Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Away in a Garage: an Oakland Pageant

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

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O come ye, O come ye, to a nativity scene entirely free of thee’s and thou’s, therefore’s and wherefore’s (you can get your fill of those when Pastor Ben recites the King James Version on Christmas Eve).

On Sunday, December 14th, at the 10 AM Celebration, join us for an Oakland pageant! There you will see the migrants María and José seeking a safe place to stay in the busy and inhospitable streets of Oakland, the warm-hearted family who gives them a place to stay in the garage, the night shift janitors receiving the good news, and the Magi wandering around among highway overpasses and back alleyways. Special appearances as well by Our Local Sports Team and some very friendly young mice.
The children and youth of the church have worked hard to put this pageant together and we can’t wait for you to see it!
The script was written by Talitha G Phillips, our Coordinator for Children, Youth, & Family Life, and is available to lend to other churches by request.

(with apologies to their original author, the lyrics that follow are meant to be sung to the tune of “once in royal David’s city”)

Once in Oakland, west of the highways,
was an unheated backyard shed
where a mother laid a baby
in a laundry basket for a bed
Mary was that mother mild
Jesus Christ, her little child

He came down to earth from heaven
who is God and Lord on high
and his dwelling was a garage
and only mice were there to hear him cry
With the poor, oppressed, and lowly
lived on earth our Savior holy



MPC on NBC: please watch

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

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“Sanctuary for Immigrants Comes Back to the Bay Area”

The Rev. Ben Daniel and our colleagues at St. John Presbyterian in Berkeley appear in this segment of investigative reporting on immigrants and refugee families living in the Bay Area, as part of the larger Sanctuary Movement.

After a spike of immigration from Central America, the “Sanctuary” Movement is coming back to the Bay Area churches that helped to start it. Stephen Stock reports in a story that aired on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014.
ben on nbc



Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

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The Rev. Ben Daniel appears in this investigative report about unaccompanied refugee children, and what local churches are doing to respond. Please watch and share this video.

Refugee Children Ride “The Death Train” to Come to the US

Tens of thousands of children have been forced to flee their home country and head to the Bay Area. To get here, they risked starvation, dehydration and a harrowing ride on the roof of a train some call “The Death Train.” Stephen Stock reports in a video that first aired on Nov. 10, 2014.



Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

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Bewitched Poster3 pm on Sunday, November 2nd will be the start of an afternoon of enchantment, temptation, and general treachery, that is, as long as you join us for Bewitched, a fundraising concert at MPC featuring music from a wide spectrum of musical genres.  Patrice Kirkish and Anne Daniel will be sharing selections from the operas Carmen by Bizet, The Magic Flute by Mozart, Norma by Bellini, Jeanne d’Arc by Tchaikovsky, and Midsummer Night’s Dream by Britten.  You also will be treated to a delightful art song duet by Brahms.  Our own Talitha Phillips will present an old Irish poem in a traditional English ballad setting, while guest artists from the Pacific Boychoir Academy coached by our organist, Marcia Roy will sing some old standards and a few choral pieces. Marcia and Kim Rankin will provide beautiful accompaniment and the program will be hosted by Bud Sisson, adding his lovely speaking voice as he sets the scene for each song. And be on the lookout for more MPCers, masquerading as fairies, princes, sprites, and the like.

After the concert, the fun will continue with a reception in the family room featuring sparkling, white and red wines and a magical fountain of chocolate!

All monies collected through attendees’ generous donations will benefit MPC—so please invite your friends and family. Suggested donation of $20 for the concert, plus an additional $5 if you’d like to join us for a glass of wine or two.

Interested in helping out at the event? We’d love to have you; please contact Carrie McKiernan at

This is sure to be a great event – bring a friend or two, and let’s pack the place!


Family Life Small Groups

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

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Announcing the rollout of a brand new MPC program!

