Connections: May 2, 2022
Dear friends,

If you missed Sunday’s service, it is worth a listen. As we marked the beginning of Mental Health Awareness month, Jorge and I shared some of our own struggles and also reminded everyone that no one is alone. There was a sense of spirit’s presence in the room and many people expressed that the service was meaningful and helpful to them. 

This coming Sunday I’ll be preaching on the famous Moses and the burning bush story— I’ve discovered some new insights into that story that I hope will speak a fresh word to the congregation, and provide spiritual strength for the days ahead. 

Also, it will be Mother’s Day— we will celebrate all the ways we have been mothered ourselves or provided mothering to others. As Valerie Kaur reminds us, 

“Mothering is a capacity that resides in each of us. It is not a biological destiny nor can it be confined to a sphere of life. For love is sweet labor — fierce, necessary, life-giving. Who do you mother? Who mothers you? How do you mother yourself? To love and be loved is our birthright.”

With love,

Click on the video above for the most recent entire worship service, or click HERE to listen to Penny and Jorge's sermon, LEGION, for Mental Health Sunday.
Thank you! Our first Pie Social was a great success!
Much pie was eaten, many pies were won, traded, and taken home, and everyone shared laughs and joy at coming together. Thanks to Michele Merfeld, Missouri virtual member, for the idea; all of the bakers and donors (we had lots of amazing pies!); Chase for creating creative signs; and Linn Fenn and her Coffee Hour committee for supporting this event. 
And, in case you were so distracted by the pies that you forgot to sign up for other events, please see the Coming Back to Community post below.
Coming Back to Community Events
With COVID restrictions loosening, it’s time to “come back to community” and renew and refresh our tired spirits and reconnect. Why is this so important? Because community needs a “we” to “be.”

In case you missed the chance to sign up for a spring/summer community event, please find details on the flyer here:, which describes all the great events that are available to you—hikes, music, Carne Asada feast, SJ Giants game and BBQ, Family Fun Night, and Wine Tasting. You can sign up on the loggia on May 7, May 14, or May 21, or contact  Sandy McNabb (650-678-5650, or Diane Kalliam (, 415-279-1359). 

These events are NOT Pick a Parties; that extravaganza will return in the fall. These events are low-cost, fun, largely outdoor events to bring our community back together.  
May 21 is the last day to sign up, so please act now. 
MARK YOUR CALENDAR for Penny’s party, June 4th! 

We hope you can join us for this special celebration!

Tickets are $35 per adult, $15 for child under 12 (childcare not provided). All are welcome, regardless of ability to pay the full cost. (Please contact Julie Lenden,, for anonymous arrangements.)

You're also invited to make an optional donation for a gift for Penny (cross country skis and funds towards a restorative vacation!) and/or a donation to help defray costs of this event above and beyond ticket sales, and for those who may be unable to pay for their tickets.

CLICK HERE to get your tickets and/or make a donation! If you need help or have further questions, contact Julie Lenden at

Climate Connection #7
by Gary H. White
Earth Day 2022 has come and gone. In an effort to keep its message alive, I’d like to share a piece by Thomas Berry, who was a cultural historian and scholar of the world’s religions. He called himself a “geologian” to better capture the full breadth of his ecological and religious work. Berry, who passed in 2009 at age 95, was drawn early on to the growing ecological and climate crisis and proposed the need for a “New Story” of evolution. The edited passage below is from an essay of his entitled: The World of Wonder.

What do you see? What do you see when you look up at the stars at night, at the blazing stars against the midnight heavens? What do you see when the dawn breaks over the eastern horizon? What are your thoughts in the fading days of summer as the birds depart on their southward journey, or in the autumn when the leaves turn brown and are blown away? What are your thoughts when you look out over the ocean in the evening? What do you see?

