Craig’s Corner 2019 October

The Next 90 Years… As we approach our 90th anniversary celebration, we will be reflecting on the past and praising God for what God has done through us and in us for those around us.  We will lift up the ministries that have brought us to this day and give thanks for their success and for the people who made it a success.  We want to honor the work of our pastors and our church members who have tirelessly given of themselves to create so many disciples for Jesus Christ right here on this property in the middle of Berkeley, CA.  We will give thanks for the many inspirational leaders who have come out of this church because of our love and dedication; leaders such as Bishop Grant Hagiya, DS Rev. Mark Nakagawa, DS Rev. Derek Nakano, and so many more that honestly I … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2019 September

ChangesA little over a year has gone by and it has been a whirlwind of change.Under normal circumstances, change is difficult.  And these have not been normal circumstances.  As you can imagine, after having the same pastor for 20+ years, having a new one assigned to your church can be quite a culture shift. Some of our members have never known another pastor!  So regardless of who came in, it was going to be a challenge for everyone.  There are people who have embraced the change and some who have had a tough time with it, but no matter how we faced it, change was here.  And it seemed to keep coming.Any time there is a shift in church leadership, things get re-examined as fresh eyes look at familiar situations.  Maybe something we’ve grown used to is seen in … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2019 August

MISSION: It’s Possible! We have a mission – to reach people for the love of Jesus Christ and to make new disciples for his Kingdom.  That mission is one we pursue out of love of God and love of our fellow human beings.  But have we always done a good job of it?  Have we remained focused?  Has that always been at the forefront of our minds?  Bishop Carcano has challenged all of our churches to make new disciples by engaging our community and she named the Bay District as the first to begin a pilot program to see how effective we could be at doing so.  It’s called Mission: It’s Possible. Back in February, pastors were asked to create a team of lay members who would be open and receptive to such a plan, people who would offer not only support, but new ideas … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2019 July

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:1-4 Don’t talk about money! That’s one of the first things I was told when I served my first historically-Japanese church.  “Don’t talk about money.”  The impression was that a pastor … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner, 2019 June

Father’s Day is coming! It’s one of my favorite days of the year.  Not because of presents and cards and such (although those are always appreciated), but because I am reminded how blessed I am to be a father and what that means to me personally.  I know not everyone is as fortunate as I have been.  Not only do I have a wonderful daughter and stepdaughter (who has been like my very own most of her life), but I also still have my dad around with whom I have some very fond memories.   But I also love Father’s Day because I am reminded of our Heavenly Father.  Not that I imagine God as having a gender.  I think God can be both, either, or neither, and however you most identify with God is totally acceptable.  For me, I find it easy to identify with God … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2019 April

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” You are rich. So am I.  At least compared to most of the world.  It might not seem like it at times when you compare yourself to peers, people in the neighborhood, or others around you, but comparatively speaking you are.  We live in a … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2019 March

What are you giving up for Lent this year? You always know its Lent when McDonalds starts pushing HARD for the Filet-O-Fish sandwich.  And while I don’t do the “no meat on Fridays” thing, I do traditionally give something up for Lent.  I’ve given up red meat, soda, French fries – all sorts of different stuff.  This year I’m giving up gluten and sweets.  That last one in particular is hard.  Sweets.  Cassie knows what kind of a sweet tooth I have, and that means no cakes, no candy, no cookies, no ice cream, no pie until Easter.  Technically, you CAN splurge on Sunday since that is the day we celebrate Christ, but other than my birthday (which does fall on a Sunday), I’m going to try to go the whole time without anything sweet.  Yikes. I know as … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner for February 2019

What happens when we forget sacrificial love… I feel like it’s been raining weddings this year!  First, we had Chai and Callie and then Naomi and Stephen, and then by the time you read this my daughter will have had her wedding.  Plus, my youngest sister Nicole is getting married later this year!!!  I feel so blessed to bear witness to the love of God reflected in so many people.  As Cassie and I are approaching 17 years of marriage this year, this little ditty was funny because it has a grain of truth to it.  I found it on the Internet a number of years ago, but it’s still poignant and funny.  As the years pass by in our marriage some of it sounds a bit familiar.  But the overall lesson is what’s important; when we forget that love is meant to be … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2019 January

A new year coming… It’s hard to believe it’s only been five months, well six by the time you receive this. In some ways, I feel like I’ve had the chance to get to know many of you pretty well. But I also know I still have a lot to learn. Not only about you, but about our traditions, our history, and our journey of faith as we grow together. I’m looking forward to that journey and I hope you are as well. I have so much hope for our future. In my mind’s eye, I see us growing in number, going deeper in our faith together, honoring our past, while moving forward into the future. I decided to reprint the annual report (with a few minor revisions) that I submitted at our church conference because I know many of you weren’t able to make it, but it gives a good year-end summary of what … [Read more...]

Craig’s Corner 2018 December

Waiting…waiting… My favorite time of year is here. Christmas time! … [Read more...]