Religion Today: All invited to ‘You can’t take it with you’

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Religion Today: All invited to 'You can't take it with you'

Gilroy’s St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (651 Broadway St.)
invites locals to attend special events in October. All are
welcome, and there is no charge to attend.
Gilroy’s St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (651 Broadway St.) invites locals to attend special events in October. All are welcome, and there is no charge to attend.

Monday, Oct. 3, is the first session of a six-part video series based on John Ortberg’s best-selling book, “When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box.” Ortberg is pastor of the 4,000-member Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, which holds 11 Sunday services weekly in Menlo Park, Mountain View and San Mateo. He is also a successful author who has written several other books on spiritual growth.

The video series, narrated by Ortberg himself, uses his well-known gift for storytelling to help participants realize what things in life really count: not promotions, expensive cars or vacation houses, but loving God and other people.

Each session will begin at 6 p.m. with a simple meal. At about 6:45, a 25-minute video will be shown focusing on a portion of the book. Then participants will break into small groups to discuss what they saw and some related Bible passages. Returning to the larger group, participants will watch a short wrap-up segment and have an opportunity to discuss personal journeys, then engage in an exercise to do at home prior to the next meeting.

Everyone will be given a free Participant’s Guide and copies of Ortberg’s book will be available to borrow for people who would like to read it.

Using popular games like Monopoly as a metaphor for daily life, Ortberg sorts out what is temporary and what things are permanent with interesting stories that are both humorous and poignant. There are six sessions:

– Oct. 3: When the game is over, it all goes back in the box

– Oct. 10: Keeping score where it really counts

– Oct. 17: Resign as master of the board

– Oct. 24: Calling or comfort – choose your game wisely

– Oct. 31: Playing the game with greatness and grace

– Nov. 7: The king has one more move.

For more information or to arrange for free childcare, call the church at (408) 842-4415.

CALLING ALL ANIMALS

At 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, St. Stephen’s will hold a Blessing of the Animals service in the church’s courtyard. Father Terry Burley, the church’s pastor, invites everyone to “bring their slimy, furry, feathered or scaly pets” to participate in this traditional rite associated with the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. All in attendance are invited to enjoy a free lunch following the ceremony.

St. Francis of Assisi is one of the most popular saints in the history of Christianity, especially in this area where so many streets, schools, hospitals, churches and landmarks are named for or dedicated to him.

St. Francis is best known today as the patron saint of animals and ecology, and many legends deal with his love for animals. In one, Francis encountered a flock of birds along the highway and stopped to preach to them. Another tells about a wolf that was terrorizing an Italian village. When he hunted it down, Francis arranged for the townspeople to feed it; in return the wolf would harm no one. His poem “Canticle of the Sun” is an early expression of the view that humans must protect nature.

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