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Pastoral Blog (Page 2)

Blog postings by our pastor Rev. Ben Daniel.

Medieval music and Christ the Buddha

Friends, Over the weekend Anne and I attended a concert at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley. It was a remarkable experience for a few reasons. First, the concert was entirely medieval and renaissance music composed by women. In many cases the women who composed and who first performed the music we heard had to take a lot of risks and break…

Praying for and passing peace

Friends, About a year after I moved to Montclair Presbyterian Church I introduced a prayer for peace in celebration, near the beginning of the service. It began slowly. Usually once a month or so, but then as folks got used to it, I started including the prayer for peace as a regular part of our worship experience. I did this because it…

Happy 90th Anniversary

Dear friends, While looking over some materials relative to the maintenance of our buildings I came across an interesting bit of information: the Presbytery of San Francisco started doing ministry along the banks of Temescal Creek on Thornhill Drive in April of 1927, which means we may have let the church’s 90th birthday slip by us. I say we “may have” missed…

Odds and Ends

Friends, This week I’m going to use my Contact space to catch up on a few odds and ends. First, let me tell you about stewardship. Sometime in the next week, members and friends of Montclair Presbyterian Church will be getting a stewardship letter from the church, and by “stewardship” we mean “fundraising.” Each year the church reaches out to its members…

Holy Week is a lot of work

Dear Friends, It is Holy Week, which is good news if you gave up eating chocolate for Lent (for now there is less than a week ‘till you can bite the ears off a chocolate bunny); but Holy Week also can be a lot of work, and I don’t just mean for people like me, Talitha, Noël, Marcia, and Kim. Holy Week,…

The Bridge at MPC

Friends, I wanted to give you an update on the bridge over Temescal Creek. A few weeks ago, our congregation gave me the go-ahead to close down the bridge in front of our sanctuary building. Originally our plan was to repair the bridge in places where it was starting to rot, but upon closer inspection, it turned out the rot was more…

After Cloven Tongues of Fire

Friends, For this week’s Contact entry, I would like to introduce you to a book I currently am reading, After Cloven Tongues of Fire: Protestant Liberalism in Modern American History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), by David Hollinger, a now-retired, former chair of the history department at UC Berkeley. The book studies the impact progressive Protestantism has had in the shaping of American…

Springtime of life

Friends, It has been a long and wet winter, and because the rain we’ve had in the last six months has brought the worst drought in living memory to a close, I feel somewhat guilty when I say that I am so happy to see the sun and to smell the flowers and hear the birds sing. Leaves are starting to eek…

Taking a break and giving things up during Lent

Friends, Our congregation has entered into a season of giving things up. This being Lent, a lot of Christians are taking a break from various practices as a spiritual discipline until Easter, but at Montclair Presbyterian Church we may be having to say “goodbye” to our bridge (which has rotten support beams) and during Lent we’re saying “see you later” to our…

Being grateful

Friends, I’ll be away most of this week, attending to a family emergency, but before I drive North, I’d like to say how grateful I am for the following things. I’m grateful to be part of a congregation willing to dance in the sanctuary on a Saturday afternoon, which you did when a few us played “Brown Eyed Girl” at the end…