Dear beloved Mosaics, In light of current news about the outbreak and spread of the COVID-19, we’ve considered what is the most loving and caring thing to do as a loving community. California Gov. Newsom is asking residents to postpone all non-essential gatherings, including small social gatherings, through the end of March. Health officials advise postponing or canceling any gathering of 250 or more.We are taking a precautionary step of not meeting at all starting from this Saturday, March 14 and will not meet until the beginning of May.
No gatherings from this Saturday until we are fully safe!
Grace decided to prepare food for 40 shelter guests at our home rather than at the Fellowship Hall kitchen. We will deliver the food directly to Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter of Davis by 6 pm this Saturday. So, we are canceling the cooking preparation (originally scheduled from 1 pm to 5:30 pm) at the church this Saturday.From now on, all classes are cancelled until the end of March. We will re-evaluate if we can resume meeting on Saturday, April 4 with potluck dinner (tentative).
We suggest all teachers and group leaders continually connect with students and group members via online video platforms such as Zoom or Skype as well as social media.Grace and I are available to chat or offer prayers over the phone (916-217-5470) or social media during this difficult time. We hope and pray that this pandemic will end soon.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”– Philippians 4:6-7
May God bless you all with protection and provision!
With much love and appreciation,
Dr. Stephen Moon, Mosaics Pastor
“Stephen is a gifted educator and entrepreneur with a rare combination of patience, spunk and linguistic competence. I have been an active participant of his intercultural activities for over half a year. I have seen Stephen go above and beyond in organizing classes of over seven languages. Stephen knows multiple languages, and is a patient educator who made his weekly Korean class very enjoyable to students with various linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Because of his “student” mindset, he’s also eager to learn new languages, and that’s how the highly diverse and international members came together every weekend. Like many others, I certainly miss attending Stephen’s multicultural activities. I have only optimistic predictions for his career trajectory. Best, Milon” – Milon Au Yeung
“When I was a new mother Davis Mosaics connected me and my kids with a diverse, supportive and caring community. I am forever thankful that my kids and I got to experience languages, cultures and food from around the world.” – Amy Corona
“In Davis Mosaics I have found a collaborative space where we all support each other to be better human beings. In this group, we share music, food, knowledge and especially kindness. Stephen has been the leader that makes it possible. Overcoming many obstacles and always finding the way of keeping this running. And for that, I’m greatly thankful.” – Carlos Andres Perez
“Davis Mosaics allowed me to study French, Spanish, and American Sign Language, and also gave me the opportunity to teach German. It was great to share my language knowledge with others and explore the German culture as well. Eating dinner afterwards with many new friends helped me feel part of a community. I know Mosaics helped people feel less alone and feel more hope. I run into people I met there often, and we still share tips with each other and have a kinship that will continue. Mosaics is a unique program that is irreplaceable. You can go there and learn new skills, like drumming, learn languages, try new foods, sing, dance, or just relax and meet new people. Stephen invites everyone to share their talents and knowledge with the group, and it is this exchange that makes Mosaics dynamic and exciting. Stephen and Grace create such a welcoming environment, that when you go there, it is hard to leave, and when you finally go home, you feel happier, smarter, and less alone. Thank you!” – Honna Steissberg, German Teacher.
“Grace and Stephen Moon have given to me and to the community of Davis the highest gift of love. It is through the action of selfless service and dedication do they demonstrate their faith in the gospel of Jesus and the sacrifice of their personal free time do they graciously share this faith with the Davis community through the Mosaics program. I feel very blessed to be a participant of such a beautiful network of friends and families where everyone is welcomed to contribute or receive knowledge and wisdom or find support and encouragement. Thank you and God Bless~” – Amber Weber
“The first time I came here, I was surprised by the warm welcome of the members of Davis Mosaics. I soon realized that this is the place where people of many different cultures can spend time together and help others in need like a big family almost without any barrier. Although my time there was short, it was a new and pleasant experience that gave an introvert person such as myself different, positive ways of seeing other people.” – Hung Pham
“The Fellowship of Mosaics is a unique and diverse group with strong spiritual community and family values that respect all individuals. It has brought our family closer together and serves as a model for successful fellowship.” – The Clark family
“As a Malian (a West Africa country), I came in Davis with different cultures and beliefs. Mosaic helped me to interact with people and to see the beauty of the cultural difference. With mosaic, I learnt that kindness is the best way of communication between humans. I know that many are going through life challenges but they smile, sing and talk when they get together. Mosaic is family, there communication support which is important in difficult moments. May God bless our mosaic meetup where everyone from everywhere is accepted.” – Aïssata Sow
“The Mosaics fellowship has been a wonderful gathering for language learning, cross cultural exchanges and sharing, as well as friendship building for my family. My husband, 2 young children, and I have all been greatly blessed by the fellowship that Dr. Moon and Mrs. Moon created and lead weekly for the 3.5 years that we’ve been attending Mosaics. It is a great place for the intercultural minded community to connect on a personal level. We’re thankful for the opportunity to be part of this fellowship and to see God’s blessings upon this group.” – Joyce L.
