Contact: June 6, 2012

Montclair Presbyterian Church

Dear Friends,

Last Sunday was quite an experience at MPC! We began with Celebration and because it was the first Sunday of the month it was Family Sunday (which means kids 6 years and older are invited to stay in for the whole time and it also means we have our Family Choir singing) and Communion Sunday. We also celebrated giving the 4th graders their Bibles. Over the years in a variety of churches I have witnessed many 4th graders receiving Bibles. Never before have I been as touched by it as I was last Sunday. Rev. Katie Morrison and the Children and Youth committee put a great deal of thought and intention into the kind of Bible the kids were receiving. They found a “Green” Bible that was made out of recycled materials and that highlighted in green text all of the passages that have to do with care for God’s creation. You might remember the “red letter Bible” that used to be given with all of what were thought to be original words of Jesus in red text. The Green Bible is definitely more MPC’s style. I am so appreciative of the thought and consideration that went into the choosing of the Bible. The other aspect that I found touching was when Katie was describing to the kids why we give Bibles and what we hope they will do with them. She gave them pencils with their Bibles and said as a church we hope they will use them well and write in them and question them and struggle with them. Again, Katie did a beautiful job of reframing a long tradition of giving Bibles. We don’t give them so they can put them on a shelf and forget about them. We give them because through our Godly Play stories we have introduced them to so many Bible stories and we want them to keep wondering and interacting with those stories.

As I was preparing the sermon for last Sunday, I realized that I had a unique opportunity to include the kids in a different way in the sermon. Though you may not realize it, as a preacher I find it takes more time and effort to prepare a sermon that is inclusive of children than to prepare a sermon for adults. Some months I have taken the time and made the effort and other months I have not been able to do so. When I realized the opportunity last Sunday, I decided to take it and I knew it would be risky. My plan was to invite the kids up prior to my sermon and ask them to build the church of the future out of Legos. In my eagerness to preach (eagerness meaning nervousness!), I forgot to invite the kids and then had to pause the sermon to invite them up. What I failed to take into account was the acoustical impact of the Legos being poured out of the bins. Once they were all out and the kids settled into their task, it was much smoother. I also failed to think through how I would get the Legos cleaned up so the Communion Servers would have a clear path. If there is a next time, I will do that part differently. This was something I had decided to do without consulting with the Celebration committee or the Children and Youth committee. I knew when I decided to do it that some of you would be distracted by it and perhaps not like it. Why did I do it if I knew that ahead of time? You have heard me preach before on how we remove our children and youth from worship and then feel surprised in the end when they don’t want to continue going to church once they are teenagers and older. I am committed to at least trying to find a way to include our kids and teenagers in worship. I want them to feel connected and to feel like they are a part of our community rather than “sent away” so we can do real church without them. I know that Katie and our Children and Youth committee are equally committed to finding a way. In order to find our way we will need to do some experimentation. Many of you were open to and appreciative of the experiment last Sunday and gave me great constructive feedback. Thank you! Others of you are going to have a more difficult time seeing and hearing children in our worship time. I understand the desire for a more quiet and reflective time in Celebration and the trick is how to balance all of the various needs and desires. We have to seriously consider our deepest values when we think about our desires and preferences. Is our deepest value that adults would have an opportunity for some peace and quiet during Celebration or is our deepest value that we would include our children in such a way that they will ultimately want to continue connection with a church community as they get older? The two don’t have to be mutually exclusive but it’s not easy to hold them together.

After Celebration more than 90 people gathered to hear the presentation of the Mission Study Team. Many thanks to our Mission Study Team for the interesting and thorough presentation and many thanks to those of you who were able to stay for the presentation. The entire experience on Sunday from Celebration to the presentation and the conversations afterward reminded me, again, of what a fantastic (and quirky!) community you are and how fortunate I am to be with you for this part of your journey.


FROM THE MISSION STUDY TEAM: We were thrilled to have over 90 of you attend our summary report from the information we have gathered. We now begin the final analysis and writing section of our task. The slide show and scripts from the June 3 meeting will be available next week. Look for the link in our article in next week’s Contact. Thank you so much for your participation in helping us with this important project.