We have lost our connection to the deeper reality of things. Consequently, we now find ourselves on a devastated continent where nothing is holy, nothing is sacred. We no longer have a world of inherent value, no world of wonder, no untouched, unspoiled, unused world. We have used everything. By “developing” the planet, we have been reducing Earth to a new type of barrenness. Scientists are telling us that we are in the midst of the sixth extinction period of the Earth’s history. No such extinction of living forms has occurred since the extinction of the dinosaurs some sixty-five million years ago.

There is now a single issue before us: survival. Not merely physical survival, but survival in a world of fulfillment, survival in a living world, where the violets bloom in the springtime, where the stars shine down in all their mystery, survival in a world of meaning. All other issues dwindle in significance – whether in law, governance, religion, education, economics, medicine, science, or the arts. These are all in disarray because we told ourselves: We know! We understand! We see! In reality, what we see, as did our ancestors on this land, is a continent available for exploitation.

Memorial Service for Zelta Adams
A memorial service will be held for beloved longtime member Zelta Adams on Saturday, May 14 at 1:00pm. Zelta passed away on January 18. She had been a member of CCSM for 66 years. Mark your calendars to come on May 14 to remember and celebrate Zelta’s life.

Interim Senior Minister Search
The board of directors is starting to interview Interim Senior Minister candidates. Please share this job description with your networks! Many churches in the NCNC are in transition; your help in getting the word out is greatly appreciated. 
A UCC church can call ministers from not only the UCC but also the Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian (USA), Reformed Church in America, United Church of Canada and ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)
Memorial Day Remembrances
Once again we have the opportunity to remember those loved ones we have lost or to celebrate a life or event that we wish to honor. On Sunday, May 29, we will create a Memorial Day remembrance page for the worship bulletin. We are requesting a donation of $25 for the remembrance page, or $35 if you would also like a a succulent suitable for planting to take with you as a remembrance. Deadline is Sunday, May 22. Please click here for further information.
A Message from your Moderator:
Why Is Penny’s Retirement From Ministry So Soon?

It has come to my attention that some are wondering why Penny’s last Sunday with us is nine weeks from the day she announced the news instead of a longer transition time. The short answer is that the collective wisdom of the board, along with prayer and discernment with Penny, led us to conclude that a shorter transition window is not only best for the health of the church, but also for Penny and her family.

If Penny’s offramp were much longer, the grieving period for the congregation would also be longer. That could be harder on everyone. Let’s face it, we’re a bit rattled. And we need the space to grieve. As important, from a strategic planning perspective, CCSM is at a pivotal point in our history, and time stands still for CCSM until the baton is passed, we have an Interim who will provide CCSM the strategic insight and the space for healing that will inevitably be required, and the search committee begins revisioning.

As important, Penny wants to end her ministry on a high note, and she most certainly will (can we hear an AMEN?)! She will have a restorative summer and Mercy is really looking forward to enjoying extra time with her mom before Penny starts her job search for a leadership role at a Social Justice nonprofit.  

Things are feeling alive at 225 and online! People are coming to church, viewing the online sermons, and we are relishing our return to community. We are looking forward to honoring Penny at a fun and meaningful celebration on Saturday evening, June 4. And I will repeat now, and again in the months to come, in addition to Penny being second to none, this community is second to none. I am energized by your overwhelming support. With prayer, faith, and a lot of hard work, the board is planning the transition period, working to hire an Interim Senior Minister, and building a search committee that will eventually secure a Senior Minister to build on CCSM’s solid foundation.
Julie Lenden
Moderator, on behalf of CCSM’s Board of Directors
Pray for Ukraine Every Tuesday at 7:30pm

CCSM held a powerful live Prayer Ritual for Ukraine on March 6th. We have decided to premier this ritual ONLINE every Tuesday until the war ends. We hope you will join us online weekly to continue our prayers and heal our hearts. These are challenging times and this offering is a way to bring our community together and magnify our prayers.

Please share this link with your friends and family so we can extend this offering to as many people as possible.

Link for Prayer Ritual on YouTube:
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