Worship with us Sundays at 9:30 am

Save the Date – February 11, 2023 Hope Solutions Fun-Raiser

DCC will be having an amazing fun-raiser for Hope Solutions. This will be a Mardi Gras party complete with a jazz band (sponsored by the Feltons and Kennedy/McGraths) and complementary food provided by Carol Gilliland of A Loveable Feast! The event is fun with a purpose as this will also be an opportunity to hear the great work Hope Solutions is doing in Contra Costa County.

As most of you know, Hope Solutions (previously Contra Costa Interfaith Housing, CCIH), provides permanent, supportive housing for the most vulnerable in our very community. And, as we all know, the cost of housing is at an all time high, which is causing an increase in those unhoused. At the fun-raiser, you will learn how Hope Solutions is taking a very unique path to help solve this problem, one house at a time! Plus, dance and eat and have a blast! Mark your calendars now!

All are welcome – childcare will be provided and you don’t have to attend DCC to come!


Advent 2022—From Generation to Generation

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is God’s name.
His mercy is for those who fear God
from generation to generation.
Mary, in Luke 1: 48b–50

Despite the challenges and vulnerability she faced, Mary could glimpse the scale and scope of the good news she was part of bringing forth. This good news transcends time and space—it was and is bigger than just her. Christ is coming for collective liberation: God’s redemption is at work for years to come. Therefore, the promise is meant to be lived out and passed on from generation to generation.

We are invited to look at the characters in our scriptures and wonder: What did each character pass on or contribute? How did each character participate in God’s liberation and love? Which characters try to thwart God’s justice and what can we learn from them? What is our role now? What is our generation’s task? What will we carry forth, and what should we leave behind?

The root word of “generation” is “gen” meaning “origin” or “birth.” Our theme is also a call to action: what are we being called to generate or bring forth? What have your ancestors and those who have come before you passed on for you to continue? Who are the spiritual elders in your community who planted the seeds for the things that are now blooming? What seeds are you planting for the future?

From Generation to Generation…reminds us of the ways our lives, histories, actions, and stories are interconnected and woven together. In the midst of narratives, policies, and rhetoric designed to divide us, what does it look like to practice belonging to one another? The work of God is always unfolding— in and through us.

This Advent season, how will we carry it forth?

Jesus’ Matrilineal Heritage Matthew 1:1–17

“A Genealogy of Jesus Christ” was compiled by Ann Patrick Ware of the Women’s Liturgy Group of New York, included in A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church, Year A by Rev. Wilda C. Gafney, PhD.

A genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of Miriam, the daughter of Anna:

Sarah was the mother of Isaac,

And Rebekah was the mother of Jacob,

Leah was the mother of Judah,

Tamar was the mother of Perez.

The names of the mothers of Heron, Ram, Amminadab,

Nahshon and Salmon have been lost.

Rahab was the mother of Boaz,

and Ruth was the mother of Obed.

Obed’s wife, whose name is unknown, bore Jesse.

The wife of Jesse was the mother of David.

Bathsheba was the mother of Solomon,

Naamah, the Ammonite, was the mother of Rehoboam.

Maacah was the mother of Abijam and the grandmother of Asa.

Azubah was the mother of Jehoshaphat.

The name of Jehoram’s mother is unknown.

Achaliah was the mother of Ahaziah,

Zibiah of Beersheba, the mother of Joash.

Jecoliah of Jerusalem bore Uzziah,

Jerusha bore Jotham; Ahaz’s mother is unknown.

Abi was the mother of Hezekiah,

Hephzibah was the mother of Manasseh,

Meshullemeth was the mother of Amon,

Jedidah was the mother of Josiah.

Zebidah was the mother of Jehoiakim,

Nehushta was the mother of Jehoiachin,

Hamutal was the mother of Zedekiah.

Then the deportation of Babylon took place.

After the deportation to Babylon

the names of the mothers go unrecorded.

These are their sons:

Jechoniah, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel,

Abiud, Eliakim, Azor and Zadok,

Achim, Eliud, Eleazar,

Matthan, Jacob, and Joseph, the husband of Mary.

Of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.

The sum of generations is there: fourteen from Sarah to David’s mother;
fourteen from Bathsheba to the Babylonian deportation;
and fourteen from the Babylonian deportation to Miriam [or Mary], the mother of Christ.

