Letter from Pastor Tony July 20, 2018

July 18, 2018

To the Family of Christ at Arlington Community Church UCC

Nina Harmon and I write to announce that I have been called by the Holy Spirit to join the staff of the national setting of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio, as the Minister for Committee on Ministry Development and Leadership. I will be starting on October 1, 2018, and over the next few months Darrell and I will be looking for housing and getting ready to move to Cleveland, Ohio. My final day as the Minister of Arlington Community Church will be sometime in September, to be announced in the coming weeks.

Eight years ago, led by God, the search committee and I began the dance of being called into community together. In those intervening eight years, our entire community has changed tempos many times, sometimes moving to a quick-step and other times rhythmically swaying to a slow beat of life together. We have sung a variety of melodies from praising God to crying out in grief, remembering a long tradition of musical types and tentatively trying new forms. Many people have left the dance floor to continue in the eternal dance with God, many people have joined us in the dance, and some have taken a turn on the floor and then moved along to another party. Now it is my turn to leave this dance to join another.

Eight years ago we were a community with few long-term visions; now we are a proud people with purpose as both a community center and a center of the community. We know we are called to steward creation, build a just society, and live our faith as a verb. Together we have written new By-Laws, had an almost complete staff turn-over, became a solar congregation, and faithfully participated in New Beginnings, which led us to approving a new Vision and Mission statement. We developed a plan, Vision 2020, that will continue to improve the facility over the next years. We did all of this as a community of Christ, with input from various voices, paying attention to each other’s passions and gifts, and the presence of the Holy One dancing with us, holding us, swaying with us, leading us, and choreographing our next moves.

The Holy One continues to hold, guide, and urge us on as we dance on to sweet, sad, celebratory, and soulful music. Even as we are called to dance with new partners, I will continue to love you, as many of you will continue to love me. While I am honored and humbled to be asked to join the national staff, I am more than a little scared of what lies ahead of me. Your emotions may be mixed, too; as we celebrate our accomplishments together, you may also wonder what will happen next.

Over the next few months, it will be necessary for us say good-bye to one another, and after the final good-bye, I will need to have no contact with you for some time. While it is appropriate for us to follow each other from a distance, and I will celebrate and mourn with you from Cleveland as life’s dance takes friends and family in and out of the circle, I will not be available for any of the day-to-day needs of ACC. This is part of the covenant we clergy make with the United Church of Christ. It allows the next pastor to form bonds with you that are needed to lead a community, you as a congregation to reflect on our time together without interference from me, and for me to start a new ministry without being distracted by the needs of Arlington Community Church. I will continue to serve as your pastor.

The ACC By-Laws are very clear on this transition time: The Council is to appoint an Interim Search Team to find an Interim Pastor, and through the interim period a Search Team will be formed to find your next settled pastor. Through all of this time, the Church Council will be working with Rev. Davena Jones, our Associate Conference Minister, to assure as smooth a transition as possible.

I have enjoyed and grown from our time on the dance floor together. I pray that you have as well, and that the dance will continue on.


Summer Worship 2018

Summer Worship

We are trying some new things this summer!

Each week will have a different easy, relatively well-known Offertory, and we invite you to drop in at 9 am to run through it. To listen to those songs and some other tunes we will use in worship, click the links below.

Repeated chants

Heart of Creation: click here

Breathe : Click here


Jun 10: Feeling Good (click here)

June 17: Put a Little Love in your Heart (click here)

June 24: We are Called (click here)

July 1: DeColores (click here) (We will sing it in English...)

July 8: Seasons of Love (click here)

We will also be entering worship with some rhythm and sounds; come a few minutes early, pick up a hand instrument and join the beat!!!

See you in worship!

Pastor Tony, Shanti, and Tim

Reviving Our Democracy: A Conversation with Rev. J Barber

Thursday July 12 @ 7:30 PM

First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94704   

DESCRIPTION: Nearly two years after Election Day 2016, Americans’ rights are under siege across the nation, from voter suppression and gerrymandering to police violence and attacks on immigrants. Yet there has also been a surge in civic action to protect these rights, and it is gathering dramatic momentum as we near the midterm elections.

