Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Look for the Light

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

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advent-wreath-2This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent and when you arrive at Montclair Presbyterian for Celebration at 10:00 a.m. you will find that we have been visited by angels and poinsettias already!  So even though the season of Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of the Christ child into the world again – it is also a season of joy and beauty made manifest in our sanctuary.


We will begin our service with a processional of the Advent wreath and then we will light the first candle – the candle of peace.  The text for the sermon is from the prophet Isaiah 2: 1-5.  This ancient poem imagines a world of peace where “swords are beaten into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”


Take a break from the hustle and bustle and come join us this Sunday and throughout the holiday season.  Happy Advent!



The Treasures of Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

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10.30.2013 Harvest Dinner-5“The essence of philosophy is that a (hu)man should so live that his (or her) happiness shall depend as little as possible on external things.”- Epictetus


This Sunday we will spend a bit of time counting our blessings and pondering the meaning of things in our individual and common life as preparation for Thanksgiving the following week using Luke 12: 13-21 as our point of departure and a sermon entitled, “Foolishness on the Farm”.


Do join us at 10:00 a.m. with your blessings in mind!


We will also be preparing the sanctuary and family room for Advent and Christmas in the afternoon.  If you’d like to help, just let us know.


Justice and Philippine Typhoon Relief

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

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typhoon_Haiyan_noaa_620x433Typhoon Haiyan presents a poignant opportunity for us as people of faith to exercise both our compassion and justice muscles.  The devastation is catastrophic for cities that were in the direct path of the storm and the needs are overwhelming.  Working together in times of crisis in our extended human family to pool our resources is yet another reason for “why church?”  And because we regularly give to disaster ministries through One Great Hour of Sharing means that we have already prepaid the overhead for 100% of our special donations now to go directly to relief efforts.



You may also give on Sunday and write “Philippines Storm Relief” on the memo line of your check (made out to MPC). This is the work of compassion that is desperately needed for those who have been impacted.

And yet, what about the justice issues attached to this disaster?  (see my recent blog on Justice and Compassion)  Many of us are quite clear that “superstorms” such as Typhoon Haiyan and last year’s Hurricane Sandy are part of our rapidly accelerating climate crisis.  Our sisters and brothers in the Philippines have no doubt that this record-shattering storm is a harbinger of increasing damage and destruction resulting from global warming.  As a result, their government has already called for an immediate end to the stalemate on international climate talks held this week in Poland and an “emergency climate pathway” to be found immediately.


The political climate in the United States is just as toxic as the carbon that is at the root of this climate crisis.  Sometimes it seems as if even those leaders who support immediate action on climate change have just given up in the face of hostile resistance from their opponents. How can we help with this justice work? What resources can we pool together to address this planetary emergency?  I know many of you have been engaged on these issues for a long time both through the church and beyond the church and I am deeply grateful and proud to be among you in this work.


Still, even as we give to help the victims, let’s “keep on keeping on” with the justice work too.


Love and many blessings,



Why Church?

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

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Why ChurchThere are a lot of options in the Bay Area when it comes to community groups, spiritual paths, and places to be of service.  What makes a church different?  What can we do together as a group that cannot be done in other ways?  Last week, we looked at “why church” from the perspective of what an individual or family can gain from being part of a church.  This week, we will explore “why church” in the larger scheme of things.  Do churches such as Montclair Presbyterian have a particular to role to play in the community?  in the culture?  Do join us at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday.


Joshua DuBois Book Talk at MPC

Monday, November 4th, 2013

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Joshua Dubois The President's DevotionalTuesday, November 5th at 7pm, President Barack Obama’s “Pastor in Chief” Joshua DuBois will be at MPC discussing his new book The President’s Devotional. This book is a selection of the prayers, scripture, songs and reflections that DuBois sent to the President while serving as his spiritual advisor (he was also the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships). We hope you will join us for what is sure to be a fascinating and inspirational evening.

