A Colorful Unity Day

We wish more churches were doing what you are doing.” This was said by a member of the Vallejo community walking by our booth at Unity Day 2018. He said he was not a believer, but thanked us for being there and gave us a donation. It was a cool moment!

Adorned with protest signs and rainbow colors, our booth was so bright and colorful that you could see it from across the park! Many people in the community stopped by, picked up brochures, buttons, and created Justice Prayer Ribbons. We had over 44 ribbons flying! Each person who wrote their prayer came from different backgrounds and lived in different parts of town, yet all had similar wishes of peace, love, dignity, strength, and courage. A small sample of the prayers read:

-Dear Jesus, thank you for everything you’ve done for me and my family.
-Love All
-I am thankful
-More love, less hate.
-Power in Love
-No truth, no justice.
-Love conquers all. Love kills and cures all at the same time. Love is kind. Love is pure. Love is beautiful. I love you.
-Dignity for all families- may they be reunited and have enough to meet their needs.
-Dignity for all regardless of gender, age, social status, ethnicity, or birthplace or anything else...
-Peace to all. Love and harmony
-Kindness, happiness, love.
-Strength and growth come through continuous effort and struggle. Never give up. Always keep your head high.
-World peace.
-We are all one - only our egos separate us.
-Hope for Unity/ hope for a cure / hope for equality/ hope for togetherness
-Keep thinking positive things. Believe in yourself. Run your own race.

These ribbons were hung on the Johnson Garden fence on September 23, as part of our Peace Sunday service. Members of the church who weren't able to make it to Unity Day are still making their own ribbons to add, so the beautiful installation will continue to grow!

Unity Day!

As the most culturally diverse city in the nation, we want to celebrate our differences and also what makes us the same which is the desire to have a thriving and peaceful quality of life.”
-Maria Guevara of Vallejo Together, the host for Unity Day (From the Vallejo Times Herald Article)

Unity Day, scheduled for 9/9/18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at City Park in Vallejo, is an annual event celebrating our city’s diversity. The event’s 2018 theme is "United, We Stand"

Vallejo Together has added new things this year, including the IntegriTea Chill Zone, with music and poetry on the Millennium Stage. Vallejo’s poet laureate D.L. Lang will host the festival’s UpBay poets, while the Unity Day Open Mic will allow people to speak about important issues in the city. The open mic will feature community builders speaking about what they are doing in the Vallejo community and the issues that face Vallejoans today like homelessness, gentrification, gun violence, immigration, and so much more. Additional cultural events are scheduled are martial arts demonstrations, belly dances, and international foods for sale. The festival will also feature vendor booths with crafts for sale and organizations passing out information about local services.

That is where First Christian Church come in...

Last year at Unity Day we celebrated our love for this community, by painting and crafting. This year will be a little different (and a lot less messy!). We will be creating peace ribbons. Long ribbons of different colors that we can write our names on, and the names of people in the community. These ribbons will then be placed on the fence outside our Johnson Garden. I think it will be a great and meaningful way to bring a piece of the community back to our home. While ribboning, we will also have fliers, and other items to hand out to the community as they pass through the booth.

Please plan on stopping by to say hi and check out all the other wonderful organizations!

Worship Planning Retreat

On Saturday, September 15, from 10:00-2:00, we will have a Worship Planning Retreat, which will be an opportunity for anyone—and everyone—to come together to help envision and chart a course for our worship services over the next 3 months, including Advent. We will read scripture together and brainstorm themes, songs, poems, prayers, and ways we might structure our worship time. Everyone is welcome! So, bring yourselves, your ideas, a lunch, and snacks to share. We will share a refreshing and life-giving time together, while doing the work of the church—it is a retreat, after all!

More Relay Fundraisers

We had a very successful yard and bake sale where we raised around $900 for our Christians for the Cure team for the American Caner Society Relay for Life of Vallejo and Benicia. But, that sale happened to fall on the hottest day of the year in Vallejo! So while we did have a lot of shoppers and did very well, we know we could have done better on a cooler day. We have lots more to sell and are getting more donations from people who didn't have a chance to donate items before our sale. So, we are doing it again. On Saturday, July 28th, we will be hosting an indoor Rummage Sale in our Fellowship Hall, from 9-2 to raise more money for the Relay for Life.

