Community UCC eNews
Dec. 17, 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

Join us for worship this Sunday, Dec. 20 — the fourth Sunday of Advent — as we unite to sing our beloved Christmas carols. These “Songs of Happiness” will be reflective of the joy expressed in Psalm 126. We look forward to seeing you! 

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 (bit.ly/cuccyoutube) 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.
NEW day for Adult Education

Adult Education is discussing the Richard Rohr daily meditations and summary from 9-10 a.m. Mondays via Zoom. Please register for the meditations at the Center for Action and Contemplation: cac.org.
New fence installed at Church

Even though we aren’t meeting at the church, improvements to the church grounds are still underway. The photo shows the fence and gate that have been installed along the south patio. The patio has been open to the street and has been attracting some uninvited nighttime guests.

With the addition of better fencing installed by the Fire Department on our southern boundaries, the area is safer for our Head Start renters. Thank you to Helmut Kloos and Jeff Jones for their work on this project!
Update on Camp Tamarack after Creek Fire

Firefighters battling the Creek Fire saved Camp Tamarack, but the camp's infrastructure — notably its water line suffered damage, according to a report from onsite manager Wade Hobson. Volunteers will be needed in early June to get the line repaired so Camp Tamarack can open for the 2021 season. The camp also needs a new water heater, tent and shower repairs, and removal of a hazardous tree.

A donor has offered a $500 match for donations made for Camp Tamarack to the Northern California Nevada Conference before Dec. 31. The money can be used for maintenance/repairs and to help sponsor youth campers. To read Wade's complete report, click here.
An Advent Invitation
by Pastor Julia Penner-Zook
This week has (already) brought us blinding amounts of information — both assaults on what we find to be life-giving as well as the joy of light breaking through. 

What do we do with all of that, and where does the Christ of Advent fit in, if at all? 

We humans are prone to anxiety and self-absorption, so we must often turn to the sages among us — those who help us reposition, reimagine, and reconstruct. I consider one of these sages to be Fr. Richard Rohr. Consider what he shares: 

“To incarnate the Christ is to live out the Gospel with our lives, as faithfully and fearlessly as a woman in labor who holds nothing back in order to bring new life into the world.”
 
During this time of Advent it seems that the focus on Emmanuel, God with us, is an antidote to the gravitational pull towards ourselves and our tottering world. Maybe this is one reason I have been inexplicably drawn to the ancient prayer of St. Patrick and John Rutter’s subsequent musical composition in the past week. Join me in reading, praying, listening.
Photo Credit: Julia Penner-Zook

A Prayer of Saint Patrick

Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ above me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
 
Click here to listen.
Men's Book Discussion Group
beginning in January

The Men's Book Study will resume virtually in January after a hiatus due to COVID. Rod Zook who is coordinating the group says it will meet at 7 p.m. on either Mondays or Tuesdays via Zoom. Please contact Rod at zomad2020@gmail.com if you're interested.
The group will read and discuss "Inspired" by Rachel Held Evans.

Rod writes: "You’ll gain a deeper appreciation for how to sort out the challenges of interpreting and applying the inspired stories that have come down to us over millennia in the various translations and editions of the Bible. Held Evans wrote in a captivating style that will pull you into her text and lead you to better draw meaning from the stories in the Bible for today."
Save the Date: Congregational Meeting

The next Congregational Meeting will be Sunday, Jan 17, immediately following worship. This meeting will not be broadcast over any other streaming platform, so simply stay on Zoom after service to attend. We will need a quorum of our church membership to vote on the budget for the next six months. See you there! 
 Women's Book Discussion Group

The Women's Book Discussion Group will begin a new book at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19 — "Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic — and Beyond" by Matthew Fox.

Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she "sheltered in place" and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, "Showings," which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature's goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.

Please read the foreword, introduction and Chapter 1 for our first discussion via Zoom on Jan 19. Contact Robin if you are interested in learning more.
Dec. 13 sermon: 'More Than a Facelift'

Last Sunday, Pastor Julia delivered a sermon called “More Than a Facelift,” based on Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11Click here to watch the sermon.
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 j.penner.zook@gmail.com
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  j.penner.zook@gmail.com. You can also submit prayer request via our web page at communityucc-fresno.org/worship/prayer-requests/.
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.
Advent and Christmas harder this year but not all bad, churches learn

Across the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting beloved Advent and Christmas traditions. As congregations adapt, some are discovering that “different” isn’t all bad.

This year, many congregations are marking these holy seasons outdoors and online. Socially distanced, open-air moments are inviting longtime members – and surrounding communities – to stay connected. Virtual services are attracting participants from around the world.
It’s not all easy. For one United Church of Christ congregation, a recent spike in COVID cases and hospitalizations has just undone even the most careful plans to hold five smaller, safe, in-person Christmas Eve services. (See related story.)

Yet with in-person gatherings curtailed, that church and others are finding ways to keep up their special holiday giving and outreach activities. Continue reading at UCC.com.
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 (office@communityucc.com) and Lisa (lisamboyles12@gmail.com) 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 office@communityucc.com. Lisa Boyles Bell (lisamboyles12@gmail.com, 559.244.9502) is the volunteer communications liaison for our church.

Lisa and Doug Hoagland (doughoagland@att.net) alternate working on eNews. Send your announcements to both of them. Emails: lisamboyles12@gmail.com and doughoagland@att.net
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
Email: office@communityucc.com