December 8, 2010

MontclairPresbyterian Church…

The Community Organizes and

Orders Its Life Through the Flow of Information

THIS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12, at the 10 AM celebration our children present Follow That Star, a Christmas story read and sung by the children.

Dear Friends,

Last Sunday in church we talked about being peacemakers.  I was doing pretty well until Monday evening when I squabbled with someone in my family.  It struck me again as I was stomping away that being truly committed to creating peace does not mean having no conflict with someone, but it does mean being respectful toward that person in the midst of the disagreement.  Why is it that when it comes to family being respectful can be so difficult?  Sometimes it’s hard to respect the other person and sometimes it’s hard to respect ourselves – by that I mean not giving up our own needs just because the other person is louder or needier or pushier or more forceful.

Recently I heard a sermon preached by Barbara Brown Taylor.  She said, “Peace always involves a crisis of identity.  You cannot have peace and stay exactly who you are or who you want to be.”  I hadn’t thought of it in that way before and the image it brings up for me is that of a tug of war.  Creating or achieving peace is often a tug of war between the parties.  It never works well if one side is so much stronger than the other that it can pull the opposite side right into the mud.  The process is one of give and take, down to the very elemental level of one on one relationships.  When we find ourselves stuck on a position where we believe it has to be our way or no way, that should be an indication to us that we are not interested in peace or in peacemaking.  It should also be an indication that we are not interested in the good of the whole as much as we are in our own position.

One of the gifts I have received from you in my time here so far is your openness.  As I have been sharing ideas and thoughts and insights, so many of you have been open and curious and intrigued.  I hope you are experiencing me in the same way.  Our work together will continue to be so fruitful if we can keep listening to each other and stay open to each other’s thoughts and ideas.

It was my joy to spend some time with Doris Herrick last week.  She misses all of you and appreciates all of the cards and calls and prayers.  Doris has decided to undergo chemotherapy and her first treatment will be next week, just after she celebrates her 80th birthday on Sunday!  Please continue to hold her and Don in your hearts.

I hope to see you Wednesday night for the Soup Supper and Christmas Carol Sing-Along.  If you don’t drive at night but would like to attend, let us know.

Peace to you, Beth

REMINDER:  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 pm. I know this is a change for all of us, so let’s try to remind each other!

PLEASE REMEMBER: Maria is on vacation from Dec. 12th to January 4th.  If you have a committee meeting or event during that time, it will be your responsibility to do set up and clean up (taking down chairs, etc…).  We have a janitorial service that will clean the rooms and buildings, but they will not cover basic set up and clean up from meetings or events.

Thank you very much for your help with this as Maria enjoys time with her family in Mexico!  By the way, Gil will be home alone during that time so think of ways you can include or invite him to various activities while Maria is away.  He might also enjoy some Christmas treats!

Dec 2010 Bday Photo

DECEMBER 2010 BIRTHDAYS!! From left to right: Kristin Nicholas, Bud Sisson, Christine Peterson, Mikayla Nicholas (in front), Tom Debley, Kathy Ray, and Nancy Singer.

CHILDREN’S REHEARSAL FOR DECEMBER 12 CHRISTMAS PRESENTATION this Saturday,  December 11 noon – 1pm, and 9 am on Sunday before the performance.  We hope all children will participate even if they have missed a rehearsal. Questions – contact Kim, Talitha or Susan.

OUR ANNUAL CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS PARTY will take place after their performance on Sunday in Room 10.  All parents and children are invited for drinks and snacks and time to get to know each other.  Children, please bring a new gift to wrap (for any age child).  These gifts go each year to Highland Hospital to needy children whose parents are hospitalized.

BRINGING IN THE ADVENT WREATH This Sunday it will be the 4th – 6th grade children.  Please meet at the front door at 9:50 AM.

YOUTH GROUP meets this Sunday, Dec. 12, 7 – 9 pm in Room 2 for a Christmas Party.  Please bring a fun or funny wrapped gift to exchange.

THE YOUTH GROUP HAS BEEN ABLE TO RAISE OVER $600 FOR THE WATER PROJECT There is still time to make a donation by sending a check to the church marked Water Project.  Soon we will be finding out where the well will be built with their funds.  Thanks to all who joined the youth in this vital project.

HIGH SCHOOL & COLLEGE-AGE Youth and Young Adults are invited to a Christmas Party on Sun. Dec. 19, beginning at 6 PM at the home of David McEwan, 111 Monte Cresta Ave., Oakland (from Piedmont Ave, turn onto Linda to Monte Cresta).  Please bring an hors d’oeuvre or dessert to share (finger food).

PALESTINIAN & OTHER FAIR TRADE ITEMS FOR SALE Lovely Palestinian ceramics and an assortment of other fair trade items from Bolivia, Thailand, Indonesia and Ghana will be for sale at Family Hour this Sunday.  We will also have fair trade coffee, tea & cocoa.  The profits from the sales of Palestinian goods will go to KEEP HOPE ALIVE, a joint advocacy initiative of the YWCA in Jerusalem and the YMCA of Bethlehem in support of the olive tree farmers and the ceramic industry.  We hope to have fresh, delicious Palestinian olive oil by this Sunday. — Peacemakers & Global Concerns Committees

THE ANTHOLOGY Lives in Progress 2010, continues on sale this Sunday, Dec. 12, in the Family Room.  Don’t miss this special treat of original writings by our members, friends and Godly Play children.  A bargain @ $6.00.

