The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection was formed as a mission on July 1, 1959 under the leadership of The Rev. Richard Shackell.
The congregation met first in a local bowling alley and then the Seventh Day Adventist Church while completing their new building. The new building was built by many volunteers from the parish. The first church services in the new building were held on April 19, 1962.
The original architect's plans intended that the new redwood building, with soaring curved arches, would serve eventually as the Parish Hall, and a second building with a high-spired roof would serve as the church. Instead, the second building, completed in 2004, is our Parish Hall, and the original building has always been used as our church, with some remodeling over the years.
The Rev. Richard Shackell continued to serve until long after the mission became a parish, which happened on March 16, 1967. He was followed by The Rev. Ronald Atwood, who left in 1984; and then by the Rev. Bruce Smith, who served from 1987 to 2018. Our current rector, the Rev. Liz Tichenor, was called to the Church of the Resurrection in 2019.
In July of 2009, the Church of the Resurrection celebrated its 50th anniversary. Starting with that celebration, various members, former members and clergy were asked to participate in a "Reminiscing about Resurrection" project. Please feel free to browse through our memories.
The Rev. Abeoseh M. Bowen-Flemister
Forty-six years ago (1963-2009), I did my Christian Education fieldwork assignment at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Pleasant Hill, California. The Rev. Richard Shackell was the vicar of the congregation. I learned that he passed in July 2008. May he rest in peace. My sincere condolences and greetings to his widow.
I do not know how many of the former students of the Sunday school at Resurrection would recall having an African Christian teacher of the Sunday schooling between 1963 - 1965. I believe it was the second and third grades that I taught with a fellow student, Jackie whose surname I have forgotten with the passing of the years. I was a student from Liberia at St. Margaret's House at 1820 Scenic Ave in Berkeley. This was a graduate school for professional women training in Christian education. We took theological courses at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP). It was so wonderful to have the opportunity to visit the church again and CDSP over the Memorial Day weekend. I had attended a conference on missions the week before at Mercy Center at Burlingame and did some sight-seeing to former places that contributed to my ordination to the priesthood. Admittedly, I felt like "Rip van Winkle." I did not recognize the transformative nature of the two-lane highway to multiple lanes leading to the Church nor the developments that had taken place! I had a truly remarkable experience at Resurrection. The students were fascinated at seeing me in my Liberian African clothes. My Liberian clothing was, in itself a curriculum in global Christian Education. My clothing brought meaning to Jesus' love for all children and people that rang true in that Sunday school song that we sang, "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world ..."
I was delighted to make contact with the rector, the Rev. Bruce Smith the next day, Tuesday, following Memorial Day, on the telephone. I understand that the Church is celebrating her 50th anniversary this year. I join the Rector, members, friends and well-wishers to congratulate the Rector and members of Resurrection for their life of witness in our risen and ascended Lord and King over the years, and to wish you many more in the future.
I now live in Columbus, Ohio in the Diocese of Southern Ohio, where I am an assisting priest at St. John's Episcopal Church in Worthington, Ohio. I am married to Clinton Louis Flemister, an electronic engineer. We are the proud parents of three wonderful sons, two of whom are married and we are grandparents of five wonderful grandchildren.
I will be delighted to reestablish contact with the Church of the Resurrection, personally, and Liberia should this be an idea that appeals to the church.
The Rev. Abeoseh M. Bowen-Flemister '65
We were a close-knit family in those days (1964+) at Church of the Resurrection. I mean the Church Family.
Caring for one another, helping with problems, sharing in joy, taking "care of business."
Young families, struggling sometimes, we still found time for commitment, keeping the grounds and the church buildings in order, tending to phones and having meals and fun together, both in small groups and large.
I was a Choir member, played the organ, sewed vestments, helped with rummage sales, two boys were altar boys. Sea Scout ship John F. Kennedy, sponsored by CofR, husband Lee Herrenkohl was skipper for 15 years, wrote Dedication Service music, Easter and Christmas hymns and carols, conductor of the choir, Altar Guild member, taught Sunday School, served on the Vestry, was a delegate for the Convention and Deanery meetings, three sons and husband confirmed, three weddings, two funerals, two grandson's baptisms.
We used what gifts we had, in time, treasure, and talent.
Forty-five years later I still see the same generosity, compassion, and industry emanating from our ever-changing community.
Thanks be to God!
Joan Herrenkohl Brill
My recollection of the start of the Church of the Resurrection was father attending meetings at the Benson's home and services at the Pleasant Hill Bowling Alley where I first attended. I do not remember how long we met at the bowling alley before we went to the Seventh Day Adventist church on Grayson Road and I do not remember how long we attended services there.
Dad would go to the construction site of our church to work with other fellows in building from the foundation and upwards to when he rolled on the roof. Mother made sandwiches and desserts for the workers; I do not remember how long that period lasted before completion. I do remember there was a catholic man who attended Christ the King church and who worked along with the episcopalians. His wife was episcopalian and taught Sunday school at our church.
I remember "hilltop house" on the Kahrs Street property, the two very large fig trees and the weeds. Dad took his power mower to get the weeds down (before weed wackers were born). I remember picking figs before that portion of the land was sold.
After the church was completed there were work parties and at lunch time it was like a picnic when we all gathered for prayer and ate together. Sometimes we had a BBQ lunch.
Many times while I would be pulling weeds I would meet others and at lunch time we would gather to eat and see and meet everyone. This was my memorable time of meeting others at work parties!
Mother enjoyed meetings with the ECW (Episcopal Church Women) and helping with church rummage sales.
Dad became more involved with scouts and their activities, being on the Vestry, ushering, teaching Sunday school, and doing a few rounds of baking cookies for Sunday service fellowship time.
Before the orange orchard was planted Gary Lawrence planted fruit trees on the grounds for different families of the parish with the hope they would care for the trees.
Ah yes, I remember when . . . . .
Mertya Chang for the James T. M. Chang family
We became involved in the Church of the Resurrection at a very sad time in our lives. My dear Mother passed away on Christmas Eve of 1989 and immediately my cousin (by marriage), Jean Meredith, was right there to help, as she always is. At the time, Roy and I were not affiliated with a church on a regular basis and Jean asked us if we would like her to contact her priest for us.
When Father Bruce arrived at our home, we were immediately comforted by his kindness and sympathy. He spent time with us and prayed with our entire family and he was so helpful in seeing us through this difficult time.
The following Sunday we began attending CoR and at the next opportunity, I was confirmed into the church at Grace Cathedral, with Jean as my sponsor.
