Anyone Got Directions?

There are many ways for me to get from Sunnyvale to Island United Church (IUC). They range anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour. I can drive 280 to 92, which is by far the most beautiful way as one drives over hills and valleys and sees California in all its natural splendor. Unfortunately, one uses more gas to go this way, as the mileage is longer not to mention the terrain more variable.

I can also drive 85 to 101, an older highway with a more direct route. It’s the shortest in distance; however, to me it’s not pretty, has a lot of traffic, and the lights from the exit to the church can be horrible. It’s a gamble to take this route, but when all is going your way, one can make it to IUC in just under a half hour this way.

If I want to take my time and do some shopping along the way, I can go De Anza or El Camino Real. I know I can go this way, just by looking at a map. And yet, taking a route with tons of streetlights is not very appealing to me, so I have opted out of either of these routes. Perhaps one day if I ride my bike, I will choose one of these ways, but not now.

In any event, it is clear that there are many variations to the path one can take from Sunnyvale to IUC — combinations too numerous to mention. However, as long as I am Acting Pastor at IUC, I’m sure I will just choose between the first two. Regardless, the important thing is that, eventually, I get there.

The same goes for all of you, members and friends of IUC, as I’m sure that there are many different ways you can choose to get from your home to IUC.  But also, like me, the point is you get there and not the way you came. Very seldom, if at all, does anyone ask or care how one travels to IUC – we’re just glad that somehow folks tend to make it. Often we pray for ones that don’t in hopes that they will find their way back the following week, especially in cases of illness or travel.

The same goes for our spiritual journeys, our quest for spiritual wholeness. There are so many paths, so many ways or directions one can go, that your options are truly limitless. The good news is there is a way, a direction for you to feel spiritually whole — you can take any route you want and take as long as you want. What is important is the journey itself and your desire to get there. Whether it’s the longer scenic route, the short efficient route, or any other route of your own choosing – we will be here to help one another along the way and make sure that we all get to enjoy the journey together!


New Beginnings Update

We did it! It is difficult to see in print, but as the chairperson of the New Beginnings committee, I am breathing a huge sigh of relief as we successfully completed the renovation work of our sanctuary ceiling and carpeting.

We all hope that you are pleased with our new look, feel and sound. The ceiling work started immediately after the last day of the preschool and was completed in time for school to start. A very tight schedule and we have successfully minimized the impact to our school.

The project included all new lights, insulation and drywall. We have a fresh coat of paint and of course finally new carpet. A major milestone has been met and we are very pleased!

We thank you for the strong support that we continue to receive from the congregation. Your gifts and good thoughts are greatly appreciated.  We still have some major milestones ahead for seating and cabinetry, but we hope that you invite friends and family to share in the new look created by our New Beginnings.

Paul Bade

Surviving the Storm

Years ago, when I was a pastor in Coventry CT, my home was across the street from Coventry Lake. Many days during the summer months I would go swimming with the children in the neighborhood. The routine was that after lunch a number of them would gather by my front door to see if I would be going for a swim. The rule was, if I went, they could go too, because as an adult, I could supervise and watch them. I went through more popsicles those days than you can imagine.

One morning on my way to the church office I noticed Timmy, the little boy who lived across the street sitting on the front step with his head in is hand. The weight of the world was truly on his shoulders. By the way, he was one of my “regular swimmers,” so over time I got to know him. I walked over and asked him what was wrong.

“Well,” he sighed, “I got up early this morning and thought I would make my own breakfast while my mom was sleeping in. Only, when I reached to get the jelly to put on my toast, it slipped out of my hands and went crashing on the floor. My mom heard the crash and came running. She noticed that not only was there jelly and glass all over the floor, but it made a make and a stain on the new linoleum floor.” (I can’t begin to try to spell how an 8 year old pronounces linoleum, but it was truly original.) “Then she said, ‘Just wait ’till your father gets home!”

Timmy sat there all morning, on the front stoop waiting for doom. His life was one big storm. I came home at noon to find him still sitting on the stoop. The storm hadn’t passed. I came by with a Popsicle, a valued red one, and invited him to go for a swim. He said no thanks to both as the doom of the evening approached.

As 5PM approached, I decided I would try to stop and talk to Bob, Timmy’s father, before he drove down the road where we all lived. So I walked to the end of the street and was able to call to him just before he drove in. I told him what happened, but spent more time telling him that Timmy had sat all day on the front stoop, a poor penitent soul, awaiting his punishment. I could see Bob was touched.

I can’t tell you exactly what happened after that. I don’t even know what was said. But I can tell you what I saw about a half hour later – Timmy and his dad, walking down the street eating ice cream cones while holding hands.

They both weathered the storm and it appeared for a second that they might even be walking on water.