Community UCC eNews
Dec. 3, 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. 6, will be our annual Hanging of the Greens service. We also will receive and welcome new members during that worship service.

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.
Items for 2020 Advent Projects due Friday, Dec. 11

Last week, a special edition of eNews announced our Advent projects for this year.
We have the opportunity to continue our outreach to the community in ways that can brighten Christmas for children, teens and adults. We ask that you deliver your donations for ALL FOUR projects to the church office no later than Friday, Dec. 11. Click here for details of how you can help.
This Sunday! — Join us for Hanging of the Greens

Please join us at 10:30 a.m. this Sunday, Dec. 6, for our virtual adaptation of our annual Hanging of the Greens service. We will be decorating our worship space from many homes as participants share the meaning of Advent and Christmas traditions. We look forward to worshipping with you on this special day!
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: cac.org.
 Women's Book Discussion Group

The Women's Book Discussion Group will continue reading Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8.

As we enter what can be a busy time of year for many, we will shorten our meetings a little for this book study, meeting from 6-7 p.m. each week, instead of 90 minutes. Discussions will be led by members of the group, as Robin continues to heal. Pastor Julia will send out the Zoom link each week to participants.
What Could Yet Have Been
by Pastor Julia Penner-Zook
A dear friend passed last week —suddenly; unexpectedly; in a season of her life that was bountiful and light-filled.  

The news came impersonally on social media — the blessing and curse of those cold places. 

Tears flowing, chest convulsing, I tried to find a space within myself to comprehend what I wanted to erase. Undo. Correct with a restart of a machine that would eliminate this harsh error message

I can see her smile; find exhilaration in vicariously hiking over miles of desert paths; revel in the hidden beauties of nature which she captured by way of photography; feel the depth of love for the two who captured her heart — her grandchildren. 

Hours were spent grasping for information of what? How? Why?

My deep regret — my loss — comes in the form of never having the opportunity to experience what could yet have been. The joys that could have been shared were cut short. No further opportunities to appreciate each another’s gifts; never to be warmed by the light of her grace
Photo Credit: Martino Pietropoli via unsplash.com (open source)

just one more time (or two, or three); being denied the opportunity to set a date for coffee and a pastry, or to share a glass of wine on a warm summer evening. There will be no catching up; no talking about the gaps of when our paths had led us apart; no following the threads of commonalities or comparing stories of when we were classmates. 

Some things will never be. There is deep pain in that. It speaks of the finiteness of our humanity. Yet the gifts remain and the beauty can never be extinguished. Despite being shrouded in shadows and unknowns, she lives on. 

Rest In Peace, dear one, and may those who remain regain strength to radiate the warmth and light loaned to us. 
Limited office hours have resumed

Marilyn is now in the office part of each week for limited office hours. Generally she will be there from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, but please call before stopping by (559.435.2690), both to ensure that she is there (her hours may be a little flexible) and to limit the number of people in the office at one time for social distancing. If you plan to stop by, please wear a mask or facial covering.
Office hours for Pastor Julia
Pastor Julia will be in the office Wednesday morning. Please feel free to call or text her or Marilyn to let them know you'd like to come in -- masks and physical distancing are important. She’s still available for phone or Zoom appointments on Mondays and Wednesdays, so please don’t hesitate to text or e-mail her at j.penner.zook@gmail.com
Nov. 29 sermon: 'She Knew'

Last Sunday, Pastor Julia delivered a sermon called “She Knew,” based on Luke 1:39-55Click here to watch the sermon.
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.
UCC pastor: We need Advent more than ever

Written by Rob Apgar-Taylor: I’ll be honest; I’m in kind of a “place” right now. I’m not really in the mood to be perky about Christmas. Maybe I should pretend so that you will feel better. Maybe I should smile and be pastoral to lift you all. I put on Christmas music, but it’s not really doing the trick. This year has been hard … for all of us.

We opened up to have people in worship only to close again five weeks later. We have been so faithful, and everyone has done so very much to make our church thrive. And we have. It’s really been amazing. We truly took lemons of 2020 and made something beautiful. I am so very grateful to you all and to God, I really am. But like you, I am just getting emotionally fatigued by the distance, the masks, the fear, the everything that 2020 has been. 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

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