Shortly thereafter, there was a need for someone to help out playing the organ and I, having been a piano teacher since 1970, offered with the understanding that I am a pianist, not an organist. That didn't matter so long as I could get the congregation through the hymns, which I did. I must say, that old pipe organ was a bit of a challenge - it seemed to have a mind of its own.
Not long after that, I was part of the search committee in purchasing the beautiful electronic organ we have today. Bruce kindly arranged for a few organ lessons for Alice Keller and me. For the next 16 years I had the pleasure of playing the organ for this church. I truly enjoyed that opportunity. Also, being in the choir under the direction of Maggie Cartwright was an honor and an experience. Maggie constantly challenged us both as singers and accompanist. I believe she saw in us a talent that none of us believed we had. Maggie had a way of bringing out the best in all of us.
By the way, Roy and I are also celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary this year!
We both feel blessed to call Church of the Resurrection our church home.
The Reverend Barbara Dawson
It has been extremely difficult to settle on just one "Church Story". There have been so very many favorite memories, wonderful people - and crazy events - that I have experienced since I first walked on to our campus in the fall of 1987. One of the earliest, however, involved the very first play that the congregation presented in the fall of 1988 entitled "Family Portrait".
I had only been with the parish for about a year when Gary Lawrence (who else!) decided that a great way to raise funds would be for the parish to put on a play. It sounded just like the plot from a Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland movie: "Let's put on a play in the barn and save the day!" All of the proceeds would go to a charity - and just think of the grand time we will have putting it on. Sounded interesting, and a bit bizarre, to me so I said I would like to be involved.
The particulars are a bit hazy to me now, but I ended up with the part of one of Jesus' sisters-in-law. My son was played by Charlie Bupp, then about 4-5 and unable to read. His mother, Mimi, drew a picture book for Charlie so he could learn his lines. It was a wonderful book and I was wishing she would draw one for me. Alas, that didn't happen as I could read my lines - I just couldn't remember them.
Our stage was the altar area and I remember thinking that this was the first time I had ever heard of the altar being used this way - but it was very appropriate and handled sensitively. The configuration of the church and altar area was very much different that it is now, and our "backstage" was the outside of the building and the sacristy. The play was put on in November, and it was very cold and wet that fall. I remember being huddled up in the sacristy under layers of blankets with the other cast members, absolutely freezing, but Arthur and Mary Blevins kept us all laughing with their very, very dry English humor.
The costumes for the play were put together by Miriam Englar. I did not know Miriam very well at the time, but was impressed with her theater credentials. She was in some other local theater production at the same time as our play and doing the costumes for that as well. Obviously, she was more than a little pressed for time and had to do our costumes after the community theater costumes were finished.
I remember Miriam sitting behind a very long table in the Fireside Room, which was our old parish hall (now part of our sanctuary). She could barely be seen behind piles and piles of fabric stacked all around her sewing machine, madly sewing tunics and headdresses - up to and including the night of the dress rehearsal! It was the most amazing sight, especially to someone who has no idea how to put fabric and thread together. (Some of the costumes are still being used and I love to see them on our young people during the Christmas pageant. They are just one of the ways Miriam's legacy is alive with us.)
My daughter, Jennifer, was in the play as well. Her job, along with another young girl, Johanna Raquet, was to enter down the center aisle, each waving a long palm frond. The girls were quite small, only in the second grade, and the fronds were extremely long and heavy. One poor man, who had the misfortune of sitting on the aisle towards the front, was smacked in the head once by Jennifer as the girls came in - and again by Johanna as they left. The seat should have had a warning sign on it, much like the ones at Sea World that are in the whale's splash zone.
A lot of the play's plot involved the family sitting around the dinner table so, of course, we had to have food. Someone was in charge of making, or obtaining, the food so it was fresh each night. One scene in particular involved about six or seven "family members", including Randy Bupp, Charlie Bupp, Arthur and Mary Blevins - and me - sitting around a picnic table eating scrambled eggs and drinking something in goblets. We had scrambled eggs of every type imaginable, made fresh each night. Of course, we had a scramble egg fight and the water in the goblets turned into something more potent during the last production, catching Arthur Blevins completely off guard and almost causing him to gag.
Food truly became the focus of the cast's life in this play - primarily because of Bruce Smith's prop. Bruce's character was a fish monger. His costume involved some sort of headdress, and he had to come on stage holding a huge, whole fish by the tail. Finding, storing, and keeping the fish was a HUGE PRODUCTION, and involved a lot of energy by the cast and crew. The fish was kept on a plate in the sacristy during the play and IT STUNK BEYOND BELIEF!!!!
Whenever I think back to the many plays the congregation went on to produce through the next decade, and in which I was priviledged to participate in one way or another, my mind immediately jumps back to the image of Bruce walking on stage wearing a ridiculous headdress, holding a huge, gross, unbelievably smelly fish. I am sure that Bruce did not anticipate that moment when he responded to the call found in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus say: "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Thank you, Gary, for convincing us to put on "Family Portrait" and all the other wonderful productions you organized throughout the years. You created many, many, memorable moments for me - and the entire parish - and they will always be my image of what Church of the Resurrection is about: love for one another, laughter, hard work, fellowship and the desire to work on behalf of someone else who is in some kind of need or trouble.
The Reverend Barbara Dawson
One thing I loved about our church was that for at least most of the service I was able to worship without my two boys wiggling beside me. However, from the time they joined me during the "Peace" onward was always a challenge.
Most disturbing of all to me was the way my boys behaved during communion. They wrestled each other on the way to the altar, ate the bread and then walked away before they could be blessed or take a sip from the chalice, and, more often than not, one of them would place his nametag on my rear end and giggle as I stood there with my back to the congregation.
I mentioned my frustrations to Laura Gianello who was the Sunday School Director at the time, and soon after she let me know that Bruce would be presenting a communion workshop for children. Perfect! I thought.
Sean and Ryan were less enthusiastic about going to church on a Saturday and grumbled heartily the whole way there. When we got to church Bruce and Laura were in the kitchen laying out all the ingredients for making communion bread. The boys put on polite, if not friendly faces and I left them - thinking they would be more cooperative if I wasn't there. I left for an hour or so, and when I returned everyone was in the sacristy where Pat Henderson was showing them the priest's vestments and the altar cloths. The boys were the only children there, listening quietly, even intently. Then Bruce led everyone back to the kitchen for the communion bread they had baked.
I felt a little guilty. I thought a lot of the children were going to be there, not just mine, but Bruce and Laura acted like there was nothing more important in the world at that moment than eating communion bread with my boys.
I think that the boys were a little more reverent when they went up for communion. And though, I admit, occasionally I still found a name tag stuck to the back of my pants at the end of the day, I could tell that they had gained something from their Saturday in the church kitchen. Maybe not so much because they had developed a greater understanding of the sacrament of communion, but because they were made to feel that the ritual was theirs, that they were an important part of the church, important enough for its leaders to take time out from a busy Saturday to make communion bread for them.
ORIGINAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTION DAYS
We church people did a lot of the smaller work where we could, and one of the jobs was bending "re-bar" for the foundations. This is the reinforcing steel that helps strengthen the concrete. Specifically we needed a lot of "J" bars and "C" bars that help tie the long bars together and are spaced fairly frequently throughout the foundation. Since the re-bar was 3/8 inches think (I think) it was not easy to bend and we spent a lot of time and effort doing so. One evening (we usually worked when it was cooler and people were available after work) a car turned into our street and a fellow got out and asked if we would like to know how to do the job a little easier. Of course we said yes, so he showed us how to bend the bar around the ball of a bumper hitch, which was a lot easier. Turned out that he was from Christ the King and he was just passing by. That was very helpful.
As we were nearing the end of the work we could do, we put up the purlins, the 6 by 6 or 8 by 8 beams that the roofing is attached to, which tie together the hugh trusses. When the very top ones were in place, one of our parishioners by the name of Charlie Petrie walked from one end to the other the full length of the building, on the top purlin. That was impressive, to say the least.
My first encounter with Church of the Resurrection was a positive one. I came alone about 15 years ago and witnessed teenagers sitting in church with their families engaged in the service and the sermon. I returned next week with my children - then aged 3 and 7 - sent them off to try out the Sunday school and after the service Father Bruce asked me why I hadn't let the children take communion. He said it was like inviting them to the party and not letting them eat the cake! Later, the kids and I piled into the car to head home and I asked them if they wanted to go back next week. My daughter, from the back seat said, "We have to, I borrowed books from the library!"; starting our new found journey of faith at Resurrection.
My daughter and I moved to Pleasant Hill from Berkeley after my father's death in September 2003. I visited Church of the Resurrection on the first Sunday of Advent. The first few weeks after my father's death were filled moving to an apartment, preparations for a Memorial Service, and family. However, as things began to settle down and I began to find my way around Pleasant Hill, I knew that it was also time to find my way to a church. My father had been a Lutheran Pastor and I had grown up in the Lutheran church. I was confirmed Episcopalian in my late 20's so, while not being new to Episcopalian, I had not attended any parishes in Contra Costa County. As I began the search for a new church, I was grieving, raw and felt isolated. I knew I needed a community to worship with, but I wanted to take enough time to find the right place.
During my first visit to Church of the Resurrection I noted that the parish buildings and grounds looked well cared for. I also noted that the folks attending the 10:00 service were chatty, but also present in their worship of God. I found the service to be a tad rowdy rather than staid. I saw that the ages of folks ranged from infants to elders, rather than being a parish of primarily young families or primarily older families. The children appeared to be both valued AND a part of the worship setting. ALL of this was pleasing to me. Something unexpected also caught my eye, the fireplace. I had never seen one as part of a worship space in any other Episcopal church that I have attended. As a person that loves the symbolic, this one thing became a portal for me to enter into the community of the Church of the Resurrection.
In Greek mythology, the keeper of the hearth was Hestia. Her task was to keep the sacred flame alight. In our own homes, we too may prepare the fireplace by making sure the earth is clean and that there is wood and matches. When we light a fireplace we inevitably gather around it. This gathering together feels like a sacred gathering, and often may be so, as people talk among themselves, or sit in silence watching the flames. At the Church of the Resurrection the fireplace is generally not lit, and we adults gather around the Word and the Sacrament. However, the younger children gather on the carpet beside the fireplace during the sacred gathering of worship on Sundays. As they sit on the carpet, coloring, reading, or playing together they are fully participating in liturgy. And they are at home in it. This was what I was looking for as grieving daughter, an opportunity to be home. The fireplace, while held within sacred space, symbolized my own sacred longing.
In the years since my first visit, I have gradually felt at home at Church of the Resurrection. As my own academic and professional life has eased, there has been more time for me to be present. I know that as I continue to deepen in this place I will continue to reflect the symbol of the fireplace, seeing in it both sacred longing and God's love.
In September of 2004 our eldest granddaughter began attending Peter Pan Preschool. Emma had a wonderful experience at Peter Pan and she transitioned into kindergarten seamlessly. During Emma's time at Peter Pan Joann and I would occasionally pick Emma up at the end of her school day. We were both impressed with the quality of the staff and the genuine care that everyone seemed to have for the children. I recall Emma's description of her first visit to the church with her class. Over dinner she described visiting God's house. Joann suggested that we attend a service and familiarize ourselves with the congregation at Church of the Resurrection. For four years I found numerous reasons not to follow Joann's suggestion.
In September of 2007 our granddaughter Haley Grace began her two year tenure at Peter Pan. Since our daughter had returned to the work force Joann or I would pick up Haley every day after school. We continued to be impressed with the school and the staff. Given Haley's contrarian moments Joann and I marveled at eh patience that the staff exhibited with our precocious granddaughter.
In October of 2008 I thought that I should attend a service and see what the church that sponsored a terrific preschool was like. Thinking that I could discretely slip into the back part of the church and observe the service and quietly make an exit once the service concluded, I went to a 10:15 service on a bright fall day. My plans for quick exit were a total failure. Father Bruce found me on my way out and he made a special point of welcoming me to the service. I joined the congregation at the social hour and felt comfortable immediately.
When I returned home Joann asked me what I thought of the service. When I explained how impressed I was with the service and the warm welcome Father Bruce extended me, my wife had the pleasure of an "I told you so" moment.
We joined the church shortly after that first visit. Joann and I have enjoyed the Sunday Services and we especially enjoyed the Christmas and Holy Week Liturgy at the Church of the Resurrection. We enjoy attending the weekly services with our daughter Cheryl and her family. I am not sure that there is just one thing that made Joann and I join the Church of the Resurrection family, but I am positive the whole process began because of the wonderful experience our granddaughters experienced at Peter Pan Preschool. Haley Grace has finished her two years at Peter Pan. She often says she does not like her new school so she will just go back to Peter Pan. Joann and I feel that there will be no reason for us to try another church - we are lucky we can just keep going to the Church of the Resurrection.
Shirley Larson was born in Cleveland Heights, Ohio in 1917. One of her favorite memories is of the Sunday mornings when the whole family walked together to church.
