We are a multigenerational, social justice-oriented community of joyful, imperfect people who welcome absolutely everybody with hospitality, openness and acceptance.

August 5, 2010 Interim Pastor Search Committee

Dear Members of the Congregation and Friends of the Family,

The interim pastor search committee has begun to screen the candidates for the interim pastor at Montclair. We have reviewed several candidates and developed a short list of candidates to interview. We plan to interview these candidates in mid-August and make a recommendation to Session for approval as soon as possible after that.

Congregational Input
Over the last few weeks, many of you gave input into skills, abilities, characteristics, values (including theological beliefs) and experiences you would like to see in an interim pastor. Below is a consolidated list of the input that will help guide the committee in the selection:

Pastoral Interests

  • Interest in/support of social justice issues (x3)
  • Uses Bible verses in a contemporary way – including issues of the day (x3)
  • Interest in supporting positive change in the local Oakland community – political activism (x3)
  • Acceptance and embracing of MPC as a “More Light” congregation (x3) – Full welcome of GLBT people into the life of the church, including ordination if faithful in a covenant relationship (same-sex marriage, Domestic Partnership) or celibate in single.
  • Maintain pastoral care with skills to help us through grief (x2)
  • Support for church members in crisis, including hospital and home visits (x2)
  • Comfortable with Bible, Christian traditions and language  – balance tradition with emerging Christianity
  • Capable of radical hospitality, inclusiveness. A welcoming presence.
  • Work to expand Companions or implement a Deacons program – active outreach to congregation
  • Support stewardship program
  • A person who cultivates everyone in the congregation, taking an interest in each member’s personal life.
  • Support liberal, progressive theology
  • Encourages programs and activities that promote and authentic church family where people are known and supportive of each other.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Music lover/supportive of music program for celebration – involved in music community outside the church (x8)
  • Good administrator/manager/works well with staff/runs good meetings  (x8)
  • Good preacher – lively, thoughtful, spiritual  intellectually stimulating  – use personal examples that all can relate to (x6)
  • Makes children, families feel welcome and a part of us and support children’s programs, make them happy to be in church (x3)
  • Experience and skill in facilitating required mission study (x2)
  • Experience as an interim – MPC should not be their learning curve (x2)
  • Practical/spiritual rather than “religious” sermons
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Skilled at reconciling conflicts, both staff and in the membership
  • Able to talk about Christ to a congregation that has a wide range of faith experiences and views
  • Able to inspire and lead people in social justice, be a part of MPC activities like Open Mike, tri-faith and OCO clergy meetings
  • Help bring the generations together and encourage involvement of the younger generation in the activities and work of the church.
  • Business knack – to get us out of debt
  • Willing to attend meetings
  • Works well with children
  • We need a “cheerleader” at the pulpit!  Enthusiasm is particularly necessary during the interim.
  • Selling the church – grow the church membership, including young families and younger singles (x2)
  • Well-informed on denominational issues
  • Reactivate drama  use drama in celebration
  • Makes a role for young singles in the celebration
  • Youthful ideas to engage young families
  • Encourages alternative ideas for Sunday celebration
  • Taps into the skills of members and friends and invites participation in Sunday celebration
  • Full support for women in the life of the church, including all leadership roles (e.g. ordination). Must support inclusive language, and move beyond stereotypes of God/Trinity as Male only.

Personal Traits and Characteristics

  • Sense of humor (x5)
  • Flexibility – able to deal with a variety of types of people (x3)
  • Good storyteller (x2)
  • Someone who actively supports inclusivity (x2)
  • Good listener and ability to give resources and suggestions for needs (2)
  • A warm, approachable style that will engage the broader community, including the young families (but not just them!) (x2)
  • Willingness to hang out with us, outgoing
  • Values the arts
  • Joyful, welcoming
  • Depth of conversation balanced with levity
  • Someone with international interests
  • Loves music
  • Open-minded
  • Can identify with the younger generation
  • Creative, brings new ideas
  • Listens to people with whom s/he differs
  • I do not care if my pastor is registered democrat or republican. I do care that my pastor does not buy into, promote, or promulgate the ideology of either party


  • A man for the interim and a woman for the permanent minister
  • I’ve enjoyed a woman pastor – would like another . . .
  • Does not try to change things that are working well.
  • Perhaps a younger male who is energetic and enthusiastic, interested in social justice and Oakland issues as well as in members of the congregation.
  • A person who expresses interest in what the Faith Trio is doing, and occasionally attends monthly meetings.
  • Against the death penalty.
  • I expect a self-identified evangelical or progressive pastor to have the belief that there are many paths to God, and at MPC we practice Christianity here.
  • Shows by facial expressions – eyes, smile, etc. – the love of God.


If you have questions, you can contact someone on the interim pastor search committee:

Linda Benson (510-865-1215; lsbee@comcast.net)

Tom Davies (510-531-8001; tjdavies@aol.com)

Hal Davis (510-530-5476; halrob3@sbcglobal.net)

Sari Kulberg (510-653-6432; sjkulberg@gmail.com)

Tamara Lett (531-3500;  jeph4@earthlink.net)

Your prayers are appreciated as the church family continues this journey.