We have another fundraiser as well. On Monday, July 30th, Chipotle Mexican Grill in Vallejo (1195 Admiral Callaghan Lane) is hosting a fundraiser from 4-8. Chipotle will donate 33% of your bill to the Relay for Life through our team. In order to get the donation, you must have a flyer, so please download and print it out and show it when you pay (or show it on your phone!).

These are two great opportunities to help raise money for the American Cancer Society. And don't forget to come to the Relay itself on August 4th, starting at 10 am and running for 24 hours on the track at St. Patrick's High School. Our team will have a great community art project at our booth, along with a raffle for four tickets (and a parking pass!) to an up coming San Francisco Giants game. That is just one of many great fundraisers that will be happening all around the track during the Relay itself.  So come out and walk and support a great event! You can also join our team or donate to our team by finding us (Christians for the Cure) and learn more about the even at http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?pg=entry&fr_id=85536

Relay for Life!

After a few years off, First Christian Church is once again participating in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life on August 4 at St. Patrick / St. Vincent High School.  Our team is known as Christians for a Cure and we have a goal of raising $1,000.  Our committee is currently working on ideas for our fundraiser at the Relay itself, but we do have a pre-Relay fundraiser already scheduled — a HUGE Yard Sale with other goodies (baked goods, hot dogs, etc.) which will take place on Saturday, June 23rd.

You can learn more about the even by visiting http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?pg=entry&fr_id=85536.  We will have a booth on the track during the 24 hours of the Relay with educational opportunities as well as a fundraiser.  It is a great event every year with lots of interesting booths with all sorts of ways you can donate to the cause, through purchases, raffles, games, and other special activities.  You can visit the website to donate through our team, or to join the team to help the fundraising effort.  Just search the teams for Christians for a Cure and click JOIN or DONATE (or both!). 

More information will follow as more planning happens. 


You read that headline right!  This year is the 20th Annual Ecumenical Global Holiday Faire.  It is amazing that we have been doing this for more than half my life.  We hope to make this the best Faire ever, so we need everyone's help in making it better than ever.  The Faire takes place on Saturday, December 2, from 9-3.  We will be raising money for 16 local and global non-profit organizations.  We will have great gift items from around the world for sale benefiting organizations such as SERRV, Friends of Loma Vista Farm, Concern America and Pal Craftaid.  We are excited by the return of Bead for Life this year.  It has always been a popular table with their hand-made beaded jewelry, so this year they are "back by popular demand."  We will continue to feature Alternative Giving with Heifer International and Arbor Day Foundation.  We are happy to include Doctors without Borders in the Faire this year.  Their work after the natural disasters our planet has recently faced is amazing and we are looking forward to raising money for their efforts.  And as always, homemade lunch will be for sale and choirs and musicians will be performing all day long to add to the festive atmosphere.

There is much that you can do to help make our 20th Faire even better than last year when we raised over $13,500!  If you can volunteer at a table at the Faire (or help set up the night before starting at 6pm), please let Helen Mezzera know.  We are accepting donations of crafts, gift baskets, baked goods, and new, never opened "re-gifted" items. 

A major part of making the Faire a success is spreading the word.  The fliers - both the large (great for posting) and the small (great to hand out to friends, family, neighbors and coworkers) are already available in church and have gone out on email.  Try to think of new ways to help spread the word.  We gave out 100 fliers at Unity Day.  We have an ad in the Grapevine for two months.  We will do an ad in the Times-Herald in addition to getting a big article in the paper.  We will do an ad on craigslist.  We will be attending the Vallejo Farmers Market and Art Walk to pass out fliers.  We are using Facebook to help get the word out.  If you have an idea of a location or event to hand out fliers, go for it!  Our budget is limited, but if you can think of free places we can advertise, let me know.  As successful as we were last year (2nd most money raised in 19 years), we still had items for sale at the end of the day.  The only way to make more money for the 16 non-profits is to get more shoppers in the door.
In the upcoming weeks, look forward to a series of announcements with all the information you will need about our biggest Mission Action event of the year.

