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Who Belongs?

The final months of this election season and the results we know so far show us many things - one being that America is deeply divided. Seeing this division so clearly makes me think of our Tahoe retreat in the fall of 2019. We studied scripture and looked at the ideas of John Powell about Belonging. We asked the questions ‘Who belongs?’ ‘Who should be excluded?’ ‘How did Jesus create belonging?’ We studied and talked about two choices we have when considering people who are different from us. We can bridge to them, creating relationship and understanding or we can break with them, putting up walls and creating distance. We looked at countless stories where Jesus did the hard and sacrificial working of bridging with people who were outside of a typical Jewish community – tax collectors, lepers, sinners, and prostitutes. All of these people were told that they didn’t belong but Jesus reached out to them, creating relationship across differences. It is risky to bridge with people who look different or act differently or have different political or religious beliefs from our own. Our friends and family may not like that we are doing Jesus' work of bridging. Our society seems to encourage the breaking of relationships with those who are different, treating some as ‘other’ rather than seeing the image of God in each person. One of the strengths of Yvpc has always been that our members hold a diversity of political beliefs but we all a part of the same church family. We love God and love our neighbors even when we hold different ideas about what needs to change in society. In the season ahead I pray that this diversity of political beliefs continues to strengthen YVPC, helps spark our imagination to bridge with others who are different from us, and helps us preserver in this difficult but life-giving work.


  1. Great News – Beth Thompson is working in the church office. She will be helping support the ministries of YVPC and keep folks connected. She will be in the office every Tuesday and Thursday from 3 – 6pm.

  2. Check out our new website – Great place to find these letters, request prayer, and donate online if you desire. If you have suggestions for additional resources you’d like on the website, please let me know.

  3. Don’t grow weary of creating community - Please continue to call/text/send cards to three different members of our community to check in on each other and ask to pray with each other.

  4. If you have an urgent prayer request – please call Paula Ash (925) 435 – 2859 to start the prayer chain.

  5. Join the Zoom call this Sunday for our worship gathering.  Zoom is a digital platform that facilitates online group meetings. You will find an invitation to the Zoom call in your email. A reminder that every Sunday morning the Zoom link/meeting number is the same. You can always log in from a previous email. You can use your smartphone or computer to join. Please bring juice and bread to the call so that we can all share Communion together. (If you are having trouble with Zoom – please reach out to Singeh Saliki to help (405) 714 – 3641.)

  6. Even as we don’t see each other in person, our church continues to have our ongoing expenses. If you are able, please mail in your offering to YVPC, 2140 Minert Rd., Concord, CA, 94518. You can also give your offering through the website if that is easier for you.

Connecting with God

  1. Lament – As the number of covid-19 cases spike and we wrestle with racial justice in our society, remember the importance of lament – Use a bowl salt and a bowl of water, share with God what breaks your heart/makes you angry, sprinkling salt, like tears, into the water.

  2. Use the ‘Common Prayer – A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals’ by Shane Claiborne for daily prayer and to guide our weekly worship times. You can find it online at or call me and we will get one delivered to you.

Loving our neighbors

  1. We are gathering food to partner with Mision Hispana de Concord. We need dried beans, white rice, cereal, spaghetti, cooking oil, and tuna. Schedule the drop off with Kathy Youngson.

Grace and Peace, Pastor Matt 

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