Common Ground Updates

Common Ground is busy busy busy! Here is a list of our recent accomplishments:

*Met with Congressman Garamendi to discuss our work and ask him to work with us in the future.
*Met with Solano County Supervisors and staff to propose our plan for homeless prevention through eviction assistance.
*Drafted a Police Civilian Oversight Ordinance with advice from experts, impacted families, community members, and the police department.
*Met with all the City Council members to share our draft ordinance and received great feedback and support.
*Attended community meetings run by the City of Vallejo in their attempt to draft an Ordinance of their own.
*Held a retreat with over 30 people to teach and learn how to organize within the Catholic Church.
*Held an eviction assistance event at an all Spanish speaking Catholic church in Fairfield.
*Attended a statewide retreat with our sister IAF organizations to discuss the politics of the California economy.

That is really just a snippet of the work we have all been doing over the last few months, but it doesn't stop there! Our next steps include advocating for our eviction assistance proposal at the Supervisors meeting in May and pushing the city of Vallejo to put together a model for oversight (or use ours!) that has teeth!

As you all know all this works take a village and it takes money! While we do contribute to Common Ground as a congregation, you can always contribute as an individual. You can make this commitment by going to https://www.commongroundiaf.org/donate and make a one time or monthly donation. Stay tuned for more opportunities to give as we will be announcing some fundraisers in the next couple months!

You can find us at the following sites:

https://www.commongroundiaf.org/
https://twitter.com/bayareaiaf
https://www.facebook.com/CommonGroundIafCA/

Thank you for all your support!


Mission Action Updates

Outreach is alive and well at First Christian Church, Vallejo.

Here are some  recent ministry activities for which we can rejoice and be thankful.

On November 19, the church presented a Thanksgiving meals check in the amount of $475 to Ministers Benjamin and Mary Ann at Faith Food Fridays in Vallejo. This offering is the result of our gifts in lieu of our usual Thanksgiving luncheon.  The day the gift was made was a food distribution day and the line of clients snaked for a block up Solano Avenue. We have participated in providing a nourishing meal for local families. Thank you!!

On November 23, our 14 School Kits (compiled during our special Halloween worship service) arrived at Church World Service in Elkhart, IN. These kits will assist children around the world with needed supplies they cannot ordinarily access. They will know someone cares and celebrates the opportunity to be in school. 

Also, believe it or not, it is that time of year again! We will be accepting donations of new/unused socks and underwear for women, children and men. This is a great need, especially this time of year. We will have a box to collect donations in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings. They will be given to The Sparrow Project for distribution to people in need.

And don’t forget that our virtual Global Holiday Faire continues through the end of the year, and the Great Common Ground Bakeoff Dessert Auction was a huge success!

A Movable Feast

While our church family typically gathers for a sumptuous Thanksgiving lunch the Sunday before the holiday, this year’s circumstances once again call for a revised plan. Since it is not yet appropriate for us to gather for our annual meal, the Elders are suggesting that we provide Thanksgiving meals for others in our community. Faith Food Fridays Ministry in Vallejo needs turkeys and other meal accompaniments to serve its clients at Thanksgiving this year.

We can assist by providing funds for Faith Food Fridays to purchase what they need for this work. Making a group donation seems more fitting than each of us shopping and making deliveries. And that manner of giving gives more flexibility to Faith Food Fridays.  

We ask that you make a donation by cash or check to the church by Wednesday, November 10, 2021. Checks should be made out to the church and “Thanksgiving meals” noted in the memo section. Please note that this offering is different and separate from our regular Disciples Thanksgiving Special Day offering that we will also receive in the month of November.  

By way of sharing provisions for meals we will be sending prayers of blessing and hope to Faith Food Fridays and to members in our community who might otherwise not have a Thanksgiving meal this year.  

Thank you for your continuous generosity to our community.

Green Chalice: Stewardship of our Rescources 2

Stewardship of the earth comes in many forms. There is recycling materials we use. How do we keep our water clean and the air fresh? How do we use fewer resources to heat and cool our homes? How do we best manage what God has given to us? But like so many things, it comes down to economics. A hundred years ago, John Muir lead the environmental movement. In the 1970’s Jerry Brown set California to lead the way for energy efficiency, and created much of the structure to reduce our per capita energy usage. We are 47th out of 50 states. But the backbone of how we got here is under threat by AB1139 right now. It attacks the fundamentals of how Solar Electricity (PV) is financed and ultimately who owns it. This bill attacks leasing, Net Metering and ownership of solar electric systems. Leasing allows private money to be used to install PV on low income homes, non-profits, businesses, or locations which simply don’t have the resources to outright purchase a solar PV system, requiring nothing more from the property owners except the use of their roof. There is a bonus to the property owner of a discount on their utility bill.
 

