Seeing Past the Color Line in the Bay Area. Faith leaders from across the Bay Area gathered for transparent conversations around race and unity.
Dr. Curt Rhodes of Questscope shared with us his journey and insights from first-hand, on-the-ground experience with refugees, and spoke candidly about the realities of this situation.
In this special service, with guest worship leader, Junior Tagata, we reminisced, remembered, said a lot of "thank you's" and talked about the vision moving forward. Here's to "four more years!"
At our 4:45 service, Dr. Balmer spoke on The History and Future of Evangelicalism (What is Evangelicalism? How did it form and emerge? What forces shape and influence its expression). At 7:00 he spoke on Evangelicalism and Politics (What role have Evangelicals played in American politics? What are the driving ethics and values that have influenced Evangelicals' political engagement?)
Dr. Balmer has published more than a dozen books, including Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter, God in the White House: How Faith Shaped the Presidency from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush, and The Making of Evangelicalism: From Revivalism to Politics and Beyond. His second book, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in America, now in its fifth edition, was made into an award-winning, three-part documentary for PBS. Read more about Dr. Balmer at his website, and in his CV (Curriculum Vitae),
The 15th anniversary of 9/11 was commemorated with a Multifaith Peace Walk & Picnic. Sparkers, Etzniks, and other faiths for this declaration of peace in the midst of a tumultuous world, said "no" to fear and "yes" to friendship!
This summer we stayed at the beautiful Asilomar Conference grounds near Asilomar State Beach and enjoyed food, hanging out, beach, games, and strengthening the community of our church.
Curt Rhodes has spent over 30 years working with, and on behalf of, marginalized communities and young people across the Middle East, making him uniquely prepared to respond to the current Syrian war and the refugee crisis.
As the recipient of the 2014 Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award, Dr. Rhodes was recognized by Tufts University for his demonstrated compassion and tenacity in creating a highly effective and determined organization dedicated to the survival and nurturing of the most vulnerable and disenfranchised.
In recognition of his work through Questscope with marginalized youth in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and in the region, Dr. Rhodes was awarded the 2011 Social Entrepreneur of the Year for the Middle East and North Africa by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
Dr. Rhodes began his career in the Middle East in the early Eighties, as Assistant Dean in the School of Public Health at the American University of Beirut. During the 1982 invasion of (west) Beirut, he volunteered in a community-based clinic alongside students and friends, doing around-the-clock triage for wounded and ill civilians. That was when the seed idea for Questscope began to take shape. Living and working with people in great suffering compelled him to find a way that he and others in the Middle East could assist the most vulnerable: participating with the voiceless ones in invisible communities.
In 1988, Questscope was founded with the goal of putting the last, first. From the beginning, Questscope worked closely with local communities, identifying their aspirations and together addressing their greatest needs.
05.01| Restoration Instead of Devastation: the Synergy of Relationship, Agency and Critical thinking within networks of Syrian refugee youth in Jordan.
4:30 service: "Parables of the Lost" | 7:00 Seminar: "Jesus in His Jewish Context: Piety, Politics, Practice, & Prayer
Spark held Communion and our Communal Picnic immediately following service on our beautiful patio and grassy grounds.
Consider a life-changing experience that could radically transform your reading of the Bible, and your faith. Our tours are a full engagement with the land, culture, history, and people of Israel.
Early bird discount rates through February 13. Visit our website to read more and to register! Future dates will be published soon. Visit our website to subscribe to our updates.
America’s largest community-based anti-human trafficking eventtook place at Levi’s Stadium featuring prominent local and national trafficking experts, survivors, and Congressional delegates, along with celebrity Bay Area athletes and musicians. www.2015.freedom-summit.org/.
We celebrated the first night of Passover with our annual Seder meal. Our delicious, kosher meal was provided by our amazing caterer and included a special table in the middle for the kids. This year was particularly special as the first night of Passover also fell on Good Friday.
In a show of solidarity and our commitment to both interfaith and
racial reconciliation, Spark Church and Congregation Etz Chayim saw the movie, Selma, together. Refreshments and a moderated discussion occurred immediately following the film. Tasty coffee, treats and a moderated
discussion will be available at Etz immediately following the film.
Tacos, movies, hanging out, all to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of a whole new school year!
explored what downtown Los Altos and its weekly Farmers Market have to
offer as we walked together through
the market, cruised through local shops, and picked a place for dinner.
All were welcome to join Spark Church for the first night of Passover as we remembered and celebrated the deliverance of Israel from slavery. As Christians, we also remember Jesus' celebration of Passover with his disciples. Our Seder was an amazing catered, gourmet, kosher for Passover meal. We celebrated, sang, and retold the story of the Exodus, embracing our God who rescues, bringing us freedom from slavery, and freedom for building His Kingdom here on earth, illuminating His deep love.
Santa Clara County took part in a Bay Area wide DAY OF ACTION to begin the implementation of California Law, SB1193 which requires certain establishments to post information about human trafficking and how to seek help for victims. California is one of the nation's top four states for trafficked persons, and the Bay Area is a particular national hot spot for human trafficking. Human Trafficking is modern-day Slavery and also a multi-billion dollar global epidemic. Victims come from all nationalities, backgrounds and are trafficked in all industries.
Though human trafficking is illegal under Federal and California law, trafficking survivors often do not know where to turn to for help and community members may not know where to report suspicious situations. SB1193 helps the community direct victims to essential services by requiring public and private entities to post anti-trafficking notices that include telephone hotlines to seek help or report unlawful activities. In states where similar posting requirements have been enacted, there was an increase in the number of reported trafficking situations and rescues of victims. Businesses can help free victims of trafficking. By complying with SB 1193, they will be joining in the fight against the national criminal enterprise of human trafficking.
