Community UCC eNews
Dec. 10, 2020
Community UCC is an inclusive and progressive Christian Church doing social justice, environmental faithfulness, interfaith collaboration and spiritual formation to help ourselves and others grow in faith, hope and love.

COVID Status: Virtual worship. Limited office hours. See below.

SO MUCH GOOD NEWS! — If it says "[Message clipped]" at the bottom of your eNews, that means you're not seeing everything. Click the link next to that to view the entire newsletter.
Thursday evening worship — Zoom only

Links for the service that takes place at 7 p.m. Thursdays were sent out in the weekly "Zoom links" email to church members.

Sunday Worship — Zoom and YouTube

Sunday, Dec. 10, Pastor Julia Penner-Zook will deliver a sermon titled "If the Shoe Fits ..." based on Isaiah 61:1-4 and 8-11.

Julia writes: Please join us for a special worship service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, as we sing our favorite Christmas carols. Also, please join us for our Zoom Christmas Eve service at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24, as we hear the Christmas story again, told by the children of our church.

See below for how we "do church" now.
Sunday worship on YouTube begins at 10:30 a.m.
Instructions for Zoom worship

For now, we will continue to provide the Zoom worship live on our YouTube channel ( on Sundays at 10:35 a.m. Doors "open" around 10:15-10:20 for a few minutes of fellowship before worship begins.

Links to the Zoom worships go out each Wednesday in a separate email just to church members. Look for "Zoom links" in that email subject line.
Still time to donate to Advent projects

You can still drop off donations at CUCC for three of our Advent Projects. Wednesday, Dec. 16, is the deadline. Please call the church office before coming by to make sure Marilyn will be there.

The three projects are:
  • Gifts cards for teens living in foster care arranged by Uplift Family Services, a Fresno nonprofit. We recommend cards valued at $10 or $15 from Target, Starbucks, or any other business you think a teen would go to.
  • Money to provide basic needs for folks who live and learn at Dakota EcoGarden in Fresno ( Donations also can be made on Givelify or by sending a check to the church office. Checks should be made out to CUCC.
  • Blankets and/or socks for seniors at Twilight Haven (

Our fourth Advent project – the Snowflake Tree for students at Robinson Elementary School – doesn't need any more sign-ups. Many thanks to the CUCC members and friends who are providing gifts for the 19 children whose names are on the tree. 
This year, instead of bringing decorations into the Church Sanctuary for the annual Hanging of the Greens, members shared how they make their own homes ready for Christmas. Click here to watch the special service.
Adult Education

Adult Education is discussing the Richard Rohr daily meditations and summary from 9-10 a.m. Sundays via Zoom. Please register for the meditations at the Center for Action and Contemplation:
 Women's Book Discussion Group

The Women's Book Discussion Group will finish its discussion of Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15.

A new book will be chosen for study in January. Contact Robin if you are interested in learning more.
CUCC aids women's shelter

Kristina Flores, development and communications director at Poverello House, stands at Naomi's House with an $80 check from CUCC.

The money will benefit Naomi's House, a safe haven for single, homeless women on the Poverello campus near downtown Fresno.

CUCC members and friends also donated several bags of personal items for the women. The Missions and Social Justice Team coordinated the donations.
Meet You At The Bar
by Pastor Julia Penner-Zook
Pavel Danilyuk via (open source)
If you’re occasionally glancing at online news sources or daring to watch the evening news, you will have your own list of words that buzz in your head like the drone of a pesky fly at an outdoor bar on a late summer evening.

The only thing is, you can’t leave that buzzing behind as you get up to leave; this drone will accompany you to bed and haunt you as you try to get some sleep. 

There is no exhaustive list of words; everyone has their own. Each word evokes its own emotion and leaves its distinctive taste behind. Both the positives and negatives impact our sense of well-being. 

