Contact: June 14, 2012

Montclair Presbyterian Church

Dear Friends,

Isn’t it amazing how when the weather turns warm we naturally desire to slow down, be outside, travel, spend time with family and friends and generally unplug a bit? This week is the first week I have felt that desire so strongly. Our past year here at Montclair has been full. June is a month when we begin to wind down for a minute prior to gearing up again in August for another program year. So far we have not wound down much, but after last night’s Session meeting, the slowing will begin.

Last night’s meeting had a PACKED agenda. The Session approved a hunger grant for $5000 that we will submit to the Presbytery for funding for the Children’s Food Basket. Many thanks to Nancy Murr for writing the grant and to Janet Mulshine for supplying a great deal of information for the grant. We’ll keep you posted as to whether we receive the funding. The Session met with Cynthia Cudaback who will be joining the church soon along with Marilee Niemi and Anita Bowers. Cynthia grew up in this church and is deeply appreciative of the diversity of theology represented here and the space for those theologies. Al Peters reported to the Session on how the budget has been balanced for the coming year. We are grateful to the stewardship committee for their excellent work and to all of you for responding as you have been able to funding our programs for the coming year. Liam Gray reported on the External Giving Grant Recipients. The recipients of the $5000 grants are: Faith Network of the East Bay, Oakland School for the Arts, East Bay Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice (EBASE), Rebuild Southern Africa Association, and Roots of Empathy. There is a sixth organization as well but it is pending more information. Liam chaired the External Giving Grant Committee and teamed up with Helen Hutchison, Jean Gregory, Eloise Gilland, Sari Kulberg, Sue Davies, and Stacy Canzoneri. Thanks to the committee for their hard work. Gretchen Garlinghouse and Janet Mulshine represented the Mission Study Team to do a check-in with the Session to be sure they are on track for completing the Mission Study Report. Bill Neely, as the new chairperson of the Membership and Outreach Committee, submitted a list of names to the Session of people to be moved to the inactive member list, to be transferred to other churches, and to be removed from the church rolls (usually at the request of the member).

The Children and Youth Committee, represented by Linda Spencer, co-chair, and the Personnel Committee, represented by Leslie Louie, chair, presented a proposal for a new position for the nursery for Sunday mornings titled “Nursery Head Teacher.” The Children and Youth Committee has been working hard to find ways to make our nursery more hospitable. We have many young families who visit our church and the nursery is one of the most important places/experiences for those who come with young children. They would like to create an environment that welcomes them to church rather than just provides daycare. The Session approved the position and the position description will be posted in a number of places. If you have people to refer, please contact Linda or Leslie. Our youth have been doing a fine job of keeping our nursery going and all 3 of our youth caregivers have graduated from high school this year and are moving on to their next adventures. Please be sure to thank Phoebe Lett, Rosa Chiguila and Julia Gullikson.

The Celebration Committee proposed to Session that for our August Celebrations we move the services to 5:00 pm followed by a potluck dinner each Sunday. This would be INSTEAD OF the 10 am services on those Sundays. The Session passed the proposal unanimously and thanked the Celebration Committee for the creative idea. In their proposal, the Celebration Committee mentioned that in August our attendance usually declines by 18% and they wanted to find a way to re-energize our August services. The proposal also mentioned the advantages of freeing up Sunday mornings to allow some of our members to visit other churches (as we continue to figure out how we are alike and different from other Presbyterian churches as well as to observe some innovative worship approaches other churches have implemented), to engage in some outreach at the Montclair Farmer’s Market (Bill Neely has volunteered to walk around wearing a sandwich board – please give him more ideas!), and to extend an invitation to those for whom the morning time does not work (namely, teenagers and young adults). The Session acknowledged last evening that change of any kind can be very difficult and if you are a person for whom that is true, we want to care for you however we can as you manage this temporary change. We will work very hard to let everyone know about the change in TIME for August. A banner will be hung in front of the church, we will do articles for the Montclair and Piedmont papers, and we will change our website to reflect the time change. What can you do? You can support the change by coming to 5 pm Celebration in August! You can invite people who have never come before to the 5 pm service and the potluck – what a great way to experience the Montclair church community! You can ask Bill Neely how you can help with the outreach at the Montclair Farmer’s Market on Sunday mornings. Please contact Sherrill in the office if you will need help getting to the 5 pm services or getting home after the potluck dinners.

Toward the end of the almost 3 hour meeting last evening, the Session discussed the questions we ask for membership. There is a difference between the questions we are supposed to ask for membership (according to the Book of Order) and the questions we actually ask. We are trying to find ways to bridge the two so the substance remains without the limited language and a more narrow theology. As you might imagine, it is not as easy as it sounds! After some discussion, we have decided to take it up again in August after giving it more thought and allowing for more discussion. The goal is for the Session to be involved in what we hope will be an established set of questions so it is not just up to the pastor to decide what to ask. We will update you as more discussion occurs. If you have thoughts or want to participate in the discussion, you are welcome to talk with any of the Session members or with me.

Next week Katie and I will be up at Family Camp in Lake Tahoe. If you have an emergency, please contact Sherrill in the office and she will know who to call and where to direct the need.

May love and rest and peace be our companions this summer,

NOTE: The Wednesday Bible Study is pausing for the summer and will resume in September.

FROM THE MISSION STUDY TEAM: The slide show and scripts from the June 3rd Congregational Gathering are now available on the MPC website. Click on the link below. Thank you so much for your participation in helping us with this important project.


SAVE THE DATE FOR RECREATION VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL 2012!! Back by popular demand this year is the Second Annual College Avenue/Fruitvale/Montclair Presbyterian Churches’ partnering effort for the Recreation Vacation Bible School. This year’s event is from August 20-24th and will be held at College Avenue Presbyterian Church in Rockridge. Revs Katie Morrison, Monte McLain and Abby King Kaiser are joining together along with Oakland artists to provide a fabulous week for our Kindergarten through 8th graders. Each day begins at 8:30 am with registration and ends at 4:00 pm. The days include worship with energetic singing, bible stories, art class, break, lunch, gardening, community service and a wrap-up of the day’s work/play. The week culminates with a potluck dinner and “Gallery” reception. If you want to hear from one of our MPC children who attended last year about how awesome the week was, let us know and we’ll give you some names. For registration information, contact Sherrill in the MPC office at 510-339-1131 or

CELEBRATING LINDA AND BOB SPENCER: One of the ways Linda and Robert Spencer marked their 25th Wedding Anniversary two weeks ago was to formally renew their vows in the presence of the Northern California Bishop of the Episcopal Church during the Thursday Holy Eucharist service at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. I had the great honor and pleasure of representing our MPC community at the service, which was moving and heart-felt. They renewed their vows alongside dear friends (and former MPC member, Julia McCray-Goldsmith and her husband). How wonderful it was to meet them and to be able to be witness to two magnificently loving couples renewing their vows, with integrity and prophetic PUNCH! (Several powerful statements were made about the importance of marriage equality). It was a blessed, sunny, Thursday afternoon in (extra)ordinary time! Please join me in saying “Amen!” to the Spencer’s renewed and loving relationship. ~Rev. Katie Morrison

Rev. Katie will be away at Family Camp June 16 – 23 and then on vacation from June 24 – 30. She will return for Celebration on Sunday, July 1st.

Sunday, June 17: The Chestnut Choir will be singing and Rev. Beth will be preaching on “The Now Gospel.”
Sunday, June 24: We will celebrate More Light Sunday! Bunny Stevens’ group, Cecilia, will be guest musicians and Rev. Beth will re-create NPR’s “Philosophy Talk.”
Sunday, July 1: Family Sunday with Celebration outside in the courtyard! Preacher to be announced later. At 1 pm there will be a Celebration of Life for Elsie Cooper followed by a reception in the Family Room.
Sunday, July 22: Rev. Karen Stokes will be preaching and Revs. Karen and Chandler Stokes will provide music.
Sunday, August 5: Celebration begins at 5 pm followed by a potluck! Family Sunday and Rev. Beth will be preaching.
Sunday, August 12: Celebration continues at 5 pm with a Guest Preacher!
Sunday, August 19: Celebration continues at 5 pm and the Youth will present their Mission Trip Experience in Denver, CO, on “The Root Causes Of Poverty.”
Sunday, August 26: Celebration continues at 5 pm, followed by a potluck dinner. Rev. Beth will be preaching.
NOTE: We have tried to list any special services. Guest preachers are still being asked and we will publish the schedule soon!

