January 28, 2002

THE LITTLE BROWN CHURCH of Sunol is a hive of activity these days. There are the traditional Sunday morning services, Sunday school, youth group, the wedding ministry, as well as groups for men, women, a spiritual book discussion group, and more. But Pastor Tom Thresher would still like to offer more. One of his goals is to have LBC be a place of spiritual comfort and camaraderie for the Sunol community as a whole.

For starters, he's offering non-denominational activities and inviting all interested folks to join in. There have already been parenting and communication workshops, "drive-in" movies, and a monthly Community Drumming night. After meeting with a teacher three times, the group is going to try to get the rhythm going on their own and would really like more drummers. "Drumming is a way to experience joy and freedom and connect with others," Pastor Tom said, "in a sacred, non-judgmental atmosphere."

No drumming experience or musical talent is necessary. "I'm hoping the group will develop naturally over time, and reflect the personalities, desires, and values of the participants," he said. "We have some drums to share, but please bring your own if you have them, and any you'd like to share." There will be drumming in the LBC sanctuary at 6:30 p.m. on February 10, March 10 and April 7.

If quiet meditation is something you'd like to try, Pastor Tom has invited a wonderful teacher, Yvonne Ginsberg, to lead an all-day meditation event on February 16, with a two-hour preparation workshop on February 8 at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary. The type of meditation Yvonne teaches is called Vipassana, and is also known as mindfulness meditation, or insight practice. According to Yvonne, the simple practice of sitting in a relaxed posture - in this case a specific yoga position - calms the mind and releases mind and body tensions through attention to the breath.

Yvonne has been studying and practicing meditation since 1972 with esteemed teachers in several countries. She began teaching in 1978 and currently leads Vipassana sitting groups in San Francisco, Marin and Santa Barbara. Yvonne also researched and taught group relations at Yale University, and works as a psychologist and coach/facilitator in the Bay area.

There will be a nominal charge to cover costs for these activities. Please contact Pastor Tom at the church (925-862-2004) or at his home office (209-825-8059) for more information and to let him know if you'll be attending the drumming or meditation events.

TEEN VOLUNTEER ALERT: The Volunteer Center of Alameda County is offering a Tri-Valley Teen Volunteers Academy to help teens become effective volunteers. The Academy will inform youth volunteers about service opportunities in the Tri-Valley, and provide a workshop format that takes students through a series of team building, self-evaluation and community-mapping exercises. The program culminates in actual community service projects developed by the students in the workshop.

Students can also expect to hear from other non-profit agencies and teen leaders that will co-facilitate the workshops. The program includes a celebration at the annual VCAC Community Service Awards and an optional camping and river-rafting trip in July. The Academy, which is made possible by a grant from the City of Pleasanton Youth Commission, will be held at Foothill High School in Pleasanton every Wednesday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., from February 20 to May 8.

The workshops focus on students, grades 8-11; however, high school seniors are not discouraged from signing up. It's free to all students attending Pleasanton schools, which, of course, includes all of our great Sunol young people in schools there. Tri-Valley Teen Volunteers is a youth service group that plans and implements community service projects based on community need and in conjunction with national days of service. TVTV meets every Monday (except school holidays) from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Volunteer Center, 333 Division Street, Pleasanton. Students from Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and Sunol are welcome.

For more information or to sign-up for Academy, please call Mark Duncanson, Tri-Valley Youth and Teen Director at the Volunteer Center, at 925-417-7094. The Volunteer Center requests that you don't call Foothill High for info on this workshop.


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