Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas 2009

I'm enjoying the Christmas season.
I mapped out a series of Christmas sermons, that will span a 6 week period.

John the Baptist
Revelation 12
The Christmas Angels
The Watcher: Do You See What I See?
Pilate's Christmas Carol

It's So Awesome that Jesus came to earth to be our savior.
We should sing and praise the Lord.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Trip to MN

This next week we care for some unfinished business.

It had been my father's wish to place a tomb stone on the grave of his sister Eldina. She lived for only about 6 months in 1920, and never met her next two siblings, Sister Ellen and Brother (My Dad) Elmer.

Well, this next week, my Mother and I will drive from MN to ND to place that tomb stone. It's about a 1400 mile trip, but will be a good experience.

The Jewish idea is that you are never really dead if people remember Eldina will live on in our hearts...and we shall visit and mark her "grave" or close to it in that cemetery. No family member has been there for years...but there will be people there tending to her grave this next week...US.

Arthur "Duke" Greene Eulogy

Arthur “Duke” Greene
December 30, 1948 -– October 4, 2009

Arthur Greene, known to his family and friends as “Duke”, was born on December 30, 1948 in Atlanta, Texas. He passed to his rest on Sunday, October 4, 2009. He was 61 years, 9 months and 4 days old.
Duke is survived by his wife, Monica Greene and their son, Jordan Greene of Concord, CA.

He also is survived by his mother; Clora Greene, who lives in Michigan, and by three siblings: Barbara Greene of Stockton, California; Michael Greene and his wife Delphine of Saginaw, Michigan and Vickie Davis and her husband Doug of Stockton, California.

His survivors on Monica’s side of the family are Monica’s parents: R.B. and Elisabeth Shelton of Michigan and Monica’s siblings: Martina Currie of Southfield, Michigan; Michael Shelton and his wife Dana of Detroit, Michigan; Matthew Shelton and his wife Patsy of Van Buren Township, Michigan and by Marcia Shelton of Bonn, Germany.

Duke is survived by 15 nieces and nephews and 9 grand-nieces and grand-nephews and by his many church and community friends and co-workers.


Duke was born in Atlanta, Texas; and moved to Saginaw Michigan when hw was 4 years old. It was in his childhood, that Duke fell in love with Jesus. His first contact with the Adventist church was Vacation Bible School, and eventually he was baptized at the age of 13. His whole family eventually followed him in faith and fellowship with the church.

His high school years were at Buena Vista High School in Michigan, and then he went on to the University of Michigan. He had a 4 year scholarship, but only spent 2 years at Michigan. He went on to studies at Andrews University, and graduated with a BA in Theology in 1970.

In 1975, Duke took an interest in a particular work associate. For 2 years Monica and Duke dated and discussed the world and life…and love. They were married on November 23, 1977. God blessed them with loving union that celebrated 31 years last fall.

In 1982, they moved west; living first in San Francisco, and then for the last 19 years in Concord.

God blessed them with a son in 1994 when Jordan Shelton Greene was born. Duke loved being a father, and had lots of prior experience, being a caring uncle to all his nieces and nephews.

Duke’s working life saw him serve as a teacher in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He also worked for the Better Living Centers and ran a food co-op. Later on and most recently, he founded and managed group homes for developmentally disabled clients. He started “Circle”, a group of 3 homes for developmentally disabled adults.

Duke was very creative. He wrote plays and songs, and was incredibly well read. He read all he could in the areas of philosophy and religion. If you wanted to have a deep conversation, Duke would be the person to have it with! He was a serious Bible student, and studied the Bible every day.

He also was interested in not just watching movies…but analyzing them. He especially loved History and Drama.

He was generous and funny, and compassionate with others. He was a true intellectual. He received great joy in knowing and serving God, spending time with his son, and don’t forget…Disneyland!

He taught Sabbath School, and would even preach the morning sermon on occasion.
Duke had always been healthy - one of his activities was body building and taking care of himself. But in April of this year, he was diagnosed with Leukemia. He went to UCSF and spent a month as an inpatient, receiving chemotherapy.

At the end of August, a bone-marrow donor was found, and things seemed to be looking up. But in Early September, he developed a lung infection, and spent the last month in the hospital in Walnut Creek. His family and close friends made daily visits to his bedside. He was placed on a ventilator, to give him a chance of recovery. His body didn’t respond to the treatments liked we all had hoped and prayed; and he died of cardiac arrest on Sunday, October 4.

The Resurrection of Jesus gives hope and comfort to us in this hour of grief, knowing Death was defeated at the cross, and by the empty tomb. Because Jesus’ tomb was empty, we know Duke’s grave will one day be empty too…as he is given life again by the Life-giver with Jesus returns to earth.

Our lives have been enriched because we have loved and have been loved by Duke Greene. He was a sensitive, patient, kind and loving Husband, Father, Son, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, and Friend! We trust him to the arms of Jesus, who will judge him with mercy and love and grace.

His passing leaves a hole in the world and hole in our lives. We are looking forward to seeing him again on Resurrection Day! May God bless us all with His comfort and peace this hour…and until He comes.

Lovingly Prepared by the Greene Family, with Pastor O. Kris Widmer

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Benjamin Astudillo

Services are pending for the death of baby Benjamin Astudillo.
He was born on July 3 in Martinez, CA
He lived for just 41 minutes.

Keep his mother Claudia and his entire extended family in your prayers.

Life Sketch for Shamus Curry

Remembrance Service will be held for Shamus Michael Curry III
Antioch Seventh-day Adventist Church
2200 Country Hills Dr., Antioch, CA 94509

July 9 at 11:00 a.m.
Interment will follow at Union Cemetery in Brentwood, CA

Shamus Michael Curry III
August 13, 1980 - July 3, 2009

Shamus Michael Curry III was born on August 13, 1980 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He passed away on Friday, July 3, 2009 at his home in Tracy, California. He was just 1 month and 10 days from his 29th birthday.

He is survived by his wife, Wendy (Leone) Curry of Tracy, California and by their baby daughter, Caitlynn Anne, born on June 22, 2008.

He also leave behind his mother, Susan Zimmerman and her husband Dan of Brentwood, California; his brother, Steven Curry of San Ramon; his in-laws (Wendy’s parents) Steve and Jeannie Leone and by his brother-in-law Michael Leone all of Tracy.

He is survived by his grandmother and great-aunt, Arlene Richter and Jean Mauro of San Ramon, and by his Uncle Ted Richter and his wife Maria of Discovery Bay, CA and by his Aunt Karen Richter of Los Angeles, California.

He is survived by two nephews: Jonathan and Jake Richter and by the many members of his step-father’s family - the extended family of the Zimmermans.

His father, Shamus Michael Curry, Jr, preceded him in death in 1984 in an auto-accident, when Shamus the Third was just 3.5 years of age.


Shamus was the first of two boys born to his parents. He started life in New Jersey, but soon moved to California, at the age of 6 months. His brother Steven knows that his brother was 1 year, 4 months, 3 days older than him.

The family moved to Northern California, and moved among the communities of Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Brentwood and Tracy. Shamus went to elementary school at St. Philips Lutheran School, then on to Wells Middle School, and went to High School in Dublin, where he graduated with the class of 1998.

He worked for Raleys as a 16 year old boy, there for about 5 years. After High School, he took a few classes in fire suppression at Los Positas College in Livermore, but additional school wasn’t for him. He went to work for Staples, working his way up in just 7 years…from being a stock clerk to being general manager of the Tracy store. He became the go-to guy for the upper managers, after they saw his organization abilities, awesome people skills and positive attitude. He was summoned to work at several area stores when they were under-performing.

In 2004, through a mutual friend, he met Wendy. She was a woman he wanted to pursue! One of his first dates with her was in his step-dad’s car… “borrowed” without asking.

