Community UCC eNews
Dec. 24, 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.
Christmas Eve — Zoom and YouTube

Please join us for our Zoom Christmas Eve service tonight, Dec. 24, at 5:30 p.m. to hear the Christmas story again as told by the children of our church.

Please have a candle ready for our final
Christmas Carol, "Silent Night."
An email with a Zoom link for the service
went out on Wednesday.

There will be NO additional Thursday evening service tonight, nor on New Year’s Eve. An announcement regarding the midweek services will follow in a later eNews edition. 


Sunday Worship — Zoom and YouTube

Join us for worship this Sunday, Dec. 27. Pastor Julia Penner-Zook will deliver a sermon titled "No Neat Packages" based on Luke 2:22-40.

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 now meets on Mondays from 9-10 a.m. The group is discussing Richard Rohr’s daily meditations.
To get them, please register at the Center for Action and Contemplation: cac.org. A Zoom link will be made available.
A note about pledges
to support our church

A friendly reminder from CUCC Treasurer Carol Kilburn: "Please make sure your pledges are up-to-date. If not, please get your money in to the church by Dec. 31, 2020 to get credit on your 2020 taxes. You may give through VANCO, Givelify, check, or cash. Thank you for your generosity!"
We Resolve
by Pastor Julia Penner-Zook
With each passing day memories of years when we’ve celebrated without restriction dance in our heads! For many months we’ve held strong to protect our community by meeting virtually.

It becomes especially wearisome during times when we usually meet together as a church family and in our homes with our loved ones. 

The “First Family” of the initial Christmas story certainly had their plans upended with the coming of a long anticipated, yet entirely unexpected birth. 

Jesus’ presence tended to disrupt things! In fact, the words “we’ve always done it this way before,” were likely interrupted with unusual things like, “he is destined to be the downfall and rise of many...” (Luke 2), or “he made a whip and drove all from the temple courts...” (John 2).

We find ourselves in good company as people who are unafraid of doing things differently. Our steadfast resiliency will pay off! 

Earlier this week an op-ed outlining our stance, supported by a number of neighboring churches, was printed in The Fresno Bee. You can read it by clicking here
Jessica Lewis via pexels.com (open source)

Already several heartening responses have come our way: 

• I just read your article in the Bee! It was awesome! What a blessing to read about what is really important and what being representatives of Christ truly means.

• Thank you for keeping your flock safe while also respecting our governing authority. I know you are in the minority in our city by taking this stance but know there are many of us who value this. We've got your back and will continue to pray for those of you who are making wise choices, even in the face of ignorant opposition. 

Whether responses are supportive or critical is not the determining factor; we choose to follow Christ daily, even when it means giving up things “we’ve always done this way before.” Over time this resolved commitment forms us into more responsible earth citizens.
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.
Modified office hours during holidays

Marilyn’s office hours are modified during the holiday season. Please be sure to call ahead (559.435.2690) and remember to wear a mask if you need to come to the office. She will be reachable by e-mail Monday through Thursday. Pastor Julia is available by phone, text, e-mail, FaceTime or Zoom. As always, please check eNews for additional details and announcements. 
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/.
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.
‘Crazy big’ Christmas gift brightens Nebraska city, helps kids

Interstate traffic will be light this holiday season, if Americans heed COVID-19 advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to avoid travel.

But if there are truckers or other essential workers out on Interstate 80 between now and Christmas, something in the distance might catch their eye around Lincoln, Neb. – capital of the state that sits at the midpoint of that 2,900-mile route from San Francisco to Teaneck, N.J.

Four miles from the highway, the carillon tower of Lincoln’s First-Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ is “lit up crazy big – like those European cathedrals, or London at Christmas,” said the church’s senior minister, the Rev. Jim Keck. 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