Archive for Pastor’s Weekly Message

Service of music and storytelling with Bobby Jo Valentine

Come hear and experience the healing power of music this Sunday – our sermon time will be a performance in word and song by Bobby Jo Valentine.  Bobby Jo Valentine performed in a number of faith communities.  It’s a great week to invite friends and family too. There was a palpable feeling of tenderness that pervaded our service last Sunday, and I expect his music will open us up to an even deeper level this week. Bobby Jo has a particular gift for people and groups going through change – as we are here. Hope to see you – Jim

More about Bobby Jo at www.bobbyjovalentine.com

Dear Friends

Join us this Sunday to hear our guest preacher, Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow. He is a distinguished theologian and activist, and his message “Like a good neighbor”, based on Luke 10:25-37 and Psalm 25 is a timely one for us. As we pray, converse and work to discern what’s next in our church’s unfolding future, I appreciate that you continue to be faithful in church participation even in the summer. Something new and wonderful is coalescing- and we need you to be present to help shape it. See you Sunday!

Rev. Jim Mitulsk

Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow
Coordinator, African American Roundtable
Rev. Dr. Roland Stringfellow earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a Master of Science degree in Counseling from Indiana University. He later earned a Master of Arts degree in Ministry from Grace Theological Seminary and in 1990 became a licensed minister in the Baptist Church. In 2005, Roland was ordained with the Metropolitan Community Church and in 2006 he earned his Master of Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion with a certificate in Religion and Sexuality. In 2011, Roland became licensed with the United Church of Christ and The Fellowship churches, a predominately African-American denomination with an outreach to LGBT individuals. He has worked as a pastor in Indiana and California. In addition to all his work within church contexts, Roland also worked in the field of education in a variety of capacities – teacher, guidance counselor, college advisor, and vice-principal. Roland is  currently based in Detroit, Michigan, where he is pastor of Metropolitan Community Church in Clawson.

Our Upcoming Services

May 26 – The Sixth Sunday after Easter 
Memorial Day observed  
Acts 16:9-15 and John 5:1-9
Healing Prayers offered

June 2 – The Feast of the Ascension
Acts: 1-11 and poetry by H.D. from “The Flowering of the Rod”

June 9 – The Feast of Pentecost
The 50th Anniversary of Island United Church
Choir Appreciation Sunday
Dedication of our pledges
Acts 2:1-21

Dear Friends

Dear friends- Join us this week as we conclude the season Epiphany by observing the Feast of the Transfiguration, as recounted in Luke 9:28-36. The word transfigure is used in the passage to describe how Jesus changes. This is the same word as metamorphosis – not just transformation from one thing to another, but of one thing to something better- and it has great applicability to our own lives, and to our church as well.  I will also talk about it using a recent novel I read, “Go, Went, Gone” by Jenny Erpenbeck, which looks at transfiguration as a kind of awakening to consciousness.  Join us for lively worship this Sunday! Jim

P.S. Here’s a recent review of “Go, Went, Gone
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/12/books/review/go-went-gone-jenny-erpenbeck.html

Dear Friends

Please join us this Sunday as we continue our celebration of Black History Month. We will explore one of the most famous teachings of Jesus, as found in Luke 6:17-25, commonly called the Beatitudes. We will also look at one particular episode of Black History, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and how it embodies Christian values in regard to social change. Hope to see you – Jim

 

Upcoming

February Black History Month
Feb 17   Rev. Jim, Black History theme
Feb 24   Rev. Jim, Black History theme

March Lent Begins
Mar 3    The Feast of the Transfiguration, Communion
Mar 6    Ash Wednesday
Mar 10  The First Sunday in Lent, Rev. Sandhya Jha, Disciples Minister and Executive Director Oakland Peace Center

The Life of The Church

Celebrating Epiphany

Last Sunday we continued our celebration of the Epiphany season with the passage that contains the first sermon Jesus preached, in his home town synagogue, in the presence of his parents. He lays out his platform, his own state of the union, if you will. This was Part One–the easier part.

