Contact: June 27, 2012

Montclair Presbyterian Church

Dear Friends,

What a joy it was to be up at Lake Tahoe for half of last week at Family Camp! Last year I was the speaker and I was doing a great deal of last minute planning even during the week I was up there so I was not nearly as relaxed as I was able to be this year. Katie was in charge of the children and youth program and the speaker was the Rev. Melinda McLain. Peggy Alter was the camp dean. In the time I was there, the first half of the week, we did some storytelling, some body movement, some silent reflection and some learning. After the program time on Monday afternoon, all of those staying in the cabins hosted a “Burning Marshmallow” program which consisted of each cabin choosing a theme and some form of food or beverage and inviting all of the rest of us to join in the fun. There was a beer and darts cabin, a popsicles and poetry cabin, an ice-cream sundae cabin, a tai-chi and family portrait cabin, and a pretzels and Hoop-La cabin. Don’t quote me on any of those descriptions because it could be I am not remembering everything! At any rate, it was fun to go from cabin to cabin and sit and talk and play and eat. On Tuesday evening there was a campfire with s’mores and storytelling. Some of the stories were even too scary for me! Wednesday morning was the group pancake breakfast with our youth in charge of the pancakes. This was Debbie Fallehy’s first year to miss family camp in eons and she was deeply missed! Rumor has it the annual bear finally made its way through camp on Friday – for pictures, ask Allen Todd! Steve McKiernan kept a blog each day that you can read for a much better description of what happened during the week at

Last Sunday in church we celebrated our More Light Sunday (we try to do so once each year) and it felt to me as if our participation in the More Light network is as important as ever. The bi-annual General Assembly will be convening in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, that is) later this week and there are many issues coming up that could have deep and lasting impact on the denomination. While it seems as if that has been true for years, it is uniquely and particularly true this year. If you were not in church on Sunday, you might want to listen to the MPC version of “Philosophy-Talk” that we did in place of the sermon. It was titled “Presbyterian Gay Pride and Prejudice” and featured Bonnie Hamlin, David Siegenthaler, Jean Gregory, Stan Stevens, Pat Hoggatt, Jim Allardice and me. Some of the pertinent and more disturbing issues coming up at GA were mentioned in the “program.” Please pray for those attending the Assembly as commissioners, that they would be open to the movement of the Spirit as they all gather together.

I will be on vacation from June 29 to July 13. You will see me in Celebration on Sunday, July 15th. I will then be on Study Leave from July 16-20. You will see me in Celebration on July 22 when Karen and Chandler Stokes are with us. I am then back and in the office until August 6th. I will be away August 7-11 as I take Anna to college in New York. I am then heading back up to Lake Tahoe for Study Leave from August 12-17th. You will see me in Celebration on August 19th and the Sundays following. Fortunately, we have some wonderful Guest Preachers who will be with us this summer. Please see below for who will be here and when. In addition, Rev. Katie Morrison will be here to cover any pastoral needs or emergencies while I am away. When you are in town this summer, I do hope you will make it a point to be in Celebration. Believe it or not, you are missed when you are not here! You each bring something different to our community life and when you are not here, the community not only misses you, but also misses what you uniquely offer.

Grateful to have another summer with you,

OFFICE WILL BE CLOSED: Please mark your calendars. The church office will be closed on the following days:
Wednesday, July 4th, for the holiday.
Thursday, July 5th the office will be open from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Minda Lucero will be in the office, as Sherrill will be on vacation.
Friday, July 6th and July 13th, Sherrill will be on vacation.

Rev. Katie is on vacation from June 24 – 30. She will return for Celebration on Sunday, July 1st.

Sunday, July 1st:
Family Celebration outside in the Courtyard led by Rev. Katie Morrison with David Siegenthaler preaching! We will celebrate communion together and children ages 6 and older will participate in Celebration.
Sunday, July 8th: Rev. Dr. Carol Miles will be preaching and Rev. Katie Morrison will join her in Celebration.
Sunday, July 15th: Rev. Beth will be in Celebration as we receive New Members and commission our Youth Mission Trip group led by Rev. Katie Morrison. Our preacher will be a graduate of SFTS, Ruth West. Ruth is a candidate for ordination in the PC(USA) through our Presbytery. She graduated with her M.Div. and is now in the Spiritual Direction program at SFTS. She is an exciting preacher and we look forward to having her with us!
Sunday, July 22nd: Rev. Beth will be in Celebration as we welcome back the Revs. Karen and Chandler Stokes. Karen will be preaching and Karen and Chandler will both be providing music.
Sunday, July 29th: Rev. Beth will be preaching and there will be special music.
NOTE: Reminder that Celebration for the month of August will be at 5:00 pm not 10:00 am.

REMINDER OF SUMMER SCHEDULE FOR CONTACT: After this week, 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. Please mark you calendars!

