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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill Road home April 27 and...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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Religious institutions chart path for wandering travelers

It is not uncommon for people today to express an interest in spirituality but eschew the church or other religious institutions. This is like expressing an interest in cruises but not wanting anything to do with ships.

Religious institutions can go terribly wrong – as can the occasional cruise ship. And some passengers can occasionally behave in unspeakable ways. But without ships, there are no cruises.

What happens in the bowels of the ship may not seem especially noble. But without the steel girders and boilers and generators and kitchens, without the navigational charts and waste management, there can be no cruise.

Religious institutions – churches, synagogues, mosques and temples – are the infrastructure that provides the opportunity for spirituality. They preserve the stories from the ancient texts that call us to a deeper awareness of ourselves and our obligations to one another. They provide the institutions for teachers and mystics and those we have come to call saints. They provide the images that feed great art. They provide the patterns of life we dismiss as ritual but are the fabric from which great spirituality is woven.

The Christian practice of Holy Communion can be seen as mere ritual, but those who ponder the spiritual significance of this act see a profound reality: The central act of the Christian community is sharing bread. In a world where little bread is shared, this is a profound act of faith and hope and ethical formation, not just mere words.

Religious institutions tell the stories from which noble deeds arise. We use the term “Good Samaritan,” but it would have no meaning apart from the story Jesus told. And would we feel the obligation to be Good Samaritans without such stories? At the very least, these stories give us a common language for our best ideals.

Religious organizations are made up of human beings, so all the glory and shame of human beings can be found there. But they should be judged on that to which they aspire, not how well they have attained it. We cheer a child’s soccer game knowing the children are learning a sport, not because they have perfected it.

Religious institutions should be respected and supported for what they try to do: Teach a way of life that speaks of humility before the mystery of existence and compassion for others on this spiritual journey of life.

The Rev. David K. Bonde is pastor of Los Altos Lutheran Church, 460 S. El Monte Ave. For more information, call 948-3012 or visit losaltoslutheran.org.

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