Family Life Small Groups are ways to connect with your church family.
These groups have been designed by the Family Life committee with the aim of providing ways for people to connect to one another and particularly to build relationships across the generations. If you have felt like you don’t know many people at church, or if you only know folks of your own generation, sign up for a Small Group this fall. Each group has a different theme, from baking bread to cleaning up streams, and each runs for a few weeks or months. In the Spring we will have different offerings.
See our brochure here.


Do I have to bring my own family?

No! “Family Life” means your extended family – your church family. Young, old, in-between, singles, couples, with kids or without, everyone is welcome.

Can I just show up for these groups?

No, sorry. We are trying to build lasting friendships among our church family, so we request that you register for a group and stay with it. With the exception of Thanksgiving Dinner which is a one-time occasion, the other groups have multiple meetings and we expect each participant to do their best to attend them all.

Great! I’m ready! Can I sign up?

Yes! Registration takes place Sunday 9/14 and 9/21 after Celebration in the Family Hour. Or call Talitha at the office to sign up.

I have an idea for another group…

Great! Join the Family Life committee to propose your idea, or talk to one of the members.

Am I too old for such a cool group like Beer & Theology?

For that group you must be 21+ but there is no age limit. However, the conveners of each group will actively recruit people to make sure there is an age balance, and may cut off registration early to make sure there is room left to make that balance.


The New Puberty: Author Talk with Louise Greenspan, MD, and Julianna Deardorff, PhD

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

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The New Puberty book coverWednesday, September 10th at 7pm, authors Louise Greenspan, MD, and Julianna Deardorff, PhD will be at MPC discussing their new book “The New Puberty: How to Navigate Early Development in Today’s Girls”. With girls maturing earlier than ever, many parents, teachers, and family members are concerned about the reason for and impact of this change. Join authors Louise Greenspan, MD, and Julianna Deardorff, PhD as they discuss their new book, a “reassuring, empowering guide” based on original research and clinical experience. it’s sure to be a fascinating and informative evening.

About the book:

A sea change is underway among many of today’s girls: They are developing faster and entering puberty earlier than ever before. Just a generation ago, fewer than 5 percent of girls started puberty before the age of 8; today that percentage has more than doubled. Why is this happening ,and what does it mean for our girls’ futures? What can we do to help lead them through this major transition to live happy and healthy lives? In their groundbreaking book, The New Puberty, Louise Greenspan, MD and Julianna Deardorff, PhD – two leading experts on the root causes and potential consequences of early puberty in girls – have written a reassuring and empowering guide that will forever change the way we view puberty and parent the next generation. Drawing on original cutting-edge research and years of clinical experience, Drs Greenspan and Deardorff explain why girls are developing earlier and identify both established and surprising triggers – from excess body fat and hormone-mimicking chemicals to emotional stressors in a girl’s home and family life. They offer highly practical strategies that can help prevent and manage early puberty. Impeccably researched, engaging, and urgently needed, The New Puberty provides a roadmap to help young girls move forward with confidence, ensuring their future well-being.

About the Authors

Louise Greenspan, MD, and Julianna Deardorff, PhDLouise Greenspan, MD, a board-certified endocrinologist focusing on puberty and an international leader in the field, works at Kaiser Permanente and is on faculty at UCSF.
Julianna Deardorff, PhD, is a clinical psychologist with a specialty in adolescence, and is on faculty at UC Berkeley.

The authors’ pioneering work on a recent early puberty study won them the 2013 Community Breast Cancer Research Award. They have contributed to Time magazine, Science, New York Times Magazine, and NPR. Both have young daughters and live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Praise for The New Puberty: How to Navigate Early Development in Today’s Girls

“The New Puberty is a truly important book. Without jumping to conclusions, this book shows concern without alarm, discusses the scientific factors that could be triggering it,and most important details the psychological consequences that girls might go through, and the support they need.”—Po Bronson, co-author of NurtureShock

“The New Puberty is a treasure trove of information. In it, the authors take a deep dive into the psychology and biology of teen girls. It is destined to become a classic for parents and educators.”—Louann Brizendine, MD, author of The Female Brain and founder/director of the Women’s and Teen Girl’s Mood and Hormone Clinic, UCSF

