Oct 14, 2021
DEAR MENLO CHURCH,
Where are we going depends in good part on how we answer the question who are we? I’ve come to know Menlo Church by listening to you, by reading 147 years of history, and by living this very different church-year together. We’re about to spend a season Moving Menlo Forward, ordered around our life and mission. Let’s focus our direction with four core values I’ve seen in Menlo’s rich past, recognizing that this interim season puts us at a Crossroads. Going forward, what’s most important to us, without which we cannot be Menlo?
The first building block sounds common to all churches, that the Bible leads us to Jesus. But in the turbulent 1960s, Carey Weisiger led Menlo Church from the mainline denominations’ emphasis on social activism to a prior submission to the living Christ found in Scripture. Rather than following a set of intellectual propositions or a social agenda, the risen Christ calls Menlo Forward to follow him. As the Bible lifted the living Christ, the church would never be the same.
The second phrase at the heart of Menlo is Walt Gerber’s rallying cry to be a hospital for sinners. We are rooted in recognition of our brokenness in a culture that craves affirmation; Menlo Church does not work its way out of the hole, but Grace reaches down to rescue. We’re NOT the Good People, but instead we’re those being healed by the love of God!
Menlo Church is not located by accident but by Providence, at the Crossroads of Silicon Valley and Stanford, one of the world’s great universities. For 20 years, John Ortberg and other leaders reflected on the life of the mind. The wisdom of God, even when it appears to be ‘foolishness to the Greeks’ has the power by God’s Spirit to reshape lives and groups and communities… and a Bay Area that will lead thinking of the world.
The fourth strand holding Menlo’s DNA together is a commitment to spiritual formation, the practices of the life of the soul. C.S. Lewis reminds us, “You have never met a ‘mere’ human being.” We are surrounded by eternal creatures in the process of becoming heavenly delights or devilish terrors, and the practices we put into our lives shape us over time.
Through the year, I’ve seen Menlo Church desire to be marked by ridiculous generosity, as we hold lightly the abundance of God and share freely. We have exciting ideas about how our giving over the holidays might serve our city and go far beyond. As you think “where am I going?” may the spirit be whispering, “first, who are you, and to whom do you belong?” and by the grace given us, visions will flow.
P.S. What a JOY it is to be in partnership with folks like Hurmon Hamilton and New Beginnings Community Church as we partner with them for an event, "Let's Talk: An Online Faith-based Conversation with Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy" on October 24 at 2:30pm. Presbyterians always TRY to engage in public life faithfully, and this might be a good resource for you.
RETREAT TO BE TOGETHER WITH GOD
October 22-24 in Mount Hermon
It's not too late to attend our spiritual formation retreat, where we will take refuge among beautiful mountains and redwood trees to connect with God and the Menlo Church family. We'll worship, share meals, laugh, rest and enjoy the Santa Cruz mountains. DETAILS + REGISTER
JOIN US FOR HALLOWEEN FUN! INVITE FRIENDS!
We are hosting an event for the entire community at all of our campuses! Get details, including day, time, and what to expect on our website. We can't wait to see you then!
SERVE OUR COMMUNITY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
Throughout November and December, join us to offer meals, serve in schools and transitional housing, and help make wishes come true! There will be opportunities for all ages, skill levels, and interests. We can't wait to build a strong community by serving together. Check our website mid-November for details.
CELEBRATE OUR NEW ELDERS
Earlier this month, we received 679 ballots from our Covenant Partners (members), with an overwhelming majority in favor of confirming all three candidates who had been nominated. The new Elders will be ordained at their respective campuses. Larry Wu will be ordained at Mountain View on October 17, Neil Treat (at San Jose) and Mark Reynolds (at Menlo Park) will be ordained at a later date. We encourage you to attend to pray upon them (with distantly laying of hands) as they enter into service for the next four years.