In the liturgy we used some poetry by the late, great, American poet Mary Oliver, who died recently https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/obituaries/mary-oliver-dead.html.  Many people have found her writing to be a spiritual portal. In the United Church of Christ we are fond of saying “God Is Still Speaking” and Mary Oliver through her writing reminds us that God sill speaks in nature.

Next week we’ll hear the second half of his sermon–the one where he goes “from preaching to meddling,” as we used to say in the South.

 

Upcoming

February Black History Month
Feb 10   Rev. Dr. Justin Tanis, Pacific School of Religion, transgender theologian
Feb 17   Rev. Jim, Black History theme
Feb 24   Rev. Jim, Black History theme

March Lent Begins
Mar 3    The Feast of the Transfiguration, Communion
Mar 6    Ash Wednesday
Mar 10  The First Sunday in Lent, Rev. Sandhya Jha, Disciples Minister and Executive Director Oakland Peace Center

Dear Friends

Join us this Sunday for the Feast of the Epiphany, the story in which Jesus, Mary and Joseph are visited by Wise ones from another culture, and are warned to flee to another country to find asylum there, to protect the life of young Jesus, as told in Matthew 2:1-15. We will hear contemporary songs and readings, including one by the eminent theologian at Pacific School of Religion, the Rev. R. Jay Johnson. We will celebrate the Lord’s Supper where we are pleased to welcome everyone- without exception- to the table. The word epiphany means “manifestation” and we are called to look and listen to where God is being manifest today. All throughout January we will be looking for Manifestation, revelations of God’s continuous and active presence in our lives. Our January Theme is “The Voice of God is Calling”. Join us! Jim

Upcoming
Sunday, January 13th – The Feast of the Baptism of Jesus Christ. We also include a ceremony devised and presided over by Todd Atkins-Whitley for the renewal of baptismal vows. If you have never been baptized and would like to be on this Sunday, or on another date, speak to Rev. Jim.

Sunday, January 20th -The Feast of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Our guest preacher is the Rev. Dr. D. Mark Wilson, who teaches at UC Berkeley where he conducts the Gospel choir, and at St. Mary ‘s College where he teaches diversity work. https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/d-mark-wilson
Rev. Jim Mitulski

Dear Friends

Christmas isn’t over yet. More revelations await us. Join us this Sunday at 10 am as we revisit and continue the story.  We’ll look at John 1:1-14, a poetic interpretation of the Christmas story. Join us! – Rev Jim
Rev. Jim Mitulski

Dear Friends

We have two special services in the next week, and we hope to see you and your friends and family if possible. On Sunday morning we will conclude Advent by lighting the fourth candle representing Love. My sermon will focus on Mary and her song of joy, the Magnificat, as found in Luke 1:46-55. On Christmas Eve at 6 pm we will celebrate the mystery and the beauty of the incarnation. We will hear the ancient story and one rendered in the ancient story from Luke 2:1-20 as well as a contemporary version by Todd Atkins-Whitley that brings the old story into the present. Join us on this night when God comes to us in the form of a child and experience spiritual re-birth through the birth of Jesus. I hope to see you! Merry Christmas! Rev. Jim
Rev. Jim Mitulski

From Pastor Carol …

How do you thank people for incredibly loving and generous hearts? I am so grateful to all of you for your fond and affirming farewells, and wonderful gifts. So I offer a few words – first from Sunday’s message.

Remember in the days and weeks ahead to: Show Up… Pay Attention… Tell the Truth… and Be Open to the Outcome. (Thank you, Angeles Arrien.) This is a life-giving practice which I am sure will lead you as individuals and as a congregation into a wonderful future.

Secondly from poet, meditator, and yoga practitioner, Danna Faulds:

There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear
fantasies, failures, and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, your practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.

May you continue to be blessed, and live as blessings to others –       Carol