opportunity for the neighborhood surround the proposed building site to comment and/or dispute the plans that have been approved by the Planning Commission. This step will be taken on Monday, March 9 in a hearing room at the San Francisco Planning Department. In addition to the Maracor Developer, representatives of Saint Paulus, and our architect, Dana Merker, will be in attendance to respond to any questions. A report on that meeting will be forthcoming.

This year our celebration of Palm Sunday will be quite different that in year's gone by. Usually the Sunday that begins Holy Week is observed at a combination of Palm Sunday (the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem- with the distribution of Palm branches) and the reading of the Passion story which describes the events leading up to Easter Sunday. This year, however, we are going to stick with Palm Sunday and forego the reading of the Passion Story. This we are doing because the drama of Palm Sunday is too often overlooked and gets eclipsed by the Passion story. In addition, our Pastor-intraining, Ashley Moore will be with us as the preacher of the day and along with (hopefully )the newly re-energized Singers of the Street providing music to our worship. The only downside of this change is that many of you will not hear the entire gospel account of what happened during that Holy Week. It will be important for you to include in your activities during that week, March 29- April 3, participation in the Maundy Thursday Seder meal and the Good Friday worship. In any case, see you on Palm Sunday, March 29.

 

GOINGS ON on Polk Street:

On Tuesday, March 3, the MTA Commissioners gave final approval to a major alternation to life on Polk St. The plan approved for Polk Street, in addition to beautification, safety upgrades, and sewer and water main replacements, provides for a heavier emphasis on bicycle lanes and removal of parking in the southern stretch of Polk from McAllister to Pine Streets. The stretch of Polk from Pine north to Union will include a mix of bicycle lanes, some removal of parking, and restrictions on parking. Parking restrictions in Middle Polk will be in the form of a tow away zone from Pine to Broadway on the east side of Polk, from Monday through Friday from 7AM to 10AM. This will not be without significant consequence to our neighborhood. The loss of parking, the proposed Van Ness Ave project and the construction of the new Sutter hospital at Geary and Van Ness will impact our neighborhood with lots of traffic, confusion and detour. Batten down the hatches!

The Middle Polk Neighborhood Association meets here at our Saint Paulus facility on the third Monday of each month at 6:30 PM. This is the defining group for policies and developments in the mid-Polk district. Drop by and take in a meeting, and get involved with our neighbors as we work to improve our community.

PRAYER REQUESTS:

  • Jason Lind — freedom from addiction
  • Ruth Ballard — relief from pain and return to health
  • Barbara Torrey and family — health and harmony
  • Pastor Paul Theiss — healing from cancer
  • Berneda — health and secure living arrangements
  • Jeremy Dubois — strength in recovery
  • Philip Gibson — new employment and new facility
  • Ana B — housing issues and strength in daily living


DATES TO REMEMBER:

  • March 8 — 3rd Sunday in Lent, Worship at 10 AM with fellowship following.
  • March 9 — Public hearing on Saint Paulus building project (Planning Commission)
  • March 11 — Community Night- Bible Study 6:30 PM
  • March 15 — 4th Sunday in Lent, Worship at 10 AM with fellowship following.
  • March 18 — Community Night- Bible Study 6:30 PM
  • March 19 — Church Council meeting
  • March 22 — 5th Sunday in Lent, Worship at 10 AM with fellowship following.
  • March 29 — Palm Sunday- First Day of Holy Week- Pastor in Training Ashley Moore preaching
  • April 2 — Maundy Thursday- Seder Communion at Grace Lutheran Church
  • April 3 — Good Friday- Worship 7 PM

AA meeting at the church on Friday night beginning at midnight.

GOINGS ON at Saint Paulus:

On the afternoon of February 26, from 2-4 PM, Saint Paulus will throw an Open House in Thanksgiving for Carol Rivers, our outgoing Parish Administrator. She will be leaving her position as Parish Administrator as of March lst. Carol has faithfully served Saint Paulus over the past 14 years, through some very difficult time, in times of transition, in times of celebration and rejoicing. She has been a steady presence in the church office and over the past years has become the central figure in the management and operations of the church. She has been a support to many in physical and spiritual distress, she has provided assistance and counsel to a vast number of people both members and nonmembers, she has laughed and cried and prayer with most of you. She will be sorely missed. But the Spirit has opened new doors for both Carol and Saint Paulus and bids us enter, and in obedience to her will, take steps into our individual futures. Please come on Thursday afternoon and bring a greeting, a thanks, a blessing to Carol for all she has been and done for Saint Paulus. The Property Team and other members of the congregation are putting their collective heads together with the intention of drawing up some basic sketches of what we anticipate will be our new worship/church space at Gough and Eddy. Together with our architect, Dana Merker (who has worked with us for better than a decade), the Team will be listening to you the members of Saint Paulus, discussing what is possible in terms of design, and develop a "picture" of what we would like in our new church surroundings. Of particular interest at this stage of development is what the exterior of our church facility will look like and how it will be seen by the public as they pass by. You will be given opportunity to add your ideas and get feed back on the evolving designs over the next couple of months. Stay tuned.

