Worship with us Sundays at 9:30 am

Blessing of the Animals, September 22 at noon

As we learned during our recent Peace Village Camp, St. Francis of Assisi (c. 1181) abandoned a life of luxury for a life devoted to Christianity after reportedly hearing the voice of God, who commanded him to rebuild the Christian church and live in poverty. During his life he also developed a deep love of nature and animals and is known as the patron saint of the environment and animals; his life and words have had a lasting resonance with millions of followers across the globe. St. Francis set an example for us someone who cares for others—including nature and our non-human animal friends and companions. Each October, many animals the world over are blessed on his feast day.

And so this year, we want to offer a Blessing of the Animals ceremony to our community—here at DCC and beyond—as a way of honoring animal companions and their special place in our lives. Because we will be at Camp Caz the weekend adjacent to The Feast Day of St. Francis on October 4, we will hold this blessing on Sunday, September 22 at noon here on the church grounds. More information will be available in coming weeks.

Brunch for all Parents Hosted by Children’s Ministry

On Sunday, September 29, the Children’s Ministry is hosting a brunch in Kairos Hall for all parents of children through grade 5 and our ministry volunteers. Childcare will be provided. We want to share with our families all the good things about our Children’s Ministry, welcome new families, and hear from parents about their hopes for the faith formation of their children. Watch your email for more information and how to RSVP.

Youth Group Parent Meeting & First Youth Group Gathering

Parents of all youth grades 6 through 12 are invited to gather after worship on Sunday, September 15 for fellowship, fun, along with an opportunity to provide feedback and get a look at the youth calendar for the year ahead. Watch your email for a sign-up to let us know if you’re coming and for what you can bring to the potluck lunch as well as information about the location.

All Church Picnic, September 8!

We hope you’ll join us on Sunday, September 8 for our All Church Picnic from 11 am – 2 pm! After a summer of busy travel and vacation, this is a great opportunity time to come reconnect with your friends from DCC. The picnic will follow worship. Coffee will be available while we set up.

For the picnic, we’ll be hanging out in Kairos Hall and on the Patio. There will be fun activities for the kids and young at heart. We’ll have lots of time for connection and conversation! Wondering what to bring?

  • A salad or dessert to share
  • Something to pop on the grill for you/your family
  • Picnic/outdoor chairs if you have them
  • Drinks – we’ll have lemonade and water. Soda/beer/wine is your choice

We look forward to seeing you at the picnic!

Second Sunday Sundae Youth Group Fundraiser—August 11

On Sunday, August 11, our fellowship time will feature ice cream sundaes served by members of your youth group. In return, our youth will be accepting donations to raise money for the Put the Guns Down Block Party being organized by lay pastor Lana Bolds of City of Refuge UCC and the Visions of Hope Project. Envisioned by Pastor Bolds as “an outpouring of love” for the community, this event on September 7 at DeFremery Park in Oakland will offer youth and families of the community food, raffle prizes, books, games, and a treasure hunt—all at no cost. Funds raised will go to Pastor Bolds to purchase the supplies she needs to allow them to serve as many youth as possible.

This event served as the service project for the recent NCNC UCC Annual Gathering.

To donate to this service project, contact Pastor Todd.

Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) Training

DCC is co-sponsoring a Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) Training held over nine Saturdays September through November, hosted by First Congregational Church of Berkeley. MSC is a curriculum developed by Kristin Neff, PhD (UT Austin) and Christopher Germer, PhD (Harvard) that teaches self-kindness, mindful awareness, and common humanity. MSC builds on the natural compassion inside each of us that deepens with practice. Empirical research finds eight weeks of MSC practice:

  •     STRENGTHENS well-being, emotional resilience and immune system
  •     IMPROVES interpersonal relationships
  •     LIMITS SYMPTONS of depression, anxiety and caregiver fatigue
  •     MOTIVATES healthier life-style choices

The course is taught by Rev. Nancy DeNero, trained MSC teacher, and DCC’s own Cheryl D. Pierson, PT, MS and MSC teacher-in-training. MSC includes experiential exercises, discussion and practices to re-examine old beliefs and habits.  Newcomers to Mindfulness are welcome.

Download this form for complete information.

Imagining: A Letter to Danville Congregational Church

Pastor’s note: Today in worship, we considered the epistle text recommended by the lectionary: Colossians 1:1–14. As he approached this text, Rev. Todd wondered what a letter to the Danville Congregational Church might include. Modeled loosely on this letter to the church in Colossae 2,000 years ago and through his own experience of DCC,  stories people have shared about their experiences, and conversations with the senior pastor Rev. Eric out of his great love for DCC, Pastor  Todd imagined just such a letter. This is not a letter from Pastor Todd but an imagining of what someone, some day might write to us.