During their first month together, Wendy spent two weeks in Italy. Their romance was blossoming quickly…and at a cost. Wendy recalls that she ran up at least $500 in phone charges during that time of immediate separation.

Shamus had sent a stuffed animal with Wendy on her Europe trip. It was a “Pink Monkey”, and Wendy took it to bed with her each evening.

Their friendship developed over the next several years. They traveled together to Hawaii, Monterey, San Diego, Rancho Mirage and other favorite locations. In December of 2004, they bought a house together, and enjoyed fixing it up just the way they wanted it.

On June 16, 2007 they took their marriage vows at the Ruby Hill Country Club, and honeymooned in the Caribbean – in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

He was romantic and attentive to doing crazy things, with his friends and for his girl. He was pressed for time and wanted to propose to Wendy before she took a trip to Las Vegas. Because no local jeweler could meet his need for a ring in time, he took off with Ken Wu to Los Angeles to make his purchase in a part of town that Ken describes as a ghetto!

Shamus loved food. He had many favorite restaurants, including Crustaceans, Simply Fondue and Vick Stewarts in Walnut Creek. He had strange food choices which he would enjoy with his brother and his best friend Ken Wu, and other more normal food choices to enjoy with Wendy.

Shamus loved to shop…especially at Costco. Wendy says that their house was basically decorated and furnished from Costco. He knew most of the employees at his local store.

He was a people person, with a big heart for friends and family. He had a big heart, and loved to play the host for family events. He insisted that he host Christmas at his house, and would put up many festive decorations for the season.
He loved life and loved to laugh, and loved to be the life of the party. He enjoyed locking out his friends when they were outside in the hot tub, and other little jokes.

He also loved things clean. His family says that should he have gotten a tattoo, it would have been the name DYSON, the vacuum company. He was constantly vacuuming, or cleaning off the counters or straightening his daughter’s toys. He was a meticulous neat nick!

Shamus loved the family pets: He enjoyed the company of Sienna, a dog, bought just after he and Wendy met, and cats Webster, Winter and later Jasmine, a gift for his birthday. He was one of the few in the family that could play with Winter, who was known for being feisty, and was known for drawing blood.

He loved children too. He loved his young nephew, Jake; and was delighted when he became a father 6 days after his first anniversary.

In November 2007 (as they celebrated the marriage of Shamus’s Mom, Susan, to Dan Zimmerman) Shamus and Wendy were pleased to announce to their family that they were pregnant! A baby was on the way! But, while celebrating with Susan and Dan in Hawaii, Shamus had some severe headaches. Three days after they returned from Hawaii, Shamus was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

He fought it every way he could: Operation, Radiation, Chemotherapy. In fact – 6 different types of chemotherapy. He did O.K. for a while, but the tumor was fast growing. Still, he never complained or questioned the unfairness of it all. When asked how he was doing he would change the subject…or say “I’ll be fine.”

In the past two months, just before infirmity started to set in due to the tumor, he was able to travel with Wendy, Caitlynn, Susan and Dan to visit some of his favorite places on earth: The Turks, Palm Springs and Monterey, as well as enjoy the celebrations of his anniversary and Caitlynn’s 1st birthday.

Shamus loved God, and was anointed for divine healing of his illness. We believe that God loves Shamus, and has forgiven his sins, through the blood of Jesus.
Shamus loved and believed in Jesus as his Savior. He knew his future was secure in the arms of the One who will come in the clouds of glory.

Our lives have been enriched because we have loved and have been loved by Shamus Curry. He has been a Son, Brother, Husband, Father, Nephew, Cousin, and Friend!. We trust him to the arms of Jesus, who will judge him with mercy and love. Our lives were enriched for having known him. His passing leaves a hole in our lives. Today, you too are invited to place your hope in Jesus, and to also be ready for the resurrection of the dead and the restoration of all things.

Lovingly prepared by the Family, with Pastor O. Kris Widmer
Printed: July 8, 2009

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Current Prayer Needs

Hilltop Christian School - Pray that God will bless the efforts of our task force and ultimately bring us an increase in enrollment.