Join America’s preeminent civil rights leader Reverend William J. Barber, architect of North Carolina’s Moral Monday movement and co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign, and Mother Jones' senior reporter Ari Berman for an in-depth discussion about the current state of civil rights and democracy, and how we can energize both.

Books will be available for sale; book signing to follow the main program.

Sponsored by Ben & Jerry's, the San Francisco Foundation, and FreeSpeechTV.

Special thanks to Peter and Mimi Buckley, Susie and Mark Buell, Loren and Anne Kieve, Michael and Jackie Klein, Tom Layton and Gyöngy Laky, Roger McNamee, Panta Rhea Fund, Rosenberg Foundation, Dick and Sue Wollack.

Click here for more information and tickets.

May 2018 Council Notes


Items from our May 2018 meeting:

Building and Grounds Trustees reported that new carpeting will be installed in the Fireside Room and up the stairs to the offices.  Windows are being installed in the doors from the Fireside Room to the hall, the stairwell, and the choir room.  A window is also being installed in the door from the hall to the stairwell.

Council agreed to hire a Minister in Training for the 2018-2019 year. 

We heard an informative presentation from Marin Clean Energy (“MCE”) about programs to supply electricity from renewable resources.  We agreed to consider our options after we review the annual “true up” reconciliation from PG&E in September.

We discussed plans for “Blessing of the Animals.”  The lawn area and the Community Center will probably not be available for a large event as we have produced in other years.  This year, the event will probably only be a blessing, and it could take place in our patio or possibly at one of the dog parks.

We began plans for a special all-congregation event around worship planning. 

If you would like more details about any of these items, feel free to ask our moderator, Nina Harmon, or Pastor Tony.  Complete church council minutes are available in the administrative office.

Faith is a Verb… Musings by Pastor Tony June 1, 2018

Faith is a Verb…     Musings by Pastor Tony     June 1, 2018

Last Sunday in worship, I introduced the idea of Howard Gardener’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (click here for more info) as a way to understand each of our different experiences of our world and  the Divine. Gardener claimed that teaching and testing to 2 styles-- verbal/linguistic and mathematical—as our schools do, misses huge parts of the ability for us to process information. He said there are at least 7 Intelligences—verbal/ linguistic, mathematical/logical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, visual, musical, and body/kinesthetic. There may be more, and each of us probably has more than one intelligence or even all of them.

Using Gardener’s theory, to best connect with all people who attend ACC I  think broadly when I produce educational and faith forming Spectrums as well as worship. I ask these and other questions: Where is there movement (and can we do movement in the pews for folks with limited mobility)? What visually changes periodically? How do we incorporate both interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences? 

Last  Sunday after reading the scripture, I asked people to move into the one of Gardener’s categories with which they most resonated, and then I asked them to think about using that category to bring the scripture alive in worship.  The mathematical/logical people naturally came up with a spread sheet. The visual people said they liked the visuals of the space. The intrapersonals (those who have a rich inner life and seek answers from within) said they would like more meditative music played as we meditate and explore the scripture. My favorite answer was from the Interpersonals (those who connect with others and feel the energy of the room as a significant part of the experience), who said that for worship to be meaningful for them, they needed to participate. And not just reading some of the liturgies, but participate in the writing, reading, acting out, singing, movement of worship.

Worship is the most meaningful when each of us (all of us!!!) has ownership in the outcome. What is the outcome? Some will say it is to please God, but I say it is to experience God, to come near enough to God to be moved to go and change the world, to feel God’s refreshing, waking power so that we know deep in our bones that we are called to be stewards of creation and to build a just society based upon the inspiration of our faith. Worship is a team sport, and we are a team of worshippers, thus we are, as an entire congregation, a Worship Team.

This Sunday we will explore more of this in worship, and discuss worship and the Worship Team in a Spectrum after worship. Worship is perhaps the most important thing we do together, so I hope you join us for this exploration.


Pastor Tony