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Peace Lutheran Church welcomes history-making bishop-elect


The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will celebrate its first openly transgender bishop with the historic installation of the Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer as head of the regional Sierra Pacific Synod.

The synod includes nearly 200 congregations in Northern California and Northern Nevada. Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley will participate in celebrations throughout the synod by watching the live ceremony remotely at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at the church at 828 W. Main St., near downtown. The public is invited. To join the viewing, email pastor@peacelutherngv.org. Masks will be required of all attendees, and the church will take other COVID-19 precautions.

Rohrer was elected at a synod assembly on May 8, and is the first openly transgender person elected to that post in any mainline Christian denomination.

Rohrer has a heart for community outreach and healing, having spent their first 12 years of ministry running a homeless church in San Francisco. Participating in a night ministry and delivering food to the hungry has given them a first-hand experience of hardcore hardship, Rohrer said. Since 2017, Rohrer also has served as a chaplain for the San Francisco Police Department, providing pastoral support to victims and their families.

During their next six years of leadership, Rohrer will also focus on racial justice. They envision the synod as a resource center for congregations, and will be thinking of more ways to interact and work together on topics such as homelessness, food insecurity and diversity.

Another of the bishop-elect’s goals is to work with congregations to improve building features to ease access for people with disabilities, noting that even such simple things as door knobs can be difficult for arthritic hands. “We need to be diverse, caring for all bodies and all kinds of families,” Rohrer said.

On Aug. 15, braving smoke and flames, Bishop-elect Rohrer visited the fire-impacted Lutheran congregations of Quincy, Paradise and Grass Valley.

During a gathering at Peace, Rohrer told of visiting Quincy, which has been ravaged by the on-going Dixie Fire. The bishop-elect found people hunkered down and living in tents in a literal ring of fire. Rohrer delivered gift cards from Lutheran Social Services and offered pastoral aid to those struggling. Some may never live in a home again, not knowing whether school will start, whether they will have a town or what to do next, Rohrer said. In their visit to Paradise, Rohrer found people still attempting to rebuild three years after the Camp Fire.

Fires such as these and other disasters inspired a vision, Rohrer said, for a corps of Lutheran chaplains, trained in advance, whom the synod can send to offer pastoral care in emergencies.

Rohrer grew up in a small town in South Dakota, is married and has two children, ages 7 and 8. The children, who are Black, are especially excited about the involvement of Peace and the Sierra Pacific Synod with the Lutheran Church in Rwanda. Their family plans to travel there when it is safe to do so, Rohrer said.

For more about Peace Lutheran Church and its service to the community, call 530-274-9631 or visit www.PeaceLutheranGV.org.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will celebrate its first openly transgender bishop with the historic installation of the Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer as head of the regional Sierra Pacific Synod.
Courtesy ELCA Sierra Pacific Synod

Chaplain Norris Burkes: Supersizing your order with gratitude


I suspect my Lake of the Pines neighborhood is much like yours, where folks use social media to share thoughts and gripes with anyone who will take the bait.

Lately, I’ve read several posts tying the lack of local service workers to California’s substantial unemployment benefits.

“They are getting too much money,” one post said. “If you cut their benefits, they’ll be glad to bus dishes or pump gas,” claimed another. The notion persists despite the fact that study after study continues to debunk such classist tripe.

Well, I have another theory I’d like to propose this Labor Day weekend.

Perhaps the lack of help can be traced to the bankruptcy of thankfulness among those people posting such jabber.

Perhaps the lack of help can be traced to the bankruptcy of thankfulness among those people posting such jabber.

I began testing my theory early last spring and I think I’m spot on.

In one example just last month, I stepped into McDonald’s to order their breakfast BOGO sandwich deal. Yup, I can eat two.

The shift manager kindly took my order while simultaneously relaying bilingual orders over her headset.

Ten minutes later, I returned to the counter to apply my theory.

It was a message I’ve been sharing with pretty much every minimum-wage worker I meet – service-station cashiers, dressing-room attendants, and car-wash crews.

With a focused expression, I told her, “I just want to say thank you.

“Thank you for working now and being here through this whole damn mess.”

Her eyes took on a soft glisten. We both knew what I meant by “this whole damn mess.”

“I’ve been here this entire time,” she said, pride soaking through her mask. “I never left.”

“That’s amazing!” I said, adding a BOGO dose of thanks.

Ironically, early in the pandemic, the woman found herself among service workers in America called “heroic” and “essential.” Now, she’s at risk of being attacked, harassed or even killed for asking customers to put on a mask. She’s labored long hours through supply shortages and lax safety protocols.

I couldn’t help but wonder if these food workers were famished for gratitude. Had even 1 in 10 of their daily customers returned to voice a genuine thank you?

There’s a Biblical story about Jesus considering the same odds when he was approached by ten men inside the Samarian border. They all suffered from leprosy, so they immediately placed their order for a Grande cup of healing.

Jesus answered their pleas and sent them off to their priest to obtain their back-to-work clearances.

But when only one of them returned to thank the Son of God for supersizing his grace, Jesus asked, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to the one, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.”

In a day in which our world is looking for a healing, this story from Luke 17:11-19 demonstrates that nothing heals like gratitude.

I witnessed this truth firsthand as I turned to leave Arches.

The supervisor yelled back to her kitchen crew. “El hombre dice que le da las gracias por su arduo trabajo durante la pandemia.”

Applying the context, I understood her to say, “The man says thank you for your hard work during the pandemic.”

From my exit door, I overheard her crew respond with warm tones of surprise.

I don’t speak Spanish, and perhaps neither do you, but this Labor Day, we can all speak Gratitude. It’s a universal language. Say it. Express it. And teach it. It will forever heal.

Read past columns at www.thechaplain.net. Contact Norris at comment@thechaplain.net or 10556 Combie Rd. Suite 6643 Auburn, CA 95602 or voicemail 843-608-9715

Chabad of Grass Valley offers services for the Jewish High Holidays


With just a few days before the onset of the Jewish New Year, the question of where to attend services is high on the list for many Jewish families and singles. Recognizing the often high price tag attached to the experience, Chabad of Grass Valley is offering their friendly and welcoming services free of charges for individuals of all ages in the Grass Valley Jewish community.

Chabad of Grass Valley is dedicated to removing entry barriers and ensuring that all who wish to participate in a meaningful celebration of the Jewish New Year may do so.

By providing Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services in a warm and inclusive setting, Chabad of Grass Valley hopes to accommodate those who may otherwise not be celebrating the holiday. Chabad’s “user-friendly” services make for an enjoyable and meaningful experience for both the beginner and the advanced. Song, commentary, humor and the use of English-Hebrew prayer-books invite individuals of all levels to become active participants in the service.

Back by demand, “Prayer Highlights,” a 60-minute Rosh Hashana service including key Rosh Hashana prayers will be offered on the first day of Rosh Hashana, Tuesday, Sept. 7. Following the prayers and the hearing of the Shofar, a delicious Israeli brunch featuring shakshuka and falafels will be served.

Some people struggle to make prayers meaningful when they aren’t familiar with the liturgy. That is why Chabad of Grass Valley will provide “Reflections,” a collection of prayer meditations at each seat, to illuminate your prayers by sharing spiritual meditations on the main Holiday Prayers.

“According to Jewish tradition, the gates of Heaven are open on the New Year, and G-d accepts prayers from everyone,” said Rabbi Nochum Yusewitz of Chabad of Grass Valley. “That serves as our inspiration to keep our doors open as well to the entire community.”

Nochum Yusewitz continued, “The Lubavitcher Rebbe — Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory — insisted that Judaism be made accessible to all Jews. During the High Holidays, accessibility can translate into different factors for different people, such as a nonjudgmental atmosphere, affordability of the services or the ability for a beginner to follow along. Our goal is to lower the barriers of entry, and encourage each and every Jew to actively participate in these most holy and introspective days.”

Chabad of Grass Valley is also hosting their annual Rosh Hashana Community Dinner on Monday, Sept. 6, 6:30 p.m. at the Gold Miners Inn.

With COVID-19 creating difficulties for many in joining traditional synagogue services, Chabad of Grass Valley will hold an outdoor Rosh Hashanah Shofar and Tashlich service on Wednesday, Sept. 8 in downtown Nevada City. This ceremony is open to the entire community, no membership required.

Tashlich is a practice rich in symbolic and mystical meaning, which is customarily performed on Rosh Hashanah. A brief prayer is recited near a body of water, preferably containing live fish; in which we express our prayerful hope that G‑d cast our indiscretions into the depths of the sea, and that we be granted a good and sweet new year filled with G‑d’s abundant and manifest blessings.

To accommodate a crowd that can safely participate with physical distance, the meeting point for this year is the corner of Broad Street and Sacramento Street, overlooking the creek (across the Street from the Stonehouse in Downtown Nevada City).

The service, which will include prayers for the wellbeing of all humanity— a key theme of Rosh Hashanah — will also be centered around hearing the sound of the Shofar, the central observance of the holiday.

“Chabad has always prioritized making the observance of hearing the Shofar — the key observance of Rosh Hashanah —accessible to all Jews even those not attending synagogue,” Rabbi Nochum Yusewitz explained. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, this has taken on a whole new meaning, but our mission to serve everyone remains the same.”

Yusewitz firmly believes that Jewish traditions and customs are the birthright of every Jew, and that every Jew should have access to them and encourages the Jewish Community to take part in something meaningful this Rosh Hashana.

Rosh Hashanah begins this year at sundown on Sunday, Sept. 6 and extends until nightfall on Wednesday, Sept. 8. Yom Kippur begins this year at sundown on Wednesday, Sept. 15, and extends until nightfall on Thursday, Sept. 18.

For more information about Chabad of Grass Valley’s services, visit www.JewishGV.com/HighHolidays or call Rabbi Nochum 530-404-0020.

For more information about the High Holidays visit www.JewishGV.com/HighHolidays.

Chabad of Grass Valley offers Jewish education, outreach and social-service programming for families and individuals of all ages, backgrounds and affiliations


Community Dinner: Monday, Sept. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Gold Miners Inn. RSVP required.

Prayer Highlights, 60-minute service & Israeli Brunch: Tuesday Sept. 7, 10 a.m. at Chabad. Kindly RSVP.

Complete Services: Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 7-8 at 10 a.m.

Tashlich & Shofar Outdoor Ceremony: Wednesday, Sept. 8, 6 p.m. at the corner of Broad and Sacramento streets.

Kindly RSVP. Donations are appreciated. JewishGV.com/HighHolidays


Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, is observed this year on the evening of Sept. 6 through nightfall on Sept. 8. Literally meaning “head of the year,” the two-day holiday commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday.

Yom Kippur — the Day of Atonement — is considered the holiest day of on the Jewish calendar. Beginning this year on the evening of Sept. 15 until after nightfall on Sept. 16, it marks the culmination of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that follows Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. According to tradition, G-d decides each person’s fate on this day, so Jews mark the day by making amends and asking forgiveness for sins committed during the past year. The holiday is observed by fasting and prayers.

Rabbi Nochum Yusewitz, director of Chabad of Grass Valley, toots his horn, aka Shofar, in preparation for the Jewish High Holidays.
Provided photo
Women light candles to usher in Rosh Hashanah at the Nevada City Elks Lodge in 2018.
Provided photo
Rabbi Nochum Yusewitz, director of Chabad of Grass Valley.
Provided photo

Religion Briefs, Sept. 3, 2021


EDITOR’S NOTE: While some churches have informed The Union of meeting cancellations or reopenings due to COVID-19 concerns, we did not hear from them all. Please call ahead to confirm future meeting times and/or cancellations. We encourage church members to inform us of any cancellations, closures or reopenings.