The anniversary celebration of the l5Oth year of Saint Paulus' ministry has now been put on the front burner. Even though the celebration (which will last all year long in 2017) is two years away, the logistics and expanse of the effort is daunting. Saint Paulus has been a spiritual, educational, physical, musical, social center/home for literally thousands of people across 150 years. There have been countless baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials. There have been significant historical events which have happened in the old church. There have been mission church starts for which Saint Paulus was responsible. There have been many organizations, community groups, and associations that were sponsored by Saint Paulus. And the list going on and on. In short, for this anniversary celebration to do justice to the extensive work and ministry of Saint Paulus, it will need to be well planned and organized. If you are interested in helping out, let someone on the Council or the pastor know. The Church Council has reorganized itself to enable the work of the congregation to be spread among the membership of Saint Paulus. The centralization of the congregational life among just a handful of people is precisely the reason the Council decided to act to establish "Teams". These teams are the vehicles by which the ministry of the congregation will be done and by which issues and concerns will be addressed. Please familiarize yourselves with these Teams and approach the Council members assigned to the Team with your ideas and concerns. Executive Team: Barbara Solberg; Financial Team: Mark Jackson; Property Team: Jon Hart; Community life Team: Gwen James; Music and Worship Team: Stephen Camarata.

Just for fun: Chris Enquist put me on to a story that tickled my fancy. I pass it along to you for our enjoyment. Check out the following link: from The Slate Blog.

 

GOINGS ON on Polk Street:

District 3 in San Francisco, the political district which represents the area in which Saint Paulus ministers, has a newly appointed Supervisor: Julie Christensen. She appears on the scene right in the middle of some of most serious and tension filled times faced by the Polk St. corridor. Issues involving massive parking changes, the construction of a huge new medical facility at Van Ness and Geary, and the redevelopment of Van Ness with a new bus lane are just some of the matters Supervisor Christensen will be dealing with, and not from scratch, but with aggravation and tensions already in high gear. After a very tense initial meeting with the Supervisor this past week, she has asked for another meeting to be scheduled with the members of the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association to hopefully smooth things out. That meeting is planned for the 3rd Monday in May and will be held right here at Saint Paulus.

Come and be a concerned citizen.

 

REFLECTIONS:

I worry sometimes that the announcement that Jesus makes at the beginning of his public ministry, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel", has been relegated to a "long ago" Bible verse with very little, to no relevance to our current day and age. When Jesus made his announcement, the only kingdom that was known was the one owned and operated by the Romans and by those who either collaborated with or supported the awesome power of the Roman Empire. The kingdom of "this world" was a totalitarian reality that invaded every dimension of a person's life- making the rich richer (at a price), the poor poorer, the weak frightened, the strong looking over their shoulders, the marginalize unhuman. This was a locked down kingdom, a culture which did not give an inch, a domination that was unmoved. And it was enforced by military might, by terror and persecution, by taxation and exploitation. In short, the arena into which Jesus appeared was like a prison house of fear and despair. And Jesus announced "the kingdom of God is at hand". Was he out of his mind? Was he just a pipe dreamer? Was he naive? The whole of the life and ministry of Jesus bears witness to the reality of the kingdom of God- the lame walk, the blind see, the dead are raise, the subversive parables and stories he taught, the violations of unjust laws, the creation and cultivation of an alternative community of disciples willing to live in the reality of this kingdom of God, this alternative to what surrounded them. This alternative to what is, this kingdom of God is the reality that Jesus taught, lived, witnessed to- and it is the same kingdom of God which is present with us today. The problem is that we have fallen back into the clutches of the kingdom of this world, dominated by its values and distortion, its control and power. The Roman Empire has given way to domination of more subtle, but equally effective, forces which finally spawn only fear and despair, except maybe for those who collaborate or support the current empire (hopefully not us). We are the descendants of those who heard and celebrated the reality of the kingdom of God despite the world's oppression. This kingdom is not crazy man's concoction, no pipe dream, no naive illusion, it is as real as God's presence, his rule, his blessing, his victory (in Jesus). We in this alternative community called the church are commissioned to make the kingdom known, to expose the deadly effects of the forces in the world (the empire) that seek to control our lives, and to celebrate among us and in our ministry in the world, the life giving kingdom of God.

Pastor Solberg



PRAYER REQUESTS:

  • Sheryl Davis — healthy recovery
  • Jason Lind — freedom from addiction
  • Ruth Ballard — relief from pain and return to health
  • Barbara Torrey and family — health and harmony
  • Pastor Paul Theiss — healing from cancer
  • Berneda — health and secure living arrangements
  • Jeremy Dubois — strength in recovery
  • Philip Gibson — new employment and new facility
  • Ana B — housing issues and strength in daily living


DATES TO REMEMBER:

  • February 21 — Crab Feed Fundraiser with the Lions Club (Vision Event) @St. Anne's - Judah&Funston
  • February 22 — First Sunday of lent- Worship 10 AM
  • February 25 — Community Night- Bible Study
  • February 26 — "Thanks and Farewell" Open House for Carol Rivers- 2-4 PM
  • February 27 — Vision Event- Project Homeless Connect
  • March 1 — Pulpit exchange among SF lutheran churches, Pastor Kerstin Weidmann preaching
  • March 2 — First day of Church Secretary
  • March 4 — Community Night- Bible Study
  • March 5 — SFCARES Board meeting 5:30 PM

An AA group is now meeting here at Saint Paulus on Friday nights at midnight, 12 AM.


NEW MEMBERS:

On Sunday the 15th, Saint Paulus was blessed by adding three new members to our congregation.

  • Warren Olson comes to us by a transfer from St. Francis;
  • Brian Herman declares a common faith with Saint Paulus; and
  • Pastor Doug Merritt joins us as an associate member.

We are delight that the Holy Spirit has drawn these brothers into our fellowship. Please greet them as you have the opportunity. If there are others reading this "Keeping Up with Saint Paulus" would are moved to seek membership here at Saint Paulus please contact Pastor Solberg with your interest.