Shirley married Bill Conrad in 1940. Two years later their daughter Carol Louise was born. Bill served in the Army during World War and was killed on Normandy Beach in April 1944. The Army held an Episcopal memorial service for Bill in Cleveland even though he was buried in France. Shirley found the service to be very comforting so she joined the church. She remains a faithful Episcopalian to this day.
In 1946 Shirley visited friends in Hawaii and liked it so much she stayed on and took a job at Schofield Barracks. She met Hank Lind at a Christmas dance and they were married in 1948. Their daughter Helen Ann was born a year later. Hank eventually shipped out to Korea and was killed in action there in 1950.
Somehow, Shirley was able to pick up the pieces and move on. She moved to Pleasant Hill in 1952 and made many friends. She married Jim Larson in 1960. He added a four year old step daughter, Sue, to the family.
Shirley has always made time for her family and friends, but she has also given gift of countless hours to her church and community. She has been very active at Resurrection working in the office and assisting with mailings. More recently she volunteered at Clausen House and Loaves and Fishes.
Over the years, I directed many plays at our church. I am forever grateful for the total support that was offered so lovingly by everyone, and for the talents that were brought together on our altar. My heart is full when I look at all those faces in old pictures, and think of the people who worked together so tirelessly and enthusiastically to create moments of exhilaration and joy that disappeared as the laughter and applause faded, and yet endured.
When my kids, Amy and Tom, were small, I directed annual pageants at Epiphany. They varied from year to year, always with an element of Twelfth Night, when the Magi visited and the animals were said to talk. I will tell you two short stories from that time, both with barnyard elements.
The younger boys played the parts of shepherds in the pageant, and some brought their dogs with them. I supplied the others with hens to tuck under their arms as they approached the little baby Jesus, and it occupied them and created a warm bucolic scene. At one rehearsal, I brought seven hens in a box, and asked a woman helper to take them out of the box and into the waiting arms of the shepherds, and to retrieve them afterwards and replace them in the box. The box was in the first room of the west wing, which was also the nursery. The rehearsal proceeded with the usual organized joyful chaos. When everyone had gone home, I went into the nursery and discovered seven hens perched on the railings of the cribs, and their calling cards splattered on the bed sheets and floor.
One year, we added a sheep (named Lisa) to the mix. She was chosen because she was small and docile, and we had spread a tarp over the altar in case of accident. The youngest church baby (as is now the case) had the role of Baby Jesus, and was carried up the aisle by his mother, as Mary. The father (our seminarian at the time, Gary Young) played Joseph. A shepherd led Lisa the sheep ahead of the holy family, and I instructed the seminarian to help Lisa onto the elevated altar if she balked. He should lean over Lisa from behind and lift her two front legs up, and gently nudge her forward. Joseph nodded to me, and Lisa followed the shepherd nicely up onto the altar. Afterward, Joseph told me that he was sweating blood the whole time he walked up the aisle, hoping to avoid the image that I had (unconsciously) laid out for him.
Just another example of the total support and sacrifice that people have made for our dramas.
Forty-six years of Resurrection memories - in no particular order!
Coming to Resurrection - my first "adult" church - in my cranberry, wide-wale corduroy maternity dress - and a hat! . . . . having, the next February, Amy, the only new or young baby at the church at the time, and finding instant grandparents - especially at the Chat and Chow mornings, when women could bring a sewing or other project to work on and a bag lunch, and spend the morning chatting and . . . well, you get it. I was grateful that so many women thought that it was great fun to hold and feed the baby.
A few years later, the Tuesday group became a quilting group and we made three quilts: one of squares made by individuals and put together by the group, which we gave to Father and Jeannette Shackell when they left the parish, another for Father Eric and Norma Yoeman when they left, and one of just colorful squares that we raffled off. The Shackells eventually returned their quilt, with thanks, when they moved to a very small space; we raffled it too and Miriam Englar won it . . . very appropriate.
Meetings and receptions in the Fireside Room which was on the east side of the sanctuary and enclosed the pillars which are still there, and which used the door now used as the "front door" of the sanctuary. The kitchen was what is now the nursery! And we produced many great meals there . . . . there was a square dance in the sanctuary, complete with bales of hay and live music. The floor was just cement at this time, and we sat on very uncomfortable but very portable folding chairs for services. We had no extra money to spare, but Father Shackell insisted that we come and said that "You can't give when you're empty, but in time you will fill up and spill over." We had a great time.
Tuesday mornings at Hilltop House, which at the time was in the parking lot just on the opposite side of where the fence is now. The moms of preschoolers took turns babysitting and the others had three whole hours of time alone! It was fun and affordable and we got to know the moms and their kids.
Amy as a toddler starting to pick flowers from a bed that was just outside the sacristy, I saying the "if we pick up them other people can't enjoy them" speech, and Father Shackell saying that it was her church too, so go right ahead. Father Shackell giving me lots of food for thought by saying that the job of the church was not to make people good, but to make them whole . . . . A whole new concept for me at the time.
The Christmas Eve when the organ and choir were in the choir loft, and the organist, who had put the music on the railing, hit it by accident, and sheet music wafted gently down into the congregation . . . .Father Atwood, wearing his black cassock, backing into a candle at the altar and catching his robe on fire (no harm done to person or church.) . . . . The time Bishop Pike came to visit us and somehow the opening music and service got off to such a jumbled start that someone (Bishop Pike? Father Shackell? the organist?) just announced that we should start over, and we did. . . .Maggie Cartwright, who brought from the choir music we didn't know we had in us, directing us in Brahms' "How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place" - once it was so magical that several of us were teary at the end. . . . The years we had live animals (chickens, a sheep, dogs) at the Christmas pageants - all behaved well except the recalcitrant sheep who didn't want to go up the step to the altar area. Serious encouragement ensued. . . . The day Father Bruce sleuthed out that his grandfather was my high school math teacher. . . .And, the well, ONE of the best memories of all is the day after ordinations when Amy, who had just become a priest, and Charlie Jett who had just been ordained deacon, did the Sunday services. Our hearts were full with love and pride!
Mary Lou Lucas
About 35 years ago Church of the Resurrection had a cultural and music exchange with the Episcopal mission at Nixon, Nevada on the Piute reservation. Audrey Waldren and I volunteered to cook - 300 meals three times a day! I don't remember sleeping but I do recall a lot of hysterical laughing and sometimes crying! We made tons of spagetti, lasagna and burgers, we baked cakes and cookies. I don't know why but we had no help in the kitchen and we worked ourselves into exhaustion! I haven't had that much fun in all my life! Kids came from all over the Diocese, we taught the reservation kids "Cool in the Furnace." Our kids learned beading and heard wonderful stories. It was just too great!
