News of the Presbytery of San Jose

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Jeremiah 29:7
We want to keep you informed! Below is a list of current events happening in the Presbytery of San Jose. Also remember to check the Presbytery website, particularly the Events page at

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Presbytery Meeting
November 23, 2019

Join us Saturday, November 23rd for our upcoming Presbytery meeting being held at Stone Church of Willow Glen at 1937 Lincoln Ave., San Jose. Worship begins at 9:00 am . Check our website closer to the meeting date for a copy of the current docket.
For those who could not attend either of the two clergy boundaries training events offered so far this year, a make-up session has been scheduled for Wednesday, November 6th from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Presbytery offices.

Note that clergy are *REQUIRED* to attend a training within 2019.

Lunch is included.

You are invited to attend the installation service of Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow at the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto on Sunday, October 19th from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Details may be found here: FPCPA Website
You are invited to join Rev. Ryan Althaus, the Presbytery's Hunger Advocate, for a day on the farm! Saturday, October 19th from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm has been reserved for a special presentation and work day at Common Roots Farm in Santa Cruz. Learn more about Ryan's relationship with the farm and ways your church may be involved. Informational Flyer may be found here: Sweaty Sheep Flyer
The 35th annual Ecumenical Retired Clergy/Partner Retreat will be gathering February 4th & 5th at the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville. The speaker this year is Dr. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, Ph.D. who is associated with both the General Conference of the United Methodists, and is also strong advocate for religious pluralism and LGBT rights.

More information regarding Dr. Kuan and retreat registration may be found here:

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Presbyterian Women is hosting a fall conference called "Aging Gracefully: Challenges of Mind, Body and Spirit." Join them at Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church Saturday, October 19th from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm. More information may be found here:

PW's Newsletter for our Presbytery may be found here:

Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church is looking for a part-time Administrative Assistant for their Youth Ministry Office. Information and application details may be found here: Admin Assistant Job Opening
Stone Church is looking for a part-time organist! If you or someone you know is interested, please contact them. More information may be found here: Organist Position Flyer
Pastoral Reflection 

I've been reading The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives by Sasha Abramsky. He's a democrat writing during Obama's second term in office about issues of poverty, homelessness, healthcare, and incarceration. I picked up this book because I wanted the perspective of someone in the secular realm who was looking seriously at these issues to see how his/her perspective compares with the Church's call to compassion and social justice.

He says something early on in the book that is sticking in my mind: "Until well into the twentieth century, America's approach to poverty relied largely on religious charities and, to a point, do-gooder social workers stepping in to help poor people from absolute destitution....they brought a charity vision to the problems of poverty rather than a belief that government should step in to solve the great problems of urban poverty generated by industrialism."

I wholeheartedly agree that a model of charity isn't going to solve the problem of poverty. In fact, it seems to be more about the feelings of the one giving, rather than the one receiving. It reinforces a power dynamic rather than helping to heal the root(s) of the problem.

But as a follower of Jesus, I don't see the government providing the answer either. There's room for social programs in our capitalistic and industrialist society, but the government can't redeem brokenness. There must be some sort of middle way.

I keep returning to Samuel Wells' book Incarnational Mission: Being With the World . It approaches issues of social justice from a ministry of presence; that is, being with someone, helping them discover their internal and external assets in a way that empowers them. There is room for charity, but perhaps empowerment through presence and solidarity digs a little deeper at the root of brokenness and injustice.

I hope, as I'm sure you do, to be able to explore what that ministry looks like in our context as we face issues of homelessness, poverty, addiction, and mental illness on our streets. May we cultivate hearts of compassion, discernment, and wisdom in living out our faith as we look for answers and redemption.


Rev. Jenni Bales
Director of Communications
Presbytery of San Jose

Phone: (408) 279-0220 Website: