Ordination of Virgie Pickering + Ordinación de Virgie Pickering 9.23.12


Sunday, September 23, 2:00 p.m.
Wilshire Presbyterian Church at 3rd St. & Western Ave.

Former Immanuel intern Virgie Pickering will be ordained as a Teaching Elder (Minister of Word and Sacrament) by the Presbytery of the Pacific Sunday, September 23, at 2:00 p.m.  Wilshire’s retired pastor Chuck Robertson will preach the ordination sermon.  There will be a reception in her honor following the service.  Friends from Immanuel are cordially invited.  Parking is in the lot off of 3rd St. & Oxford Ave.

Domingo, 23 de septiembre, 2 pm
Wilshire Presbyterian Church en la Calle 3ra y Western Ave.

Antigua interina de Immanuel Virgie Pickering será ordenada como una Anciana de Enseñanza (Pastora de Palabra y Sacramento) por el Presbiterio del Pacifico. Chuck Robertson, pastor retirado de Wilshire predicara el sermón de ordinación. Habra una recepción en su honor después del servicio. Amigos de Immanuel están invitados. Estacionamiento será por la calle 3ra y Oxford Ave.

Bilingual Class + Clase Bilingüe: 8.5.12 & 8.11.12


The Hope for Peace in Israel/Palestine
Discussion: Sunday, August 5
Movie: Saturday, August 11

Please join us after worship on August 5 for a bilingual discussion of the history and current situation in Israel/Palestine.  Former Immanuel intern Virgie Pickering will share some of her experiences from visiting the region last year.

Saturday, August 11, we will be watching Budrus, a beautiful and thought-provoking documentary about a Palestinian village who used non-violent methods to protest the building of the Israeli security fence through their land.

La Esperanza por Paz en Israel/Palestine
Discusión: domingo, 5 de agosto
Pelicula: sábado, 11 de agosto

Unase con nosotros después del servicio el 5 de agosto para una bilingüe discusión de la historia y situación actual en Israel/Palestine.  Antigua interina de Immanuel, Virgie Pickering compartera sus experiencias acerca visitando la region durante el año pasado.

El sábado, 11 de agosto, miraremos Budrus, una bella y estimulante documentario acerca el pueblo palestino el cual uso metodos no violentes para protestar la construcción de una cerca de seguridad en sus tierras.


A Christmas Eve Reflection 12.24.11


When our tour bus entered Bethlehem it was the first time we saw “the Wall” (a.k.a. “security perimeter”) from the Palestinian side. The Israeli side of the Wall is clean, unmarked. The Palestinian side is a seemingly endless mural of “prison art.” I was too slow getting out the camera and missed taking photos of some of the more striking images: a weeping Statue of Liberty, holding a dead child (after Michelangelo’s Pieta); the desolate stumps of a clear cut forest; Alice about to step through an intriguing little door.

Bethlehem was in occupied territory at the time of Jesus’ birth, as well. Mary and Joseph were compelled to leave their home by order of the ruling powers, and after arriving in Bethlehem, forced to flee again in terror of violent government oppression. Today the Palestinian people, who were also compelled to flee their homes by an occupying military regime, still find their movements through the country controlled and curtailed by the Israeli government.

Our Palestinian guide was frequently tearful, describing what it’s like to live under foreign military rule. She told us of the humiliation and frustration she felt every time she had to pass through a security check point: an ordinary, unarmed woman routinely treated as a suspected terrorist.

I can’t imagine what that must be like, as someone who’s never lived in “occupied territory” … or have I? The Gospels of Matthew and Luke may emphasize the Roman occupation, but John highlights the spiritual occupation: that Jesus came into this world to overthrow its invisible, intangible ruler, the Prince of Darkness.

The question of whether Satan is a person, a principle, a force, etc. could be the subject of a separate post. That’s not important here. It is clear that we are living under the occupation of the powers of greed and reckless opportunism, exclusion and vanity, selfishness and deliberate ignorance–the powers of darkness and evil. And the birth of Jesus was the beginning of a resistance movement, called the Kingdom of God.

There’s this old comedy starring Danny Kaye, The Court Jester–it’s always been a favorite of my family. I think it must be spoofing the Scarlet Pimpernel or something, but part of the plot is that there is a false king on the throne, and the rebels who live in the woods are fighting to protect the true heir to the crown, still just a small infant. The movie pokes fun at the idea that a tiny baby could be considered “the king.” But that’s just what we say about Jesus at Christmastime.

The work of salvation began not on the cross but in Mary’s womb. Why? Because the Resistance is not about fighting with swords or machine guns or missiles–because the Almighty who strips completely, surrendering all power and authority to become a helpless, naked, and hungry infant is the true king and savior of this world. Because peace will not be purchased through war but will come to us only by the power of the vulnerable God, the weak God, the God of love.

At the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where they say Jesus was born, the welcoming signs asks visitors to “Pray for the Freedom of Palestine.” Please do. Please pray for the freedom of Palestine, and for the freedom of the world.

~Virgiliana “Virgie” Pickering

Check out Virgie’s blog Earthenware Vessels

Adult Study Class—Halloween and Reformation History: 10.30.11


Sunday, October 30
following services in the Ruth Beck Room (106)

Halloween and Reformation History
Halloween and Reformation Day both occur on Oct. 31–but do they have anything else in common? Join Virgie Pickering and discover what exciting theological themes weave between the histories of these two holidays.

Snapshots: Young Adults 5.29.11


Click on the image to enlarge.  Haga clic en la imagen para agrandar.

Brian Symonds, Lucy Cortez, Susan Lawrence, Mira Chaikin, José Haro, Virgie Pickering, Brandon Pickering, Gilbert Gaeta

Brian, Lucy, Susan, Mira, José, Virgie, Brandon

Virgie’s farewell + Adios de Virgie


Hello, friends, church-goers, Immanuelites, all!

Even though my internship has officially ended as of this month, I can’t really say goodbye; I believe I can speak for Brandon, also, in saying that you all are family now. So, sorry; you’re never really getting rid of us. We’ll be around.

Seriously, though, it has been absolutely a wonderful experience. I am so grateful for the support, encouragement, and welcoming hearts open to receive me during my time here. I feel I have learned and grown much; Immanuel is truly an inspiration for my future ministry.

To let you know what is in the future for me:

Graduation from Fuller Theological Seminary June 11 (a couple people asked about attending the ceremony–I don’t think you’d want to–with 520 graduates, it’s very long, boring, and impersonal–but if you would like to celebrate with me and other friends and family, there will be a special coffee hour reception at my home church, Wilshire Pres. [3rd and Western] following their 10:30am Sunday worship on June 19).

Also this month, I will be traveling to Israel/Palestine with a group from Fuller to study the ethics of peacemaking.

In August, I will take ordination exams, and assuming I pass them, and get the approval of presbytery, will then be able to seek a call as some kind of pastor.

Again, thank you all, Immanuel community, for journeying with me during this portion of my path to ordination!

¡Hola amigos/as, asiduos a la iglesia, Immanuelites, todos/as!

Aunque mi practica oficialmente se termino este mes, no me puedo despedir; creo que también puedo hablar por Brandon, en diciendo que todos ustedes son como parte de la familia.  Así que perdón, pero nunca se libraran de nosotros.  Continuaremos a estar presentes.

Seriamente, ha sido una maravillosa experiencia.  Estoy tan agradecida por el apoyo, animo y los cordiales corazones abiertos a recibir me durante mi tiempo aquí.  Siento que aprendí y crecí tanto; Immanuel es una gran inspiración por mi futuro ministerio.

Lo siguiente es lo que me espera en el futuro:

La graduación del Seminario Teológico Fuller será el 11 de junio (algunas personas me preguntaran acerca asistiendo la ceremonia – no creo que lo quieren hacer – con 520 graduados, es una larga, aburrida e impersonal ceremonia – pero si gustarían celebran con migo y otros amigos y familia, habrá una especial recepción de café en mi iglesia, la Iglesia Presbiteriana Immanuel (en las calles 3ra y Western) el 19 de junio después de su servicio de adoración de las 10:30 am.

Este mes también estaré viajando a Israel/Palestina con un grupo de Fuller para estudiar las éticas de las negociaciones de paz.

En agosto tomare los exámenes de ordinación y suponiendo que los paso, y recibo aprobación del presbiterio, entonces buscare una llamada como una pastora.

¡Otra vez, gracias a todos, la comunidad de Immanuel por estar con migo durante esta parte del viaje del camino hacia mi ordinación!


Snapshots: Young Adults Lunch at Philippes


Photos and captions courtesy of Brian Symonds.  Click on an image for a larger view.

Ahhh, our illustrious leader...and Brandon 😉

And here they are again. Brandon can't wait for his lunch.

Sad, a fire truck on its way to an emergency

Gilbert says, "No flash photography please."

Pea soup and a French Dip...mmmmmmmmmm

The long lines must mean good food is in store

And this is the lunch Brandon was waiting for...pigs feet 😦

It's so retro!

Baked Apple...that's syrup it's drowning in...my arteries love me!!!

Phillipe's The Original Since 1908