What we frequently overlook is that we can hold many equally valid realities simultaneously.
It’s encouraging to realize that Christ’s Advent gifts of peace, hope, joy, and love don’t require that the recipients have all aspects of life in order.

Quite the opposite: think of peace, hope, joy, and love pulling up a barstool next to outrage, or listlessness, for example. Imagine the conversation — or the unexpected transformation. 

The Advent gift for this week’s worship focus is joy. When we’re confronted with the debilitating aspects of life in our community, families, and nation, let’s remember to repeatedly invite joy, peace, love, and hope to pull up a stool.

Just extending the invitation is an opening for the unexpected. 
Please limit office visits
Because of new county regulations regarding COVID, please visit the office only if absolutely necessary, and then always with a mask and with an advance phone call (559.435.2690). Generally, Marilyn will be in the office from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
Pastor Julia suspends office hours
Pastor Julia will suspend in-person office hours for the next few weeks because of county regulations regarding COVID. She would love to hear from you by phone call, text, FaceTime or Zoom. E-mail her at
If you have a prayer (of joy, for healing, gratitude, love) for someone or someplace that you would like lifted up during worship on Sunday mornings please send them to Pastor Julia at You can also submit prayer request via our web page at
Advent Devotional 2020

Members of the Northern California Nevada Conference's Sequoia Association have graciously brought us the 2020 Advent Devotional. This includes daily devotionals for prayer and reflection during this holiday season. Contributing writers whose names you might recognize include Lisa Bell, Rev. Ara Guekguezian, Rev. Dr. Norman Broadbent, Peter Wall, Ellie Dote, Rev. Raygan Baker (minister of Big Red), Kim and Christopher Williams and many more. Click here for a downloadable copy of the devotional, or you can read it online.
Advent Calendar

Progressive Christian pastor and author Molly Phinney Baskette, senior minister at First Church Berkeley UCC and a former speaker at our church when we discussed her book "Real Good Church," has created an "alternative advent" calendar (preview below). Click here if you would like a downloadable version.
In each week's eNews, we include a news article from our larger denomination, the United Church of Christ, to show the faithful work being done in other places.
Maine church repurposes political signs
into messages of hope

A United Church of Christ congregation in Maine is repurposing its community’s campaign signs — transforming the symbols of political divisiveness into messages of hope this Advent. 

The idea started with the Congregational Church in Cumberland’s Vitality Team.
“Our team was reflecting and praying about how to reach out to our community both before and after the election,” said the Rev. Allison Smith, senior minister. “We have all been feeling the weight of polarization, the weariness of the separation and the worry of the pandemic.” Continue reading at
Happy Birthday to all who are celebrating this month!

December Birthdays
 Steve Edwards
 Miles Barrett
7 Jessica Swan
8 Curtis Richardson
16 Amy Kilburn and Matt Horton
17 Barbara Kilburn, Pearl Supersad and Kyle Carlson
18 Ed Sanchez
26 Julia Penner-Zook and Tim Tidyman-Jones
28 Seth Tilley
31 Allen Church and Noah Ruffin

December Anniversaries

10 Marilyn and David Wall
26 Julia Penner-Zook and Rod Zook

Did we overlook someone's birthday or anniversary for this month? Please let Marilyn ( and Lisa ( know so we can get you in next week. We never intend to leave anyone out.
eNews deadline is 10 a.m. Wednesdays

CUCC eNews is a weekly publication distributed every Thursday. Deadline for submitting announcements is 10 a.m. Wednesdays (and earlier is appreciated). Please send your announcements to Marilyn at Lisa Boyles Bell (, 559.244.9502) is the volunteer communications liaison for our church.

Lisa and Doug Hoagland ( alternate working on eNews. Send your announcements to both of them. Emails: and
Our Joyful Giving page reflects the many ways members can help support our Church's missions and operations, especially needed in these critical and uncertain times.

Due to COVID-19, worship will remain virtual for now. Limited office hours have resumed.

Phone: 559.435.2690