During our time there Chief Winnamuca died - the little church was crowded and we sat on the altar since we provided the choir. Dean Lucas was one of the pallbearers - the highlight of his life! After the service the burial took place in the church yard cemetery. The Shaman came with his top hat with buffalo horns and grieved at the grave site. That was something most people never see.
When Father Shackell retired to Southern California, the parish participated in making a quilt. The talent of our parishioners was something to see. In the very middle of the quilt one of the kids made a square showing Father Shackell from the back - clad in his pink vestment with a fringe of hair surrounding his bald head! He loved it!
During Advent, Church of the Resurrection always had (and has) a Christmas pageant. Bill Giese, a great friend, always participated as one of the kings. No one ever saw him without a burnt-out cigar butt in his mouth. As the group progressed into the church, Bill always marched with great dignity sporting the usual cigar butt!!
Jane Giese was a talented and enthusiastic musician, organist, and music director. One day, when she was playing a particularly challenging piece, my son (at age 8) said: "Mrs. Giese just fell into the organ again!!"
Mary Lou Lucas
I first learned about a mission church in Pleasant Hill from a member of St. Paul’s who came to get my pledge in the spring of 1959. He said if I wanted to join after it was formed I could transfer my pledge. I laughed and said “that sounded like work to me!” One Sunday in early September 1959, my friend Pat Perry and I decided to visit the bowling alley and see this new mission church. The next week Father Shackell made a call to my home and I was hooked!
We outgrew the bowling alley very quickly and Father Shackell made arrangements with Seventh Day Adventists to use their Sanctuary on Sundays. They weren’t sure we could be trusted to use their classrooms. I was asked to take the first grade class – a problem with no room. I put a blanket in my station wagon to use on the ground and I taught from the tailgate. One Sunday it was raining so I took my blanket and the children into the girls bathroom to sing songs and talk. Eventually they allowed us to use their classrooms. It was quite an improvement.
I went to church early (8 am) one hot summer Sunday. Father Shackell had to carry his vestments in a zippered garment bag. As I came in he came up to me and said “I hope you know how to unjam a zipper otherwise we will have a very informal service.” He was wearing his sandals and Bermuda shorts. Fortunately I was able to do it.
During the early years, Father Shackell lived in the “Vicarage”, an old rickety house on the hill in the back of our empty church lot. It was called “Hilltop House.” He had the bedroom for himself. There was a kitchen, a small room for the secretary, and a store room. The living room was his office, meeting room, mid-week communion room, etc. It was cozy – using whatever furniture we could acquire.
The Bishops Committee (later known as the Vestry) had been acting with the group that first formed the church. Father Shackell wanted to have four new members and one should be a woman. As I recall, Jane Dorn had served with the original group but had moved away. He asked Jean Meredith and I to run. I do not remember the men, but I was elected. Both of us served many more times on the Vestry.
It was a challenge to help build the church building. Miriam Englar made lettering for the hard hats “high church” for the men on the roof and “low church” for the ones dodging the dropped hammers below! When the shell of the building was completed and the big cross was hung from the ceiling, Father Shackell had boards put across two saw horses and we had communion with all workers joining in.
Between the construction at the church and the explosion of construction in Pleasant Hill snafus were common – like the evening I went early to fix cool aid for a meeting and there was no water.
I wouldn’t trade any of the experiences – good, bad, and in-between. They were wonderful, growing years for me and I still have many wonderful friends 50 years later!
GLADYS IS PAST DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
When the Church was using the Seventh Day Adventist building (just the church building, not the school) space was at a premium for Sunday School classes, some of which had only five or six children. Every available room was used, even the restrooms in the area near where the altar and pulpit were. Father Shackell was unaware of this arrangement until one memorable Sunday when he decided, during the hymn immediately preceding the sermon, to make a quick trip to the restroom. You can imagine his discomfort when he opened the door and was greeted by "Hi, Father Shackell!" from half a dozen first and second graders sitting on the floor!
For a period of time, the "hilltop house" (formerly a sheepherder's residence) was the only building we owned, and it was used as Father Shackell's residence as well as a meeting place for all weekday activities. The bathroom opened onto both the bedroom and a very small room used as my office. During a weekend-long conference, one member decided to demonstrate our camaraderie by putting a "MEN" sign on one door, "WOMEN" on the other.
When the church building was new, we were visited by a Bishop from England. All of the acolytes, choir, and clergy were gathered outside the church, waiting for the service to start. The Bishop had been delayed, but the members of the procession were extremely patient; the last game of the World Series was being played - - several members had brought portable radios and everyone listened to the game until the very last second - - very reluctant churchgoers!
I walk into church - along the walk - and see a little girl (maybe 4-5 years old) carefully putting the snails on the damp sidewalk into groups of four! (Yes, there were a lot of them.) And, seeing me watch her, she looked up, smiled, and said, "I'm putting them in families, so they'll have a mommy and a daddy" and, she added, "And I'm careful to pick them up from the back, so I don't get slimed!" Well, I realized, if this wonderful little person has such sensitivity, she must have loving parents! And I instantly adopted her as one of my spiritual grand-daughters.
Since then I have met sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons in this blessed church family - called Church of the Resurrection - part of the families of faith all over the world - and not just Episcopalians! Thank you, for all of us, working together in love - to make your kingdom be - not just come.
My wife Georgi and I first met Father Bruce Smith in the early 1980s when he was the youth minister at St. Stephens in Orinda. I still remember Bruce showing up at our son Jeff's track meets when he was in high school. And both kids remember him showing up for lunch at Campolindo High School when they were there. After the St. Stephens Rector Jean Clark retired, and Bruce went on to greener pastures, we sort of dropped out of the church scene.
One day in the late 1990s we went to purchase paint at the Sherwin Williams store on Main Street in Walnut Creek when we ran into Father Bruce. He told us that he was at Resurrection so we checked it out the next Sunday and we have never looked back.
Since we joined we have been active in Vestry, Stewardship, Finance Committee, Peter Pan Preschool Board, Altar Guild, Loaves and Fishes, LEM, the Adult Education forums, and the Adult Mission trips.
We generally attend the 8:00 am service except when Georgi is teaching Sunday School. Come check out the 8:00 service!
Looking back over 50 years at Church of the Resurrection and trying to decide upon one particular story to tell is like looking at a field of sunflowers and trying to discern the perfect one to pick. I closed my eyes to reflect - to discern what images would come forward. Different memories emerged:
- In November of 1957, as a young mother of three little ones in a one car family and, with a policeman husband who worked on Sunday, I was pleased to find that my new Concord neighbors were Episcopalian, had a station wagon, 4 children and would take us to church with them. They belonged to St. Paul's in Walnut Creek and so my kids and I went there too. When we heard that a new mission was being formed in Pleasant Hill my neighbors and I decided to give it a try. Who knew that those early services in the Pleasant Hill Bowling Alley would lead me to a 50 year commitment to a place of faith that has served me far beyond my expectations? Just a few years ago, when the bowling alley was demolished to make way for Pleasant Hill's progress, Father Bruce went with Gary Lawrence and me to say a prayer for our first worship site.
- Others will tell the story of our move from the bowling alley to the Seventh Day Adventist Church (up from us on Gregory Lane) but I remember an early Lent at our new mission property where a small white house (Hilltop House) served as a place for a weekly 6 or 7am early morning worship service. Father Richard Shackell, our mission's new Vicar, led the service and 3 or 4 of us gathered before him for communion. Outside this house was an old fig tree. For some years before the tree's removal, ever-resourceful Gary Lawrence made communion wine from its fruit.
- The construction of the building with the help of the congregation built not only a space for worship but laid the solid foundation for what has become our community of faith. Whether wielding a hammer, pouring concrete or bringing food to feed the workers, the people who helped build the church set the tone for the welcoming environment we enjoy today.
- We became a parish with Father Shackell as our first Rector. Bishop Pike often came to visit, and our congregation surprised him with our singing of the Mitchell Folk Mass - a departure from our more traditional hymns. We used this music for a few years and I'm sure that some of us would welcome hearing it again. Early on, without air-conditioning we adopted a casual dress code that is still with us today. Individuals can come to church dressed as they see fit and no one is too dressed up or down.
- Our need for Sunday school space moved us forward to the building of an education building. It became known as the pre-school building because during the week it housed our renowned Peter Pan Preschool under the direction of Theresa Rustad. On Sundays every inch of the building was used for the education of our youth. My favorite recollection is of my teen-age son Michael, the thurifer for the dedication of the building. He was afraid that he would swing the incense and hit the Bishop who had come for the dedication. Fortunately for Michael, all went well.
- Everyone who came to minister to us brought a new view and dream for our church. Our finances ebbed and flowed but we continually held a vision for a bright future. Many of our early parishioners are now gone but have been replaced again and again with new folks looking for a loving environment for worship. As I look back over the past I know that we have been truly blessed.
My wife Mary and I started coming to Church of the Resurrection about 15 years ago. We had been here as visitors several times in earlier years when my father was alive and visiting us . . . he was a retired Episcopal minister and liked to come to Resurrection when in the area, though Mary and I were not then attending any church regularly. About a year after my dad passed away I had an epiphany in my life, an experience that convinced me that God was working on me; and as a result Mary and I decided we needed to get out of our rut, become more social and get involved in a church.
But this story is not about that epiphany . . . this story is about the Resurrection Men's Group, and my first experience at being "Garyed"!
When we walked into Resurrection that first Sunday, we both knew that we did not have to go searching for the right church . . . we felt immediately at home, and knew we had found our new family. After the service we were approached by Gary Lawrence, with his clipboard in hand, introducing himself and others to us, and trying to get us signed up for one of the numerous projects he was working on . . . I think the first one might have been a Church Play, or maybe a Gourmet Gala, or maybe suggesting that the upcoming Cursillo might be a good experience for us. Anyway, we were well and truly "Garyed", and got signed up to be involved in something or other, and I also got my name on the list for the next Men's Group Meeting.
These were the greatest choices we could have made, and led to life-changing experiences for us.
We did make our Cursillo that year, we did work with the Gourmet Gala and many other events to come (Gary was always around with his clipboard, and in 15 years I've been "Garyed" so many times that I have permanent calluses on my fingers from signing the clipboard.) Mary even took part in one of Gary's plays (totally out of her comfort zone!). We got involved in a variety of ways . . . choir, lay reading, LEM's, vestry, food events and fun events and worship events . . . and Resurrection has truly become our second family.
And I did go to Men's Group meeting . . . and then the next . . . and the next . . . and the next . . . and one day a year or two down the road I was "Garyed" into taking charge of the Men's Group, and have been doing so ever since.
I've even learned to do a little "Garying" of my own now and again, though I despair of ever having Gary Lawrence's expertise!
Being "Garyed" is one of the finest institutions of this church . . . you might even call it a ministry . . . it certainly is a ministry of love! Don't ever give up your clipboard Gary!
By the way, in case you were wondering . . . I got "Garyed" into writing this!
In the beginning (1959), the five (5) churches in Contra Costa County, as I remember, were St. David's, Pittsburg; Grace, Martinez; St. Stephen's, Orinda; St. Michael's, Concord and St. Paul's, Walnut Creek. They all met at St. Michael's with people from the various churches to decide on building another Episcopal church to be located in Pleasant Hill.
The property was located on Gregory Lane in Pleasant Hill. Bishop Block had purchased the land a few years before, but no one knew about it. As soon as the word got out, everyone was so thrilled; they couldn't wait to get started working and organizing a committee to form the new church.
After the first meeting at St. Michael's, the committee was chosen and everything was set in motion. The next meeting was held at Richard and Naomi Rogers' home. There were two meetings at the Rogers'; the first one to organize and the second one to find a place to meet for church services. Donnalee Wilson volunteered to find a place, but to no avail. My husband and I were in a bowling league and he said he would talk to the manager of the bowling alley. The manager was very happy to oblige us in our need. He offered the entire second floor, banquet room and offices to us. The offices were used for Sunday school and the banquet room was used for Sunday services.
The first Sunday we had to cover all of the signs as they advertised beer; however, Father Dick said, after the first Sunday, just forget that. He thought the Lord would understand.
Our first organ was a small reed organ that looked like it came over the Oregon Trial, but you know what? We had so much fun.
We met at the bowling alley for about three months. There was such a need for the new church; we had to look for a larger place. Of course, you have to remember this was Baby Boomer time.
I don't remember who talked to the people at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, but they were most gracious to let us meet there. They also had a few restrictions, but they weren't so bad. We could only have our coffee hour on their patio; that is until winter came followed by extreme cold and lots of rain. They took pity on us and let us come inside. They did request us to be sure there were no signs of coffee or tea left around. That was no problem at all.
The Altar Guild members had to arrive at the church before 8am to set up the alter and prepare everything for service. We had to carry two wicker baskets with all the paraphernalia in them to be able to set up the church including prayer books and hymnals. Come summer, they allowed us to have Vacation Bible School in the church.
We started the church with 25 families and, needless to say, we multiplied very quickly. Mt husband Frank served on the first Bishops Committee. My daughter Ann and her father worked with the choir. Frank directed and Ann was the organist. Everyone in the church worked very hard to get where we are today.
Richard and Alice Keller came to us from St. Stephen's and took over the choir and organ. How happy we were to have them.
Needless to say, I have a very deep love for the church and I could go on forever talking about it, but I think someone else should pick this up and continue.
P.S. Don't forget our first youth group, our first communion was saw horses and a door serving as an altar and the many parishioners who helped build this beautiful church.
Music was the way I joined Church of the Resurrection. Having sung in a choir for most of my life, when I started looking for a new church home, I was seeking a good choir. I found it in 1991 when I attended my first CoR service at a September "Service in the Park." Sitting next to long time member Marcia Weeks, she raved about choir director Maggie Cartwright, and invited me to that Tuesday's rehearsal.
I never looked at another parish. I was home.
Through Maggie's fine musicianship and wry wit, and particularly her patience with the unrestrained humor of some singers, both choir and congregation were blessed.
Music is prayer, and through years of rehearsals, singing at services, Advent concerts, memorials and celebrations, we prayed together. We also played together.
Choir parties, often generously hosted at Joan and Gary Lawrence's, were full of even more laughter, fellowship, and rejoicing, lubricated by delicious food and wine - including Gary's special enological concoctions.
The past few years, I've joined the congregation to sing. Until now, I'd rarely had a chance to hear our choir sing from the "pews." It's been a wonderful experience to enjoy their heavenly blend of voices praising our community, our lives and the blessings we receive every day.
The Reverend Richard Shackell
Extracted from the July 30, 2008 obituary for our first rector, Rev. Richard Shackell, in the Contra Costa Times
The Reverend Richard Shakell died on July 17 of natural causes at Samarkand Retirement Community, Santa Barbara. He was 81 and had been in poor health, suffering from dementia for several years.
Shackell was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on May 30, 1927. He earned a B.A. from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and later of Master of Divinity from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. He was ordained a priest in 1953.
He married Joan Brees in 1949 with whom he had two daughters, Mary and Sarah. I 1960 he married Jeannette Fayram and became father to her three children, David, Margaret and Rick.
Shackell's early ministry was centered in the San Francisco Bay Area where he was rector of Holy Trinity Church, Willows; then rector of St. Francis of Assisi Church, Novato. He was founding vicar and later rector of Church of the Resurrection, Pleasant Hill (1959-1976). From 1976-84 he served as rector of Grace Church, Glendora.
During his ministry, Shackell promoted adult education, stewardship, and ministry of laity. He established three mission churches. After he retired, he worked on a low cost senior housing project. In addition, he helped organize a trip to Uganda to take medical supplies and provide training in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
In 1965 Shackell was among the California clergy who answered the call of Dr. Martin Luther King to join in the civil rights march from Selma to Birmingham. He led the Diocese of Calfornia contingent, and he was a marshall on the march. According to his wife, he counted his participation as one of the highlights of his life.
As ardent Anglophiles, the Shackells made 20 trips to England, ans Shackell became a Fellow of the Royal Society of (industrial) Arts in London. The Society works to improve the lot of workers in England. He was passionate about pipe organ music, often taking tours of church organs throughout the UK. His hobbies also included body surfing, fitness training, travel and reading.
My story begins when I was pregnant with Grace, who is now six years old, and Maddie (now ten) was four years old. I was deciding to which of the many preschools in Pleasant Hill to send her. I met Lynne Kellund after many interviews around town and knew that I would send her here to Peter Pan Preschool! I loved that they had Chapel every two weeks and Father Bruce and Laura Gianello were names that I quickly became accustomed to hearing from Maddie. Maddie was Connecting with God!
Now Dan, Grace and I needed to Connect with God! But what church to attend? Dan was raised Catholic and I was raised Presbyterian. We visited the local Catholic and Presbyterian churches in the area and couldn't agree on any of them. I was worried because the girls had not been baptized and finally decided to contact Father Bruce to inquire about COTR. It was such a relief to hear that many Episcopalian couples were from different faiths. We decided to give it a go at COTR and have never looked back.
We immediately made friends. How could we not? There were so many ways . . . We had Father Bruce's Sabbatical party (wow, what a party), the Parish Ranch Retreat, Sunday School, 4th of July parades, Gary's plays, and Christmas and Easter pageants . . . memories, memories, memories . . . we were not only Connecting with God, we were Connecting with Others.
We quickly fell in love with COTR and the girls and I dug our heels in and became involved in a lot of activities. Gracie loves Sunday School and many of her school friends have attended VBS with her. One of her favorite memories was having our pet rat, Susie, blessed. Maddie has enjoyed being an acolyte and is looking forward to being involved in Middle School groups next year. I am thrilled to be working on the 50th Anniversary committee and I love teaching Sunday School. Dan . . . well, Dan is known to play guitar during a service every now and again and he has made some great friends here. All four of us are doing the best we can to Reach out in Faith.
I really do not have one story to share but a life of 22 years participating and experiencing the wonderful Christian community of Church of the Resurrection. Bruce and I came to this church when I was three months pregnant with our younger son, Jeffrey. What has struck me throughout the 22 years is the thread of caring and compassion of the church members working and sharing with my sons and my family in our faith journey.
Through the church activities my sons have participated in - Christmas pageants, church school, youth groups, the PLAYS, mission trips, warm winter nights, loaves and fishes, BREAD camp, Happening and God Squad - they have built lasting friendships with youth and adults, they have reached out to those in need, and they have participated and volunteered in very life-fulfilling activities.
Besides having friendships with the kids they grew up with at church, I am always moved when I see them having conversations with many of the adults. This church gave them the opportunity to have wonderful relationships with people of many ages and to feel comfortable talking with many people.
Most of the same activities my sons participated in, I have participated in. The church has been my center for friendships and a community of commitment and involvement. With all the craziness in my life, and even at church, I always feel a sense of calm and peace when I come to church to worship. I always know it is the right place to be and the right place for me.
Leo and Sonia Vardas
Back in the '70s many of us in Pleasant Hill were shocked to learn of a new highway plan that would dissect the Concord/Pleasant Hill region and seriously impact many homeowners. There was a compelling need to quickly assemble a local citizens group to protest the plan. But where?
Father Shackell had always been an ardent supporter of community action and he allowed us to use the church for an impromptu meeting. We filled the (then smaller) Nave that first evening and went on to assist others in successfully defeating the proposal.
