Connections: Week of November 13, 2023

Hello Church! 

I keep thinking about the questions Rev. Alvaro invited us to ponder during his message on Sunday (his sermon is linked below if you missed it):

“How are you today? Physically? Spiritually? Emotionally?”

When was the last time you asked yourself these questions? I’ll be honest—I can’t remember the last time I engaged in this type of self-reflection. These questions are an important spiritual practice. If we aren’t aware of how we’re doing, or how much “oil” is in our “lamps,” how will be able to serve others in a healthy way? How will we recognize when we are the ones that need cared for? We all will have moments when we will need the light of others to guide us, and we all have moments when we will need to share our lights to help others along the way.  

This week I invite you to carve out 3-5 minutes each day for self-reflection:

1.     Pause

2.     Take 3 deep breathes, inhaling and exhaling slowly. 

3.     How are you today? (another 3 breathes of slowly inhaling and exhaling)

4.     How are you physically? (another 3 breathes)

5.     How are you spiritually? (another 3 breathes)

6.     How are you emotionally? (another 3 breathes)

Acknowledge how you truly are: your fears, anxieties, concerns, gratitude, joy, excitement. Feel what you feel, honor it, and then know that it is not the final word. 

Remember, God loves, welcomes, and celebrates all that you are- for you are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” 

With gratitude and love,




CLICK HERE for Rev. Álvaro Durán's sermon,

“How Are You Today?"

Second Chance Pick-A-Party

Sunday, November 19!

If you missed Pick-A-Party Sunday, or are thinking you should have signed up for one more party, you have a Second Chance! Come to coffee hour on November 19 and sign up for those parties or put your name on the wait list. Remember that guests frequently have to drop out due to schedule changes, and you'll want to be on the wait list to get the call as a replacement.  Also, a new Silent Auction item is available: 4 tickets to the Christmas Day 49ers v. Ravens game! These are Sue Bullis' amazing seats, which come with special access and food court privileges, and it's a 5:15 start, which gives plenty of time for presents beforehand. So come prepared to sign up/bid between service and the finance meeting this coming Sunday, November 19.  

Questions? Contact Sandy McNabb at 

or Mike Harris at

To view the list of parties, go to


Weekly on Wednesdays  • 9:30-10:00am on Zoom

In light of the recent events in Gaza, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories, we are invited to join Churches for Middle East Peace, an ecumenical partner of the United Church of Christ's Global Ministries, to join others across the world in praying weekly for peace. Registration is free, but required to receive the Zoom Link. 


Make a Gift

You can also make a financial gift to help with humanitarian aid for people in Gaza, Palestine, and Israel through the United Church of Christ’s Wider Church Ministries HERE.

Call for a Ceasefire

 Send a pre-written message to your elected officials through UCC’s “Just Peace Church” program HERE calling for a ceasefire and encouraging Congress to take immediate action for de-escalation in Israel and Gaza, and support steps towards a lasting peace.

Music & Art

November 17 is the date of the next Music and Art meeting. We’ll gather at noon in the Buckham Room to enjoy our BYOL (lunch). Beverages and dessert are provided. Following a brief devotion and business meeting we’ll move in to Kloss Hall where Music and Art members Linda Mallette and Mary Ann Notz will play a program of piano duets. Be sure to get this information on your calendar or “device” and remember to RSVP to Don Harper at or phone 650-553-1800. This is important to have the correct number of chairs and tables as we are limiting guests to five persons per table. And we want to have enough dessert for all!


The Board invites you to provide feedback to the document entitled, "2024 Budget planning for discussion and additional input." Feedback has been summarized from the Finance Committee itself and from a meeting of 16 or so members of the congregation on Oct 22. This is an invitation to review the planning document and the feedback already received. Please provide any additional feedback by emailing the Treasurer, Veril Phillips, at Both documents are in the folder posted at All responses will be provided to both the Finance Committee and the Board.

Finally, please put on your calendar a meeting after worship on November 19 in Kloss Hall over a light lunch for further discussion of the 2024 budget.

Calling All Advent Elves! 

Sunday, November 26, 1-4pm

We need your helping hanging the greens and preparing our sanctuary for Advent. Whether you can give an hour, or three, your time is greatly appreciated. Contact Linda Stoick at for more details, or let her know you can help! 

Install LEDs

Switching out older lightbulbs in your home for LED bulbs as soon as possible is among the best climate actions you can take. LED, which stands for light-emitting diode, is today’s most-efficient lighting technology, says the U.S. Department of Energy. LEDs use up to 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Online Book Study: 

Poverty, By America by Matthew Desmond

Tuesdays, Nov., 14 and 21; 7 – 8:30 p.m.

facilitated by Revs. Penny Nixon and Jim Mitulski

Join us for an in-depth study of this groundbreaking book. Each session will include an introductory teaching outlining the key themes of the chapters being addressed, followed by a facilitated conversation. This is a zoom only event: RSVP to to get the link. All welcome.


