Contact: April 12, 2012

Montclair Presbyterian Church

Dear Friends,

What a beautiful celebration we had on Easter morning! When Al Flood was telling me after the service that Sunday was their 41st year straight playing for the Easter service here at Montclair, it brought tears to my eyes. Forty-One years of infusing the service with energy and love and wonderful music! What a gift the Barrelhouse Jazz Band is to our community! As always, I found myself missing Chuck McLain, trombone player and singer extraordinaire. We look forward to having the band back in September for our Labor Day Sunday celebration.

Many of you noticed the pews had been moved slightly so they were on an angle. In the welcome I mentioned they were designed to create a feeling of “disorientation” to recreate the emotions of the followers of Jesus after they had found the tomb empty. Honestly, that was the reason for the timing of moving the pews. To be completely transparent, however, I have been wanting to move them for quite some time. In fact, my original plan included moving them much more drastically than simply angling them slightly. Part of my desire to move them was in order to create in our worship space what we claim is such a vital part of who we are – community. When the pews are in their regular rows, it is very difficult to get the sense of community. Looking at the back of someone’s head is entirely different than seeing someone’s face! By angling them slightly, a row can look and see other faces across the aisle. So far the feedback I have received has been very positive.

If you attended on Sunday you would have noticed how many visitors we had and how many of those visiting were younger than 50. We owe great thanks to those of you who invited friends and family and to some people who I think were responsible for getting the word of invitation out into the community. First, huge thanks to Steve McKiernan for his vision of partnering with Kathleen at A Great Good Place for Books in the Montclair Village. He approached Kathleen and talked with her about partnering with us so that we would provide a large venue and she would provide authors who would come and do book readings and talks. Steve sought approval from the Session last year and Session wholeheartedly supported his vision. As providence would have it, Anne Lamott was the first author and she just happened to be scheduled for Wednesday of Holy Week! The timing was perfect! We had a packed house on Wednesday of last week for Anne Lamott’s appearance and many of those who came are local and are in the younger demographic. Steve allowed me to do the welcome for the evening and I was able to invite everyone to come for our Easter morning celebration and our Eco-Friendly Egg Hunt! Anne Lamott said she was going to invite everyone to her church but that I had beat her to it. Several of our visitors on Sunday morning mentioned they had come because of having been at the Anne Lamott event. Steve worked tirelessly to put the whole thing together and he is living proof that sometimes we just have to think outside the box as we contemplate how to open our doors to people who aren’t in the habit of going to church. Thanks, Steve! And thanks to everyone who helped with that evening.

The second person we need to thank is Katie Morrison. Katie also had a vision for how to invite people in for Easter and when she told me about her idea of the Eco-Friendly Egg Hunt, I was all for it! Katie did a fabulous job of researching and finding products to use, organizing and involving the youth, creating beautiful graphics for advertising, and ordering a great banner to use in the front of the church. Thanks, Katie! Thanks, Montclair Church Family Youth Group! And thank you to the angels who helped pay for it as well as those who pitched in to make it all work. The overwhelming turnout of families with children was exhilarating!

A third thank you goes to our talented tech group who not only makes sure, along with Sherrill, that our website is current and up to date but who also create Google ad words and the like so that when people get on the internet to search for Easter services, our church website comes up. They work hard behind the scenes mostly and they have brought us into the 21st century. Thanks, tech working group!

Our final (but definitely not last as the thank you’s extend far and wide in this congregation) thank you goes to our children’s and adult choirs and Kim and Marcia for the spectacular music they provided for Easter (and on every Sunday they sing). One of our visitors told me after the service that she spent a year in Africa and she was so pleased to hear a song sung in Swahili on Easter! Someone else mentioned that a church in Berkeley is looking for a choir director and Kim’s name came up and the person said Kim was off limits. We treasure our talented musicians.

For each of you who were with us in body or in spirit on Easter, I give thanks.

Dear MPC Family,

Wow! What joyful Easter celebrating we did last Sunday! The music and the smiling faces, the toe tapping and the fullness of the morning is reverberating in my spirit. I loved how well you received the Easter wave. Everyone seemed to participate fully as section after section got up and proclaimed their Easter declaration: Christ is alive! Joy is alive! Hope is alive! The church is alive! We are alive! In response to the wonderful sermon message. But wait… there was more joy to follow. Our youth happily hid eco-friendly Easter eggs throughout the courtyard and patio area in eager anticipation of the children arriving for their hunt. Bunny baskets were lined up on the table ready for welcoming our little ones, familiar and new. “Here they come!” I said, signaling the youth to get ready.

