Office Hours

Hello Siblings of Lake Merritt UMC,

As the year comes to a close, I am reflecting on how much has transformed in the last two years.  Our roles as both volunteers and staff has transformed along with that.  It is hard to believe that one of those constants, for longer than two years, has been our Church Administrator, Neil Wade. 

There are times when it might have seemed to some of us that he was always here, serving and helping and answering questions.  However, in reality, Neil has for the most part followed his work schedule of 9 am – 3 pm, Monday through Friday. 

Neil has also graciously given his mobile phone number to some folks for ease of communication about our ministries or volunteer staffing.  There may be times when he is at LMUMC on other days, which is either for hosting, or volunteering to participate in our worship.

In honoring his time, I will ask that we all call, or text our Church Administrator during his office hours of 9 am – 3 pm, unless it is an emergency that must be managed before the next business day, and you cannot reach me, the pastor to handle the emergency.

I am so grateful to you all, for your continued mission work through LMUMC and from the work our Church Administrator has done as well.  Blessings.

Shalom, Salaam,

Rev. Pamela Kurtz, Pastor


Letter on Methodist Worship Series

Blessings Siblings in Christ,

Last week we began a 3-week series on the United Methodist Church and its founder, John Wesley along with his brother Charles, who was instrumental in the formation of the Methodist Societies.

A few people have asked for a copy of my sermon and suggested that I publish it on our church webpage. I am attaching a copy of the first sermon in the series for your convenience. The remainder will be posted on our webpage following the Sunday worship of its offering.

In conjunction with this series, we have begun a small group gathering using, studying and learning from the book This Day: A Wesleyan Way of Prayer. You are welcome to join us in this 4-week gathering which is help via Zoom, Mondays from either 1-2 pm or 7-8 pm. The link is on our webpage under “Visit: Calendar and Events.” You can purchase the book we use on “Amazon” (“Amazon Smile” for charitable giving) in either Kindle or paper, or via our denomination’s bookstore “Cokesbury.”

I pray that this series will further aid or remind you of our formation and evolution over our two hundred plus years, the theology, doctrine, purpose and mission of the United Methodist Church and, of course, the passion and witness of John Wesley and his brother, Charles, along with the countless early leaders of our great denomination.

This series is not exhaustive by any stretch of the imagination as both John and Charles were prolific writers and missionaries of profound and inspiring Methodist works. There are also many books and publications that followed further elucidating the details of our theology, doctrine, purpose and mission. Our denomination, like our faith is a living, breathing and vital existence that, lived out passionately truly transforms the lives of many, making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

God’s peace and blessings be with you now and always.

Shalom, Salaam,

Rev. Pamela L. Kurtz, Pastor
Lake Merritt United Methodist Church, Oakland, CA

Oct 10 – Methodists – An Accidental Christian Denomination

Advent Worship Reflection

Siblings in Christ!

I have shared two trailers during our Advent worship that express how music is and has been used to overcome oppression and injustice. I will continue to show trailers in worship to three more documentaries which I pray you have begun to watch. I told you I would be sharing a trailer over the next three Sundays and the Sunday after Christmas about ways music was and can be used to resist that kind of darkness.  I also told you I would be sending you a guide about each of these 5 documentaries and links for you to be able to watch them in full.  Also included in the guide are individual reflection questions and prayers if you desire to go deeper about using music as an act of resistance and resilience.  That guide is attached.  I pray that you will be able to watch each documentary (use Amazon Prime  – or get Amazon Prime free for 30 days to watch most of the documentaries – just be sure to cancel before your 30 days free are up!) and consider how music is used as resistance and how you can use it.

Reflection Guide: click link –> 17c Film Festival – Individual Reflection Guide for Adults

“What Women Couldn’t Do” – Moments in HERstory

The following list is of NINE things a woman couldn’t do in 1971 – yes the date is correct, 1971.

In 1971 a woman could not:

1. Get a Credit Card in her own name – it wasn’t until 1974 that a law forced credit card companies to issue cards to women without their husband’s signature.

2. Be guaranteed that they wouldn’t be unceremoniously fired for the offense of getting pregnant – that changed with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of *1978*!

3. Serve on a jury – It varied by state (Utah deemed women fit for jury duty way back in 1879), but the main reason women were kept out of jury pools was that they were considered the center of the home, which was their primary responsibility as caregivers. They were also thought to be too fragile to hear the grisly details of crimes and too sympathetic by nature to be able to remain objective about those accused of offenses. In 1961, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld a Florida law that exempted women from serving on juries. It wasn’t until 1973 that women could serve on juries in all 50 states.

4. Fight on the front lines – admitted into military academies in 1976 it wasn’t until 2013 that the military ban on women in combat was lifted. Prior to 1973 women were only allowed in the military as nurses or support staff.

5. Get an Ivy League education – Yale and Princeton didn’t accept female students until 1969. Harvard didn’t admit women until 1977 (when it merged with the all-female Radcliffe College). Brown (which merged with women’s college Pembroke), Dartmouth, and Columbia did not offer admission to women until 1971, 1972 and 1981, respectively. Other case-specific instances allowed some women to take certain classes at Ivy League institutions (such as Barnard women taking classes at Columbia), but, by and large, women in the ’60s who harbored Ivy League dreams had to put them on hold.

6. Take legal action against workplace sexual harassment. Indeed the first time a court recognized office sexual harassment as grounds for any legal action was in 1977!

7. Decide not to have sex if their husband wanted to – spousal rape wasn’t criminalized in all 50 states until 1993. Read that again … 1993.

8. Obtain health insurance at the same monetary rate as a man. Sex discrimination wasn’t outlawed in health insurance until 2010 and today many, including sitting elected officials at the Federal level, feel women don’t mind paying a little more. Again, that date was 2010.

9. The birth control pill: Issues like reproductive freedom and a woman’s right to decide when and whether to have children were only just beginning to be openly discussed in the 1960s. In 1957, the FDA approved of the birth control pill but only for “severe menstrual distress.” In 1960, the pill was approved for use as a contraceptive. Even so, the pill was illegal in some states and could be prescribed only to married women for purposes of family planning, and not all pharmacies stocked it. Some of those opposed said oral contraceptives were “immoral, promoted prostitution and were tantamount to abortion.” It wasn’t until several years later that birth control was approved for use by all women, regardless of marital status. In short, birth control meant a woman could complete her education, enter the workforce, and plan her own life.

Oh, and one more thing, prior to 1880 which is just a few years before the photo of this very proud lady was taken, the age of consent for sex was set at 10 or 12 in more states, with the exception of our neighbor Delaware – where it was 7 YEARS OLD!

Feminism is NOT just for other women.

KNOW your HERstory.