Connections: January 26, 2023
Annual Meeting

January 29, 11:45 am
In the Sanctuary
and also on CCSM's Youtube and Facebook links
Dear CCSM Members and Friends,

Last Sunday, and the week leading up to it, were very difficult for the staff—and now for many of you. It seems appropriate to send this Connections letter later in the week as a response, rather than a reaction, to the news about our budget shortfalls. This coming Sunday looms with more challenges as we have been processing and will meet at our Annual Meeting.

Our grief is entering a new season. The realities of our narratives must change with the times and requirements of fiscal responsibilities. Who we were is different than who we are—and who we are will determine who we become.

Churches are often examined as family units; there are patterns of behaviors we love and others we tolerate. There are rich days of carefree joy, and there are times of hardship. Often, finances dictate the mood of joy around abundance and the angst around scarcity—which resemble the patterns in our personal family lives. 

My job, as interim, is to hold a mirror up and ask you what you see now. It has been a while since CCSM has been asked to look at itself in the mirror. As we know, things change. 

We are called to refocus our efforts, clarify our objectives and work within our means. This is a moment to reset, evaluate, and prioritize within our means. We need to discern what this church means to each of us personally and what each of our roles is going to be now and in the future. 

Perhaps this budget shortfall is shocking because it doesn’t fit the narrative of who we thought we were: that there was always enough and financial pledging was just a donation rather than an operational budget holding the church together. Now we are learning and seeing something different. 

The narrative has changed because we have changed—CCSM has changed and will continue to change. Change can be difficult because there is loss, but there is also new clarity, new hope, and new beginnings. This can be our new narrative. 

Prayers for strength and comfort for the staff, leadership, and congregation.

Peace and grace,

Rev. Melissa
Click on the video above for Sunday's worship service,
or click HERE for Diane Kalliam's sermon, When Did I Stop Believing In...
Thank you for your pledging for 2023!

A few of you have mentioned that you have not seen the new pledge amount withdrawn from your accounts. The stewardship pledge was not authorization for a new charge to your account. Please contact Cheryle Matteo ( if you have made any changes to your pledge amount and require her assistance. She needs your directives and permission to change any automatic payments or charges to your credit card or bank accounts. Also, please authorize her to make any retroactive payments that may be needed to bring your payments to date.
NOW WHAT? Spiritual Conversations has a new book for discussion
How can we connect with people with whom we have significant differences? How can we be peacemakers and contribute to a kinder society? The book Now What? How to Move Forward When We’re Divided (About Basically Everything) by Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silver can help us become careful listeners, show mutual respect, and develop a deeper understanding of the Other.
Spiritual Conversations meets every other week on Monday evenings, from 7:15 to 8:45pm via Zoom.
Our first discussion of the book will be Monday, January 30.
If you’re interested in knowing more, please contact Chris Wuthmann at or Chase Montara at
Youth and Family Events
All Sundays: Weekly Sunday kids' spiritual program at 10:45, led by Shannon (they/them) and Elaine (she/her) in the Community Room. Pre-K care is offered by Lily (she/her). Youth Group is led by Elijah (he/him) in the Fireplace Room. 
Sunday, February 5: 11:45am - Family Play Date! We will gather after the service for lunch, singing, community-building, and games. Please bring a favorite kids' card/board game or two that you would like to play with others! 
Sunday, February 12: 10:45am - Mardi Gras fun! Our kids' program will have a special Mardi Gras theme today as we learn about that celebration and also prepare for the season of Lent. 
Saturday, February 18-Monday, February 20 - Mid-winter youth camp for those in grades 7-12 in Palo Alto. Please contact Sheryl for more information and to sign up. 
Friday, March 17-Sunday, March 19 - Youth Retreat in Orinda! Our local UCC partners are again collaborating to offer Confirmation classes. However, this retreat is open to all youth in grades 8-12, even those who have already been confirmed (or who are not interested in confirmation). This retreat is a chance for highschoolers to learn more about progressive Christian faith, play games, and connect with other youth. Please let me know asap if you might be interested in Confirmation this year (or just the retreat) and I will share more information. 
July/August 2023 - Summer camp sessions at Camp Tamarack! Please check the website to learn more and to see which week is open to your age group. Please let Sheryl know if you are interested so I can help with carpooling, assistance with fees, etc. 
We hope that you have been enjoying the goodies during coffee hour. A few generous families have stepped up to help Linda Fenn with coffee hour during the past few months, and we’d like to continue hosting coffee hour; however, she needs families or individuals who can help with this on-going project.

Coffee hour is a lot to ask for one person (Lin) to do alone on a weekly basis (she already does the planning, organizing, and provides some recurring back up supplies). The greater the number of people who can help, the smaller the task is for each person.

It involves set-up, ensuring the trays stay filled, and then clean up—about an hour each Sunday both to organize prior to service and clean up afterward. While more hands make less work, any amount of help will be great, and everyone will appreciate having coffee hour continue.

If you can help out once a quarter (or more frequently if you would like), please email or call Lin Fenn ( or Melodie Lew (; 650.573.9765). Thank you in advance!
Calling all people who like to organize and dispose of “stuff.” On February 3 Donna Lindsay will be hosting a “Clean Out the Home and Hope closet” gathering in Kloss Hall starting at 9:30. We need to give what we can away and then throw out the items that are no longer useful. The closet has bedding, toys, books, and other miscellaneous items that need to find new homes. You can contact Donna at if you would like to help.
CPR CLASS, Saturday, Feb 25, 9am-1pm
in the Buckham Room
With the cardiac arrest of Damar Hamlin, Buffalo Bills football player, seen by millions on national TV and his miracle recovery, the ability to perform life-saving CPR and the use of an AED has gained national notoriety. We have had two AEDs on the church grounds for years so we are prepared to deliver this critical treatment to someone in cardiac arrest. The other important part of saving a life is for as many people as possible to be able to administer CPR as well. Join us Feb. 25. Cost is $70 (make check to Life Support Services). Please contact Genel Morgan for questions and to reserve your spot.
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!
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:
225 Tilton Ave. • San Mateo, CA • 94401
Scan the QR code above or go to
to make a donation or pledge to CCSM.