Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Larissa MacFarquhar Author Talk

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

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On Wednesday, Sept 30th at 7pm, New Yorker journalist Larissa MacFarquhar will be at MPC to discuss Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help. We hope you can join us for what is sure to be a thought-provoking, inspiring and challenging evening.

About the Book

Strangers Drowning by Larissa MacFarquharThere are those of us who help and those who live to help. How far would you really go to “do unto others”? In Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help, renowned New Yorker writer Larissa MacFarquhar digs deep into the psychological roots and existential dilemmas motivating those rare individuals practicing lives of extreme ethical commitment. MacFarquhar seeks out people who devote themselves fully to bettering the lives of strangers—even when it comes at great personal cost—and tells their deeply intimate stories: their stubborn integrity and their compromises; their bravery and their recklessness; their joys and defeats and wrenching dilemmas.

We honor such generosity and high ideals, but when we call people “do-gooders” there is skepticism in it, even hostility. Why do moral people make us uneasy? How could these do-gooders value strangers as much as their own loved ones? MacFarquhar combines these real-life stories of unimaginable selflessness along with deep meditations on the implications of these ethical acts. Throughout, she threads a lively history of the novels, philosophy, social science, and self-help that have contributed to a deep suspicion of do-gooders in Western culture.
(source: Penguin Press)

About the Author

Larissa MacFarquhar (c) Philip Gourevitch copyLarissa MacFarquhar has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998. Her subjects have included John Ashbery, Barack Obama, and Noam Chomsky, among many others. Previously she was a senior editor at Lingua Franca and an advisory editor at The Paris Review. She lives in New York.

Please contact the church main office with questions. Hope to see you there!

Author photo credit: Philip Gourevitch


Fall Kickoff — “The Future” — is this Sunday!

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

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Fall Kickoff, the ‘official’ start to a new year at MPC, is Sunday, Sept 13th after celebration. The theme is The Future, and we’ll be doing all kinds of forward-looking things, including collecting items for an MPC Time Capsule. We’ll also be enjoying each other’s company — and each other’s food, since Kickoff is a potluck. If your last name starts with A-M, please bring a main dish. If your last name starts with N-Z, please bring a salad, veggies or other side dish. And when you deliver them to the Family Room on Sunday morning, please label your dishes and utensils, so that you may see them again in The Future.

For now, consider: what item do you want to leave for future generations to ponder? And what potluck item will you bring that day to share? Let’s gather, enjoy each other’s company, and picture our future together.

Questions, please contact Steve McKiernan. See you there!


Sunday Celebration: Back to 10am in Sept

Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

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4.8.2015 Easter SundayJust a reminderL we will resume our 10:00am Celebration services in September. Make sure to mark your calendars for 10:00 service starting Sunday, September 6th. This will be a great service — we will even have the Barrelhouse Jazz Band with us. Hope to see you there, nice and early.


August Barbecue Sunday Nights

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

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August Sundays Banner SmallMontclair Presbyterian Church invites you to join our joyful worship at 5 p.m. followed by a tasty BBQ, each Sunday in August. First, we’ll celebrate, contemplate, and sing (loudly!), then dig into delectable savories and sweets cooked by our church family. Children K-7 are invited upstairs to a “Godly Play” Montessori-style classroom, or they may stay in the service and enjoy our kids’ pew with books, coloring, and toys. Nursery care is available for little ones. We are a socially progressive, spiritually active, rainbow welcoming, non-proselytizing congregation that would love to have you and your family be our guests.

Produce Swap

Do you have an abundance of fruit or veggies from your home garden or trees? Getting sick of the zucchini that never stops coming? Lemonade-d out? BRING your squash, beans, lemons, cucumbers, and more to church any Sunday in August (at 5PM). During the BBQ in the courtyard we will have a table for people to give or take produce. Please help us get all the good food eaten. We are also collecting on Fridays August 8th, 15th, and 29th, to bring fresh produce to the Food Bank at Fruitvale Presbyterian.

Want to learn more about MPC?

Come on over and enjoy our hospitality!


Hiring a Godly Play Teacher

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

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This spring, the Session of MPC decided to approve the hiring of a part-time Godly Play teacher to work with our team of talented volunteer teachers and with Associate Pastor, Talitha G. Phillips. The decision made in April was dependent on funding. Now that we have a budget approved for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, we are getting ready to interview candidates!

Some Background
We are blessed to have many children attend our Godly Play programs. They can be seen each Sunday, eagerly exiting Celebration after the Time with Children. However, with such blessings comes an increased obligation to our youngest members. We want to provide our children with a consistent and stable classroom experience. Our youngest members should experience the same feelings of community, reflection, and learning in Godly Play that our adult members feel in worship. By hiring someone to work on a regular basis we know we can provide a more positive classroom experience that would attract, keep, and nurture our children well. The volunteers who currently serve on the team, rotating through the classroom on a regular basis, also can expect a more positive and less stressful experience as we build on experiences from one week to another.
 wondering together
The Teacher will work three to four Sundays a month for a total of 40-50 weeks per year, approximately 5 hours per week when teaching on Sunday, and will be paid $100 per week worked. Hours are 9:30 am – 11:30 am on Sundays plus about three additional flexible hours during the week to prepare the Sunday story or activity and meet with staff. Godly Play training will be provided, up to 20 hours annually. The contract term is 12 months.