The Union publishes Religion Briefs on the first Friday of each month. To share the latest from your western Nevada County church or spiritual organization, email readers@theunion.com. At times, due to space constraints, only a portion of religion briefs are published in the print version of The Union. To see the complete list of religion briefs, visit http://www.TheUnion.com, scroll down to the bottom and click on “announcements.”

Grass Valley Friends Meeting (Quakers)

We are currently meeting via Zoom. Go to http://www.gvfriends.org and click on the “Contact Us” button to receive the Zoom link. On Sundays there is singing from 9 to 9:50 a.m. and worship from 10 to 11 a.m. There is a breakout room at 10 a.m. for the children.

First Baptist Church, Grass Valley

“Hope; When Believing Gets Hard.” This month we will look at how we can unleash hope in these tumultuous times in our family, community, state, nation and world. Don’t miss the opportunity to discover new levels of hope for victorious living. We have services at 9 and 11 a.m., Both services will also be broadcasted online at http://www.facebook.com/firstbaptistchurchgv. For more information, call 530-273-7301, or visit http://www.firstbaptistgv.com.

Twin Cities Church

Join us as we gather on-site and online at 9 or 11 a.m. this Sunday. We will continue our series, “This is the Way. The message this Sunday will be “Following the Way of Wisdom.”

Our online services take place at https://live.twincities.church/, the TCC App, Facebook Live (https://www.facebook.com/twincitieschurch), and YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/c/twincitieschurch). Our services are also posted to our website, (www.twincities.church), early Monday mornings. Children’s Ministry: Kids birth through fifth grade gather in person and online. Information available on our website at (https://www.twincities.church/children) TCC students are gathering Sundays at 11 a.m. and Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Check out the website for details (https://www.twincities.church/students). For more information call 530-273-6425.

Unity in the Gold Country Spiritual Center

We are holding in-person services with live music. Due to the uptick in Nevada County COVID-19 cases, masks are currently required. All are welcome — we’ve missed you so much! We choose that 2021 is a year of renewal through awakening, healing, and wonder. Rev. Jerry leads our service on Sept. 5 with music provided by Kellie Garmire. We are ever expanding how we are staying heart-connected, strong, and inspired. Our Sunday service starts at 10:30 a.m. and we are now providing online access to our Sunday services and all our classes. “The Way of Mastery” is held Mondays, once at 10:30 a.m. and again at 6:45 p.m. “A Course of Love” meets at 7 p.m. on Mondays. “Spiritual Exploration” is held every Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. “Matt Kahn Study Group” is the first and third Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. Please go to our website, http://www.unitygold.us and sign up to receive our weekly bulletin and class bulletins for online access to all, and to be notified of additional class events. Or email us at ugcassistant@gmail.com to request to be added to our contacts. Our mission statement is “To Awaken in Love, in Unity with All.”

Sierra Center for Spiritual Living

We are safely engaged for in-person service with live music and we are live streaming on YouTube, Zoom and Facebook. We a radically inclusive, spiritually progressive, supportive community that celebrates all the diversity of Creation. We are committed to supporting one another in awakening to our spiritual magnificence by celebrating the unity of all peoples, all faiths, all beings, and all life through every activity and offering.

Join us as we continue our 2021 theme: “Timeless Wisdom – Evolutionary Vision.” Our September theme is “Reaching Higher,” explored through the weekly topics of: “Expanding Our Comfort Zone,” “Transcend and Include,” “When the Road Gets Rocky,” and “And Still I Rise.” Sunday services start at 10 a.m. with inspirational music.

We are located at 119 Florence Avenue in Grass Valley. For more information or a parking map, visit http://www.sierracenter.org or call 530-274-1018.

To join us on Zoom, go to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86807351555?pwd=b0ttNzVPakM2YXNsM3RqdFN6M3VkZz09. Meeting ID: 868 0735 1555. Passcode: SierraCSL. To join us on Facebook, visit: https://www.facebook.com/SCSLGrassValley. To join us on YouTube, visit https://www.youtube.com/user/sierraspiritual/videos. Above all, please know that you do not have to traverse the challenges of these changing times alone. Rev. Rafe and our ecclesiastical team are here and available to listen and support you on your journey. The most efficient method of contacting us right now is to email Rev. Rafe at his confidential email: revrafe@sierracenter.org. In the meantime, remember, you are an intentional, purposeful, one of a kind, never to be repeated, individualized expression of Creation itself; you matter; you are loved.

Sierra Pines United Methodist Church

Everyone is invited to join in energizing worship each Sunday morning with this reconciling congregation. We have returned to indoor worship at 10 a.m. Please plan on masking for worship as we strive to do no harm and comply with Nevada County Current Guidelines for indoor gathering spaces. We also still offer online worship every week. Join us in either worship opportunity as Rev. Suzanne Calhoun begins preaching a Fall Sermon Series about leading the church forward in these uncertain times called “Meeting God Without a Plan: the Church in Uncharted Territory.” We are also being the church outside the building this month with ongoing UMCOR disaster (fire) response and the upcoming Blessing of the Animals the first Saturday of October 10 a.m. to noon. Visit our website for more details about both. We continue to offer ongoing programs/ministries like Free Diaper Distribution, Emergency Food Pantry, Girl Scouts, Scouts BSA for Boys and Girls, Small Group Ministries, Bible Studies, Youth/Children Seasonal studies, AA and Alanon (meetings in person and online). Diaper/ Emergency Food Distribution is still available by appointment or weekly during office hours Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. till noon. Sierra Pines United Methodist Church is located at 22559 Hacienda Drive, Grass Valley 95949 (near Lake of the Pines). For more information telephone the Church Office at 530-268-6907. Find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sierrapines.umc or visit our website at www.sierrapinesumc.org.

Nevada City United Methodist Church

We are back! Please come join us as we now are having our live worship service at 10 a.m. each Sunday with Pastor Chiew. You are always most welcome to join us in church at 433 Broad Street in Nevada City. The service is also live streamed at 10 a.m. on Sunday for those unable to attend in person and appears on our website at http://www.nevadacitymethodist.com. Videos of recent services are also available for viewing on our website at any time. Like you, we have been most anxious to be back worshipping in church and welcome this return to normalcy.

Grass Valley United Methodist Church

We come alive every Sunday! Join us online for Zoom worship Sundays at 10:30 a.m. We open with a short Kid’s Sermon, followed by a full Sunday worship experience including weekly communion. Please contact the church office Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 530-272-1946 for current Zoom meeting ID and password. Can’t join us Sunday morning? You can find a recording on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GrassValleyUnitedMethodistChurch. Prayer requests? Email us at prayernet@gv-umc.org and we will include you in our prayers.

Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains

Community life continues online and 10 a.m. Sunday services are held via Zoom. Contact uucmOnline@uugrassvalley.org or 530-274-1675 for the link or more information. If you are looking for meaning and connection in this stay-at-home time, if you are hoping to find a community with an open spirit, and though you may have given up on “church” long ago, this just may be the home for you. Elementary aged children meet to connect and celebrate in their own Zoom room at 9:30 a.m. each Sunday. Other events throughout the week and month offer online chances to connect and to grow, and are open to all: singing meditation, book groups, a Wednesday evening Sharing Circle and more. For the latest information, visit http://www.UUGrassValley.org or email admin@uugrassvalley.org.

Spiritual Renewal Online and On-Call

The Baha’is of Nevada County and Grass Valley now host meetings via conference call and Zoom during the pandemic shelter-in-place orders, offering inspiration and spiritual connection during this time of need. To learn how to connect with a group meeting online, call 530-802-0901 or visit https://nevadacountyca.local.bahai.us/. To read articles online, visit http://www.bahaiteachings.org.


Pastors Mike and Sandra Chipchase would like to invite everyone to join them at 10 a.m. on Sundays at 10528 Spenceville Road in Penn Valley. Word-A-Live offers a variety of programs:

Wednesdays: 7 to 8 p.m., “Equippers Classes,” with new teachings.

First Thursday of each month: Women’s Bible Study, 9:45 to 11:45 a.m., followed by lunch.

Fridays: 7 to 9 p.m., “Rise Youth,” ages 12 to 18. All year long.

Saturdays: 6 to 7 p.m., “Corporate Prayer.”

First Saturday of every month: 8 a.m., Men’s breakfast and study.

Sundays: Service at 10 a.m.

EarthSpirit Center for the Transformational Arts

Dr. Nanci Shanderá

Monthly: “Wise Woman” group in Nevada City; Tuesdays: “Transformational Wholeness” for women with cancer or caregivers; “The Art of Healing” classes for women with cancer or caregivers; Intuitive Counseling; books and CDs on transformation. Details and more information at drnanci@earthspiritcenter.com.

Christ Community Church

In a day and age when it is unfortunately common to hear of churches dividing, Redeemer Church and Veritas Church are uniting to form Christ Community Church. We meet weekly in Grass Valley. While Redeemer and Veritas hold many things in common, the most significant bond between them is their partnership in the gospel. Believing that the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection for sinners is the greatest announcement ever, they are joining together to see this gospel proclaimed, taught and lived out. It is this very message which anchors them in the historic Christian faith and gives them great hope for the future. All are welcome at Christ Community Church. To learn more about this church, visit http://www.cccgv.org or call 530-270-9128.

Trinity Church

Services are held at 8, 9:15 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday mornings at Trinity Church, located at the corner of Nevada St. And High St. In Nevada City.

First Church of Christ, Scientist Reading Room and Bookstore

Sundays: Stop by any Sunday at 10 a.m. to visit our weekly worship service centered on a sermon directly from the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. A Sunday School is held where students up to the age of 20 learn all about the Bible and how to apply its timeless spiritual lessons in their lives (childcare is provided). Our location is 375 Crown Point Circle, Grass Valley. Wednesday gathering: Join our open Wednesday meetings for sharing about healing from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Participants are invited to share personal examples of Christian healing and gratitude for God’s care. The meeting is followed by greeting and fellowship.

Reading Room and Bookstore: It’s a combination library, bookstore, and center for spiritual exploration … a place to discover your relationship with God, love. There are resources for study and purchase, including a weekly Bible lesson and The Christian Science Monitor (a Pulitzer-winning non-religious international newspaper). Join us between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday at 147 Mill St. in Grass Valley. For more information, visit http://www.christiansciencegrassvalley.org.

New Covenant Baptist Church

Our services begin at 10:45 a.m. and we look forward to having you with us. New Covenant is a great place to be each week as we celebrate together in contemporary worship and and Biblical based preaching. You won’t encounter a more welcoming and friendly place. We also have Bible studies for all ages beginning at 9:15 a.m. and midweek studies at 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday nights. We are located at 12582 Squirrel Creek Rd. in Grass Valley. For more information visit our website at http://www.newcovenantbaptistchurch.org. See you on Sunday.

Sierra Presbyterian Church

Join us on Sundays as we share Jesus through the Gospel of Luke at 9 a.m. traditional service and 10:30 a.m. contemporary service. We have Adult Sunday School at both hours. We also have fun and exciting Children’s Sunday School Classes and ankored Youth at 10:30 a.m. Please check our website where you can download a “family activities” brochure and read our monthly newsletter “The Sierra Story” at http://www.sierrapres.com, like us on Facebook. We are located at 175 Ridge Road, Nevada City. For more information, call 530-265-3291.

Congregation B’nai Harim at the Nevada County Jewish Community Center

All of our worship services are open to all, regardless of financial means. No one is turned away for lack of funds, but reservations are required for High Holiday services. For guests, visitors, and regular attendees who are not currently members, we request the following donations with your reservation. Visitors from other Jewish Congregations may bring a letter on their Temple letterhead stating that they are members for free reciprocal admission to our services. For further information or reservations, please visit http://www.ncjcc.org or call 530-477-0922.

The Healing Rooms of Nevada County

We pray for healing of body and spirit. Everyone is welcome whether they attend church or not. Come to the Main Lobby of the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, 155 Glasson Way, Grass Valley on the first and third Thursdays of each month, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. There is no fee and no appointment is necessary. Also, Tuesday mornings from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. healing ministry is available by appointment only. For more information call Sierra Ministries International 530-478-1478 or visit http://www.healingroomsnc.com.

Peace Lutheran Church

Sunday’s early service at Peace Lutheran Church is changing. The new start time is now 8:30 a.m. Casual, intimate and friendly, the early service features updated music set amid the familiar Lutheran structure of Gather, Word, Meal and Send. We preach God’s word for modern men and women who seek to know their Creator more deeply and follow the Jesus Path more closely. Holy Communion is served every Sunday. No experience necessary. All are welcome! Sunday worship is at 8:30 and 11 a.m. To speak to Pastor Eileen Smith Le Van, call 530-273-9631. Learn more at http://www.PeaceLutheranGV.org.

Grace Lutheran Church

We sponsor The Lutheran Hour every Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. on KNCO Radio. Your friends at Grace Lutheran Church are located at 1979 Ridge Road, Grass Valley. For more information, call 530-273-7043 or visit http://gracelutherangv.org.

North San Juan United Methodist Church

Last fall, we ushered in a new pastor, Reverend Ed Lubiano. Ed previously served in Portola, California. His wife, Ellie, continues to serve her ministry at Downieville and Sierra City. They currently live in Colfax, traveling to their ministries every Sunday. Ed is currently completing a degree in Clinical Pastorial Education – Hospital Chaplaincy. Please join in with this dedicated, congenial, competent, and good natured pastor every Sunday at 9 a.m. at 10121 Flume Street in North San Juan. For more information, call 530-415-9705.

Holy Wisdom, Nevada City

Divine Liturgy is Sundays at 9:30 a.m. Vespers on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. For more information, call 530-265-4714 or visit http://www.holywisdomnevadacity.org.

Jewel Heart Norcal Study Group

We meet Thursdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in downtown Grass Valley. Jewel Heart Norcal is a Mahayana Buddhist Study Group in the tradition of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. For 2017, we are studying the Lam Rim (stages on the Path to Enlightenment). This is a road map which details all the steps to reach the state of freedom by removing obstacles and obstructions to full enlightenment. For meeting location or more information: Contact jbreault51@gmail.com or call Joe at 530-802-6221. Or visit our website at http://Jewelnorcal.org or on Facebook at “jewelheartnorcal.” Jewel Heart Norcal is a Study Group under the auspices of Jewel Heart International. For more information on Jewel Heart International visit http://www.jewelheart.org.​

Penn Valley Community Church

We are temporarily meeting at the Penn Valley Seventh Day Adventist Church building. Our Sunday School is at 9 a.m.; with a worship service at 10 a.m. On Wednesdays there is Bible Study at 10 a.m. in the Buttermaker’s Cottage at Western Gateway Park. Our youth group meets at 6:30 p.m. in the Ready Springs gym. On Thursdays, Pearls’ Bible Study at 10 a.m. in the church office, and AWANA at 6:30 p.m. in the Ready Springs gym. We are located at 17328 Penn Valley Dr. Unit B in Penn Valley. For more information, call 530-432-1161, email pvcc@pennvalleychurch.com or visit http://www.pennvalleychurch.com.

Church of the Essence

Come and join our weekly spiritual circles from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday evenings at the Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains 246 S. Church St., Grass Valley. We are open to the public and would love to have you join us. The evening begins at 7:15 p.m. with a Circulation of the Light through a guided meditation, followed by the evening presentation, which includes voluntary sharing and discussion. We also have classes available for all those interested. For information, call 530-63-6385 or visit http://www.ChurchOfTheEssence.org.

Local church women donate backpacks, supplies


What child doesn’t get excited about going back to school sporting a nifty backpack full of colorful, new school supplies?

Hoping to make their return to school an exciting time for every child and less stressful for their parents, the women’s organization of Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley every year provides many quality backpacks and school supplies to two schools right across the street, Margaret G. Scotten Primary and Lyman Gilmore Middle schools.

Bev Warneke, the mission outreach officer for Peace Lutheran Church Women, coordinated the church’s effort to collect funds and purchase these much-needed provisions. She started with a $250 donation from PLCW, and church members generously donated more than $600. Warneke amassed enough backpacks and school supplies to fill her very large living room. She delivered 57 backpacks with supplies galore to the schools in time for the hectic first day of school.

The backpacks also went filled with prayers and blessings from the members of Peace Lutheran Church with the hope that, despite the continuing pandemic, the students will be safe and successful this school year.

For more about Peace Lutheran Church and its service to the community, call 530-274-9631 or visit www.PeaceLutheranGV.org.

Source: Peace Lutheran Church

Women of Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley collected enough funds and supplies for 57 backpacks for local school children.
Submitted by Bev Warnecke
Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley every year provides many quality backpacks and school supplies to two schools right across the street, Margaret G. Scotten Primary and Lyman Gilmore Middle schools.
Submitted by Bev Warnecke

A special Jewish High Holydays message from Rabbi David Azen

A special Jewish High Holydays message from Rabbi David Azen of Congregation B’nai Harim at the Nevada County Jewish Community Center

The creation of the world did not go as planned; our lives and actions also veer off course. How do we manage our deeds and our spirits in an existence riddled with randomness, chaos and peril? How do we draw strength from a power beyond us that had something to do with our being in such challenging circumstances? What meaning can we find in the midst of surviving day by day?

The Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) usher in a three week period of reflecting, cleansing and healing, starting this year on Sept. 6. The ultimate goal? Gaining sufficient inner strength to choose a proactive and positive response to life, rather than reeling from thing to thing in a reactive manner. Ask yourself this: Barring any truly horrible circumstances, could you freely choose to be joyful and bring that energy to life, or are you waiting for life to bring it to you?

Congregation B’nai Harim at the Nevada County Jewish Community Center welcomes any and all seekers. We are a reform Jewish Synagogue, which I have nicknamed “The Unorthodox Synagogue of Nevada County.” Whether you were born Jewish or not, if you are looking for a place for spiritual growth without dogma, we invite you to join us for these High Holy Days. Once upon a time, Judaism was open to everyone – never insistent that it was the only path for a soul to travel – and then due to anti-Semitism, decided not to risk offering itself further. Today, we again say, we’ve got treasures to share and willingly invite anyone to see whether the wisdom of over three thousand years has something to say to you.

Saturday, Sept. 4, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. I’ll be providing an overview of the holydays and a beginning of an introduction to Judaism, with lunch of course! You’ll see how the weekend itself began with our tradition, how the ability to think and learn were given room by taking a day off each week, and how that then turned into a path of questioning and questing, striving for the repair of self and repair of the world.

Monday evening, Sept. 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 10 a.m. we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and on Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. and the Thursday, Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. we do a thorough inner scrub on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This soul work, contrary to some stereotypes about Jewish guilt being our driving force, actually leads to the ability to live fully and freely, and on Friday evenings Sept. 24 and Oct. 1 at 6 p.m. will be our opportunities to join together for these moments as we celebrate the festival of booths, Sukkot, and dancing with the Torah, our sacred scroll, exemplifying the joy of Judaism.

At a time in our world with so much division, destruction and difficulty, come be a part of something wholesome, ancient and fresh. Connect with a community that cares and looks out for each other. Learn something new, something old, something borrowed, something blue (and white), and let’s all see how we can carve out a space for finding, restoring and empowering our best selves.

With every good wish for health, happiness and love defeating the darkness,

Rabbi David Azen


About Congregation B’nai Harim

Congregation B’nai Harim at the Nevada County Jewish Community Center (NCJCC) has been serving the greater Grass Valley and Nevada City community since the 1980s. We are longtime members of the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce and raise money to donate to local charitable organizations such as Hospitality House and Neo. We are a reform Jewish Synagogue and Jewish Community Center and hold regular Shabbat services (in person as local Health Department regulations advise and also online), celebrate Jewish holidays, life cycle events such as Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, baby naming ceremonies and Bris’s, weddings and funerals as well as many other fun events such as community picnics, golf events, book clubs, adult education classes, children’s Sunday School and Hebrew school, trips to Israel, etc. Our annual Chanukah party, Purim Carnival and Community Passover Seder are always highly anticipated and enjoyed and we always welcome the public to join us at any of our events and services. Our membership is made up of many types of families and individuals and we welcome all into our accepting community. We are affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) which is the largest Jewish movement in North America. Reform Judaism is progressive and adapts to modern changes and welcomes all people including interfaith families, Jews of color, LGBTQ Jews and their families, Jews with disabilities and we are committed to gender equality. We have a progressive, open and welcoming mindset and have been serving the greater Grass Valley, Nevada City and Colfax community for nearly 50 years.

In order to cover operating expenses, we request a donation of $50 for non-members attending one of our High Holyday services and $100 for two or more High Holyday services. All are always welcome and no one will ever be turned away for lack of funds. For information about membership, our Sunday school and Hebrew school program, or to request our weekly email “Schmooze” with all the weekly services and events, or any other inquiries, visit us online at NCJCC.org or on Facebook at “Nevada County Jewish Community Center- Congregation B’nai Harim” or by phone 530-477-0922 or email us at ncjcc@outlook.com


High Holydays overview and Introduction to Judaism:

Saturday, Sept. 4, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., lunch will be served

($5 per person donation requested)


Rosh Hashanah:

Monday, Sept. 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m.

Yom Kippur:

Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 16 at 10 a.m.


Friday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m.

‘Praise in the Mountains’: Annual Christian concert returns this weekend to Western Gateway Park

“Praise in the Mountains” returns this Saturday for the 29th year, making it the longest running free Christian concert in Nevada County and beyond. The family friendly event takes place at Western Gateway Park, with social distancing in the outdoor space encouraged.

The all-day festival began when members of a faith-based band started looking around for opportunities to perform.

“It has a humble beginning,” said Concert Manager Dennis Hulbert. “Thirty years ago, I was playing in the band Machaira. We came out of Grass Valley and when we started, we were looking for a place to play. We played at the county fair and a few things but really couldn’t find much, so we decided to put on our own event so we could have a place to play. That’s how it started, and it has been an evolution.”

It continues as a means to reach out to people in different phases of their lives.

“We strive to reach out to people at risk, people from Teen Challenge, Faith and Hope, the Rescue Missions and other areas. It always ends up being a special event. I hear testimonies from people who have grown up going to it and it’s just a fun day of a very eclectic group to get together and have a great time,” Hulbert said.

He added, in the beginning he never intended to be doing it for 30 years, but it has evolved. As the only original member of Machaira (pronounced Ma-Kie-Ra, the name is a Greek word and is found in the New Testament, meaning sword), Hulbert said the festival is a fun outreach opportunity.

While faith based, it is also very entertaining and open to people of all walks of life. Hulbert said the day will include a variety of music.

“We have all the way from a traditional praise and worship music to a traveling black gospel group performing old time gospel to a rock and roll, 80s and 90s kind of sound, and then my band Machaira is a real variety of bluesy jazz.”

Machaira is now a 10-piece band that has had some fairly established musicians joining them, including members of Tower of Power, and The Doobie Brothers playing on some of their recent albums. The popular band is the host of the festival. Over the years the band has made an impression on those who have seen them perform including at least one incident of a baby being named after the band.

“I met a woman who had seen us at a show, and she said if she ever had a baby, she was going to name it after the band and now I see the girl, Machaira, on Facebook and she’s 21 years old!”

The music is all gospel oriented, but it comes in a wide assortment of styles. “Except for one band, it’s not your typical church praise music,” Hulbert said, “There’s an interpretive dance group of younger girls that will be doing stuff between acts and will perform on one of Machaira’s songs.”

The 501c3 relies on donations but does not charge for the concerts, he said. “The testimony of the band is that for 30 years we’ve made seven CDs. We’ve toured Russia. We’ve been in a Hollywood movie. We’ve done over 300 concerts and we’ve never charged a penny. The band is always evolving.” Adding two of the newest band members are retired band director Ken Carter and his wife, who play trumpet and trombone, respectively. Hulbert joked, “I got two for one!”

Saturday’s event takes place at Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley beginning at 1 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. In addition to the headlining Machaira and the aforementioned dance group, called In His Steps and the gospel group mentioned, The Chosen Wonders, other bands performing include Anointed, American River Community Church, and Godstown.

There will be a bounce house for the kids, food for purchase (but patrons are welcome to bring their own picnic) and free prizes given away throughout the event including a grand prize drawing for $1,000. Bring your own lawn chair to enjoy festival seating. Gates open at 12:30 p.m. for the planned 1 p.m. start. Social distancing is encouraged. COVID-19 protocols will be in place, but the entire event is outside so masks will not be required.

“It’s been a really neat festival over the years, based in Grass Valley and a lot of people come out,” said Hulbert. “It’s very family oriented. It’s free. We do it every year to just collectively bring a diverse group together and just have a great day.”

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com


WHAT: Praise in the Mountains, a free Christian concert

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 4, event from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., gates open at 12:30 p.m.

WHERE: Western Gateway Park, 18560 Penn Valley Dr, Penn Valley


“Praise in the Mountains” returns this Saturday for the 29th year, making it the longest running free Christian concert in Nevada County and beyond.
Provided photo
The family friendly event takes place at Western Gateway Park, with social distancing in the outdoor space encouraged.
Provided photo
“It’s been a really neat festival over the years, based in Grass Valley and a lot of people come out,” said Concert Manager Dennis Hulbert.
Provided photo
Saturday’s event takes place at Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley beginning at 1 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m.
Provided photo
There will be a bounce house for the kids, food for purchase (but patrons are welcome to bring their own picnic) and free prizes given away throughout the event including a grand prize drawing for $1,000.
Provided photo

Christian Encounters named finalist in Hope Awards for Effective Compassion

WORLD Magazine has named Christian Encounter as a finalist for the 16th annual Hope Awards for Effective Compassion.

The annual Hope Awards go to organizations that demonstrate effective compassion through life-changing, Christ-centered assistance to those in need. Each year, awards go to finalist organizations that embody this concept, qualifying them for the overall award.

Upon announcement of the finalists, the public then votes to decide the overall winner.

“We get to see constant transformation here,” said intern Kevin Campbell. “It’s like a greenhouse for growing.”

Fifty years of ministry have taught Christian Encounter how a residential program can heal young people. Youth with dysfunctional families, substance abuse issues, suicide attempts, and illness find refuge at this 86-acre property.

Christian Encounter seeks to model a safe, healthy family by providing unconditional love and stability, including scheduled bedtimes, meals, and activities. It infuses discipleship into every activity, from curriculum to daily devotionals.

Staff implements four program elements: discipleship, counseling, school, and work. The program only accepts individuals who want to be there. All are free to leave but can also stay as long as they need. Counselors meet with students at least once per week.

According to WORLD senior reporter Sophia Lee, enrollment is capped at 16 to preserve individualized focus and prevent youth from slipping through the cracks. “And that’s what they’ve done their whole lives: slip through the cracks,” stated executive director Nate Boyd. “We’re committed to not letting that happen here.”

Online voting for the Hope Awards is now open until Aug. 20. Go to wng.org/compassion to read about the finalists and cast your vote.

Source: Hope Awards for Effective Compassion


Chaplain Norris Burkes: Feeling helpless? Let’s help each other

A long, long time ago in a land called Waco, I began my freshman year at Baylor University inside the dilapidated off-campus housing reserved for penny-pinchers.

Fortunately, the Student Affairs Office mismatched me with two seniors, Tommy and Ken. Both were at the top of their class. Tommy was a ministerial student already pastoring a church. Ken was the co-pilot for the university plane, flying every weekend to help recruit Baylor sports talent.

They both graciously offered their guiding wisdom, and, in return, I gave them the If-ever-I-can-do-anything-for-you speech. The upperclassmen only laughed.

Ken politely informed me that there was little, certainly nothing, really, that a frosh could ever do for him.

I responded by asking, “Ever heard of Aesop’s fable about the lion and the mouse?”

“You mean, ‘Androcles and the Lion’,” he said, referencing the 2nd century folktale.

“No,” I said with freshman certainty. “Pretty sure it’s a lion and a mouse,” recalling the Little Golden Book version I knew from childhood.