“Filled with surprising and fascinating research, as well as practical and empowering strategies, The New Puberty is a book every parent and health practitioner needs to read.”—David Kessler, author of the New York Times bestselling The End of Overeating and former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration

“Increasingly parents are asking why their children are heading into puberty at a much younger age than they ever did. Combining their backgrounds as both scientists and parents, Greenspan and Deardorff give them all of the answers they are looking for. The New Puberty explains why our changing world has affected our kids’ bodies—then guides parents on what they can do. Anyone who has a young girl will want to read this book!”—Cara Natterson, MD, pediatrician and New York Times bestselling author of The Care and Keeping of You 2

Parking will be available in the lot at nearby Thornhill Elementary School (see below); more parking info and directions info are available on MPC’s parking and directions page.

The book talk is co-sponsored by Great Good Place for Books in Montclair. You’ll have the option of purchasing the book from them right after the talk.


Author Talk: Sam Barry Presents Her Wild Oats

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

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Sam Barry photoWednesday, September 3rd at 7pm, author and musician Sam Barry will present and read from Her Wild Oats, a novel by his late wife Kathi Kamen Goldmark. Sam will be joined by Guy Johnson and authors Peggy Orenstein and Frances Dinkelspiel. We hope you can join us for what promises to be a wonderfully warm and funny evening.

About the book:

Completed shortly before her untimely death from breast cancer, Kathi Kamen Goldmark’s Her Wild Oats is a honky-tonk road story about two unlikely pals: A smart young woman, Arizona Rosenblatt, leaves home and her role as assistant to a high-powered Hollywood executive when she discovers her husband is having an affair with a woman from Jews for Jesus; and thirteen-year-old Otis Ray “Wild Oats” Pixlie, boy genius harmonica player. In the end, Otis Ray learns what it means to be an adult, Arizona discovers the life she wants, and they both figure out the true meaning of love and family.

Praise for Her Wild Oats:

Her Wild Oats book cover

“If you’ve ever fantasized about ditching your life and going on the road with your favorite band, this book is for you. It’s full of wild twists, great characters and sharp, funny writing.” — Carl Hiaasen, author of Skink – No Surrender

“When you flee your okay marriage and your pretty good job, what do you find? What else but who you are. With humor and tenderness, Kathi Kamen Goldmark has created characters who we would love to have as companions on our own escape.” — Amy Tan, author of The Valley of Amazement

Kathi Kamen Goldmark“Among her many talents, Kathi Goldmark was a terrific writer, as she showed with her funny and touching debut novel, And My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You. It’s a damn shame Kathi couldn’t stick around longer, but she left us all a sweet parting gift with Her Wild Oats.” — Dave Barry, author of You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty

“A story full of zip and humor, from a lady who had a lot of both.”—Roy Blount Jr., author of Joy of Text

Some parking is available in the MPC parking lot at the corner of Grisborne Avenue and Thornhill Drive; you can also park on Thornhill Drive and on nearby Mountain Blvd. More parking info and directions info are available on MPC’s parking and directions page.

The book talk is co-sponsored by Great Good Place for Books in Montclair. You’ll have the option of purchasing the book from them right after the talk.


Paul Williams and Tracey Jackson Author Talk at MPC

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

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Gratitude and Trust book coverMonday, September 29th at 7pm, authors Paul Williams and Tracey Jackson will be at MPC discussing their new book “Gratitude and Trust: Six Affirmations That Will Change Your Life”. The book is drawn from Paul’s experience of twenty-four years in the recovery movement and Tracey’s daily quest for peace amid the difficulties of daily life. We hope you will join us for a what is sure to be an inspirational and affirming evening.


Paul Williams is an alcoholic.

Tracey Jackson is not.

But together, these two close friends have written Gratitude and Trust, a book designed to apply the principles of the recovery movement to the countless people who are not addicts but nevertheless need effective help with their difficulties and pain.

Williams, the award-winning songwriter, actor, and performer, has embraced a traditional alcoholism recovery plan for more than two decades of sobriety. Jackson, a well-known TV and film writer—and veteran of many years of traditional therapy—has never been a drunk or a drug abuser, but she realized that many of the tenets of Williams’s program could apply to her. In Gratitude and Trust, Williams and Jackson ask: What happens to those who struggle with vexing problems yet are not full-blown addicts? Are there any lessons to be learned from the foundational and time-tested principles of the recovery movement?

Whether you’re tethered to your phone or you turn to food for comfort; whether you’re a perfectionist and can’t let things go or are too afraid to fail to even try; whether you can find intimacy only on the Internet or you’ve been involved in a string of nasty relationships—the first step toward feeling better about yourself and your life is the realization that you are what’s standing in your way. Williams and Jackson have designed a new, positive program, based on a half-dozen new affirmations, that can help conquer your vices, address personal dysfunction, and start to brighten the darkest moods. Gratitude and Trust is an essential, inspirational, and uplifting guide to identifying and changing maladaptive behaviors in order to uncover your most productive, healthiest self.

About the Authors:

Paul Williams and Tracey Jackson

Paul Williams is an Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe winning Hall of Fame songwriter (“Rainbow Connection,” “Evergreen,” and “We’ve Only Just Begun”) and President of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). He is a major public force in the recovery movement, a graduate of UCLA’s Drug and Alcohol Counseling Certification Program and has served as a member of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Board of Directors. He was a founding board member and counselor for the Musicians Assistance Program (MAP), now the treatment wing of MusiCares. He has been a passionate public advocate for the recovery movement for the past twenty-four years.

Tracey Jackson wrote the films Confessions of a Shopaholic, The Guru and The Other End of the Line among others. She has also written twelve TV pilots, and created the series BABES for Fox TV. Tracey wrote, directed, and starred in the controversial documentary Lucky Ducks, which can presently be seen on Amazon, Journeyman Docs and pay for view. Her first book, Between a Rock and Hot Place: Why Fifty is Not the New Thirty, came out in 2011 and was optioned for a TV movie by Lifetime. Tracey blogs three times a week on She has blogged for Huffpo, WOWOWOW, Society for Drug Free America, Tiny Buddha and various other sites. She runs with Paul Williams.

Photo credit George Baier IV

Parking will be available in the lot at nearby Thornhill Elementary School (see below); more parking info and directions info are available on MPC’s parking and directions page.

The book talk is co-sponsored by Great Good Place for Books in Montclair. You’ll have the option of purchasing the book from them right after the talk.



World Cup-o-Food

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

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MPC is getting competitive over the World Cup games! Those of you who were rooting for a USA win will have to settle on a second-choice country as the food drive competition continues.

A reminder of how this game works:
1) Bring in your cans and packages of non-perishable food for the Alameda County Food Bank
2) Each donated item earns you a raffle ticket
3) place your ticket in the jar of the team YOU think will win the World Cup.
When the final World Cup game concludes just after church on Sunday, July 13th, the winning team’s jar will be taken, and winning tickets selected for World Cup-themed prizes.

So bring your cans and boxes, and fill up those raffle jars!



Family Camp 2014

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

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campfire travelmuse
Next week at this time, seventy or so of us from MPC will be sitting around a campfire in South Lake Tahoe making some music. It’s time for Family Camp!
Our adults will be enjoying a program by pastor, author, and musician Sam Barry each morning. Sam’s book “How to Play the Harmonica: and Other Life Lessons” has been inspiring many of us to have more fun while we go about our household chores in zany ways, and we’ll see how we all sound when we break open a case of harmonicas.
The children and youth will be led by our Coordinator for Children and Youth, Talitha G Phillips, along with volunteers, in a musical program as well. They will be creating and playing various musical instruments. And each afternoon and evening we have different fun activities, from singalongs to DIY/art events, and the famous Talent/NoTalent show on Thursday night. See more, including videos and photos, on our camp page, and photos on our Flickr.

Photo credit by Travelmuse