Whatever things are

think on these things
Vol. 58, No. 23 December 11, 2009 Barbara Strader Editor

Caroling at The Redwoods
Put on your Santa hat and bring your jingle bells, warm up your singing voice, and gather quietly with carolers in the library at The Redwoods between 6:30 and 6:45 p.m. on Friday, December 18th. From 6:45 until 7 p.m. we will carol for the holiday party revelers on their way to the auditorium. Promptly at 7 o’clock we will begin caroling in the halls starting with the Health Care Unit. Once again we will be joined by folks from Community Congregational Church U.C.C. in Tiburon. If our chorus is too large to negotiate the halls together we will divide into smaller groups with singers from both churches in each group. (If you own a pitch pipe, please bring it along.) At eight o’clock we will came back to the library for coffee and hot cocoa. If you live at The Redwoods, you may receive a call next week to find out if you plan to be at home between 7 and 8 that evening. Singers of all ages are welcome. Please come and join in the fun.

Christmas Eve Service
5:30 p.m. Family Service The first crèche-discovered by archeologists--was made in the fourth century by an unknown artist. During the Middle Ages craft guilds often built the Christmas crib for the village church. It is said the Saint Francis of Assisi brought home the joyful message of Christ’s birth when he had a life-sized nativity scene secretly built in a cave and then invited the whole town to see it on Christmas Eve. At 5:30 p.m. on December 24 at the Community Church, children build the crèche and help the Pam Shortridge tell the story of the first Christmas. Each child takes one small figure (a sheep, an angel, one of the magi, a donkey, a shepherd, or the baby Jesus) and brings it to the stable at just the right time. For a few minutes on that special night, each child is there in Bethlehem breathing the air and hearing the angels’ song of peace. For the littlest ones it is a bit like playing house; for the older ones it is a way of entering into a time long ago in a place far away. For the adults it is a way of sharing the wondrous mystery and the joy of that holy night with the children. Together we all sing carols as we welcome Christ into our hearts once again. Come a little early for a seat near the front and to join the carol sing with Esther Archer.

Guest Musician
On Sunday, December 27th, we will be having a guest musician come share some Christmas spirit with us: Justin Eagleton, quite a bit taller than many of you might remember from when he attended CCMV as a child, will bring his guitar and play both classical and jazz tunes. Justin has been playing music since the age of 4, about the same time his grandfather, John Eagleton, started bringing Justin to Sunday morning services. Justin began his music study on his grandfather's piano, and then took up the trumpet
“Guest Musician” continued on page 4…

In This Issue
MOC Keeping Strong Presence on Issues December Birthdays Gifts for the Pastor’s Fund In Memoriam Kenneth Herbert Harris Seasonal Events James Christie Reports Interfaith Dialogue Presentation Christmas at Cornell Volunteers Needed for Dinner at Shelter 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 5 5

MOC Keeping Strong Presence on Issues
At the December 3 meeting, MOC leaders summed up this year’s activities and looked ahead to plans for next year. A primary goal is to create a permanent open emergency homeless shelter to house up to 80 people a night. To that end, MOC is facilitating a meeting with Supervisor Steve Kinsey and Mayor Al Boro to discuss possible locations for a permanent shelter in San Rafael. Meanwhile, this winter’s temporary emergency shelter program, hosted by 15 churches on a rotating basis, opened as scheduled on December 1, except in San Rafael. The four participating San Rafael churches still are awaiting approval of their plans to shelter 20 homeless women one night each week. Shelter supporters are urged to attend the San Rafael City Council meeting December 8, 7 p.m., 1400 5th Ave. The MOC health team has been closely following the planning for Marin General Hospital’s transition to a new independent status when Sutter Health hands over administrative reins in July, 2010. MOC recognizes the importance of having strong, fair new bylaws to guide the MGH board and to guarantee its success as a thriving independent hospital in central Marin. Representatives will voice MOC’s views at the December 8 meeting of the hospital district board, 250 Bon Air Rd., Green-

brae. An MOC committee working on legal issues surrounding the towing and impoundment of cars in San Rafael’s Canal District plans to confer with the chief of police to discuss city policy. This committee’s next meeting is on Monday, January 11, 7 p.m. at St. Raphael’s Church, 1104 Fifth St., San Rafael. During February and March, MOC suggests that all member institutions hold in-house meetings— perhaps partnering with neighboring congregations, perhaps as part of Lenten activities—to “digest” the significance of the huge MOC gathering in October and to discuss community problems that are looming in the coming year. —– Linda Xiques, Jack Bartlett, Betsy Bikle

December Birthdays
Happy Birthday to everyone born in December! If you missed your date, email us at the church office: ccmvucc@comcast.net December 4 December 13 December 16 December 31 Ronald Cooper Betsy Bikle Judy Reneau JoAnn Haseltine.