Sunday, Nov. 19 at 3 pm in the sanctuary

Music Ministry Chair Susan Bell shared: “Louise Costigan-Kerns is a gracious and talented pianist of the highest degree.” Louise recently played an outstanding program for the Upper Peninsula League of SF Symphony League where all enjoyed her excellent musicianship and technique.

Youth and Family News

Sunday, November 19 - 60 Minutes! Come join other youth to work on writing a script for our Christmas pageant. We will gather around 10:30am in the Fireplace Room. Doughnuts provided! 

Sunday, December 3 - Youth-led Christmas program! During the 10:30 service, our youth will help teach the kids Christmas carols and help them to make Christmas cards for seniors. 

Sunday, December 3 - CCSM Family Christmas Caroling! We will go after church to sing carols at the homes of church members who can't get out to church right now. Let Sheryl know if you can make it and she'll give you the addresses! 

Sunday, December 3 - After the caroling, Sheryl is hosting an afternoon Pick-A-Party for all ages - a bowling party! Please sign up during the regular Pick-A-Party time in November.

Saturday, Dec 9-Sunday Dec 10 - Advent youth sleepover with youth from other UCCs at the Orinda UCC Church! Come learn about the season of Advent and have a fun weekend with other youth. We will begin around 3pm on the Saturday and finish on Sunday morning. Activities will include learning about Advent, cookie baking, mandala coloring (a relaxing meditation practice), Christmas movies, candlelight youth-led worship, and much more. 

Sunday, December 10 - Cookie exchange after church! Please bring some favorite cookies and take home a variety of others. There will also be some special crafts and cookie-decorating activities for kids. 

Wednesday, December 20 - Las Posadas! Please join us at 7pm to get into costume. Youth assistance welcome! 

Sunday, December 24 - Join us for the 5pm Family Service! There will be a fun low-key skit for all to participate in. 

Take a Break: Seniors Christmas Tea

Join friends in the Buckham Room for Christmas cookies, tea and hot chocolate on Monday, December 4, 2:00-4:00pm. 

This return of tradition includes a crazy white elephant swap.  Bring a “re-gift” from your distant relative, some treasure on your shelf that is ready for a new home, or anything to trade for a surprise that someone else brings. It’s the ultimate recycling party! 

Please RSVP to

Angela Kraft Cross: Celebrating 30 Years of Excellence and Innovation at CCSM

CCSM has been blessed to have an organist extraordinaire sharing her musical gifts with us over the past 30 years. Angela Kraft Cross is recognized as an international organ soloist, published composer and master teacher of her beloved instrument the pipe organ. CCSM will celebrate Everything Angela on Sunday, Dec. 3 both at the 10:30 am service and at a reception following. Please mark your calendars and join us in showering Angela with the church’s deep appreciation and love we all share for this remarkable woman who has dedicated her musical and spiritual journey with our blessed community at CCSM.   


Board of Directors


all meetings are Sunday at Noon

in the Buckham Room

(unless noted)

December 10

To access the Google folder containing CCSM Board Meeting minutes, go to


Council of Ministries


all meetings are Sunday at Noon

in the Buckham Room

(dates in yellow are combined BoD + CoM)

December OFF

CCSM Council of Ministries

Contact COM:

Kay Harris - Council of Ministries Lead

Jim Schwandt - Buildings and Grounds

Kim Rey and Troy Grabow - Children, Youth and Families

Diane Kalliam - Congregational Care

Alison Schwandt - Engagement

Gary H. White - Environmental Justice

Sandy McNabb - Connect and Celebrate

Julien Phillips - Latino/a Ministry

Linda Stoick - Liturgical Arts

Sue Bell - Music

Genel Morgan - Service and Justice

Chris Wuthmann - Spiritual Life/Adult Ed.

Martha Bronitsky - Stewardship

You don't need to wait for the Ministry Fair to learn more, or join a ministry. Contact the Ministry Lead anytime!
Click HERE for CCSM's Governance Manual, and HERE for CCSM's Bylaws



The "Blessing Box" outside of the entrance of CCSM is a project of the Ministry of Service and Justice, responding to the need for families in our neighborhood to access food and an expression of our call to be the "hands, feet, and face of God" in our community. The container will be in the narthex to collect food (canned, dried and boxed, no fresh food please! donations must be full UNOPENED containers, no fruits, vegetables, or bread) on any Sunday of the month. Thank you for your continuing generosity!


If we get at least 1,000 subscribers, the YouTube algorithm bumps our CCSM site higher on people’s search engine. CCSM Media now has 432 subscribers. Let’s keep pumping it up! So, please go to and click the “Subscribe” button.  

Cost: Nothing.  Benefit: HUGE!

Pray for Ukraine Every Tuesday at 7:30pm

CCSM held a powerful live Prayer Ritual for Ukraine on March 6th, 2022, and will share this ritual ONLINE every Tuesday until the war ends. 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:

Regular CCSM office hours:

9:00am - 4:00pm

Monday - Thursday

225 Tilton Ave. • San Mateo, CA • 94401

Scan this QR code or go to

to make a donation or pledge to CCSM.

Don't forget to ask your employer if they have a charitable donation matching program to make your pledge go farther.

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