DCC signs Interfaith San Ramon Valley Proclamation against Hate

Recently, flyers were distributed in our Tri-Valley disparaging Jewish people and blaming them for the COVID pandemic.  Danville Congregational Church has joined other members of Interfaith San Ramon Valley in signing a proclamation against hate in our communities.

I-SRV Solidarity Day Proclamation

Proclamation Signatures

Advent 2021 Schedule

Close to Home

Our Advent journey this year takes us through the following themes, featuring a variety of voices and paired with beautiful music—beloved traditions and some surprises—carefully chosen by our Music Director John Kendall Bailey.

  • First Sunday of Advent (Hope), November 28……………… Homesick
  • Second Sunday of Advent (Peace), December 5…………… Laying the Foundation
  • Third Sunday of Advent (Joy), December 12……………….. A Home for All
  • Fourth Sunday of Advent (Love), December 19…………….Seeking Sanctuary
  • Longest Night Service, 7:00pm, Tuesday, December 21
  • Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, Friday, 5:00pm………………..Invited Home
  • First Sunday after Christmas, December 26………………….Chosen Home
  • Epiphany, January 2………………………………………………………Home by Another Way

Worship each Sunday is at 9:30am—in-person and via Zoom.

Read more about our Advent series.

Kids’ Halloween Party

Saturday, October 23

All our young friends are invited to come in costume for the costume walk and trunk or treating, and afterwards we’ll have some games, a spooky-fun scavenger hunt, and crafts on the patio. Parents are welcome to costume too!

Danville Congregational Church
989 San Ramon Valley Blvd.

Neighbors in Need Offering October 3

Our October 3 Neighbors in Need offering supports the UCC’s ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. In 2021, the Neighbors in Need “Unfailing Love” offering is focused on supporting organizations and projects that are serving homeless and immigrant neighbors or communities. Two-thirds of the offering is used by the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries to fund a wide array of local and national justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects.

The national Justice and Witness Ministries office offers resources, news updates, and action alerts on a broad spectrum of justice issues. Working with members of the UCC Justice and Peace Action Network (a network of thousands of UCC justice and peace advocates), Justice and Witness continues its strong policy advocacy work on issues such as the federal budget, voting rights, immigration, health care, hate crimes, civil liberties, and environmental justice. Neighbors in Need also supports our American Indian neighbors in the UCC.

One-third of the offering supports the UCC’s Council for American Indian Ministries (CAIM). Historically, forebears of the UCC established churches and worked with Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arickara, and Hocak in North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, and northern Nebraska. Today there are 20 UCC congregations on reservations and one urban, multi-tribal UCC congregation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. These churches and their pastors are supported by CAIM. CAIM is also an invaluable resource for more than 1,000 individuals from dozens of other tribes and nations who are members of other UCC congregations in the United States.

Please give generously. Use a Neighbors in Need offering envelope or write Neighbors in Need on your check to DCC. And remember, contributions to Neighbors in Need can be made online at any time through the DCC Donations page by selecting Outreach Donations / Neighbors in Need.

Blessing of the Animals 2021

Sunday, October 3, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

Rooted in Saint Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures and our love, care, and concern for our non-human animal friends and companions, the Children’s Ministry of Danville Congregational Church invites the community to a “Blessing of the Animals” on Sunday, October 3. Pets of all kinds—puppies, bunnies, birdies, and kitties who wouldn’t be freaked out—are welcome to accompany their human friends to receive a blessing from one of our pastors following worship, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. And our young friends are welcome to draw a picture of their pet for our Blessing Board and take home a special memento.

Special Lenten Offering for Reparations

The Lenten Season is one of the most important seasons in the Christian faith. It is a period of 40 days, starting with Ash Wednesday and ending with Easter Sunday. During this period, Christians around the world participate in a season of penitence, prayers, fasting and self-denial, just as Jesus did when he spent 40 days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-25 and Luke 4:1-13).

This year, Danville Congregational Church will be joining with other East Bay churches* in taking up an offering throughout Lent for a fund devoted to Black Homeownership Reparations. This idea arose in white-majority churches like ours, out of examination of our white privilege and complicity this past year.