A concise definition of Net Metering is when Solar electricity is created during the day and not used on location, that power is banked in the utility grid and used someplace else in California, with the PV producer receiving a credit (spinning the electric meter backwards).  A PV installer-owner last week said that the changes to Net Metering (added fees and shorter contracts requiring the utility company to accept net metered electricity), would change the payback period from 6-7 years to 12-14 years. The money represented by the increased payback period would be shifted from PV producers to the Electric Utility Companies.  
 

The third main proposal in AB1139 is converting all PV private investments on private property to public works. Should this law pass, the Solar Electric Industry would be decimated resulting in job loss of up to 65,000 people, while the Electric Utilities would make the profits.
 

So, in an effort to decarbonize, save jobs, reduce our carbon footprint, please take a moment to educate yourself on AB1139.

This is part of the hard work of managing our earth.  God willing: Empowering those who help, and stopping those who will diminish.

Green Chalice: Stewardship of our Resources

As part of our Earth Day celebration in worship on April 18th, Stewardship Coordinator John Grose presented a brief but fact-filled PowerPoint slideshow on energy, conservation, and the environment. He packed a lot into just a few minutes and just brushed the surface. Moving forward, John plans to use this space to highlight and expand on some of that information.  
 

This month, in light of all the drought warnings and in some areas, restrictions, we will focus on a water-saving device that can be used in anyone’s home. You may not think about this, but do you realize how many gallons of water you send down the drain, unused, while waiting for the water to get hot? An average home has 125 feet of 3/4 inch pipe. This holds 3.14 gallons of water. If hot water is used 10 times per day, 31 gallons of water is wasted running the faucets/shower to get the hot water. In a year, this equals 11,461 gallons of water. Over twenty-five millions homes waste approximately 300 billion gallons of water annually. You pay for this potable water, wasted energy and sewage fees.  
 

Installing a hot water recirculation system saves TIME, ENERGY and WATER. Recirculation systems can be used with tank or tankless water heaters. They are easy to retrofit in existing homes (most installations take less than ½ hour). How does it work? A small pump at the tank or tankless heater, or installed under the sink, forces the lukewarm water from the hot supply line into the cold supply line. If a dedicated return line is used it returns the lukewarm water to the heater. (This pump is so energy efficient it costs only $3.00 - $8.00 per year to run, paying for itself in 1 to 3 years.) A sensor/switch built into the pump or a by-pass valve transfers the lukewarm water into the cold pipe. The valves maintain average 93° F at the sink. The under sink pump starts when temperature drops to 85° F and stops when it reaches 104° F.  The pump runs about 3 times an hour for 2 minutes. A built-in 24-hour mechanical timer allows the user to set the time when he wants instant hot water. An ON CALL button, motion sensor or app can also activate the system.  For more information, here’s a video you can check out, also: https://youtu.be/hYcaZY3YzfE

An Easter Gift

On Good Friday, volunteers from the church met in the fellowship hall to assemble "Easter Bags" to go to those living at the Christian Help Center and to the Sparrow Project for distribution to those who use their services as well.


The response from our congregation for donations to this project was amazing and heart warming! We collected over $800. Here's what we were able to do with our funds:

For the Christian Help Center, we filled 50 bags (one for every adult living there) with personal care items, including a pen, pocket notebook, bar of soap, hand sanitizer, first aid cream, band aids, comb, emery boards, Kleenex, face mask and candy. We also filled 7 bags for the youth in the family center which included color pencils, a pen, Kleenex and candy, plus one of the following-- a game, book or journal, depending on the age of each youth.

The Sparrow Project received in bulk washcloths, emery boards, band aids, first aid cream, tooth brushes, tooth paste, combs, bars of soap, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, face masks, and 75 Swiss Safe Emergency Mylar Thermal Blankets.

Everyone we encountered were so nice and appreciative. The need is great and we can be thankful that we were able to help over 100 people this Easter. More money came in after items were ordered and bought, and we are looking at ways to use those funds to further help people in need. Again, thank you so much for making this important project happen.