Contact: May 30, 2012

Montclair Presbyterian Church

Dear Friends,

Last night we had a Special Called Session Meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss what our Committee on Ministry representative, Rev. Monte McLain, presented at our May meeting related to the Pastoral Search. The Session focused on making decisions about 3 aspects of the Search: which call process to use, the number of members on the Pastor Nominating Committee, and the make-up and characteristics of the people who serve on the committee. Two members of the Mission Study Team attended the meeting as it was an open meeting. The Session voted early on to give them “voice” during the meeting. It was a good reminder to all of us about what a difference it makes to people who are not serving on Session to attend a meeting to get a sense for who is on the Session and the thoughtfulness of its deliberations. The visitors remarked during the reflection time at the end how helpful it had been to them to be there and they encouraged the Session members to invite people to future meetings. Consider yourselves invited to any of the monthly Session meetings! Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, June 13th (an unusual meeting day and time due to graduation conflicts).

The first item of discussion centered on which path to pursue for the pastor search. The options presented were a regular full search for an installed pastor or to search for a designated pastor. Both options involve a Pastor Nominating Committee. There are two main differences with the designated route: First a designated pastor is called for a designated term (anywhere from 3-5 years). At the end of the term, the pastor and the church decide whether to renew the term, issue a call for an undesignated term (translation: a regular call), or end the relationship at which point the church would then seek another designated pastor (without having to redo the Mission Study). Second, to call a designated pastor means the Committee on Ministry of the Presbytery designates 3 people from their committee to do all of the screening of candidates. The only candidates that are then considered by the Pastor Nominating Committee are those who have been “pre-approved” by the Committee on Ministry. In a regular search the COM has to give final approval of the candidate selected but with a designated search they are heavily involved on the front end rather than giving their approval at the tail end. Rev. Monte McLain told the Session that the main reasons churches decide to seek designated pastors are as follows: it usually takes less time, it is helpful with racial-ethnic churches, it makes sense for many small, struggling churches, and it can be helpful for churches that have experienced a difficult relationship with a pastor. Park Boulevard Presbyterian Church (one of our neighbor churches) recently decided to seek a designated pastor because their last pastor was a mis-match and they want to ensure they don’t go through that difficult experience again.

As you have probably guessed by now, the Session voted to engage in a regular full search for an installed pastor! The designated pastor option raised concerns about control of the search process as well as what would naturally be a smaller pool of candidates.

The next item of discussion was related to the size and make-up of the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC). The Session voted for a committee of 9 people without alternates. The original motion was for 7 people and 2 alternates and then after discussion about how the alternates had to be included from the beginning anyway, the Session decided to make it a committee of 9 with the knowledge that it is always a possibility that one or two people could end up dropping out along the way. The Mission Study Team visitors provided valuable input on committee size.

Along with the decision to elect a committee of 9 people, the Session asked that there be 3 definite groups represented by at least one person: a Session member, a member of the Mission Study Team and a parent of school-aged children. There was in depth conversation regarding the diversity needed and the fact that the people selected need to have broad knowledge and appreciation for the diversity of interests in the congregation as well as the diversity of theological perspectives. A great deal of conversation revolved around the characteristics needed in those who are selected as well as some practical skills. For example, the 9 people need to play well with others; be computer users; be insightful and perceptive; able to understand and speak for a broad range in the congregation; be good listeners; be heavily involved in the life of the church; and be curious. The practical skills needed are an administrator, an organizer, a mediator, someone with secretarial capabilities, and a facilitator.

The Session has asked the church nominating committee (chaired by Debbie Fallehy) to follow a similar process that was used in selecting the Mission Study Team. The nominating committee will create a list of 30 names. Those names will be brought to the Session. The Session will narrow the list down to 15 or so and the names will be prioritized. The nominating committee will make phone calls and create the list of 9 names. Those names will then be brought to all of you in a congregational meeting for your vote. You end up selecting the final slate.

The Session would like to request that if you want to nominate someone for the PNC, please first ask that person if they would be willing to serve and if they are, then give the name to Debbie Fallehy to take to the nominating committee. If you would like to nominate yourself, please follow the same process. While the nominating committee cannot guarantee that you or someone you nominate will end up on the final slate, they will guarantee that they will seriously consider you or that person. According to procedure, the nominating committee should take nominations from the floor as well. While we cannot prevent any of you from nominating someone from the floor during the congregational meeting, the Session is requesting that you make those nominations ahead of time in order to respect the arduous and lengthy process the nominating committee will go through in order to end up with a balanced slate. If you want to nominate someone else or self-nominate, please get those names to Debbie Fallehy by July 15th, 2012.

Excited about this next part of the journey,

FROM THE MISSION STUDY TEAM: Don’t miss our FINAL Congregational Gathering on Sunday, June 3, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm. Bring your own lunch. Again, we will provide fruit, granola bars, and beverages. The Team will share some of the learnings and questions for further consideration culled from previous congregational gatherings, our survey, and research from our task subgroups. The Team appreciates the participation and input of the congregation over the past eight months as we have engaged in dialogue in previous gatherings. The Team is beginning to distill a mass of information. Please join us on June 3 for an “in-process” report-out!