As you know, a lack of generational wealth hinders many Black communities. Through redlining, adverse mortgage terms, and loan application rejection, Black people in the East Bay have been disenfranchised from homeownership. The Black Homeownership Reparations Fund (BHRF) will be 100% devoted to supporting increased Black homeownership in the East Bay.  A major barrier to homeownership, especially in the high-priced Bay Area, is lack of a down payment. This is especially true for Black homebuyers, who may have good incomes but no access to the additional capital they need for a down payment. The BHRF would:

  • Create a zero-percent-interest loan fund, to be paid back only when the home is refinanced or sold;
  • Be housed at the Richmond Community Foundation, as a donor-advised fund;
  • Work through local organizations to identify potential Black homebuyers who are on the journey to home ownership but who lack a down payment.

Because the BHRF will be a loan fund, money from home refinance or sale will flow back into the fund, ready to assist other homebuyers. In addition, there may be other avenues by which we can support Black homeownership through our joint fund.

Prayerfully, consider giving to this special Lenten joint offering of East Bay churches as an expression of penitence and a commitment to make reparations for the generations of harm done to our Black siblings by systemic racism.  To make your offering online, go to the DCC Donations page, select Outreach Donations / Other, and type in “Lenten Offering” or “Reparations Fund”.  Or you may write “Lenten Offering” or “Reparations Fund” on your check made out to DCC and mail it to DCC.

Doug Leich and Laura Beaver
Outreach Commissioners

* Participating churches include Arlington Community Church, Kensington; First Congregational Church, Berkeley; First Congregational Church, Alameda; Good Table UCC; and Danville Congregational Church.

For more information, see the list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Gospel Lesson for Sunday, December 20, 2020

Our gospel lesson today tells the story of the angel’s revelation to Mary that she is to become the mother of the son of God. We encourage you to read this story on your own; it is found in the first chapter of Luke, verses 26 through 45. This morning, our consideration of this text again employs the ancient Jewish practice of midrash, the rabbinic method of expanding the narrative, adding details to the story which to highlight the meaning of the original text. (You might remember this is how we encountered the gospel texts this past Palm Sunday and also to tell the story of Rizpah in July.) This midrash was composed by Nikole Mitchell.

Image: A Dream Confirmed by Lisle Gwynn Garrity, A Sanctified Art

And just like that, the angel disappeared as quickly as he had arrived. Vanished. Gone. With no evidence to prove to others that an angel had indeed visited the frightened and dazed Mary. No evidence for Mary herself to force her to realize it wasn’t a dream but a reality that was taking shape quite literally within her. She was miraculously, unexpectedly, impossibly pregnant.

Her eyes were still adjusting to normal daylight after encountering the angel’s bright light and her ears were still ringing with the loaded and perplexing news he had shared with her. As her mind scrambled to make sense of what was just announced and done to her, she kept returning to the thought of her cousin Elizabeth. She had heard from the village that Elizabeth had become some sort of recluse, where she refused to leave her house, and even turned guests away when family and friends tried to visit her. People were wondering if she was becoming mentally ill. If the weight and shame of her barrenness and old age were finally overtaking her, and that maybe this was the beginning of the end for Elizabeth.

But now Mary knew. She knew why her cousin Elizabeth had been in seclusion all these months. She was pregnant! Miraculously, unbelievably pregnant just like Mary, and she was waiting for the right time to announce it to the world – not with her words but with the growing evidence of her six month pregnant belly. Oh, Mary was so grateful that there was one person who would understand her predicament.

But how would she prove to Elizabeth that an angel, indeed, had visited her? How will she prove the radical news of her own miraculous pregnancy without any physical proof? There was no baby belly or morning sickness, just her ringing ears and slight headache from the brilliant light of the angel. How will Elizabeth believe her?

Well, Mary couldn’t give it too much thought, for she was too anxious to run and be with her cousin and hope to find some form of comfort, some understanding of this bizarre and scary predicament she found herself in.

As Mary packed for her trip, she couldn’t help but think of her parents. How will her own parents believe her? They’ll think she’s become mentally ill just like her cousin Elizabeth when Mary tries to explain to them she had been visited by an angel. A poor peasant girl visited by an angel? That’s such nonsense. That’s child’s play. Yes, the people in her village believed God cared for and looked out for the lowly, but to visit and speak such radical news over a young peasant girl? That was over the top. No one would believe her. Once the village members started seeing her growing belly, they would only see the results of a promiscuous girl. There is no way they would believe in her miraculous conception. What blasphemy, in fact, they would tell Mary, for using God’s name as an excuse to be unfaithful to Joseph. This thought terrified Mary.