Leo and Sonia Vardas
Back "in the day", it didn't take much of an excuse to have a social get-together and friends were always gathering for progressive dinners and the like. Soon a group was formed and because many of the members were in "the family way" it became known as the FFF or Friendly Fertile Flock.
Later, a few of us more "mature" members formed a second group and were immediately tagged the SSS or Senile Sad Sacks.
Great times. Great Fun.
We came to Church of the Resurrection in 1968. We lived in a rental house, next to the church, at 333 Gregory Lane, with a one year old and five year old. As many of you know that one year old is our daughter, Michele Ramia. She went up to Hilltop House every Sunday morning where there was the children's nursery and a pre-school class. It was an old yellow house that sat out beyond the parking lot where there are houses now. The church owned all of that property.
There were so many young families. We had a youth choir that always made me tear up, with their angelic voices. And you know they were not always angelic. We joined the young couples club and had great parties every month. Father Shackell dubbed us the FFF, for friendly, fertile, flock. We met Janice and Dick Woodman as they were the coordinators and our families have remained close to this day. We taught Sunday School, sometimes after a rather late FFF party on Saturday night.
Marlin and Dick worked on the building committee when the church was trying to build some classrooms. Their vision was a little different from the pre-school building that was built and exists today. It was quite ironic that Marlin was so involved in getting our newest building built. Both he and Dick really see our new building as a labor of love and a completion of what they had started many years ago.
We drifted away for a few years, and then in 1988 I saw a friend from those FFF days at the grocery store. Her words were "You would really like our new priest." That was an understatement! We came back and met Bruce Smith, and the rest is history as these last 20 years just seemed to fly by. This is just a small snippet of our early years at Resurrection. But as always, this church community is so unique and loving. It's a privilege to be a part of it and celebrate the 50th anniversary with all of you who make this community special.
Margaret Fayram Wisehart is the daughter of The Reverend Richard Shackell.
The Holy Bible presented to Margaret Fayram on her 9th birthday, from Richard Shackell, July 4, 1960, was inscribed and would change the direction of her life. From a nine year old perspective, she was wondering what to do with the bible given by her Mom's friend, the Rev. Richard Shackell. It felt so Holy. On November 2, 1960 she became a PK known as Preacher's Kid. This meant helping with the ministry. Margaret received the bible most likely as she would need guidance, and lots of God's help through his word. It became a tattered black leather cover and was replaced by a new red New Revised Standard version.
Most of her fondest memories of Church of the Resurrection were in her latter days there as part of the youth group. The ski trip to Homewood especially stands out as an adventure of beauty and freedom for a teen. Youth group tended to take place on Sunday afternoons and often was on the volleyball courts. Laughing made up, if play was not going well.
The two brothers, Rick and Dave were acolytes and Margaret sang in the choir. Mary and Sarah were busy also. Sarah and Margaret recently discussed communion. The memory of Seder Meal, just before Easter, taught us the history of our Christian tradition, as much as communion itself.
The Rev. Richard Shackell and Jeannette Fayram Shackell created a communion at home as guests ranging from parishioners to bishops attended meals, prepared especially for them by Jeannette. The chicken, almond, broccoli casserole stands out as a family favorite. This part of being a PK would bring lasting memories of dialog, of current issues of the 1960's and early 70's.
The year was 1967, when little America, otherwise known as the Rev. Richard Shackell's family, did a pulpit exchange with a family from Felbridge, England. It was exciting and educational for all. This trip influenced a great deal of future happenings, but for the five PK's memory of the family in England was made.
According to Jeannette Shackell, the Rev. Leslie Walters, with his wife and three young children, came to America's Church of the Resurrection. Their lives too were changed. They lived in the Shackell's house and drove the Shackell's VW van. Rev. Walters was accustomed to preaching from wherever his finger landed on the bible. He learned a lot about the ministry of the laity. The friendliness of the people of Church of the Resurrection taught him to be a warmer person. He returned to England and was so changed he was given a much larger parish and more responsibilities in his diocese. When Dick saw him in England several years later he was driving a VW bus and drinking ice water with his meals.
One of the most outstanding moments was the contribution Rev. Shackell made to the civil rights movement. He marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. A call had been put out to clergy by Rev. King, to challenge clergy to stand up for their beliefs, even if it meant putting their lives on the line. Not all agreed, nor will all Christians ever agree, as Peter and Paul did not. Respect for our differences is needed, but when it comes to human rights we are all equal in God's eyes.
Dick and Janice Woodman
We bought our first home in "Poets' Corner" of Pleasant Hill in 1963 and started looking for a church home in the area. We had lived in an apartment in Oakland and had attended St. Peter's Episcopal on Broadway. Bishop Pike signed our prayer books after confirming us into the Episcopal faith. Janice, our two kids, Lori and Marc, and I joined the Church of the Resurrection in 1964.
One of the first experiences that I had in the Church was a Saturday work party. After the work was done, someone brought out beer to drink. Janice had come from a Southern Baptist Church and I was raised in the Methodist Church. I was amazed and realized we had found a church home.
The young couples of Resurrection had started a group which was affectionately known as the FFF Group, the Friendly Fertile Flock, for obvious reasons. One New Year's Eve, at Rev. Shackell's home, the group dressed Bob Waldren up as Old Father Time and me up as the New Year Baby. Bob was very appropriate for Old Father Time except he was in his late 20s at the time. I, on the other hand, was also in my 20s but stood around 6 ft. 3 in. tall and 200 lbs at the time. We made a handsome couple coming down the stairs to greet the crowd and usher out the Old and welcome in the New Years. I wish I had a picture to show you.
During the ten years or so that we attended Resurrection, I served on the Vestry, Janice and I were fourth grade Sunday school teachers and we served as co-youth group advisors with Bob and Audrey Waldren. I later served on the Building Committee for the Education Building. This wasn't a particularly enjoyable experience. The politics were heavy and the result was not good. We left the organized church while I was working full time and going to school nights.
Bruce Smith was the deciding factor in our returning to Resurrection. We came back in 2002, just in time for Marlin Whitney to draft me onto the Building Committee. This resulted in my being the Church's project manager for the construction process for the new Community Building or Parish Hall. This Committee's work resulted in a much better committee experience for us.
We're glad to be back at Resurrection and looking forward to the continuing success of the Church's existence. Janice is the editor of the monthly newsletter and I serve on the Board of Directors for the Legacy Fund and the Art and Architecture Committee.
Happy 50th Anniversary to the Church of the Resurrection.
Dick and Janice Woodman