Youth Group News: Newspaper Nite was a Fun, Wild Time! Some of our youth had just graduated and others were getting ready to head into finals this week, so we dedicated our youth group last Sunday night to letting off steam. Remember all of those newspapers I’ve been gathering over the last several months? Thanks to those of you who painstakingly stacked and gathered, transported and delivered papers to the church, we had more than enough newspapers to fill the youth room for an evening filled with newspaper games and play. Like the great snowball fight we had on the Spring Retreat, we tossed newspapers in the air and “gently” at one another. We rolled and slid on newspapers; we stuffed newspapers in our shirts and played “bumper people.” We made fabulous newspaper hats and created newspaper armor and swords. Everyone brought their own creative touch. In closing, out of the remaining newspapers, I invited everyone to find a newspaper article that they thought the group should care about. In our closing circle, we shared our articles along with a current event in our own lives that we wanted the group to care about. We then sent one another off into our week. Thank you for your support of helping gather the newspapers and I hope you enjoy the pictures and that they give you a glimpse into the fun time we had! ~Katie

Youth Group Update: All Denver Mission Trip participants are expected to attend a pizza and planning meeting in the youth room from 6-7pm, followed by our end-of-the year regularly scheduled youth group meeting this coming Sunday, June 10 from 7-9pm. Our gathering will include the long-standing tradition of a circle candle ceremony where affirmations are exchanged and the seniors will have the special opportunity to look back and reflect on their six years as a part of the youth group.

Celebrating Our Graduates: We’ll be celebrating the achievements and important milestones of all of our graduates this Sunday, June 10, in Celebration. Those graduating from Elementary School, Middle School, High School, College, and other degree programs are invited to please join in and be a part of the honoring ceremony on Sunday.

Children & Youth Committee: We will be meeting this coming Sunday, June 10, from 12-1:30 pm to plan the summer Godly Play program for our children and youth. Please gather in Room 4 with your bag lunch so we can get started right at noon. I’m looking forward to our time together! ~Katie

Sunday, June 10: GRADUATION SUNDAY – we will honor our graduates, the choir will sing and Rev. Beth will be preaching on the Golden Rule.
Sunday, June 17: Father’s Day – the choir will sing their final Sunday before taking a break for the summer and Rev. Beth will be preaching.
Sunday, June 24: More Light Sunday – Bunny’s choir (Cecilia) will be singing and Rev. Beth will be doing an MPC version of NPR’s “Philosophy Talk.”

CHILDREN’S FOOD BASKET: We’ve had some inquiries about wanting to bag, but not being available during the day. Would anyone be interested in forming a team that bags on Wednesday evenings? We used to have such a team, but it disappeared as members retired and moved to daytime bagging. It can work, and if we added it to our existing teams, we can spread the time commitment over more volunteers, or allow some volunteers to do other things. Please contact Janet Mulshine (; 658-9183) or Ruthann Taylor (; 527-0673) if you (working adults/families with school youth) might be interested so that we can assess the possibility of a new evening team. Thank you for your continued support.

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 are coming 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!

MOVIE NIGHT AT MPC: CASABLANCA, a 1942, B&W film, 103 min, rated PG. As time goes by, one of the best-loved films ever made. Humphrey Bogart is cafe owner, Rich, Ingrid Bergman is lost love, Ilsa, and Paul Henreid is resistance leader, Victor. Their lives and destinies come together in the exotic Moroccan city. Winner of three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, with Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Dooley Wilson, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, and Michael Curtiz directs. Saturday, June 23 at 6:30 in the Thornhill Room. Bring “movie” snacks or beverage. This’ll be terrific!! Bring a hanky. Jeanne Dunn, 510.834.7559.

CAN YOU HELP? Does anyone have a carving knife we might borrow for a week or so?? Kathy’s family is coming! Please call Donna at 299-2075. Thanks!

Back row, left to right: Bunny Stevens, Cindy Gullikson, Bill Neely, Andrew Newell, Joewoen Gregory, Brenda Vallenas
Middle row: Barbara Peters, Marge Nicholson, Marilee Bailey, Mary Smith, May Lee Tong, Virginia Poulton, Sloan White, Julia Gullikson
Front row: Sarah Gray, Hanna McKiernan

• Our high school graduates.
• The Presbytery Meeting on Tuesday, June 12, where we will vote on a new Executive Presbyter.

• All of our graduates.
• All those who have given of their time, talents and energy in the past year to serve our community.

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