“Pastor Stephen Moon, the driving force behind Mosaics, a faith-based meetup, has been a mentor and teacher to many in the community. Mosaics holds open meetings for a range of topics from language classes in ten different areas to music and guitar lessons to my favorite, Bible Study. Dr. Moon has a tight grip on the meaning behind the stories and always offers a fresh, modern perspective on these old stories. He also sheds new light on the meanings of some of the different translations through the use of his understanding of ancient languages. Another great thing about the Mosaics group is their dinners. Grace Moon and a few others come early to make delicious food every Saturday and Sunday night in Davis and Greenhaven respectively. In the past few months the Greenhaven group has been closed down due to budget concerns, but hopefully it can be rekindled in the near future. I would recommend Mosaics to anyone who wants to feel a strong sense of community. The newest exciting addition is Tai Chi classes held after dinner. I hope to see more people there in the future.” – Mike Lewis
“Thanks to Pastor Stephen and his wife Grace for opening the Mosaics group. This has helped many people come together to make new friends, learn new languages, take guitar lessons, cook, and learn tai chi. This group not only keeps young people out of trouble but also helps expose to new cultures, foods, and friends. I’m in the Bible study group, and I really enjoy reading and learning new things in the Bible. It helps me to stay motivated and faithful to God. I’m glad there’s a group where you can learn new languages, skill-guitar, and good food. Also, thanks to Grace for her time and energy cooking delicious foods.” – Katrina Tran
“Find a friendly face in the crowd” is said to many when they are scared to give a public speech. I was asked to be a Spanish substitute teacher at Davis Mosaics by my sister in Law. I have battled with anxiety my whole life, so this would be a good challenge for me. I agreed, although I have never taught before. Upon my arrival, I was greeted by Stephen and Grace with open arms as if I were a family member who they missed and had finally come home. I stood in front of the class, all eyes on me. I could barely breathe. I looked up to see Stephen smiling at me, with his thumb up. I took a deep and started my lesson. By the end I was given feedback by those who attended my class that they enjoyed it. Soon enough I was the regular Spanish teacher. This was the first step to my life changing. During this time of my life, I didn’t have a place to call home for my two children and I. I was lucky enough to have a brother who allowed my little family borrow their space until I figured out what to do next. I found an apartment in Davis after much research and comparison of nearby schools and communities. In my opinion, a good education and love are two of the best gifts a parent could give their children. I was giving this to them but was struggling financially. I needed to find a less expensive home in Davis or move somewhere different where my kids’ education and peace of mind would be at stake. The Cannery was being built and they were building affordable apartments where rent amount would be based on income. It was a long shot!! They called it “A lottery system.” To even be part of the lottery system they wanted proof that one already belonged to the community and were ranked by points. I turned to Stephen. Who, made it possible for me to participate in the lottery giving my little family a chance to keep what was so important to me. “I was chosen!!!” Soon after I was hired at a local credit union and promoted to management after being there for a only 8 months. My best friend in asked me to be his wife and after saving for over a year we have purchased our home, here in Davis. They say find the “friendly face in the crowd” but I found more than that. I found a friend who was willing to help me pick myself up when I couldn’t see past what was in front in me. Thanks to this program my life was changed and I will forever be grateful. Davis Mosaics felt like home from day one and to many is a place to find peace while is rearranging itself. – Rocio Corona
2020 Lunar New Year’s Day Festival
Mosaics will kick-off 2020 by celebrating the Lunar New Year’s Day!
• Cooking from 2 pm: Chinese Dumpling Making & Korean Pancake Making (These cooking classes are limited to first 5 persons/class who RSVP’ed at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1330832583792498/)
• Dinner at 6 pm: please bring desserts and drinks
• Game & Karaoke Singing Contest from 7 pm
It’s been a blessed year because of you, all mosaics!
May the love of Christ, grace of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all as you celebrate Christmas and the new year!
Pastor Stephen & Grace Moon
By Dr. Chris Neufeld-Erdman, Pastor, Davis Community Church, Fall 2019
“A young person in an American university offered some advice: ‘In working with young people in America, do not try to call them back to where they were, and do not try to call them to where you are, as beautiful as that place might seem to you. You must have the courage to go with them to a place that neither you nor they have ever been before.’ This is good missionary advice, and a beautiful description of the unpredictable process of evangelization, a process leading to that new place where none of us has ever been before.”