The Community Church of Mill Valley United Church of Christ An Open & Affirming Congregation 8 Olive Street, Mill Valley , CA 94941 Phone 415/388-5540 Fax 415/388-1678 e-mail CCMVUCC@comcast.net www.millvalleyucc.org
Pastor: Pam Shortridge Minister Emeritus: Jack Bartlett Parish Associate of Mission: Dora Ford Minister in Covenant: Jacquie Hoffman Seminarian In-Care: Arn Lou Mutia Seminarian In-Care: James Christie Director of Music: Esther Archer Executive Editor: Barbara Strader Facility Operations Manager: Aaron Young
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Sunday Morning: 9:00 a.m. “The Unexpected Word” Class, Foster Room 10:00 a.m. Worship Service, Sanctuary Nursery Care for Infants & Toddlers, Nursery Program for Children in Preschool through Third Grade, Children gather in the Chapel 11:15 a.m. Coffee Hour in the Tamalpais Hall Of Good Report is published on the second and fourth Monday of each month. Deadline for submissions is the previous Monday at noon. 2

Gifts for the Pastor’s Fund
This past year the challenges many people face due to the Recession were made clear by the requests for assistance from the Pastor’s Fund. For some their work hours were cut and they were short of cash by the end of the month. For others the little cushion they had saved had disappeared. This past year the pastor’s discretionary fund was used to give just a few dollars more so folks could make the month’s rent or pay the phone bill or pick up a few groceries to tie them over until the next pay day. Among those who live on the edge and receive medical care in San Francisco the cost of public transportation was a problem requiring up to $20 they didn’t have for a bus from Marin to the city and back and a bit for a snack while they waited in a cue to be seen. Partial scholarships to the annual adult faith retreat meant that this opportunity for fellowship was not denied to anyone who wished to attend. When funding for a special program at the church was just a little short due to our very tight operating budget, the fund provided the extra boost to make it possible. Most grants to those in need are around fifty dollars, and the need continues to grow. Money for the Pastor’s Fund is collected only once each year at Christmas time. If you can help in any way, it will be appreciated in ways you can not imagine. Please make checks payable to the Community Church with the notation: Pastor’s Fund. You may mail your donation to the church or drop it in the offering plate on Sunday or the Christmas Eve service. Thank you. - Pam Shortridge

Seasonal Events
Friday, December 18 6:30 p.m. Caroling at The Redwoods Sunday, December 20 Last Sunday for: The Holiday Food Drive Donate nonperishable food for the Marin Food Bank The Giving Tree Give money to provide school supplies for the poor children of Masaka, Uganda and of Tarlac in Luzon, Philippines The Sock Box Bring a pair of socks and some wrapped candies as gifts for the residents of the Reentry Center At the 10 o’clock service: Hear the Christmas Choir and The Sound Print: “Light” At 11:30 Coffee Hour: Fill gift bags for Reentry center residents Thursday, December 24 5:30 Christmas Eve Family Service Sunday, December 27 At the 10 o’clock service: Hear Guest Guitarist Justin Eagleton At 11:30 a.m.: Hear James Christie on Interfaith Dialogue & the Parliament of the World’s Religions Saturday, January 2 Beginning at 9 a.m.: Un-Greening Enjoy tea & cookies. Carefully pack up the Christmas decorations and welcome 2010. Sunday, January 3 Communion at the 10 o’clock service Dora Ford will preach and lead worship

In Memoriam Kenneth Herbert Harris February 26, 1925—November 22, 2009
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James Christie Reports
I finished up my time as a hospital chaplain at Yale-New Haven Hospital, took a much-needed vacation visiting Baltimore, Raleigh, and New York City. Then I began my third and final year at Yale Divinity School in September. I love all my classes. I am learning about the history and structure of the United Church Christ in UCC History & Polity. Another class I am taking is Narrative Therapy. The premise is that people are constantly telling stories about their lives. Through various techniques one can work with a person to transform the stories that are not working for someone to one that can benefit the individual. As a result, substantial changes can occur in a person’s life. I am taking a class in the cognitive science program. It’s called ‘Mind, Brain, and Society.’ The class is about how findings in neuroscience are impacting the social sciences and the study of religion. It’s a fascinating class. I am currently working on a paper for it about why religion makes sense to people because of certain cognitive structures in the human brain. My most exciting class is Interfaith Dialogue. It is a travel seminar of ten divinity school students, Dr. Kirsten Leslie, and Sharon Kugler the chaplain of Yale. We spent the first two months of the seminar studying interfaith dialogue, that is the practice of interacting with people of other faiths, and in December we will be traveling to Melbourne, Australia to participate in the Parliament of the World’s Religions. There, 10,000 members from all of the world’s faiths will network with one another and come up with cooperative solutions for global issues. I will be discussing my experience at the parliament after church on December 27th. I hope to see you there! I have also been in discussions with mentors about my future ministry. I have decided, as a result of these discussions, not to pursue traditional congregational ministry. Instead I will start a non-profit planting house churches (that is churches which meet in people’s homes and share a meal). I am very excited about house churches potential for the future of Christianity, particularly for getting my
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generation involved in church. As a result, I am submitting applications to MBA programs with a non-profit focus in order to get the management skills needed to run such a non-profit. - James Christie Istanbul Blog: http://jameschristie.livejournal.com/

