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Parking Day and Tearing Down Walls

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This is a piece of mine published in the church newsletter The Carillon this week:

I recently came across “Parking Day,” a day when people in different contexts and communities take over a parking space for a day and make it into an oasis in the middle of a city. Maybe it’s a cookout; maybe it’s an art installation; maybe it’s a small public park.

 

The idea is to offer something important and needed to your wider community. I love this idea of transforming public spaces so often geared towards one thing into a new incarnation of church in the world. In doing so, we find ourselves transformed as well. What might a church like ours offer in the midst of a busy street for two hours? What is our urgency that draws us back here again and again, and how can we move that into our wider world?

 

This summer, young adults in First Church are going beyond our walls. We are alternating the long-standing weekly Gather with evenings spent out together, building community in more casual settings. A group explored Oakland’s First Friday, and we will be coming together for game nights, karaoke, picnics, hiking, and more this summer.

 

We also get out every other Sunday afternoon this summer at On Tap: Bibles and Brews. This is a regular Bible discussion group convened with Alex Bonte that meets at Jupiter, a popular pizza pub on Shattuck. The mission of On Tap is to explore where the stories in the Bible intersect with the stories of our lives in the places where our lives are lived. The last part about “where our lives are lived” excites me as a way to experiment with how the church is incarnated in new spaces.

 

I see in some young adult activities a new incarnation of church, one that emerges in our wider local community. With open Bibles on a restaurant table, those gathered share the joys and the challenges of their lives. At a community art piece at First Friday in Oakland, young adults paint their response to “what inspires you?” in brilliant blues and reds.

 

I hope that line between “church” and the community we dwell in continues to blend, and we all can explore how to bring elements of one into the other. We, as a church, are the Body of Christ. Where will that body be incarnated in our wider local community? I’m excited to see what develops.

Game Night at First Church

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Friday, June 20 at 7 PM: Game night at church in Loper Chapel. We’ll have a few like Bananagrams, Uno, beans, and the Game for Good Christians, which is like Cards Against Humanity meets the Bible. Feel free to bring your favorite game as well! Snacks and drinks will be provided.

Gather Potluck this Wednesday!

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Gather is back this week with a potluck dinner, check in, and heading out to get ice cream! 

I’ll provide a main course pasta dish, so bring anything you like to go with that–salad, fruit, bread, cheese, drinks, etc!

We’ll meet at 7 PM in the small assembly at the church. Hope to see you there!

First Friday in Oakland!

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Our summer schedule will be a little bit of an experiment, as we rotate our weekly Gather programming with something more social the next week.

For the summer, we’ll be experimenting with a rotating schedule where we rotate Gather one week, and do something more social on Fridays every other week. Look for karaoke, sunset picnics at Indian Rock, service projects, hiking, and more ahead this summer.
This Friday at 6 PM, we’ll head out to Oakland’s First Friday! If you’re closer to the church, come meet us in the church parking lot at 6 PM
and we’ll BART over. If you’re closer to Oakland and want to meet us there, text me at 719-659-5195 and we’ll meet up. Facebook event here.
 
Check back later this week for our summer schedule! Events will also be posted weekly on this page.

Dissolving

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Read this article from Scientific American, shared from Michelle Cahill. At our last Gather, we talked about resurrection and what hope might look like in the face of death and a changing world. I’ve always thought I got the butterfly metaphor for metamorphosis and even resurrection. I guess I always thought that caterpillars just popped wings out and developed an exoskeleton. But I felt blown away when Michelle described that, for something to be born in as a new being, it first has to dissolve.

I’ve been thinking about the idea of resurrection as not just a revivification, but resurrection as a new thing, a new creation. For me, this notion frees me to not look for resurrection to be the return of something that already felt good and broken and safe, but that new possibility might look radically different; might be strange.

And this may lead me to keep my eyes open to resurrection in places I would never imagine; places beyond the familiar. And that, really, makes more sense to me for moving towards new life–to find it in new places.

 

Young adults at First Church this week:

Special Events:
April 13: Come eat and plan the Young Adult Service! Second Sunday lunch in Loper Chapel. Food provided! Lunch from 12-12:30, then you are welcome to stick around to help plan the 11:00 Young Adult Service on April 27! RSVP to kryan@fccb.org.

April 19: Holy Saturday Service in the Hall of Entrance to the Sanctuary. Benjamin Bigney, First Church young adult member, will be preaching. This will be geared towards young adults, but all are welcome. The evening light through the stained glass windows there is incredible. We will be sitting with the feeling of waiting and stillness between Cross and Resurrection. 7:30 PM.

Gather: How to Save a Life
Thursday April 10
7-8:30, meet in Small Assembly Hall (through “church office” doors on Channing Way)
In Thursday Gather this week, we’ll be engaging with the idea of resurrection, and how we have experienced new life and new possibilities.
Check out our Gather Blog for a few articles you can read beforehand. Conversation won’t be specifically around one post, but they will offer some awesome perspectives and questions on the topic.
Please RSVP for dinner to kryan@fccb.org!

Check Out:
Into the Wilderness, a pop-up spiritual community meeting during Lent. Headed by PSR seminarian Leslie Leasure, and co-sponsored by First Church. Contemplative worship Tuesdays in Lent from 6:30-7:30 PM in Loper Chapel.

Cosmic Mass in Oakland on May 25: it’s basically an interfaith worship service and dance party. There’s a DJ and sometimes a Rabbi doing Communion in Aramaic. Or things like that. More details coming soon.

Worship this Sunday, April 13:
This Sunday is Palm Sunday! First Church will have a parade between services complete with the infamous massive puppets. Young Adult Jorge Bautista will be preaching in the 9 AM, and Patricia de Jong will be preaching in the 11 AM.

Things to do Between Services at 10 AM:
Meet in the Middle inter-generational fellowship hour at 10:00, leading into the Palm Sunday Parade at 10:30.
FCCB Cafe in the Small Assembly: catch up with friends, or have breakfast with someone you don’t know yet.
The Cellar Thrift Shop is also open! So much cool stuff.

Ways to Give:
Hang out with Kids: Carolyn Ash, our Director of Children’s Ministries, is looking for folks to hang out with kids during the 11:00 service and help support the Sunday School leader. Email clash@fccb.org for more info.

Donate Food: Lenten Food Drive is happening now through Easter Sunday, April 20th. Bring in canned foods and non-perishables!

Build something with your own two hands: Rebuilding Together on April 19 and 26. Help rehabilitate the home of a person in need in the local community with First Church members! Contact Janet McDonald (janetmcdonald5000@sbcglobal.net) or Paul Chapman (pchapman5@gmail.com).