It seems that a hungry lion captured a mouse and was preparing to eat him, when the rodent begged to be spared.

The mouse promised that if he were released, he might someday return the favor.

The lion roared in laughter at the one-sided equation, the ludicrous possibility that the pipsqueak could be helpful.

Nevertheless, the not-so-ferocious feline let him go.

Weeks later, the mouse again encountered the hungry carnivore. But this time, the King of the Jungle was dethroned with an agonizing thorn stuck in his paw.

The mouse, anxious to prove his worth and fulfill his promise, struggled with the thorn until he extracted it from the lion’s paw.

Soon the lion was free and the two became the closest friends.

“I haven’t really heard that version,” Ken said, just before heading to bed in preparation for an early morning flight.

He left wearing the same smirk the lion must have worn. It’s the one I would often see on folks before the pandemic. They proclaimed they didn’t need anyone’s help. They considered themselves to be independent and self-reliant.

They were. That is, right up until they needed toilet paper and food. Right up to the time they cashed the stimulus check and/or took unemployment and rent assistance.

Working as one nation, one world, to defeat this virus doesn’t turn us into 20th century socialists. Needing help from each other doesn’t make us weak. It makes us human.

If this pandemic has made you feel like a helpless mouse, there is one thing you can do to make a huge difference – get the vaccine.

My column today seeks inspiration from the opening line of John Donne’s eighty-word, 17th-century poem: “No man is an island entire of itself.”

The poet’s point is aptly illustrated with over 4.25 million COVID deaths worldwide. My own brother, Milton, was one of those deaths.

That’s why Donne’s conclusion rings heavily within me,

“…any man’s death diminishes me….”

A few weeks after my discussion with Ken, I was alone in our apartment when the phone rang.

On the other end of the phone, Ken began with just two words.

“Hello, Mouse?”

He had just returned from a recruitment trip and said he’d locked his keys in the car on the far side of our darkened campus.

Since AAA membership was outside a student budget, Ken asked if I might take a 15-minute bicycle ride to bring his extra key.

After grabbing his key off his dresser, I returned to the phone. “Sir,” I reported, as I’d called all pilots. “Mouse enroute in two minutes.”

From that day forward, Ken never let me call him “sir,” but when he needed something he would often call me “mouse.”

Read Norris’s past columns at www.thechaplain.net. Contact him at comment@thechaplain.net or 10556 Combie Rd. Suite 6643 Auburn, CA 95602 or voicemail 843-608-9715. Twitter @chaplain

‘If she succeeds, the church succeeds’: New pastor to hold 1st in-person service at Nevada City United Methodist Church since pandemic began

Nevada City United Methodist Church Rev. Gail Chiew has previously served at Florin United Methodist in Sacramento. She will conduct her first service this Sunday at the 433 Broad St. church in Nevada City.
Photo: Elias Funez

A further sign of the passing pandemic is the reopening of the Nevada City United Methodist Church to the general public after a year of livestreaming services, as members are eager to return to the sanctuary.

Even more thrilling for this Gold Rush era church, a freshly arrived minister will inaugurate a new spiritual journey. Rev. Gail Chiew takes to the pulpit at the 433 Broad St. church on Independence Day.

The new pastor takes the helm at a church featured in the Hallmark move “The Christmas Card,” which has continued to draw visitors to Nevada City over the years.

Chiew is described as personable by church members who have spoken with her through Zoom. She is a graduate of the Berkeley School of Theology and comes to Nevada City from the Florin United Methodist Church in Sacramento, where she ministered for eight years. Prior to that she was pastor at the Good Samaritan Church in Cupertino, and before that served a congregation in Malaysia.

“I’m excited to meet the community as a whole. There’s only 4,000 citizens,” she said. “And I guess everybody knows everybody, and try to be good all the time.”

The two previous churches Chiew served were highly diversified culturally with members from different countries. She’s looking forward to getting acquainted with the local culture, and is already well acclimated to preaching in person as her former church in Sacramento reopened its sanctuary on Mother’s Day.

“I hope to know the congregation and know their needs, not just confined to the church,” said Chiew. “But we are bringing the kingdom of God into the community at large, and that is the intention of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”


Outgoing Pastor David Niu, who served at the Broad Street church a few years, was cherished, said Eleanor Kenitzer, choir director.

“We loved David, and we’re sure we’ll love Gail,” she said. “Our church is very warm and open and we’re up for the new adventure.”

The change caught the congregation off guard, said Kenitzer, and they only had a month’s notice once Niu was promoted to lead the California-Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church. Niu will be stationed in Modesto.

Rev. Gail Chiew, the new Nevada City United Methodist Church pastor, is excited to begin her service here.
Photo: Elias Funez

The conference transfers the pastors as ministry needs require.

“David was popular and we’ll miss him very much,” Kenitzer said. “He was from Tonga, so we learned about that culture. Gail is Chinese, and now we’ll learn about this culture and that’s a lot of fun.

“Gail studied in Singapore and then got her degree at the Berkeley School of Theology. But there’s not a lot of diversity in Nevada County. So, we’re proud to have diversity.”

Nevada City United Methodist was founded in 1850. It burned down in 1852 and again in 1863, and was rebuilt again in 1864. That church building still serves its congregants from all over Nevada County.

The church last weekend showed a livestream of a consecration of pastors receiving new assignments. That was a big reason they postponed returning worship service in the sanctuary until this Sunday, said Mary Dewitt, chair of the church council.

“We’re hoping to help Pastor Chiew to settle in to whatever she needs, and expect she will have a lot to teach us,” she said.

Added Bob Zuelsdorf, who leads the church service video team, “We’ll work closely with Pastor Chiew because if she succeeds, the church succeeds, and the community as a whole.”

William Roller is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at wroller@theunion.com