CHOIR REHEARSAL CANCELLED: There will be no choir rehearsal tonight, Thursday, June 14. Chestnut Choir will meet at 9:15 am on Sunday.

CHESTNUT CHOIR THIS SUNDAY: All singers are invited to join the Choir for Chestnut Choir this Sunday. We will meet at 9:15 in the sanctuary. Old-timers, newcomers–everyone is welcome!

SUMMER SCHEDULE FOR CONTACT: After June 27th, Contact will not be published weekly. Instead, Contact will be sent out on the following dates: July 18th, August 1st, and August 15th. We will resume weekly publications on September 5th. The next deadline will be Tuesday, July 17th, at 3 pm.

CELEBRATION OF LIFE FOR ELSIE COOPER: Elsie Cooper, a member of the MPC family (as well as the mother of former pastor Karen Stokes and wife of former pastor Dale Cooper) died peacefully on Monday, June 11th in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She had suffered from dementia for several years, along with the health issues that accompany this condition. Elsie’s family will be gathering here at MPC to celebrate her life on Sunday, July 1st at 1:00 pm, with a reception in the Family Room following the service. All of her MPC friends are welcome to join in this celebration. If you would like to be in contact with Karen, her address is: 27 Library St NE #803, Grand Rapids MI 49503,

FAMILY CAMPERS: Bring Stories for our Tuesday night story night around the campfire. If you have a particularly good story you can tell or read, please bring it along. I am saving one for you that I learned from “The Inner Sanctum” radio program when I was your age. It’s pretty spooky. Peggy Alter

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN URBAN FARMING? If you have an interest in this growing phenomenon and think it would be good to have a speaker at MPC, contact Brad Hestir.

NEXT TAIZÉ MEDITATION SERVICE ON JUNE 20: Give thanks for the Summer Solstice – come to the next candlelit Taizé service, 7:00-8:00 p.m., June 20 in the sanctuary, consisting of music, Scripture reading, prayer, and silence. It’s a chance to stop time momentarily, quiet the noise, and re-connect with the still small voice of God’s presence.

TASK FORCE MEETING: The Bylaws Task Force will meet on Monday, June 25, at 7 p.m. in Room 10. If you have questions or would like to participate, please contact Susanne Lea or Tom Davies.

PAPER BAG ALERT! Please continue to bring brown paper bags to the Family Room for use in the Children’s Food Basket program. Although we have come to the end of the school year, we are practically out of paper bags and we need to build up a good supply over the summer for the next year. Thank you for your continued support!

• The family of Carol Wolleson’s brother-in-law, Ron, who died recently.
• Tamara Lett’s parents and Tamara’s family as Tamara’s father was recently diagnosed with cancer and is now on hospice care.
• Karen Stokes and her family as they grieve the death of Karen’s mom, Elsie Cooper.
• Francie and Rod Chan’s grandson, Kyle, who is being sent to Afghanistan.
• The family and friends of Wendy Patillos, who died earlier this week.
• Peggy and Don Alter’s daughter-in-law.
• For those in various stages of breast cancer and other cancers.
• For those graduating from high school and transitioning to college and jobs.
• Safe travels as people take vacations.

• Tom Debley’s dream of being an artist is coming true as he will have a 3 month photography exhibit next year!
• Family Camp.
• Family and friends who nurture and care for us.

Fri, June 15 12:15 – 1:15pm      Alanon – Thornhill Room
Mon, June 18 8:00 – 9:00am     Seniors’ Exercise Class – Family Room
Mon, June 18 7:00 – 8:00pm    Men’s Team – Thornhill Room
Mon, June 18 7:00 – 9:00pm    Social Justice Committee Meeting – Room 10
Wed, June 19 8:00 – 9:00am     Seniors’ Exercise Class – Family Room
Wed, June 20 7:00 – 8:00pm     Taizé Prayer Service – Sanctuary
Thurs, June 21 11:00-12:30pm Life Story Writing Class – Thornhill Room

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
Allen Todd & Lori Kendall: Sound Technicians