Recently, Mr. DuBois was on the PBS NewsHour:

Learn more about Joshua DuBois and The President’s Devotional at these links:

Street parking is available behind the church on Grisborne Avenue, further down Thornhill Avenue next to Thornhill Elementary School, or on nearby Mountain Blvd. More parking and directions information is available on MPC’s parking and directions page.


Honoring Our Ancestors and Dia de los Muertos

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

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11.1.2009 All Saints Day

The ofrenda is an art installation that includes photos, objects, special foods, and/or other means for remembering and honoring those who have died.  So look around this week and then bring items this Sunday that remind you of your beloveds who have passed away.  During the service, we will bring forth our items and create our ofrenda in the midst of worship.  I also invite you to simply make a list of those whom you would like to honor and bring that with you, too.  There will also be opportunities for prayer and contemplation that are more like what happens in our monthly prayer services.

The purpose of the ofrenda is two-fold: it helps us to grieve when we honor our dead AND it reminds us of the ways that they live on in us.

For this special service, we will also have great jazz music from our musical guests: Tom Dambly and friends.

This service is also a great multicultural way to mark Reformation Day in our congregation because we owe much to those particular ancestors for creating and shaping the so much of our faith. (I will definitely bring a photo of Jean Calvin and some other lesser know heros/heroines of the Reformation for our ofrenda) We will also sing “For All the Saints” with the organ to honor and remember that tradition!


Relevant Response Time

Friday, October 18th, 2013

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justiceJustice takes time and patience and sometimes some other crazy stuff.  Come explore the contours of the justice path this week in our Celebration service at 10 a.m.  Come as you are, and be prepared to leave refreshed!


Michael Chabon Book Talk at MPC

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

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Author Michael ChabonUpdate: Michael Chabon’s talk — most of it, anyway — is available for download in mp3 format. Download/listen to it now Sorry to say, we weren’t able to record the last 5 minutes.

Wednesday, October 16th at 7pm, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon will be at MPC, reading from his most recent novel Telegraph Avenue (set right here in Oakland!) and discussing the writing process. We hope you will join us for what is sure to be a fascinating evening.

Michael Chabon’s works include The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), The Yiddish Policeman’s Union (winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards), The Mysteries of Pittsburg, Wonder Boys, Summerland and Manhood for Amateurs. Learn more about him on his website or on his page on .

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.

Photo credit: Ulf Andersen


Are you in the Upper 10%?

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

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gratitudeJoin us for Celebration this Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  The Montclair Presbyterian MEN’S choir will be singing and Rev. Melinda will be preaching about the intersection of healing and gratitude.

Here’s a prayer for today:

“Let us pray to the One who holds us
in the hollow of His hands,
To the One who holds us in the curve of Her arms,
To the One whose flesh is the flesh of hills and
hummingbirds and angleworms,
Whose skin is the color of an old Black woman
and a young white man; and the color of the leopard
and the grizzly bear and the green grass snake,
Whose hair is like the aurora borealis, rainbows,
nebulae, waterfalls, and a spider’s web,
Whose eyes sometime shine like the Evening Star,
and then like fireflies, and then again like an open wound,
Whose touch is both the touch of life and the touch of death,
And whose name is everyone’s, but mostly mine.
And what shall we pray?
Let us say, ‘thank you.’”

Reverend Max Coots is the Minister Emeritus of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Canton, New York. © Max Coots.


Join Us for World Communion Sunday, October 6th!

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

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This Sunday, October 6th, we will celebrate World Communion Sunday. If you would like to participate, you can bring a piece of fabric from a different country to help decorate the communion table. As we have done in the past, we will celebrate communion with breads of the world. Please sign up to bake and/or bring a bread from a particular country, culture, area, etc. Contact Talitha Phillips to let her know what you will bring so that we can coordinate and be ready to come early (9:45 AM).

 10.2.2013 Peacemaking
We will also take a special offering on this day: The Peacemaking Offering. There will be special envelopes provided. 25% goes to local peacemaking efforts, and 75% to national and international efforts of the PC(USA). Please be generous as this money goes to very valuable ministries, from working against gun violence to stopping human trafficking. You can see more here: