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This Sunday
Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020



DIY Easter Sunrise Service

10 am

Worship Service, Molly Baskette & Kit Novotny preaching, Webcast

11:15 am After Party

1 pm Young Adult Easter Brunch



When the Surgeon General said that this would be one of the hardest and saddest weeks for most Americans, I don't imagine he was thinking about Holy Week. And yet, as a church, that's where we are: in a poignant and painful coincidence, our private religious observance matches our public reality. 

As Good Friday approaches, death is as real and on many of our minds as ever it has been. We survey our faith: will it hold? Did Jesus really vanquish death? Is God real, and what power does God have in our modern lives, to shape the future or save us from the present? 

At times like this, ritual and community have a tremendous healing power, whatever your doubts or beliefs. So join us, every day from now until Sunday, to exorcise your fear and sadness, walk beside one another in the shadow of death, and welcome Easter into our lives however it may come. 

Tonight, Maundy Thursday Footwashing Service (6 pm, Zoom) (see those beautiful faces!). We’ll start all together, then break out into smaller groups to walk ourselves through the service. After that, sing Taize with Derek (7 pm, Zoom). 

Tomorrow, you can wander into the virtual Good Friday Chapel (RingCentral) put together by the Northern California-Nevada Conference UCC, and take in the Good Friday Evening Service (7 pm, webcast) put together by our church and five other East Bay UCCs, to remember Christ’s death and begin to heal his wounds by raising money (last chance!) for RIP Medical Debt relief

On Holy Saturday, spend some down time in a self-guided service put together by our emerging leaders, Jane Arc and Emily Carduff. 

And finally, on Easter Sunday, have a screen-free DIY Easter Sunrise service (PDF) outdoors at dawn with the people you’re sheltered with, and/or join us for all kinds of Easter goodness at 10am worship (webcast). Rev. Kit and I will both be preaching; we’ll have a virtual Easter Egg Hunt, and raise our voices to the rafters singing Handel’s Messiah, among other things. It’s not too late to submit a video of your dance moves for our Easter Dance Video. There may be a few other surprises scattered throughout! Share these links with friends near and far who are looking for meaning and hope in these difficult days. 

See you soon, with a kernel of hope in my heart, whatever may come,

Rev. Molly

Easter Dance Video

Send to by the end of today (4/9)

We are going to make a dance video for our Easter service! If you and your children would like to be in it, please watch this video, learn the choreography, and videotape yourselves (or just your children) doing it together! Read More

Holy Week Graphic

Maundy Thursday Zoom Gathering

Thursday, April 9, 6-7 pm (or so),

Bring some dinner if you would like. We will gather as one strong body via Zoom and then split into smaller breakout groups to eat with church friends, along with a simple liturgy and foot/handwashing from afar. You can download the PDF here, for those who may be feeling Zoom or screen fatigue, or would prefer a private/family contemplative experience. 

Maundy Thursday Taizé Sing-In

April 9, 2020, 7 pm,

Join us for a contemplative 30-minute Taizé sing-in at 7 pm as we move into Good Friday. Read More

Good Friday Virtual Chapel with NCNC-UCC

Our local Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ will host a Virtual Chapel on Good Friday, centered around the Stations of the Cross, that people can come into and out of throughout the day, featuring video meditations, photos and music.  Read More

Good Friday Joint Service

7 pm Webcast

Featuring video contributions from 6 East Bay UCC Churches: Arlington Community Church, City of Refuge UCC, First Congregational Church of Alameda, First Congregational Church of Berkeley, First Congregational Church of Oakland, and The Good Table UCC.  Read More

Holy Saturday

An online digital encounter brought to you by Emerging Leaders Emily and Jane!


Easter Sunrise

Use this document for a simple DIY ritual/service you can do at home (or safely solo at your favorite local park/vista). You're invited to gather alone or with those you share a home with and honor the Easter sunrise with simple prayer and song. Take a (group) selfie and share on the Facebook community group and send to so we can share our sunrise resurrection moments.

Easter Sunday

April 12, 10 am, Online

The United Church of Christ faith statement affirms the "responsibility of the Church, in each generation, to make the faith its own." On Easter Sunday, we will be making the faith our own for our generation: holding Resurrection Worship the way it's never been done before, by necessity.  Read More

Young Adults Easter Brunch

Sunday, April 12, 1 pm,

Our annual young adult Easter brunch will be online this year! Grab something delicious, dress up in your Easter finest if you like (or stay in your sweatpants!) and hop on for a quick hello or hang out for a while in a holy huddle of community far and wide.

SFA Recommends Immediate Pay-off of BPF Loan from Fire Insurance Funds

After careful analysis of the long-term financial impact on the church’s financial health of the Berkeley Pilgrimage Foundation (BPF) loan, the Stewardship Finance & Administration (SF&A) Ministry recommends immediate pay off of the BPF loan from the fire insurance settlement funds. Read More

Zoom Parent Circle

Saturday, April 18, 11 am,

Join us for an informal time of sharing and caring for each other in the parenting journey. All are welcome!