This was no ordinary egg hunt. We lifted up our values as a community saying to the children who were lined up with their bunny bags, “This is not a competition, everyone will get five eggs, and there is enough for all, let’s help each other out, and be sure to have a really good time.”

All in all, we welcomed at least 40 children at our eco-friendly egg hunt, and what a joy it was to be together in that courtyard with all of the sights of children at play, sounds of music and laughter and people meeting for the first time, tastes of strawberries, cookies, and cider, and the sense that we were participating in beloved community.

As a friend of mine wrote to me just yesterday, “Hang onto the joy and surprise of Easter as long as you can!”

~Rev. Katie Morrison

P.S. Please keep the youth group and our team of advisors in your prayers this coming weekend as we travel to Zephyr Point in Tahoe for our Spring Retreat. Snow is being predicted!

Easter Sunday at Montclair Presbyterian Church

Sunday, April 15: Rev. Beth will be preaching with the Choir singing.
Sunday, April 22: Earth Day Celebration with Rev. Beth preaching and a brief presentation by Solar Mosaics. The Choir will sing an earth day anthem!
Sunday, April 29: One of the after-school performance groups from destiny Arts will help us celebrate! Rev. Beth will be preaching a shorter sermon (hope is alive!).

NEW GRANDPARENTS! Jim and Anita Allardice wish to share their joy at the birth of their granddaughter, Abigail Lane Allardice, who was born on Monday, April 9, in Berkeley.

CELEBRATION OF LIFE FOR BOB STEWART: DATE CHANGE – be sure to mark your calendar! Bob Stewart’s Celebration of Life will be Sunday, May 6th at 3:00 pm with a reception to follow in the Family Room.

CLAIRE CHAPIN’S MEMORIAL: Claire Chapin’s Memorial is scheduled for Saturday, April 21 at 11:00 a.m. at the Chabot Space & Science Center located within Redwood Park at 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland 94619. See the website for driving instructions. There is additional free parking at the back of the building. Arrangements have been made for no entrance fee for memorial guests.

Hello Again, MPC LEARNERS!!! You’re invited – encouraged – to attend two Adult Ed seminars this coming Sunday: the first, of course, is the seminar on the Gospel of Mark that had a great start on Sunday, April 1 and did not meet last Sunday because of Easter. The seminar meets in the Thornhill Room at 8:30am, and is led by retired Professor Anne Wire.

And, dear LEARNERS, you’re also invited to the “More Science and Religion” seminar that begins this coming Sunday, April 15, in the Thornhill Room, 3:30pm to 5:00pm. The seminar, led by the Rev. Dr. John Turpin, will meet on four successive Sundays and at each meeting will view a video on the theme by a well-known thinker and then participate in a discussion of the video and the questions it raises for participants.

MEMBER EXPLORATION MEETING!! The Membership Committee is excited to offer two opportunities to explore membership with our church. We would love to have you visit with us on either Wednesday evening (Time to Be Announced), April 25th or Sunday afternoon (TTBA), April 29th. This is a chance for you to learn more about MPC and for us to learn more about you! It will be a time of relaxed informal sharing to answer questions you may have about the life of our community. Please contact Rev. Beth in the church office or Bill Neely, Chair of Membership (510) 531-1361.

WORKING TO END GUN VIOLENCE: Our church is working through our association with OCO on much needed violence prevention in Oakland. Recently, Barbara Peters and Sari Kulberg participated in an OCO meeting of clergy & leaders with OPD Chief Howard Jordon and ATF agent Scott Thompson. A new ATF program to get shooters off the streets was discussed. If you are interested in more information or in getting involved with us on this issue, contact Community Connection Chair, Betsy King, at 510-268-8488 or or Barbara Peters at 510-654-9677 or Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims of the mass shooting and with all those who have lost loved ones to gun violence in our city.

