March 2, 2011

Montclair Presbyterian Church

Dear Friends,

When I began as your Interim Head of Staff on October 25th, 2010, I knew that one of the skills I wanted to bring to you was that of clear and direct communication. Over the past 4 months I have tried to practice and model that kind of communication with you and I have encouraged you to communicate in that manner with me. Very early on I told you that if you are feeling anxious about something or if you hear something that upsets you in some way, you are encouraged and welcome to come and talk to me. Some of you have expressed your concern about the change in announcements from Celebration to the Family Room. Let’s see if we can change our habits. If, after some time, it appears not to be working, we can always try something else. I appreciate hearing from those of you with specific concerns.

We are in a time of transition and change which means we are in a time where there is potential for much anxiety. Rather than letting anxiety run wild or gain strength, the more you can express it and talk through it the better able we will all be to keep it to a level we can live with comfortably.

It has been brought to my attention that there is some confusion regarding my ability to stay on at Montclair as the next called pastor. Perhaps because there has been some joking about it, the misunderstanding has occurred. At the Congregational Meeting on Feb. 6th, when someone asked that question, I replied by saying that two or three years from now we will have done such hard work together we will be ready to move on without each other. Let me be very clear so there are no misunderstandings along the way. I am not allowed to be your next called pastor, even if a few of you think that would be a good idea. As I mentioned in the Contact two weeks ago, the reason I think that policy is a wise one is that if I were worried about whether or not you would want me to be your next pastor, I would have to be very careful about how I do the Interim. Of course I will be full of care as I walk with you through this time, but it would not be good for you or for me if I had to worry about who might get angry with me about certain decisions or who might rally against me if they don’t get their way, etc…One of the best aspects of being an Interim Pastor is that I can do some of the difficult tasks I do because I am not focused on spending the next 10 years with you. The job of an Interim is designed that way. For those of you who do not like change, the relationship of the Interim pastor with the congregation is tough because it is short-term. Rather than think of me as a member of the family, it might help for you to remember that I am more like a visitor who gets to stay for a while.

Every day I am grateful for this time with you.  You are resilient, thoughtful, creative, and open.


TALITHA’S VIBE: Parents, don’t forget the Bible Study for you after church this Sunday, March 6th, in the Godly Play room (#4).

Talitha, temporarily not wearing her hat of “coordinator for children and youth,” invites adults (and very mature youth) to attend a production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues hosted by the SFTS Feminist Perspectives Committee. This will be on Saturday, March 12th, at 7 PM in Scott Hall at San Francisco Theological Seminary, 105 Seminary Rd, San Anselmo. Sliding scale admission $5 – $20.


  • This Sunday Is Family Sunday: Children are invited to remain in the Celebration. They will be singing and parents are asked to have them at church at 9:30 AM to practice their song. There will be a special children’s bulletin for them also with activities related to the church service. Any of the younger ones may go over to the Nursery to the Wiggle Room if they get restless.
  • Youth Group: We will meet this Sunday, 7-9 PM, in room 2.
  • Vacation: I will be away on vacation Mar 3-14 with my son and his family in Southern California. Any questions about children and youth programs can be directed to Talitha at

PWP GATHERING: The Presbyterian Women’s Program is having a gathering this Saturday, March 5, at the Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church. The speaker will be Daphne Phung, Executive Director and founder of California Against Slavery. The cost for the luncheon will be $10.00.

STORYTELLERS: You are invited to our Winter/Spring OPEN MIC BRUNCH this Sunday, March 6, 11:30 AM in the Thornhill Room. Everyone is welcome to read or sit back and enjoy this event. If you would like your reading in the Anthology, you are encouraged to bring a copy of it with you.

MPC TECH SUNDAYS: On the first Sunday of each month, the MPC Tech Committee will be hosting MPC Tech Sundays in the Family Room after church. We’ll be there, laptops fired up, ready to do a “show and tell” on MPC-related tech topics. This Sunday we’ll be focusing on the new website: what’s there, what’s coming, and how to do things like listen to past sermons, keep up with MPC events, and more. Drop on by!


  • Resurrection Living: We invite you to drop in on our ongoing class based on the journaling book co-written by our former associate pastor, Roger Scott Powers. It is not necessary to have the book or to come to every session. We meet on Tuesday afternoons, 1-3, in the Thornhill Room. We orally read a couple of inspiring passages from the Bible and peace activists, write our responses to provocative questions, and engage in stimulating discussions. Come join us! Contact Jean Gregory, (510) 635-8838 or, Cheers, Jean G.
  • The Sermon on the Mount: This Adult Ed seminar begins this Sunday, March 6, 8:30am in Room #10. It’s Jesus talking…one of the great passages in the New Testament: read in advance Matthew, chapters 5, 6, and 7. Our leader will be Dr. Carol Miles, Presbyterian Campus Pastor at UC Berkeley who has taught other classes for us.

WHAT COMES AFTER FAT TUESDAY (MARDI GRAS)?: We will mark the beginning of Lent, a season of introspection and reflection, by joining together for our Ash Wednesday Service on March 9th at 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary. We will participate in the ritual of the imposition of ashes. Children are welcome.

