Dear Friends

The glory of these forty days
We celebrate with songs of praise;
For Christ, through whom all things were made,
Himself has fasted and has prayed. 

On Wednesday, February 26, we begin a new cycle in our spiritual lives. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.  It inaugurates a season of quiet reflection, an intentional time of preparation for the miracle of new life 40 days that bring us to Easter. But before we can live into resurrection, we take a “timeout” to examine our lives for what we are willing to change so that Easter can have meaning for us. Some mark the time by acts of self-discipline, or increased prayer. Some try on a new habit or leave behind an old one. Everybody needs a time to consider change, and to grow into it. Lent is our collective time to do that- a sparer time, to create room for new life and resurrection.

The forty days of Lent imitate the time that Jesus spent in the desert, in the wilderness. It recalls the time that the people of Israel spent wandering in the desert, forty years before they were ready to leave slavery behind and begin again with a vision of a promised land in freedom. Make regular attendance at worship part of the rhythm of your life. Read the bible daily- We have scripture booklets at church with forty days of readings. You can do anything for forty days! Let’s journey together and see what God has in store for us and for our church on Easter. Join us on Ash Wednesday at 7 pm for the distribution of ashes and Holy Communion I look forward to seeing you this week.

with love, Jim

Event Summary

Ash Wednesday – Lent Begins – February 26, 7 pm
Distribution of Ashes and Holy Communion

Saturday, February 29, 6 pm
The Trouble I’ve Seen
An evening of music, sound, spoken word, and Troublemaking during Black History Month with the Trouble Ensemble. A benefit for the NAACP San Mateo Chapter.

Sunday, March 1, First Sunday in Lent
Rev. Dr. Karma Amos, interim minister from the Unitarian Universalist Church in Dover, Delaware is our guest preacher and will preach on Matthew 4:1-11 and also on the importance of celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8 and Women’s History Month.

Sunday, March 8, Second Sunday In Lent
Rev. Jim will preach on John 3:1-17, the story of Nicodemus,

Sunday, March 15, Third Sunday in Lent
Rev. Jim will preach on John 4:5-42, the story of the Woman at the Well.

Sunday, March 22, the Fourth Sunday in Lent
Rev. Elisabeth will preach on John 9:1-41, the story of a person blind from birth

Sunday, March 29, the Fifth Sunday in Lent
Rev. Jim will preach on John 11, the raising of Lazarus

Dear Friends

Recently Peg Divine and Machiko (with input from others) designed a very attractive bookmark which we will use to help promote our church. One of the phrases that was used to describe us was “Progressive Protestant Tradition.”  Some people asked what “Protestant” means. This Sunday is Reformation Day, the commemoration of the Protestant Reformation that was sparked by Martin Luther. In my sermon I will give credit to Martin Luther, but also address what it means to be a “Protestant” today. Come join us!

Rev. Jim Mitulski

Our Upcoming Services

Thanksgiving Day Worship
On Thanksgiving Day, November 28 we are combining with Congregational Church of San Mateo and St. James AME Zion Church to have one service at 10 am at St. James, located at 825 Monte Diablo Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401. If you have friends and family visiting, invite them along and spend a joyful hour of prayer and gratitude at the beginning of the holiday.

Upcoming Worship Themes

October 27 – Reformation Day
What does it mean to be a “Protestant” today? Rev. Jim

November 3
Feast of All Saints and All Souls
Rev. Elisabeth preaching
Bring pictures of friends, family members, or other people who have died for the altar

November 10
“Changing Times” Luke 21:5-19
Rev. Jim

November 17
Celebrating our United Church of Christ Connection Rev. Davena Jones,
Associate Conference Minister, Northern California Nevada Conference
of the United Church of Christ

November 24 
Thanksgiving Sunday
Feast of Christ the King
The Rev. Dr. Jay Emerson Johnson,
Professor of Theology and Culture, Pacific School of Religion

December 1st
First Sunday of Advent
Special World AIDS Day service 4 pm

Reading ahead…the Tuesday afternoon book group will be looking at 2 new books and one book of the Bible between now and the end of the year. The books are Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson (also a wide release film version will debut in December), and The Time is Now, by Joan Chittister. We will also look at Paul’s Epistle to the Romans.

Rev. Jim Mitulski

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

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

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



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  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.



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