Interfaith Dialogue Presentation
On December 27th after church I will be sharing my experience as a participant in the Parliament of the World's Religions being held in Melbourne, Australia and teaching a brief lesson on interfaith engagement. Interfaith engagement is the art and theology of dialogue with a practitioner of another faith. In the class, I will deal with questions of how to begin interfaith engagement, the importance of this work, what to do if one commits a faux pas, and how Muslims, Jews, and Christians approach this work. I have experience engaging in Muslim-Christian dialogue in the summer of 2008 while living in Istanbul and as a participant in the Parliament of the World's Religions in Melbourne, Australia in December 2009. I hope to see you all at the class! -James Christie

Loaner Car Sought
James Christie will be in town December 21— December 29. If you have an extra vehicle available for him to borrow, please phone him at 415/847-6710 or email james.christie@yale.edu
“Guest Musician on December 27” continued from page 1.

from elementary through high school. Most impressively, Justin also taught himself guitar, and began studying in earnest as he entered college. Justin is currently a sophomore at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, where he is pursuing a degree in music (jazz guitar). Please come join us on this special day! - Esther Archer

Christmas at Cornell
Decorations are up at the Reentry Center. Many of our men and women are looking forward to spending the holiday with their families. Many others are coping with the sad realization that, once again they will not see those they love and may well spend Christmas day alone in their room watching TV. On Sun, Dec.20th during coffee hour, we will fill gift bags with socks, candies and small hygiene items so those unable to wake up at home on Christmas will find a gift waiting for them. As of this writing -- Dec.5th -- there are 73 pairs of men's socks in the box or under the giving tree. We anticipate at least 110 men and 10 to 15 women being in need of a gift. If each one is to receive two pair of socks we need 20 - 30 pair of women's socks and 147 pair for men. About half of the socks already in have come from St. Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco and it is possible they will provide more. They have also provided the gift bags. It is possible we will only be able to provide one pair of socks per person -- but two pair would be 150% more wonderful. Small, individually wrapped, candies are an important addition to the gift bags and can be placed in the basket next to the sock box. A financial donation can be made in lieu of going shopping. Please make a notation "Cornell Christmas". Anyone wishing to do extra baking can bring goodies on Dec.20th. It has been a very long time since some of out residents have tasted a home make cookie... Thank you for whatever you are able to do. - Love, Dora

Volunteers Needed for Dinner at the Shelter
Our church has pledged to provide a hot evening meal every fourth Tuesday, December through March, at the First United Methodist Church in San Rafael. First Methodist is hosting up to 20 homeless women one night a week during the winter season as part of this year’s rotating emergency shelter program. We need four volunteers to help prepare the dinner for Tuesday, December 22. Three will cook a casserole, large enough for 8 (using an agreed-upon recipe for simplicity of service), and one will assemble a big salad. Pam Shortridge will arrange for donated bread and pastries. The casseroles and salad can be brought to the CCMV kitchen and will be delivered hot to the First United Methodist Church at 6pm. If you live in San Rafael or beyond and prefer to deliver prepared food directly to First Methodist, that’s fine too. There will be a sign-up sheet in the Tamalpais Room this Sunday. Please add your name to the list of volunteers for December 22 or January 26. Or call Linda Xiques, 383-1929, or email her at linda_xiques@yahoo.com. If you have favorite recipes for tasty, easily prepared casseroles, please send them along too. We want to plan the menu soon and circulate the same recipe to all of the volunteer cooks.

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The Community Church of Mill Valley United Church of Christ 8 Olive Street Mill Valley, CA 94941 Return Service Requested

Postage

Upcoming Church Events
Sunday Giving Tree for Children of the Philippines & Uganda Sock Box for Residents of the Halfway House Holiday Food Drive for Marin Food Bank, Tamalpais Hall Choir Rehearsal, Sanctuary (Newcomers welcome) The Bible: Viewed and Re-viewed with Pam Shortridge. Tamalpais Hall. A conversation open to all. Worship; Child care for children 4 and under, Nursery Children’s Program for children Kindergarten through 3rd Grade, Tamalpais Hall Coffee and Conversation, Tamalpais Hall. All are welcome. Christmas Choir Rehearsal 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 6:30 p.m. 10:00 a.m. 11:30 a.m. 5:30 p.m. Christian Life Team meeting Board of Directors meeting Caroling at The Redwoods Christmas Choir sings Gift wrap, candy and cookies for Halfway House (Dora’s Ministry) Christmas Eve Family Service Christmas Day. Church office closed. Worship. Guest Guitarist, Justin Eagleton Interfaith Dialogue Presentation, James Christie Church office closed. Pam and Barbara on vacation. New Year’s Day. Church office closed. Un-Greening of Church

9:00 a.m.

10:00 a.m. 10:15 a.m. 11:15 a.m. 11:30 a.m. This Week Tue., Dec. 15, Wed., Dec. 16, Fri., Dec. 18, Coming Sun., Dec. 20, Thu., Dec. 24, Fri., Dec. 25, Sun., Dec. 27,

10:00 a.m. 11:30 a.m. Mon., Dec. 28—Thu., Dec. 31 Fri., Jan. 1, Sat., Jan. 2, 9:00 a.m.

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