Derek Lewis - Living with Cancer. Intensive chemotherapy was begun, but was stopped because he was not tolerating it well. He is home now.

David Sarkar - Comfort on the death of his eldest sister in Bangladesh. He and his daughter have traveled there for funeral services. Pray for traveling mercies and a safe return.

Darrel Carson - His mother, Zelda Carson, passed away in Redding. The family is gathering in Fortuna this weekend for memorial services. His father passed away in the summer of 2007.

Bob Neufeld - living with cancer. He is the brother of Antioch members Victor and Elisabeth Neufeld.

Christina Lott - Lost her job last week. Pray that God will provide new employment in this difficult economy.

Mary Fua - continuing rehabilitation from her recent hospitalization and illness.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sermon Series

This weekend at church I'm starting a series of sermons called "Amazing Grace, Amazing Graciousness." We'll be reminding ourselves from the Bible how gracious God has been us...and hearing his call to be gracious to those around us.

Featured in the series are the lyrics to "There's a wideness in God's Mercy" of my favorite hymn texts.

I like these especially

For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of man’s mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.

But we make his love too narrow
By false limits of our own;
And we magnify his strictness
With a zeal he will not own.

So let's get acquainted with the Real God from the Bible
The God and Father of us all...the God of Grace.

I hope these messages will be a blessing.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I read a story and saw this picture of a woman in Utah. She obviously has been working on her nails for a long time.

But this month, they were broken off in a car accident. She's going to be O.K. but she'll have to start over on her manicure.

Reflecting on this, I realize that it must have been hard for her to do much over the years. My guess is she is NOT a court recorder or a massage therapist or a heart surgeon or a dentist. She likely is not ballerina or a traffic cop or a dog groomer.

It does beg the question. What does she do? Perhaps the answer is "not too much." Perhaps she is a professional fingernail grower.

My prayer today is that we will keep our hands ready to do meaningful work, and not let them become show pieces, good for nothing

Friday, February 20, 2009

Facebook Notes

I've been on Facebook for 12 days now...going on 13. In that time I have connected with 360+ friends that I know or who know me. Some are close and some are distant friends, but it's an amazing thing.

I've been on MySpace for 3-4 years...and in all that time I have amassed 38 friends. I think I'll keep this account...but not do much with it. my adult opinion is much easier and more beneficial for the person looking to stay in touch with their sphere of influence.

A Gift from God

My dear wife, Debbie, and I just returned from enjoying a gift from God.

Last November, we won an overnight stay at the Gaia Hotel in Anderson. We had taken 5 cans of food to the "Turkey Trot" as part of a canned food drive. We received 5 raffle tickets and were thrilled that 2 of our tickets were winners. (We never win anything, you understand.)

One of the prises was this overnight stay.

It had to be used in the next several months, so we made plans to use it during this transition time when Debbie is mostly in Redding and Kris is mostly in Antioch.

The hotel is a GREEN hotel. It has environmental friendly systems and is supposed to have a very small carbon footprint. Our stay included one night in a suite and dinner for two, as well as the included continental breakfast.

The evening meal was delicious, and would have cost $70 had we paid for it. It was in the Swan Lake Bistro. Appetizer Bread, Salads, Entrée, A shared Desert and one drink. We left a tip, and that was the only cash expended for the stay.

That evening, we took a soak in the hotels saline based hot tub. The water was nice and warm, and it felt really good. There were two fountains in the inner area between the three room hubs and the convention center/office/bistro.

The room was spacious.
The bed was very comfy.
The company was exquisite.

We give God praise for this gift from heaven that we could enjoy together and reconnect as a married couple.

We highly recommend that married people continue to date and take mini-honeymoons. We've been doing it for 26 years, and have no plans on quitting.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I just signed up this weekend on Look for me there. Thanks

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


It struck me the other day, as our family transitions to Antioch, California...that I've lived near mountains all my ministry. Such is the beauty and ruggedness of Northern California.