To the saints and faithful siblings in Christ at Danville Congregational Church United Church of Christ:

Grace to you and peace from God our eternal mother and father.

Thankfulness

We are writing you from our little cabin up in the mountains. The morning air is crisp and clear—a bit chilly as one generally experiences this time of year. As we sip our coffee, the sun rises, casting its warm glow; we immerse ourselves in the silence. Our meditations are held within the Holy who surrounds us in nature and emanates from within us. 

It is in the beauty of this moment that we hold you in our prayers. We can’t help but smile when we think of you! If ever there were a shining example of a faithful community of believers, it is you. You who have been blessed so abundantly are continuing the great work that was started long, long ago by those who first followed Jesus as you do now; by those who built that first chapel on the land that now not only contains a thriving faith community but a school as well. 

Your good works are widely known; yet you do not boast; rather you continue the work set before you, possessing a fervent hope that what you do matters in the world. You long not for the notoriety or praise but for others to feel welcomed, loved, seen.

We have always remembered you when we pray, holding for you hope that you continue to ‘gird yourselves’ with knowledge, that your wisdom deepen as you seek out additional sources of knowledge to enrich your experience of the sacred texts you rightly hold so dear. “God is still speaking,” as you are known for saying, and we see how you understand that God comes to voice in manifold expressions, through a variety of messengers.

In particular, we are reminded of how your depth of love and fellowship has deepened because you opened yourself to the stories of gay and lesbian people–how you allowed their stories to open your own hearts to the depths of God’s love. We have observed how since then, you have sought to love more deeply and widely, how you have embraced the stories of others, holding them as sacred, weaving them together into the tapestry of your fellowship as a community of believers.

Beloveds at the church in Danville: you are sowers of seeds. And “just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God.” (1:6) And though you are aware of some fruit born from your good works and have even tasted some of its sweetness, by and by you do not fully know how truly fruitful you have been. While you often never saw where your money went or what the sweat of your brow brought to fruition, others experienced in their very lives.

Dear friends—

  • How many babies wear the craft of your hands and the prayers of your hearts when the weather is cold, children who may have never had anything hand-made for them or those who no longer receive handmade gifts from an abuela or tia who lives far, far away…
  • How many people who have experienced housing insecurity–including a transgender woman from Nicaragua seeking asylum here in the US–have been given not just the means for a place to live but also hope that they are cared for, that someone is rooting for them…
  • How many people struggling with addiction know there is a faith community that practices hospitality toward them…

All of this, and more, because you saw to it. You saw to it as an expression of your faith in a God who calls you to walk alongside those who are strangers, who suffer, who mourn, who just need someone to see them.

For all this we continue to give thanks to God who remains with us, made real through the expression of our shared work and ministry.

Jesus! 

We have seen how you love Jesus, how you strive to follow his ways.

  • When many of you bought extra coats so that a child would be warm and have something brand new…
  • When you tied a friendship bracelet on the wrist of a child you had no idea was transgender, transmitting to them through your smile and your eyes unconditional love and acceptance that will keep them from self-harm…
  • When you showed up for the children and teenagers among you, instilling a love for God and being present to them in a variety of ways…
  • When you companioned parents who struggled to understand their gay children and how to do right by them…
  • When you look after those in your number who are sick or homebound or have no children nearby…

These and countless other  acts offered in humility show us you know Jesus in a real and tangible way, making visible his presence for all to see and know. You are not perfect—none of us is—but you realize through Christ our sovereign all is being reconciled, as “you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel.” (1:23)

You have listened to the messengers and prophets sent to you—though you struggled at moments with their words. (Haven’t we all now and then?!) You have owned your faith, following the Way not the messenger. You honor the saints and elders among you who gave so much to provide a place of worship, a place of safety and sanctuary, a place from which you could strengthen your faith and go into the broader community taking this light with you.