THE DRAMA DISCUSSION GROUP will meet in the Family Room at 6 pm. on Sunday, December 12 for a pot luck.  We will be discussing Berkeley Rep’s “The Composer is Dead.”  We welcome anyone wishing to join us.   We bring plates, napkins and our own cutlery along with glasses and a beverage of one’s choice as well as food.  There will be a docent from Berkeley to facilitate the discussion.  Please  RSVP to either Lee Aurich at or Sari Kulberg at 510-653-6432.

Advent Events: Join us at the following events as we celebrate Advent.

  • Sunday, December 12, 10:00 am – Children’s Christmas Pageant
  • Sunday, December 12,  7 pm – Youth Group Christmas Party
  • Sunday, December 19, 10:00 am – The choir will perform “The Magnificat”
  • Sunday, December 19,  6 pm – High School and College-age Christmas Party at David McEwan’s
  • Tuesday, December 21, 7:00 pm – Taize meditation service in the sanctuary
  • Friday, December 24 – Join us for a family service at 5:30 pm and/or a service with the adult choir at 7:30 pm with refreshments in between services

MORE BOOK DEPOT NEWS – I will be gone almost all of the month of January and the last week in December.   If anyone wants to order books for classes, or for Christmas gifts, please contact me by December 15th at the latest.  After that date I won’t be able to order anything with a guarantee of its arriving when needed.  In February I’ll be back to my normal schedule.

Gretchen Hayes, (510) 530-3557 or

FAMILY ROOM: Chairpersons interested in reserving a bulletin board in the newly-renovated Family Room please contact Barbara Peters at 654-9677 or

COME SEE BYE BYE BIRDIE produced by Oakland School for the Arts in the historically renovated Fox Theater.  Show times are 7 pm, Dec 9 & 10.  Tickets are $20 adults, $15 students, sold after school starting at 3:30 or through Ticketmaster.  If you’re interested, contact Leslie Louie 551-3702 for tickets if you want to save the Ticketmaster fees.

HOUSE SITTERS FOR LATE DECEMBER Friends will be in town December 23rd– 30th and are looking for a home to sit. Any MPC folks traveling during that time who might like a most responsible couple to care for their home?  Please call Bill Neely (510) 531-1361.

NEED HOLIDAY HELP? I, Mariah Carray, am looking for work over the holidays.  I would be happy to watch your children while you go holiday shopping.  I would love to help with pre-holiday cleaning, decorating, setting up, serving, or helping to cook at a holiday party!  So whatever your needs, please give me a call 299-9053 or email me at


YOU ARE INVITED to two classes during the sometimes dreary month of January.  Sign-ups are on Sundays December 12th and 19th in the Family Room after worship.


COURSE DESCRIPTION: This discussion group based on our reading of the book “Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most” (of the Harvard Negotiation Project) explores what it is that makes conversations difficult, why we avoid them, and why we often handle them badly.  It applies to how we deal with children, parents, students, neighbors, customers, bankers, brokers, team members, employees and colleagues of any kind.  We will learn the pitfalls of conversations and how to recognize blame, emotions, and threat to our identity that usually emerge.  We will role-play the step-by-step approach for conducting our toughest conversations with less stress, greater understanding, and more success.

Betsy King’s background is in education.  She now conducts teacher professional development.

Dates: SATURDAYS, JANUARY 8, 15, 22, 29

Time: 9-10:30 a.m.

Place: Thornhill Room

Class Size: 5 to 15

Convener: PAULA MOSELEY, 510-339-8570 Fee: $15 incl. book


COURSE DESCRIPTION:  As we at MPC search for a new pastor we will also be rethinking our future as a local congregation; and at least two possibilities for the future stand out: (1) Try to stay the course with little or no change, or (2) re-think and perhaps re-shape ourselves and our mission.  This seminar will look closely at the second option, including reading a book on the theme – “The Once and Future Church”  by Loren Mead – and hearing from outside speakers with suggestions on how to move into a promising future.

John Hadsell is theologian-in residence at MPC

Date: SUNDAYS, JANUARY 9, 16, 23, 30

Time: 8:30-9-45 am

Place: Room 10

Class Size: 10- 25

Convener: DAVID SIEGENTHALER, 510-482-9311 Fee: $20 incl. book

MPC Calendar:




Office Hours: Monday – Thursday, 9:00am-4:00pm

Rev. Beth Buckingham-Brown: Office hours Monday-Wednesday, 10:00-3:00 pm

Susan Hunn: Associate for Children & Youth: Office hours Tues-Thurs 9:30-2:30 pm

Paul Jokelson: Administrative Assistant: Office hours Tues-Wed 8:30-5:00 pm, Fri 8-12 pm.

Talitha Phillips: Coordinator for Children and Youth

Marcia Roy: Organist

Gil & Maria Chiguila: Caretakers

Rev. John Hadsell: Theologian in Residence

Rev. Kathy Ray: Parish Associate