Ukiah - Cow Mountain
Hayfork - Hayfork-Balley
Lakeport - Mt. Knocti
Deer Park - Mt. St. Helena
Redding - Mt Lassen and Mt. Shasta
Antioch - Mt. Diablo

And we're all on our way to Mt. Zion.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Welcome to Antioch

Wow...what a weekend!

It was both stressful and exciting. Who isn't stressed going to a new school or a new job for the first day. Well on this day, our family said "Hello" to our new church family, the Antioch Seventh-day Adventist Church.

We got to our hotel Friday evening, to find flowers and the bulletin and newsletter. (Thank you, Preston and Rose).

The next morning found us arriving early for Sabbath School and Church. The music was awesome, led by a praise band, United in Christ. What a ministry in the church! The worship service continued, with a litany of "Pastoral Installation" led by Elder Mark Woodson, the executive secretary for the Northern California Conference. He introduced our family...yes all 4 of us...Tim came down from PUC for the day (Thanks, Tim) and then there were welcome comments from key church leaders.

The sermon was about Trusting God in the Transitions, lessons from the attitude of Joseph to his of forgiveness and grace, and recognizing that God was behind and in all the events of his life. God blessed in the message, and after church we all sat down to a fantastic planned meal. YUMMY!

Then Preston Fletcher, the head elder and I went out to make a hospital visit. One of our elders wives is in ICU...Please pray for Mary. Then he dropped me off at the hotel, where I got to spend a few minutes with Tim, before he left to return to PUC.

Later...about 4:30 we stopped by for another home visit. My long time friend and brother in ministry had had an operation, and we popped in for a visit and prayer.

Then it was on to Vespers at church, where United in Christ led in more singing, then I read my "Cats" poem and sang the song based on Daniel 2 that my Bible teacher, Bill Millard, wrote when I was in High School.

After vespers, there was a "get acquainted game" where I was asked by the members whay my favorite hobby was. I gave three different answers, (Poetry, Golf and ???) and someone finally won a prize for filling out all their blanks. I didn't have a I was too busy signing other people's forms...and not getting my own signed.

Then there was a 20 min board meeting that I attended, where we discussed a use agreement with a church group called "The Gathering." They want to share the use of our facility, and we hashed out a few details.

Then it was a supper put on by the home and school - Haystacks. Then there was gym night, and Rebekah and I played Basketball.

We crashed into bed at 10:30. What a day. Stressful? Yes. Fun? Yes. A Blessing? Yes.

Thank you, Antioch Family for the wonderful welcome day.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Your Friendly Announcer

Over the past few basketball seasons at our school, I've started announcing the starting lineups...and now doing a little play by play during the game. I play a little music here and there...and try to make it an event.

I've had a microphone in my hand ever since I held a stick and a rope as a toy microphone when I was a child. I've always been "the announcer" in high school and college and beyond.

I guess it was fate and God's call that would put before a microphone each week in the pulpit...announcing for God.

Thanks Lumberjacks...for letting me support the team in this way.

"For your dining pleasure...go get some pizza in the entry way..."


Yesterday was quote a we said good bye to the Redding Church Family.

We were in the foyer for 40 minutes after church, so when we got downstairs..there was no food left for us to eat. We visited for a while...then went home for hotdogs. I then made a brief hospital visit on a member of the Hayfork church, and went home to decrompress for a while.

Six o'clock came quickly, and there were 150 or so members in Smith Hall. It was packed and stuffy, but lots of fun. I hadn't hugged so many people since my wedding! I didn't eat much there either. Something about my stomach doing flip flops.

It's a hard thing to say good bye. I had told the congregation I wouldn't say good bye...just see you later.

There were lots of tears through out the day...and I haven't fully analyzed the source of them...other than they come from having loved and been loved.

I'm very lucky to be so fortunate to be part of a church family.

Thank you Redding for 9 wonderful years. Thank you to the other churches in the area that have also supported us in ministry to the school, church and community. We are better people for having sojourned with you.


Pastor Kris Widmer

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