The Way of Christ v. False Teachers

We have every confidence that you will continue to live your lives in [Christ Jesus the sovereign]. (2:6). As you do so, remain aware of those peddling a toothless Christianity or proclaiming a word that says Christians are not to challenge systems that oppress some while benefiting others or preaching gospel that says God has chosen some and not others. Always interrogate what you hear and feel in your heart; determine through study and relationship and prayer whether what you are hearing is true. Through prayer and meditation on God’s word and through understanding the lived experiences of others, we trust the Holy Spirit to make clear the living, breathing truth of God. We desire your “hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that [you] may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ[’s self], in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (2:2–3)

New Life and Relationship with Each Other

You, beloveds of Danville church, have been raised with Christ (3:1) and exhibit a mature faith! “In each generation since your founding and through the present age, [you, the Danville Congregational Church, have sought and seek] to make this faith your own in reality of worship, in honesty of thought and expression, and in purity of heart before God.” (Preamble to the Constitution of the UCC)

This faith is made reality among you by showing up for each other and those to whom you are called to serve. Take care of yourselves, tend your spirits with things that bring you joy and rest, but tarry not long in idleness or recreation. For, our dear friends, we do not have time to be comfortable. Gone are the days of sitting back to enjoy the fruits of our labors. Rather, enjoy your blessings by exhausting the greatest measure of them to transform the world. 

Therefore, “as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as God has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. [Oh how we love the music there!]  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Eternal Parent through Jesus.” (3:12–17)

Treat all people you come into contact with as equals—see and honor the dignity they inherently and always possess—and regard no one with disdain. For it is said, “be kind, for everyone you meet may be fighting a battle you know nothing about.” We know not the burdens or hardships another faces but know that kindness and love are the way of Christ. Excel at such things.

Further Instructions

”Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in [your meditations] with thanksgiving. At the same time pray for [all who are in this great work around the world—but particularly in this moment in history, in this country we know as ‘home’] (4:2–3), all those who bring good news to the poor, who labor tirelessly to release the captives and see that all who are oppressed go free. (Luke 4:18) Oh, our dear siblings in the faith, model a Way of being in the world that foregrounds compassion and justice-seeking over nationalism and an exclusive religion that is “whitewashed and beautiful on the outside but inside is full of dead men’s bones.” (Matthew 23:27) “Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.” (4:5–6)

Final Greetings & Benediction

Our dear siblings in the faith:

Endure in your knowledge and faith—but pay special attention to the stories of others. 

Tire not of doing right, of showing up, of stretching your selves to gain Wisdom, to pursue her elusive insights, to grow beyond labels of progressive or conservative or liberal, to earn the reputation of a follower of Christ. 

Let not yourselves not be lulled into complacency by your comforts but be restless for justice always, never content until all of God’s children and the earth are free. 

Continue to show up for each other…to provide a safe, nurturing space for children and teenagers…to ever-stretch the boundaries of “open and affirming,” inviting all to share space and fellowship beneath God’s great canopy of grace. 

Remember always your baptism. Continue to meet each other at Christ’s table. Provide a safe space for all who the world around them oppresses. Be bold, resolute in caring for all children, for all people, for our precious Mother Earth.

And so we reach the end of our letter to you, written to you with great love. A new day has begun, full of promise and great hope for the advent of the kin’dom of God.

Grace be with you.

Amen

Backpack & School Supplies Drives

Opportunities to Help Children & Youth in a Big Way

DCC has always demonstrated itself to be a deeply generous congregation. This year, our generosity is needed more than ever.  As school starts early this year, sign up right away to provide new backpacks stuffed with school supplies for children of homeless, formerly-homeless, and at-risk families now living in Shelter, Inc. and Contra Costa Interfaith Housing facilities who we want to help get a good start in school this year.  New this year, we are also participating in Eden UCC’s drive for backpacks (empty) and individual donations of school supplies so the students in their Cherryland/Hayward neighborhood can choose a backpack and then fill it with school supplies at Eden’s Block Party & Backpack Giveaway on Saturday, August 3. (DCC guests are invited).

CCIH and Shelter, Inc.

Sign up at the Outreach table during fellowship time or contact Doug Leich.
Donations should be labeled according to the instructions and delivered to DCC by Sunday, July 28.

Eden UCC

Sign up here to donate backpacks and other items to the Eden UCC backpack giveaway and deliver the items to DCC by Sunday, July 28.

Not a shopper? 

  • You can provide back-to-school clothes or shoes for a Shelter, Inc. or CCIH student by donating a $25-$50 Target or Kohl’s gift card. Turn those in to Doug or the church office.
  • You can give online to Eden UCC’s backpacks drive. (Select Backpacks from the Fund menu.)

Thank you, in advance, for your generosity and role in helping these kids go to school with pride and all the things they need to be successful in school.

Pastor Installation – April 14

On Saturday, April 14, 2018 at 3:00 PM, All are invited to attend a Service of Installation for the Reverend Eric S. Sherlock. A special offering will be taken to benefit the scholarship fund for Ministers in Discernment. Checks should be made out to the Bay Association with MID in the memo line. Clergy are invited to wear robes and red stoles; lay folk are invited to wear red.