— Vincent Donovan, Christianity Rediscovered
The church of the future, the new place “none of us has ever been before” will be a hybrid space, a true “commons,” for people of all walks of life—a threshold community that brings together the spiritual and the material, the religious and the non-religious in ways that complement each other rather than compete with each other. It’s not necessarily a new place, there are times in our history when the church has been just this, but the way the church will do this for future generations will be new for the new settings in which we find ourselves. The church, as a center for spiritual formation, human transformation, and compassionate engagement, sustains fruitful ways of life, makes us all more open, more generous, more courageous, and makes the world more beautiful, sustainable, resilient, and capable of honoring the sacredness that’s all around us.
This expression of the gospel is needed now more than ever before. We are living in unprecedented times. With rising oceans and increasing human tensions, our planet and all we hold dear is in peril. Though there have been crises throughout human history, we now inhabit a time in which the very future of our species and the planet, itself, is in question. Throughout the world, the realities of greed, oppression, hatred and violence have distorted and deformed the natural world and brought untold suffering to the human community. Such pain might lead to despair, but we have reasons for hope. Human beings may have hastened the peril, but we also have the power to heal and shape a just and more peace-filled future.
Amidst the systemic injustices and brokenness a new way of being is rising, a way that embodies Christ’s way transformation, healing, and reconciliation for the 21st century. The world’s religious and spiritual traditions, despite past failings, nevertheless embody the emerging dream of God’s and offer humanity see for a sustainable future. The sacred texts, rituals, symbols, practices, and transformative powers of religious communities have the capacity to awaken the human heart, stir spiritual and intellectual awakening, and kindle a communal imagination that can contribute to the wellbeing of the world.
This is a threshold time, and it’s high time Christians, energetically and innovatively, claim our divine calling—rising to the challenge, rejecting despair and fatalism—and truly seek the well-being of the planet.
Toward this end, Davis Mosaics, and Pastor Stephen Moon, build bridges, innovate lavishly, meet practical needs, and work cooperatively on behalf of God’s dream for the world’s wellbeing. Its habits of radical hospitality, conscious and intentional pluralism, and the sacramentalism of its way of life—low-bar religiosity and high-bar community—all centered around table fellowship and fostering the common good are a witness to the pathway exemplified by the early Christians who moved souls from belonging into behavioral shifts and lastly toward beliefs.
In an age of disaffiliation and non-affiliation with religious institutions, Davis Mosaics, is charting the pathway into the future of Christianity—deeply embodied and incarnational, post-doctrinal, inclusive, experiential, artistic and aesthetic, and sacramental in the truest sense of the world—that is, the gathered community as a sign of God’s dream and intention for the world.
For a decade during my first call, I served as pastor of mission and evangelism, working directly with the Global Mission arm of the national church through my work with the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church, PCUSA’s Sudan Working Group and my role, helping create the World Mission Initiative at Pittsburgh Seminary. For another sixteen years, and in my second congregation, I worked to create a multicultural congregation by integrating a large Southeast Asian population and a historically white congregation.
In the 90s and early 2000s, many of us were working to shift from an outdated strategies, programs, and postures that perpetuated paternalistic and dependence-oriented approaches to global mission. Self-sustaining, inherently resilient ministries were always the goal. For too long, we in the North and West often kept our global partners in postures of dependency and us in postures of control. This left Presbyterian mission congregations in a chronically subservient role, dependent on our gifts, and never able to fully flourish or let themselves flower into authentically indigenous expressions of the gospel and the Spirit’s work. And this kept us in the North American church in postures of privilege and power, leaving intact too many assumptions of our cultural expressions of Christianity.
We learned that in order to follow the Spirit, we would have to learn to participate in the difficult and messy dance of authentic partnership. This often required very difficult conversations between the PCUSA groups (in my case, the Shenango Presbytery, which had a nearly 150 year partnership with the Horn of Africa) and our global partners. There were many mistakes made. Sometimes we responded too quickly to requests for money and staff, thereby undercutting the path of our partners toward self-sufficiency. Other times we withheld resources when the partner was desperate for them and struggled to survive. Often times there were assumptions made on both sides of the relationship that made things tense and occasionally tilted us toward crisis.
What we learned is that resources (primarily money and what money can buy) must be always be secondary to the relationship. It was too easy to create policies, or make top-down decisions, that, while they made bureaucratic sense, often injured the relationship. Sometimes, requests for money from the partner felt like entitlement and we as the partner possessing most of the needed financial resources felt taken for granted or taken advantage of. So, we often set up what we thought were help benchmarks and goals, when, in fact, they were experienced as unhelpful and often arbitrary barriers, culturally naive and relationally troubling. They were in fact gestures of quid pro quo—if you do this, we’ll do that. Quid pro quo is always an unhealthy sign of distrust and an expression of power.
What we had to keep learning over and over is that:
- the way forward is always messy
- those in power must take care about the way they exercise power
- we must remain curious and relationally engaged, especially when we feel the need to control outcomes
- those who need resources need to beware of the ways they can keep themselves trapped in a dependency mode, and
- we all needed to keep returning to the organic, and messy nature of relationship and realize partnership is a long term responsibility
Relationships always requires intentional face to face interaction, humor, generosity, openness, curiosity, honesty, freedom, failure, forgiveness, repair, and most of all good will. The same is true of partnerships in mission and ministry—whether working with a global mission partner in a challenging mission setting where birthing authentic expressions of indigenous Christian faith is fraught with difficulty or if we’re working to foster multicultural and innovative expressions within a local setting. We must keep faith with our assumption that we are all doing the best we can and desire the growth of the Kin-dom of God, though we might not always see eye to eye.
There is no question in my mind that Mosaics is an expression of the way of the gospel of Jesus and is a manifestation of the Spirit. I also know that because it is doing something very new (and desperately needed) in our times and for human community is will take a long time to become self-sustaining and inherently resilient. It’s habits of radical hospitality, conscious and intentional pluralism, and the sacramentalism of its way of life— low-bar religiosity and high-bar community—all centered around table fellowship and fostering the common good do not yet have an institutional expression anywhere that I know of. As missiologist, Vincent Donovan, says, “evangelization is always an unpredictable process leading to that new place where none of us has ever been before.”
Mosaics is an expression of Presbyterian mission we must celebrate and support. Davis Community Church is doing what we currently can to provide financial, staff, and hardware support (buildings and grounds). We cannot now do more. The presbytery can continue to come alongside this mission. We all seek self-sufficiency and resiliency for Mosaics. We are not there yet and will likely not be for some time to come.
People are coming. People are awakening to new expressions and experiences of the Holy. People are thriving—body, mind, and soul. Dr. Moon’s reports and the quotes from participants testify to this. It is not unlike the witness of the early church when the church in The Acts of the Apostles drew people together in authentic community that was not yet well-organized and had not yet found a self-supporting structure for sustainability (Paul’s offering to the Gentiles recognized this fact and was a recognition that the mission was vulnerable to collapse—something Paul was unwilling to allow to happen).
So what’s needed:
1. Funding. This is at least a marriage of three parties, or a stool with three legs: Mosaics itself, the Presbytery/GA agencies, and a local church (DCC). We must all participate in the relationship. All partners are necessary.
2. Curiosity. Before imposing metrics based on outside assumptions, we all need a posture of openness to the Holy Spirit in this context (See “Openness” in Book of Order, F-1.0404). What are the ways, inherent to this mission, that we can mutually establish goals and metrics that are authentic expressions of this kind of mission and its context?
3. Relationship. A relationship requires presence, trust, warmth. Distance, suspicion, and bureaucracy are barriers to relationship. Visit Mosaics. The mission needs more personal involvement by the presbytery.
4. Prayer. From a distance, sure, but on site, with Mosaics’ leadership. Soaking the mission in the Holy and in the process opening to the vision the Holy Spirit is imparting.
The Maasai Tribal Creed, East Africa (After 100 years of mission in Kenya, a local, self-supporting, indigenous Christian presence)
We believe in the one High God, who out of love created the beautiful world and everything good in it. He created Humans and wanted Humans to be happy in the world. God loves the world and every nation and tribe on the Earth. We have known this High God in darkness, and now we know Him in the light. God promised in the book of His word, the Bible, that He would save the world and all the nations and tribes.
We believe that God made good His promise by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, a Jew by tribe, born poor in a little village, who left His home and was always on safari doing good, curing people by the power of God, teaching about God and man, showing the meaning of religion is love. He was rejected by his people, tortured and nailed hands and feet to a cross, and died. He lay buried in the grave, but the hyenas did not touch him, and on the third day, He rose from the grave. He ascended to the skies. He is the Lord.
We believe that all our sins are forgiven through Him. All who have faith in Him must be sorry for their sins, be baptized in the Holy Spirit of God, live the rules of love and share the bread together in love, to announce the Good News to others until Jesus comes again. We are waiting for Him. He is alive. He lives. This we believe. Amen.
Books worth reading on missiology:
- Vincent Donovan, Christianity Rediscovered
- Lesslie Newbigen, Foolishness to the Greeks: The Gospel and Western Culture
- Roland Allen, The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church and Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?
- Robert Schreiter, Constructing Local Theologies
- Lamin Sanneh, Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact on Culture
- Phillips and Coote, eds, Toward the 21st Century in Christian Mission
Copyright © Dr. Chris Neufeld-Erdman