And don't forget to 'like" the Faire on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GlobalHolidayFaire

Come to Unity Day 2017

Vallejo Together and their partners GVRD, SolTrans, VibeSolano, Vallejo Happenings and Vallejo Sister City Association are hosting Unity Day 2017 which will be held on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 10am - 5pm at Vallejo City Park (Sacramento Street at Louisiana St.). Unity Day celebrates Vallejo's diversity in culture, sexual orientation, age and abilities.

There will be a Cultural and Millennium Stage, International food booths, food demonstrations and plenty of free gifts and activities for all.

This is the first year that we at First Christian Church of Vallejo will be able to participate and we are very excited to join with so many other fantastic organizations in Vallejo! We will have crafts and painting at our booth, so please come and be creative while expressing your thoughts and feelings of Unity!

Join us and celebrate Vallejo!  

Inclusion Upgrades

Devin-Norelle, a gender-fluid trans activist and writer who lives in New York, told the Daily Beast, “In general, I hate using the restroom because I’m such a feminine- or androgynous-looking person, I get a lot of looks. There was a time where I was very concerned about my own safety…I’m putting myself at risk when I’m walking into the men’s restroom and I’m putting myself at risk when I’m walking into the women’s restroom.”
These are very real concerns facing many of our LGBTQI friends.  As a result, the Administrative Council voted at the last meeting to update all the restrooms in the church to “Gender Neutral” restrooms.  This is just one small way that we can continue on our path to being a progressive and inclusive church.  By making our restrooms Gender Neutral, we are telling our building users that we accept you for who you are and you should feel free to be yourself. 
Over the next few weeks you will see the signs and there will be some minor upgrades to the restrooms themselves, however for the most part there will be no change.  The bathrooms will remain single use and will have locks on the doors for the privacy of everyone.
Sofia Nelson, an attorney practicing in Detroit, Michigan told The Daily Beast, “We’re just talking about people – who could be your child, your friend, or your co-worker – wanting to do something super basic that we all have to do: use the bathroom.”

This is all we want to do too.

CROP Hunger Walk Is Coming

For the past nine years, many congregations and individuals have walked to raise over $60,000.00 for 4 local agencies and one international agency at the CROP Hunger Walk of Vallejo (CROP is Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty).  This year the walk will be May 6th and will start and finish at the beautiful waterfront in Vallejo, CA. Registration starts at 9:30 with the 3K walk or run at 10:15am. The four local groups are; Amador Street Hope Center, Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano, DePaul Women’s Center and American Canyon Family Resource Center and the international agency, who is our sponsor, is Church World Service. You can check out www.cws.org to read about CWS and what they do throughout the country and overseas.  Please check out www.crophungerwalk.org/vallejoca for more information or to donate.
Throughout the month of April, four local Vallejo and American Canyon restaurants will help the hunger walk raise money. They will donate either 10 or 20% of your meal ticket to the walk when you present the flyer when you make your purchase. They are the following;
Rubio’s, 173 Plaza Drive, Vallejo Tuesday April 4 2 PM to 8 PM
The Habit 118 Plaza Drive, Vallejo Tuesday & Wednesday April 11 & 12 3 PM to 9 PM
Los Cantaros 3427 Broadway St, American Canyon Tuesday April 18 10 AM to 9 PM
China Wok 512 Sacramento St., Vallejo Tuesday April 25 11 AM to 9 PM
You can find the flyers at www.facebook.com/vallejohungerwalk .  

I hope you can help out.  If you would like to help out either by walking, donating, joining or forming a team, please let me know by calling 707-694-6274. Each step we take, we help those who are in need. Whether it's serving a meal, giving away food, helping with taxes, finding someone a job, helping with interviews, or just plain listening, the CROP Hunger Walk of Vallejo raises the funds needed to do all these and more. Please join in the fun!