REMINDER: The MPC External Giving Committee is now soliciting requests for the 2012 External Giving Grants. We invite organizations to apply for a one-year grant by May 1, 2012. Each applying organization must have a contact person at MPC to facilitate communication about grant procedures, so pass the word on to organizations with whom you or your committee have developed a relationship. Application forms must be received by the church office by May 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm. If you have any questions, email the External Giving Committee Chair, Liam Gray at

JOINING HANDS BOLIVIA PARTNERSHIP IN THE NEWS! If you would like to hear how our Cascades partners felt about the February delegation to Bolivia, here is a link to the March 2012 Joining Hands Newsletter. It also has updates on Joining Hands partnerships in Cameroon, Egypt, El Salvador (new), India, Lesotho, and Peru. Enjoy! Did you know that the One Great Hour Of Sharing offering also supports Joining Hands, a Mission initiative of the Presbyterian Hunger Program?

NEXT TAIZÉ MEDITATION SERVICE APRIL 18: Treat yourself to a refreshing break in your week, amidst the slings, arrows, clanging, clamor, traffic jams, repulsive politics, and general frenzy of urban life! Mark your calendar and save 7:00-8:00 p.m. on April 18 in the sanctuary for the monthly (3rd Wednesday) candlelight Taizé meditation service consisting of music, scripture reading, prayer, and silence. The meditative songs will help you access the inner peace and serenity that may sometimes be in hiding. For child care (available upon request), contact the office by April 13.

NEW BEGINNINGS: STORYTELLERS OPEN MIC BRUNCH: Don’t miss our upcoming Open Mic brunch on Sunday, April 29 at 11:30 in the Thornhill Room. Come read, tell or just listen to original works on the theme of new beginnings – or on any other topic that strikes your fancy. Come eat as well. All ages welcome. Join us for this delightful free event.

99% SPRING ACTION TRAINING: In recent years, millions have lost their jobs, homes have been foreclosed, and an unconscionable number of children live in poverty. We must confront the greed and manipulation of our democracy and our economy by a minority of the 1%. From April 9-15, in all parts of the country, 100,000 people will be trained to tell the story of what happened to our economy, learn the history of non-violent direct action, and use that knowledge to take action in local campaigns to bring about needed change. A group from our church is attending a training class on Saturday, April 14th. All those who are interested, please contact Barbara Peters, Social Justice Committee Chair, at 510-654-9677 or Sponsoring organizations include: Pico National Network (OCO is an affiliate), Corporate Accountability International, Civic Action, and New Bottom Line.

FREE SPRING CONCERT: Come listen to the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir’s FREE Annual Spring Concert, Faiths in Harmony, at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern CA, 1433 Madison St Oakland. They will be joined by the Jewish Folk Ensemble, Vocolot. When: Saturday, April 14th from 7:30-9pm. Price: FREE.

POSITION AVAILABLE: First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley is seeking a director for Stephen Ministry. To apply: complete the First Pres job application form, found at: and send it, along with a resume and cover letter, to Bonnie Rauscher, Human Resources Manager, by April 29, 2012. You may apply by email to

• Sari’s friend Marsha who had a stroke.
• Bill Neely’s friend who is suffering from anxiety and all who suffer from the same.
• Marjorie Moser’s family and friends who are grieving her death.
• Francie and Rod’s daughter and her family.
• High school seniors who are awaiting financial aid decisions.
• Kit’s niece, Sophia, who volunteers with Hospice and for the patients she visits.
• That all who are able will vote so together we can create a better future for our grandchildren.
• The families and friends of the students who were injured or murdered at the Oikos School in Oakland.
• Virginia Abascal who recently found out she has a heart problem.
• Those who are without basic necessities.

• Family.
• For a trip to Florida to see family over spring break.
• All of our high school and college students who are with us for Easter.
• Virginia Abascal was finally granted a permit by the city of Berkeley to rebuild her house.
• Food, water, shelter, joy and family.
• Jim’s new hip.
• Walking.

DEADLINES: To submit announcements for the bulletin and Contact, please send them to The deadline for Contact is Tuesdays at 3 pm, and the deadline for the bulletin is Wednesdays at 12 noon.

MPC Calendar:

5701 Thornhill Drive, Oakland, California 94611, (510)339-1131
Office Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Rev. Beth Buckingham-Brown, Office hours Monday-Wednesday, 10:00 am-4:00 pm
Sherrill Figuera: Administrative Assistant, Office hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-4:30 pm
Rev. Katie Morrison: Coordinator for Children, Youth, & Family Life, Office hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 10:00 am-4:00 pm
Kim Rankin: Music Director
Marcia Roy: Organist
Gil & Maria Chiguila: Caretakers
Rev. John Hadsell: Theologian in Residence
Rev. Kathy Ray: Parish Associate
George Somers, Artist in Residence