Let us remind you of the journey we have taken together. Here is the list of questions addressed in previous gatherings.
10/02/11 – What is most important to me about MPC? What do I worry most about when I think about MPC? If I could change one thing about MPC, what would it be?
11/13/11 – History/past identity: When did you arrive at MPC? (Not necessarily when people joined) What brought you here? What are three highlights (or experiences that resulted in your feeling closer to the PC community) from your time here at MPC? What are up to three things that resulted in your experience of distress here at MPC?
01/22/12 – Identity in greater depth: How would you describe MPC to someone who doesn’t know us? What are the characteristics that are core to our identity? Who are we today as a community of faith?
02/26/12 – What is our purpose? (Why do we exist?)
03/17/12 – Who is our neighbor? Presentations by principals from Thornhill and Montclair Elementary Schools.
05/06/12 – What is God calling us to do? Who is God calling us to be?


THANK YOU TO OUR GODLY PLAY STORYTELLERS AND GREETERS! We will be honoring the Godly Play Storytellers and Greeters this Sunday, June 3rd for their time, commitment, and care in service to the spiritual nurture of our children.

Godly Play Storytellers: Courtney Blair, Megan McKiernan, Suzanne Jones, Shelley Klop, Linda Spencer, Frank Dauby, Courtney Blair, Cathy Sharp, and substitute: Sarah Clark.

Godly Play Greeters: Linnea Gullikson, Oliver Palmer, Nory Klop-Packel, Karen Bowen, Shelley Klop, Tami Driver, Cynthia Cudaback, Stacy Canzoneri, and Christopher Singer.

Youth Group Saturday Service
was a positive experience last week. Fourteen of us met at the church parking lot in the morning and traveled down to Fruitvale Presbyterian Church to help serve with their community food program. We made seventy-seven sandwiches and helped get the food to neighborhood clients. We enjoyed nodding and smiling across language barriers and being a positive presence. Thank you to our youth and for the chance to be in service together! There will be youth group this Sunday evening, June 3, 7-9pm in the youth room. ~Katie Morrison

Sunday, June 3:
Family Sunday with Communion. In addition, the congregation of Fruitvale Presbyterian Church will be worshipping with us. We will give Bibles to 4th graders and thank our Godly Play teachers. Rev. Beth will preach on what more there is to hear.
Sunday, June 10: GRADUATION SUNDAY – we will honor our graduates, the choir will sing and Rev. Beth will be preaching.
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.

FAMILY CHOIR THIS SUNDAY! All ages are invited to come to church at 9:15 this Sunday to rehearse and sing with Family Choir. This week, we’ll be singing “All God’s Children Got a Place in the Choir.” YOU have a place, too! You don’t need to be a trained singer, just someone who enjoys singing and having fun with others. Bring your kids, your parents, your grandparents–or any member of the MPC family. We hope to see you there!

CDS OF HAYDN’S “CREATION” AVAILABLE: The MPC choir’s performance of Haydn’s “Creation” on May 20 was recorded in stereo. CDs of the performance are for sale ($3) on Sundays in the Family Room between the Book Depot and the Food Basket table. The quality is near-professional. If you couldn’t be there, you don’t want to miss it! If you were there, you can relive the sublime experience! CDs of other services are also available.
COME CELEBRATE MARIAH CARRAY’S GRADUATION: We invite you to come celebrate with us! Mariah is graduating this year and we are having a party on June 10th after church from 11:30-1:00 p.m. in the Thornhill Room. Church family and friends are all welcome!

HEALTHCARE FORUM: Community Congregational Church Tiburon invites you to a Healthcare Forum on Sunday, June 10th from1:00 pm – 3:00 pm. The location is CCC Tiburon, 145 Rock Hill Drive, Tiburon. Join leaders from CCC Tiburon as we:

Learn together about the spectrum of healthcare policy solutions including a single payer system and the Affordable Care Act;
Share and hear stories about our personal experiences with healthcare; and
Discuss how we can act locally to improve healthcare in Marin.

YOU ARE INVITED TO JOIN US! The Art Gang invites you to join them for a tour of the historic Palace Hotel in San Francisco led by SF City Guides on Saturday, June 23 at 11:00am. This is an unusual opportunity and will be limited to 20 persons. The cost is $12:00, ($10:00 seniors). You may also want to stay for lunch (extra cost). The checks should be sent to Roberta Davis at 3553 Terra Granada #1B by June 5. Your check should be made out to SFPA/City Guides. If you have any questions, email Roberta, (

CHILD-BOOSTER SEAT NEEDED: I am in looking for a child-booster seat for my car. If you have one you are not using and would like to donate it, please call me at 510-299-2075. Thank you, Donna Carruth.

• Pat Hoggatt who is recovering from not feeling well.
• All those who live in war-torn countries.
• Those who are living with financial stress.
• Pete who has a job interview on Friday.
• Those whose hearts are closed toward LGBT clergy.
• Those who are traveling.
• The Neely’s as they grieve the loss of Bill’s cousin.
• Those who are seeking jobs.

• Bob and Linda Spencer’s 25th wedding anniversary this week.
• The Oakland East Bay Men’s Chorus.
• Our Godly Play Storytellers and Greeters.

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