Author Archives: amencom

Multicultural Dinner and Silent Auction

March 27 Saturday, 2017 @ St. John’s Presbyterian Church **** ***  ***** *** ** ** ** ** ** ** ***** **** *** ** *


   Residents and guests were invited to House A of the Berkeley Presbyterian Mission Home on Thursday, April 14, to hear a presentation by Dr. Ali Ataie, a scholar of both Islam and Christianity. Dr. Ataie is the first Muslim to earn an MA in Biblical Studies from the Graduate Theological Union. His PhD, also from the GTU, is in Islamic Biblical Hermeneutics. He teaches at the GTU and Zaytuna College, both schools on beautiful Holy Hill in Berkeley. The focus of Dr. Ataie’s presentation at the Homes was the role and identity of Jesus in Islam: Who is Jesus to the average Muslim?   Dr. Ataie began his presentation by establishing that the foundational theological principle in Judaism, Christianity and Islam is the same:  Love of God and love of neighbor.  Dr. Ataie quoted passages from the sacred texts of these three Abrahamic traditions to ground his premise and set the backdrop to his presentation.  From there, he went on to present other common threads that tie the two faiths to this mutually revered faith figure,  Jesus of Nazareth. Some of the Christian attendees were pleasantly surprised to learn that, for Muslims,Jesus is one of the most important prophets. Read the Rest…

Ice Cream Social 2015

Students, families and Board members enjoyed the annual kick-off event, the “Ice Cream Social”, on Labor Day Saturday at the Berkeley Presbyterian Mission Homes.  Recent arrivals to BPMH were introduced to the Community as everyone prepares to begin the Fall semester at the GTU and its Seminary affiliates.  It was a delightful time of making new acquaintances and renewing older ones.                    

Congratulations ! Storm Alexander Lee

BPMH Resident Storm Alexander Lee was honored at Alta Bates Hospital on Wednesday, August 26 for completing his 4-Unit Residency Program in Clinical Pastoral Education.  Storm will now direct his attention towards earning his Masters of Divinity degree through Fuller Seminary while working as a chaplain at the St. Helena Hospital Center for Behavioral Health in Vallejo.  Congratulations Storm!!      

Interfaith Evening with Muslims

David Washburn, producer of “An American Mosque,was present  at the screening of his film at BPMH on Monday evening to answer questions about this 30-minute film, which has been shown locally on PBS.  It’s the story of how a Muslim congregation in Yuba City, CA, endured and responded to the burning down of their nearly completed mosque.  Though this event happened in 1994, it has lasting parallels and interesting differences to today’s arsons, bombings, and assaults on every sort of house of worship, making it highly topical. The dominating questions are: what’s the meaning of such tragedies in our open, supposedly religiously tolerant American society?  And what’s our defense and appropriate response?  It’s something our congregations and other local groups should see. *** Reading from his prepared manuscript, Muslim resident, Saad Akbar, presents an explanation of the meaning and purpose of fasting during Ramadan before the screening of David Washburn’s film, An American Mosque.  Just at sunset, Saad invited the dozen or so of his non-Muslim BPMH neighbors to participate in the Iftar, the traditional breaking of the Ramadan fast at the end of the day by drinking water and eating a date. This was the second interfaith experience offeredRead the Rest…

Farewell to Our Families

The summer at BPMH is a time of transition.  We recently said good-bye to two of our families, Matt and Joann Boswell and two daughters and Sang Yoon and Sung He Kim and their three daughters            

Grand Graduation Party

  BERKELEY — The annual graduation party at Berkeley Presbyterian Mission Homes was blessed with beautiful weather and began appropriately with a tribute to the late Bill Ng, the former resident manager. Three graduates were honored on June 6: Hwapyeong Yoo, an elementary school graduate, and two PhDs – Wanda Kharlukhi and Ikani Fakasiieiki. Wanda discussed her long journey to get her degree and was thankful for the support she received at the Mission Homes. She also expressed her gratitude for being this year’s recipient of the Virginia Hadsell Scholarship Award, adding it will go a long way to helping her pay off some of her debt and her ticket home. Her dissertation focuses on a Christology that is more relevant culturally and locally to the Khasi Church in Northeast India. Meanwhile, Ikani thanked the Mission Homes for providing a safe environment for his son during his studies. He said his dissertation focused on the significance of the Biblical figure of Delilah. As usual, the annual festivity was a collective effort, with Zira doing the shopping, House A putting up the chairs and tables and Thuya as the head chef and his crew of helpers. The party provided a chanceRead the Rest…

BPMH Residents Bearing Witness

At the early morning hour of 5:30 A.M. on Good Friday morning, Johnny Kashung and  Peter Ngong traveled an hour to attend the 30+year old vigil and Lawrence Livermore Laboratory to worship and bear witness to those who had come to engage in civil disobedience to protest the continuing development of nuclear weapons in that facility.  Accompanying BPMH Director, Rev. Sally Juarez, the three stood among the others who came to sing, dance, listen and pray.  This year’s reflection was offered by David Hartsough, peacemaker and social activist for 60 years.   David has just published his book, Waging Peace. The theme of this year’s vigil was ‘Beyong Neclear Weapons, Beyond Empire, Beyond Racism. For Johnny and Peter, this was a first-time experience in seeing communities of faith joining together in support of the vision of reigning in the Kingdom of God through social action and the strategic use of non-violent protest. While the action at Livermore was strictly U.S. phenomonon, the development of nuclear weapons of mass destruction impacts everyone all over the globe.  Peter commented that he could not have been in a better place on Good Friday than at the Gates of the Livermore Lab.

Visitation of Rev. David Vasquez-Levy the President of Pacific School of Religion

March 17th was St. Patrick’s Day everywhere except at Berkeley Presbyterian Mission Homes where it was President David Vasquez-Levy Day!  Residents were delighted by the warmth and charm of the new PSR president who visited the Homes for a tour and a reception where residents introduced themselves by country, degree program and future hopes and dreams.  The time together ended with a community blessing bestowed upon President Vasquez-Levy by residents in 8 different languages.  The visit, planned and co-ordinated by Executive Director, Rev. Sally Juarez, was also attended by Board President, Jean Mudge, Vice President, Beth Beatty, Board Treasurer, Marc Jung, and Board Member Lorraine Provost. ***

X-mas on Regent Street 2014

The residents of the BPMH international community gathered on December 20th for their annual Christmas party. Also in attendance were several members of the Board of Directors. The party began at 5:30 with the usual array of sumptuous Korean and North Eastern Indian potluck dishes prepared by members of the community. Sweet treats contributed by the members of the Board topped off the meal.     The program that followed the potluck dinner was unusual in several respects. It featured a tribute in appreciation of the contribution to the Homes by former President and Buildings and Grounds chair, Joewoen Gregory. It was also highlighted by a Christmas reading from Luke in multiple languages as well as a mime to music presentation of ‘The Borning Day,” by seven of the Homes children, directed by Sally Juarez, sung by Jusuf(Rony) Helweldery and accompanied by Willy Kim. Interspersed throughout the evening was the singing of the most beloved Christmas carols, also accompanied by Willy Kim who served as Master of Ceremony for the evening. The party concluded when the community encircled Rony for a laying on of hands to bless him as he concluded his five-months at the Homes as research scholar fromRead the Rest…