CLOSE TO HOME: We will host a talk and slide show on Monday, March 7, at 7:30 pm., “A Path Through Nature: Letting the Outside In” with Cindy Spring. Many of us who love to spend time out-of-doors don’t think about why we like it so much. Our experiences eclipse our thoughts. Cindy has spent the past 23 years on a field trip through Nature and she’s collected her insights into what she calls The Egg. She will discuss how letting Nature into your life, letting it have center stage, changes you in obvious and subtle ways.

BAY AREA SOCIAL JUSTICE: A forum will be held at Holy Names University on Saturday, Mar. 19, from 8:30 AM to 4 PM. Workshops will include Spirituality of Simplicity, Water Privatization in California, Bridging to the Religious Other, and Building a Moral Economy. If you need more information, please contact

MARCH ART GANG ACTIVITY: After church on Sunday, March 20, go to the Oakland Museum for a California art and history interdisciplinary tour entitled Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll, led by art docent Jane VanderVeer and history docent Marge Nicholson. More information will follow in subsequent weeks.

WEBSITE REPAIR TEAM: Do you see something that should be corrected on the MPC website? Do you have content about your committee or group that you’d like to add? If so, please send an email with the subject line “Web Request” to A member of the MPC Web Team will get back to you promptly and– just like that– we’ll have a better site. Thank you!

PEACEMAKERS COMMITTEE UPDATE: Our church Peacemakers Committee raised $863 from the sale of Palestinian olive oil and ceramics at Christmas time for “Keep Hope Alive.” KHA, a program of the YWCA in Jerusalem and the YMCA of Bethlehem, gives support to the olive tree farmers and the ceramic industry. Olive oil and ceramics are basic Palestinian exports. KHA also sponsors two trips to Israel/Palestine each year: One in the spring to plant olive trees and another in the fall to harvest the olives. The next trip will be in mid October. These harvests are always celebrations and people come from 10-20 countries to help out. Lots of fun as well as a transformative learning experience! For further information about joining a trip with other Presbyterians, please contact Barbara Peters, (510) 654-9677 or

KEYBOARD NEEDED: Choir member needs a small digital keyboard to help her learn choir music.  Does anyone have one they don’t play? If you have one that you want to lend for the choir year or possibly sell, call Carol Wolleson, 658-6655.

NEW CONTACT INFORMATION FOR KATHY AND ARTHUR HORN: We have moved to 5499 Sobrante Ave., El Sobrante, CA 94803. Our phone numbers so far are Arthur 510-323-5415 or Kathy 260-4827. We miss you all and hope to be back at MPC as soon as we’re a bit more functional! It’s a lot more complicated than we expected (have to repair the road to get the shipping containers up, cut down the trees threatening the house, etc etc) …and, yes, we do hope to ultimately lay down that old train track again for your ride-on pleasure! Much love to you all.

HOUSING NEEDED: Cynthia Cudaback, her husband and 8 year old son will be visiting here in mid-July to mid-August. They are looking for a house-sit or rental for that period. Please call if you can help (510)531-0757, thanks Dot Cudaback.

HOMEOWNER’S VIGIL & RALLY: Support homeowners and families losing their homes to foreclosure. End the massive “BANKSTER FRAUD”. This problem knows no social barriers & affects our entire community, robbing families of their homes, their sense of safety, their peace of mind and creating a blight on our community. This is not about getting a house for free. This is about the BANKSTERS defrauding homeowners and reaping billions in profits. Invite anyone concerned about the impact of foreclosures on our families and our community.   Let’s send a message.  OAKLAND SAYS NO TO FORECLOSURES.

Date: Friday, March 4, 2011
Time: Noon – 2 PM
Alameda County Courthouse Steps Fallon Street Entrance

(During the foreclosure auction)
1225 Fallon Street
Oakland, CA 94612

LOOKING FOR WORK?: Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, located at 31st and Clement in San Francisco, is looking for an Office Manager. Though this is an administrative position, we are looking for a person who has a strong commitment to the mission of the Church. This position would include use of moderate computer skills, some financial experience, working with the congregation, and interacting with the variety of community groups that use the church facilities. The time commitment for this position would be three days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday), four hours each day. The proposed compensation is $400 per week. If you are interested feel free to call Dave Hawbecker at the church (415 – 751-1140) or by e-mail at

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 pm. This is a change for all of us, so let’s try to remind each other!

MPC Calendar:




Office Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00am-3:30pm

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

Susan Hunn, Associate for Children & Youth: Office hours, Tuesday-Thursday, 9:30-2:30 pm

Sherrill Figuera: Administrative Assistant: Office hours: Tuesday-Friday, 9:00-3:30 pm

Talitha Phillips: Coordinator for Children and Youth

Kim Rankin: Associate in Music

Marcia Roy: Organist

Gil & Maria Chiguila: Caretakers

Rev. John Hadsell: Theologian in Residence

Rev. Kathy Ray: Parish Associate

Ajit Abraham: International Partner in Residence