Learn More about SB 1193
The Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition and community partners join learn more about human-trafficking in the Bay Area. Local service providers and volunteers presented on their organizations’ initiatives and share information about how you can help. Spark Church co-sponsored the event along with Congregation Etz Chayim, Congregation Beth Am, Congregation Kol Emeth, and BAATC.
Sparkers went to hear Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice Mission (IJM) speak about his latest book addressing the scourge of violence upon the poorest amongst us. We must mobilize to ensure that poverty alleviation efforts be partnered with the eradication of injustice and violence. For more information visit www.thelocusteffect.com.
Spark Church & Etz Chayim hosted a Human Trafficking Awareness Training with Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition. BAATC provided an hour and a half of specialized training on how to combat Human Trafficking in the Bay Area and beyond. Upon completion of this training, attendees were equipped to share with friends, coworkers, neighbors and family on why and how to join the fight for a Slave-Free Bay Area.
In a world of ubiquitous technology, it is important for all of us to pause for a moment and ask what these digital devices are doing to us. This seminar will help parents understand the effects of technology on the family and how smartphones, the internet, and social media are influencing adolescent development. Drawing from the wisdom of technology theorists, child and family psychologists, and research professors, we will discover the ‘best practices’ that can be immediately employed to not only protect, but empower the family. Download a .pdf flyer here. Watch the presentation on YouTube or Vimeo. Download the presentation and notes: Regular Res. (2.7MB) | High Res. (56.1MB)
It's time to get our hands dirty! All Spark attendees and members are invited to a day retreat at the Preservation Center in Los Gatos. Opening with worship, prayer & vision casting, we'll then break into the following groups and plan for all the exciting stuff in the coming year: Small Groups, Events/Activities, Hospitality, Kids & Youth, Prayer Ministry, Spark Learning Seminars, Social Media / Podcasting, Hands-On Projects, & Rescue: BAATC, Shevet, World Vision, Education.
In partnership with our good friends at Etz Chayim, Spark will host an Introduction to Biblical Hebrew sponsored by the Biblical Language Center (BLC). Instructors Gary and Sharon Alley, will introduce us to over 200 vocabulary items and structures with direction for continued self-study in the language. This fun, interactive course, based upon the ulpan and Total Physical Response (TPR) models in Israel, lays the foundation for continued study towards reading and understanding the Hebrew Bible.
Technology impacts our world in ways previously only imagined. Here in Silicon Valley, advancements are rapid as science-fiction becomes science-fact. As we live in the midst of these developments, let's pause to ask, “What is technology?” “How does it change us?” “What is the relationship between faith and technology?” Come and explore these questions and more as we consider technology's influence on our humanity, our thinking, our practices, and our faith. Join us in pondering the role of religion, ethics, and God, in the midst of everything from smart phones and laptops to autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence.
Description: "Using the recently published The Jewish Annotated New Testament, Rabbi Ari Cartun (Etz Chayim Synagogue) and Pastor Danielle Parish (Spark Church) will lead you through a variety of well-known stories and fundamental concepts in the New Testament, from the Gospels through the Letters ("epistles"), from the Acts of the Apostles through the Revelation of John. Together we will encounter texts important for Jews to know, from those with theological similarities to modern Judaism, to those defining differences between our two religions - including some of the texts that are the most problematic to Jews (as well as to Christians)."
Download the flyer here. Visit http://www.jewishlearningworks.org/for-adult-learners/feast-of-jewish-learning for more information.
Groundbreaking influencers, lifelong activists, and change-makers of the Bay Area join in the fight against human trafficking. We invite you to engage with local heroes to be equipped and mobilized to join forces to make a difference in the Bay Area and beyond. Together we can DELETE_SLAVERY!
A reminder to join Spark Church at the Freedom Summit in January. Registration is only $95 per person and scholarships are available. Your registration includes two days of training, free fair trade items, and lunch on Saturday. Click on "scholarship" at the website, or email [email protected].
Description: "The rift between faith and science in Christian circles today often results in the marginalization of Christians engaged in the sciences, impediments to evangelism, and the attrition of young believers who are told that Christianity is incompatible with the acceptance of evolution or an old earth. John Walton’s work in Genesis 1–3 offers a fresh perspective on this complex issue by seeking to understand the message of Scripture within its ancient context. Origins Today: Genesis Through Ancient Eyes does not presuppose or promote a particular scientific standpoint, but rather aims to facilitate a deeper reading of Scripture among Christians seeking to take the Bible seriously. A close reading of the Genesis creation account and an evaluation of its ancient Near Eastern setting raise the question of whether the Bible provides modern scientific information related to our understanding of the natural world (e.g., cosmology, biology, or human origins), or whether it offers a theological, rather than material, framework for thinking about the cosmos—for example, God made everything and is sovereign over it. This question in turn leads us to inquire whether today’s scientific conclusions regarding old earth, common descent, and parentage of the human race necessarily conflict with the Bible or theology."
Dr. John Walton (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School. He focuses his research on the literature and cultures of the ancient Near East and the Old Testament, with a particular interest in Genesis. Before his role at Wheaton, John taught for 20 years at Moody Bible Institute. John has authored many articles and books, including The Lost World of Genesis One, Genesis 1 as Ancient Cosmology, and Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament. His book on Genesis 2–3, The Lost World of Adam and Eve, is forthcoming from InterVarsity Press.
Kenneth D. Gibbs, Jr., Ph.D., is a
Science & Technology Policy Fellow for the American Association for
the Advancement of Science (AAAS), placed at the National Science
Pastor Kevin Neuner is the Spiritual Life Director at The King's Academy in Sunnyvale, an adjunct professor at William Jessup University in Rocklin, CA, and a co-founding pastor of Spark Church in Palo Alto.