Blue Fire Committee Update — Congregational Forum April 26

The Blue Fire Committee has been making progress on our work to evaluate options to replace Pilgrim Hall. With everything that has been going on over the past few weeks, it is taking a bit longer than expected to get all the information we need to make an informed decision. We want to postpone our congregational forum by one week, to Sunday, April 26.  Read More

Birthday Blessings
First Church staff members blessing the April birthday cards this week.

First Church People Pairing for Connection during Shelter-in-Place

Are you interested in being paired with another First Church community member to connect with via the phone (or via FaceTime, Skype) once a week?  Read More

Childcare / Tutoring / Homeschooling Relief

Could you use some childcare / tutoring / homeschooling relief? Several grandparent types in our congregation have offered to read to our kids, tutor kids in school work, and accompany them in their activities over half-hour Zoom or FaceTime calls.  Read More

Co-Working Zoom Meetings

Tuesdays, 9:30 am-1 pm,
Wednesdays, 12 pm -4 pm, same as above

Join us in a virtual meeting space for co-working camaraderie.

Molly & Kit's Zoom Office Hours

Drop in at any time for support, prayer, connection, to say hello!

Kit's Office Hours: Thursdays, 3-4 pm. Join here,, anytime between 3-4 pm. If you prefer to call in from a landline, dial 1 669 900 9128 and enter the meeting ID: 942 871 743. 

Molly's Office Hours: Fridays, 4-5 pm. Join here,, anytime between 4-5 pm. If you prefer to call in from a landline, dial 1 669 900 9128 and enter the meeting ID: 722 634 340. 

Bible Study

Wednesdays, 7 pm,

Progressive Bible Study with Geoffrey Gaskins.

Motley Few Zoom Meeting

Fridays at 10 am,

 Just a chance to get together with a few church folks for coffee and conversation.

If you prefer to call in from a landline, dial 1 669 900 9128 and enter the meeting ID: 722 634 340. 

FCCB Book Group

Friday, April 10, 2 pm

We are reading “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian”  by Sherman Alexie.

All Ages Storytime on Zoom

Saturdays, 10 am,

Exuberant toddlers, tired parents, nostalgic people of every age we’ll gather in a Zoom meeting for a 30-45 minute storytime for the therapeutic power of children’s storybooks.  Read More

Prayers of gratitude for the recovery of Taylor Young, Jim & Tiana Alnas-Benson’s nephew, who was taken off a ventilator last week. Continued prayers for his family still fighting the COVID19 virus. 

Prayers for all those in our community who suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges who are experiencing an uptick in symptoms during this uncertain time.

Prayers for the family & friends of former First Church Sound Technician Mark Stichman, who died unexpectedly last week from a heart attack. 

Prayers for Jane Arc and family as they mourn the recent death of grandfather Max Trummer and manage the care for seriously ill grandmother Esther Trummer. Prayers of strength for Jane’s sister Mary who is working long hours due to the pandemic and is overseeing her grandmother's care. 

Prayers for Sophia Dewitt and her brother as they care for their mother Nora, who is seriously ill.

Continued prayers for Rich Morrish who is convalescing at home after a hospital stay. Cards may be sent to him at: 212 Willamette Ave., Kensington, 94708.

Continued healing prayers for Caroline BoussenotBonnie & Bob Hester’s daughter-in-law, recovering from a stroke. 

Continued prayers for all those in our community recovering from surgery or illness: Holly Coates-BashSusan AbergAlexandra Ellman, and Julie Greer.

Prayers for all those sick at home or in the hospital, and for the medical professionals and caregivers supporting them.

did you know...?

The staff would love to know when you are worshipping with us on Sunday mornings! Look for the link to “sign in” that will be posted in the chat during the webcast on YouTube, Facebook, or the First Church website. Come Be a We!

There's still time to donate an Easter lily in honor of a family member, friend or other meaningful person in your life by 5 pm, Thurs., April 9! Email Louise Halsey ( your dedication. Your donation supports First Church’s Flower Fund, which pays for the beautiful flower arrangements we enjoy most Sundays. Lilies cost $30 each.

You can join Louise Halsey for 45 minutes of gentle yoga stretches next Friday, April 17, at 2 pm. Check the First Church calendar for Zoom details.

The Deckers Mt. Tam hike and dinner at Pelican Inn scheduled for April 25 has been cancelled. They're hoping to try again after the pandemic.
New Hampshire
by T.S. Eliot
Children’s voices in the orchard
Between the blossom- and the fruit-time:
Golden head, crimson head,
Between the green tip and the root.
Black wing, brown wing, hover over;
Twenty years and the spring is over;
To-day grieves, to-morrow grieves,
Cover me, light-in-leaves;
Golden head, black wing
Cling, swing
Spring, sing,
Swing up into the apple-tree.
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