Necessary qualifications:
● Demonstrated interest in religious education and knowledge of Bible stories
● A solid foundation in your own spirituality and faith
● Teaching experience or other experience leading children/youth (camp, youth group)
● Demonstrated ability to manage a classroom or organized group of children
● Radical patience and deep kindness

Additional helpful background includes:
● Academic biblical studies at any level
● Montessori and/or Godly Play background
● ADHD and autism-spectrum awareness
● Musical ability

A complete description here: Job Description
To apply, please contact


Vanessa Diffenbaugh Author Talk

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

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On Thursday, August 20th at 7pm, Vanessa Diffenbaugh (author of the New York Times bestseller The Language of Flowers) will visit MPC and discuss her new book We Never Asked For Wings. We hope that you’ll be able to join us for what is sure to be a fascinating evening.

About We Never Asked For Wings

Diffenbaugh-Cover-Art-300It was Vanessa’s time at college that inspired We Never Asked For Wings. While students enjoyed the safe world of university living, children less than one mile away in East Palo Alto were victims of poverty and violence, she explained. Deeply affected by the juxtaposition of the two communities, Vanessa helped run anafter-school art program after graduation in East Palo Alto. She worked closely with children (a few of which she’s still in contact with today) and families, experiencing first-hand the intense isolation suffered by the people who lived there. “This happens all over the country and all over the world—extreme poverty jutted right up against extreme wealth,” she said. Compelled to address these issues in her writing, We Never Asked For Wings was born.

At the heart of this story is Letty Espinosa, a young woman learning how to be a mother to her two children, 15-year-old Alex and 6-year-old Luna. Struggling to make ends meet and longing to give her family a better life, Letty devises a plan to help them escape their dangerous Bay Area neighborhood. But it’s one wrong move that could jeopardize everything she’s worked so hard for—and threaten any hope of a better future for her family. (source: Random House)

About Vanessa Diffenbaugh

vanessa-diffenbaugh-300Vanessa was born in San Francisco and raised in Chico, California. After graduating from Stanford University, she worked in the non-profit sector, teaching art and technology to youth in low-income communities. Following the success of her debut novel, The Language of Flowers, she co-founded Camellia Network, a non-profit whose mission is to connect every youth aging out of foster care to the critical resources, opportunities, and support they need to thrive in adulthood. She currently lives in Monterey, CA, with her husband and four children. (source: Random House)

Please contact the church main office with questions. Hope to see you there!

Author photo credit: Randy Tunnell Photography


Carolina De Robertis Author Talk

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

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Gods of Tango book coverOn Tuesday, July 7th at 7pm, award-winning author Carolina De Robertis will visit MPC and discuss her new book The Gods of Tango. We hope that you’ll be able to join us for what is sure to be a fascinating evening — and not just because the event will feature a performance by expert tango dancers!

About The Gods of Tango

From the award-winning, internationally bestselling author of The Invisible Mountain and Perla—a lush, lyrical, deeply moving story of a young woman whose passion for the early sounds of tango becomes a force of profound and unexpected change. […] Richly evocative of place and time, its prose suffused with the rhythms of the tango, its narrative at once resonant and gripping, this is De Robertis’ most accomplished novel yet. (source: )

About Carolina De Robertis

Carolina De Robertis photoCarolina De Robertis is the internationally bestselling author of The Gods of Tango, Perla, and The Invisible Mountain, which was a Best Book of 2009 according to the San Francisco Chronicle, O, The Oprah Magazine, and BookList. She is the recipient of Italy’s Rhegium Julii Prize and a 2012 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work has been translated into sixteen languages. Her writings and literary translations have appeared in Zoetrope: Allstory, Granta, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She is also the translator of Alejandro Zambra’s Bonsai, which was just made into a feature film, and Roberto Ampuero’s The Neruda Case.(source: )

Please contact the church main office with questions. Hope to see you there!

Author photo credit: Gabriel Padilha


Diaper Drive continues

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

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This Mother’s Day the youth group is doing something for moms in need. Did you know that diapers aren’t covered by SNAP or WIC, and that having a supply of disposable diapers can make the difference between a child attending daycare or being stuck at home with a parent who therefore can’t work?

Rather than just raise money for our diaper drive, the youth group decided to go diaper shopping… to take on the discomfort and judging that people experience when they have babies at a young age, and to make a statement that we ALL need to support moms in need.

Please watch our video and think about it… and please bring your wipes and diapers (size 3-5 are the most needed) to donate on Sunday!


Congregational Meeting

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

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MARK YOUR CALENDARS AND SAVE THE DATE! There will be a Congregational Meeting on Sunday, May 3, 2015 following Celebration. The purpose of the meeting is to hear the report of the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee (APNC) and vote on its recommendation to call their nominee as the new designated Associate Pastor of Montclair Presbyterian Church, according to the proposed terms of call. Prior to the Congregational Meeting the APNC will send you an important packet about the candidate and proposed terms of call.



Plant Sale and Auction

Monday, April 6th, 2015

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Tomato plantWe are excitedly preparing for the Plant Sale and Auction (on April 18!), working to make this a great and successful event for MPC. Not only will this be a fun-filled event (and a fun team!), we will use our success at this event to help us discern the extent to which this could be an annual event that would help our budget each year. We hope you’ll join us, and help us establish a fun, festive, event that can easily be re-created year after year.

New: Flyer for Plant Sale 2015 (pdf)

The Tomato List is here! Download Tomato Descriptions 2015 (PDF)

Learn more about the event and access the donation forms on the Plant Sale and Auction Page.

Tomato plant photo by Luke Addison