Oh, and what of Joseph? How on earth will she explain to her husband-to-be that she truly has been faithful to him when her belly starts to show? How will she explain it all to him?

Before Mary could panic even more, she hastily grabbed her packed bags and hurried off to visit her cousin Elizabeth in the countryside. In her haste, Mary told her neighbor to let her parents know where she went and that she didn’t know when she’d be back but that she’ll be okay. Everything will be okay. At least that’s what Mary kept telling herself, trying to convince herself, while she walked as quickly as she could to Elizabeth’s village.

Upon arrival, Mary didn’t know what she was going to say to Elizabeth. She rehearsed her story a hundred different ways on her journey but none of them seemed to do her story and the angel’s visit any justice. Before Mary could finalize on a story to tell Elizabeth, she came upon Elizabeth’s house, and before her fear could make her turn and run away in panic, Mary burst through the front door and cried out, “Elizabeth!” It came across as more of a desperate cry than an actual greeting, but, at this point, it was all Mary could do to keep herself from bursting into tears. As Mary choked back tears and wondered what words to follow her greeting, Elizabeth thankfully filled the void with her own voice, and instead of a formal greeting, Elizabeth too cried out—but into a song of joy! She knew! Somehow Elizabeth knew! Mary, relieved from not having to explain herself to Elizabeth, ran to her older cousin and collapsed into her arms. Elizabeth pulled her in close and Mary, exhausted and afraid, burst into tears.

Elizabeth, wiser and older than Mary by many years and many life experiences, held onto Mary and gently rocked their bodies back and forth. Elizabeth, too, had been afraid of the news of her own impossible, unexpected pregnancy. But she had the benefit of being married and had the past five months to digest the news, to feel the baby start kicking in her womb, and to watch her belly grow. As she prepared to tell her village of her pregnancy, she didn’t realize she was also being prepared to be a source of strength for her own little cousin from across the way. Sweet little Mary. How frightened she must be. Elizabeth felt a deep gratitude toward their God, for not only blessing them both with miraculous pregnancies that were going to change the world, but for blessing them with pregnancies at the same time. The journey ahead of them was lonely enough; Elizabeth was grateful that, at least for a few months, they could be each other’s companions on this mystical, mystery road of motherhood.

As Mary wept into her arms, Elizabeth reminded Mary that while there is much to fear, there is also much to celebrate. That their pregnancies were not just for them, but for the salvation of the world. The fact that God would use two women like themselves was almost too much to take in.

The two women were quiet for a while. At some point, Mary’s weeping ceased.

Just a few moments ago, Mary had been almost consumed with panic and fear. But now, somehow, almost as miraculous as her pregnancy, was this new peace Mary felt deep within her. Mary had been able to draw strength from the body and faith and wisdom of her older cousin. And her cousin had drawn strength from her.

Nothing externally had changed. Mary was still somehow pregnant. Mary still had to tell her parents and Joseph. Mary’s village was going to see her pregnant belly no matter how hard she might try to hide it. There was still going to be judgment, shame, and possibly even punishment by her parents and ostracization by her community.

But something had shifted inside of her….

In her earlier state of panic, Mary couldn’t see beyond the tears in her eyes. But now it’s almost like God gave her eyes for the future. She saw the bigger picture. She saw the coming of her Savior entering the world for the salvation of all people, for the healing of the broken, the liberation of the oppressed, the toppling of the empire, and she, of all people, was going to play a key role in that. She and her cousin Elizabeth. A barren elder and a young virgin girl. Mary could almost sense God’s humor in it all… that God would choose to use the two most unlikely candidates to bring his Kingdom on earth made her almost want to laugh. It seemed absurd and breathtakingly beautiful at the same time!

And, somehow, without any communication between the two, or maybe it was the communication between their two spirits, Mary and Elizabeth started to chuckle at the same time. And when they saw the other chuckling, they both couldn’t help but burst into gut-wrenching laughter! Tears streamed down their faces as they hugged and laughed and cried some more. These two women were about to change history, and nobody knew it.

Not yet at least.

So the two of them soaked it in, basked in the absurdity of it all, and found a strength and joy they didn’t know they had.

For a moment, they felt ready, as ready as they could be, whether or not the world was ready for them.