GUNS: An American Tradition, A Community Crisis? The Social Justice Committees invite you to attend an Oakland Tribune panel discussion on “Guns: An American Tradition, A Community Crisis?” The forum will be held 6-8 PM on Thursday, June 28, at Nile Hall, 668 13th St. inside Preservation Park. The panel discussion will focus on:
-what’s being done to address the influx of firearms
-how guns make their way into Oakland
-hurdles authorities face stemming the tide of firearms into Oakland
-what Oaklanders are doing to help address the impacts of gun violence
We will car pool from the church parking lot at 5:15. Questions, contact Jean Gregory, or (510) 635-8838.

CELEBRATION OF LIFE FOR ELSIE COOPER: Elsie Cooper, a member of the MPC family, mother of former pastor Karen Stokes and wife of former pastor Dale Cooper, died peacefully on Monday, June 11th in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 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.

CLOSE TO HOME: Close to Home presents, Return of the Wolf to CA, with Amaroq Weiss of the CA Wolf Center. Mark your calendar for Monday, July 9, 2012 at 7:30pm.

EARLY REMINDER: Our Next Taizé Meditation Service is on July 18. Mark your calendar for the next candlelit Taizé service (as there will be no Contact until the day of the next one), from 7:00-8:00 p.m. on July 18 in the sanctuary, consisting of music, Scripture reading, prayer, and silence. Come and experience the meditative power and rejuvenating energy of Taizé worship! For child care (available upon request), contact the office by July 13

SAVE THE DATE: Storytellers’ Summer Open Mic Brunch has been moved to Sunday, July 29th at 11:30 am in the Thornhill Room. It’s a perfect time to share your own stories, poems, experiences and memories on any theme. If you have any questions, contact Margret Irvin (510)243-1114.

WOMEN & COMMUNITY COMING THIS FALL: This fall’s women’s retreat will be held in the stunningly inspiring yet serene Mill Valley setting of the Ralston White retreat center. Save the dates: October 19-21. Registration will open in early September. Don’t miss this chance to get to know more of the remarkable women of MPC. Lots of opportunity to play & pray, reflect & connect.

THANK YOU FROM MARK AND JAN SMITH: Dear MPC friends, Mark and I made a hurried and yet extended departure from Oakland — not unlike Israelites high-tailing it out of Egypt only to spend years shuffling crankily about the desert. In our case, though, only one of us was cranky and our travels, counted in months, were mostly up and down I-5 in a Volkswagen. But now our little Oakland house has been rented, and we are at last living in San Diego, so we wish to say goodbye and thanks to you, the people who became our faith community during our time in the East Bay. Because of Mark’s work as a military chaplain, we often are on the receiving end of a lot of sympathy for moving so often. But we would like to propose that staying is in many ways more difficult than leaving. After all, it is because of people who stayed that there was a Montclair Presbyterian Church for us to visit. And it is because of people who stayed that we entered across a bridge and through a beautiful garden into a sacred space filled with light and music. Staying through the difficult times may be even harder than leaving in the good times. So thank you for literally being there for us. We appreciate your many expressions of friendship and good wishes upon our leaving, and we gratefully reflect them back to you. I will always remember the kindness extended to me when my mother died, and also the many fun evenings spent with friends. The pastoral leadership of Karen, and now Beth, is not easily replicated we are finding! This is yet another reason for us to be grateful for our time at MPC. We think of you often and with fondness look forward to seeing you again, and wish you abundant blessings as you continue God’s good work in Oakland! Jan and Mark Smith

LOOKING FOR SUMMER WORK! Mariah Carray is looking for babysitting, catering, and other work to make a little extra money before she goes off to college next year. She can help serve, set up and/ or clean up at parties. She will babysit day or night, so you and your sweetheart can go on a well-deserved date-night. Additionally, she would love to do other various tasks.
Contact Mariah at: or (510)-299-9053.

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR OWN JIM ALLARDICE: Congratulations to Jim Allardice who had a short story published in the magazine, Folio, this month. In January, The Literary Review published another one of his stories. In the past few years he’s had stories in The Iowa Review, the Blue Mesa Review, the Northridge Review, and Witness.

THANK YOU FROM AMY AND STEVE BESS: Amy and Steve Bess want to thank all of you who have sent cards, flowers, and good wishes. Amy hopes to go home either Thursday or Friday of this week. She said they do not need help at this time but will let you know if that changes.

• Peggy Alter as she has carpal tunnel surgery on Thursday of this week.
• Amy Bess as she recovers from surgery and needs to have pain and nausea controlled before she can go home and for Steve, her husband, as he cares for her.
• Those on all sides of the issues in the Presbyterian Church who have made it a practice to judge others.
• Jackie Giffin’s mom as she has turned 100, is now living in Manor Care in Concord, and is confused and anxious some of the time and for Jackie’s family as they care for her.
• The General Assembly that convenes later this week and for all those who are attending as commissioners and advocates.
• Gretchen Garlinghouse as she recovers from surgery.

• The sheer joy of Family Camp
• Friends and family who cared for Bud as he went through angioplasty and is doing well.
• The success of May Tong’s knee replacement surgery.
• Bunny Stevens and her work with the singing group “Cecilia” who sang for us on Sunday.
• A new hire who seems to be working out quite well at work for Rosanne.
• Kathy and Arthur Horn who have been able to lay some new locomotive track at their new home in El Sobrante.

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