Community UCC eNews
Dec. 31, 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.
Sunday Worship — Zoom and YouTube

Join us for worship this Sunday, Jan. 3, when we will focus on the first verses of the Gospel of John — John 1:1-18 – where Jesus the Christ is introduced.

From Pastor Julia: "Having just celebrated the birth of Christ, we will spend some time in the New Year looking at the life, teaching, and person of Jesus. Because his presence and mission on earth were so all-encompassing and rich, it will provide a solid foundation from which to honor Black History Month (February), Women’s History Month (March), the Lenten season, which begins with Ash Wednesday (Feb. 17), as well as offer a number of creative opportunities including another service led by our children and young people. More information will be available in the coming weeks. I look forward to this time together."

See below for how we "do church" now.
Sunday worship on YouTube begins at 10:30 a.m.
Thursday evening worship service moves to Mondays

Thursday evening worship services are moving to Monday evenings beginning at 7 p.m. Jan. 4.  For more information please contact Robin at
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 Friday in a separate email just to church members. Look for "Zoom links" in that email subject line.
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 to get credit on your 2020 taxes. You may give through VANCO, Givelify, check, or cash or you can drop donations off via the mail slot in the church office door. Thank you for your generosity!"
Join the effort to confront systemic racism
The Missions and Social Justice Team wants CUCC members and friends to know about two opportunities in January to participate in discussions about confronting systemic racism.

The first comes from the Northern California Nevada Conference of the UCC. Small group discussions will be held via Zoom from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in January (Jan. 5, 7, 14, 21, 26 and 28).

For more information and to register, click here. 
The second opportunity comes from the University of California at Santa Barbara, which will host a virtual discussion with acclaimed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12.

The session costs $10 for the general public. If you can’t attend on Jan. 12, you can view it up to a week later. The New York Times has called Coates “one of the most influential black intellectuals of his generation.”
To sign up, click here. Click on the “I’m Interested” button. It will take you to a box: "Login To UC Santa Barbara."
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: A Zoom link will be made available.
by Pastor Julia Penner-Zook
there are times when we feel a persistent nudge to leave the comfortable, the known, the predictably safe. there’s a time of weighing — first this, then that. what ifs, what fors, why nots. in some instances this pondering becomes so compelling that we feel there is no choice but to act. 

there are times we have no choice other than to move forward into a new space — like at the beginning of a new year.

before we take that step into a place from which there is no turning back, we hover, uncertain. for a moment. on a threshold.

go on! we are not alone! we trust the Promise; the Presence; the One who holds galaxies and whose breath stirs treetops. when we do not see, Someone does. 



last shimmers of
burnt orange
bow in obeisance to 
ebony curtain of darkness.
silent. sacred. starless.
Photo Credit: Octoptimist via (open source)

i cannot see.
i hesitate, quake,
search with unseeing eyes for 
familiar landmark — in vain.
all is veiled. obscured.
nothing retains its 
original shape 
in this lonely resolve
to trust the unknown —
to leave a space
i no longer inhabit.

© Julia Penner-Zook 2017
Men's Book Discussion Group
beginning in January

The Men's Book Study will resume virtually via Zoom at 7 p.m. Jan. 5, after a hiatus due to COVID. Please contact Rod at 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.
A reflection on the joy brought to Robinson School children

From Annie Van Patten: To all of you gift donors and caring CUCC congregants who participated in the Robinson Snowflake Tree "virtual adventure," your generous Christmas Spirit was so very much appreciated by the Robinson office manager and staff. But the joy you brought to each of the 19 children is indescribable. You were truly “ordinary angels” who responded with haste to meet an urgent call. 

In this time of uncertainty and even disappointment, you came through with flexibility (for a quite different approach), with generosity and with concern for the happiness of children you didn’t even know. I want to personally commend you for your kindness and thank you for bringing such joy to these families at Robinson School. They are so very appreciative! And so am I, thankful for your help!
Community outreach during Christmas season

CUCC Member Janet Capella, far right, presents a $278 check for Dakota Eco Gardens to Gerry Bill, vice president and treasurer of the nonprofit in Fresno. CUCC members and friends contributed the money as part of the church's Advent projects. Janet is a member of the Missions and Social Justice Team, which coordinated the project.
Dec. 27 sermon: 'No Neat Packages'

Last Sunday Pastor Julia delivered a sermon called “No Neat Packages,” based on Luke 2:22-40 Click here to watch the sermon.
Office hours at the church

Marilyn’s office days and hours will be back to Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. beginning on Jan. 4. Please be sure to call ahead (559.435.2690) and remember to wear a mask if you need to come to the office.
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
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.
Coronavirus leaves its mark all over 2020 list of top UCC news stories

The top position in this annual United Church of Christ news review goes to a microscopic creature that, 12 months ago, almost no one had heard of.

Not only that, COVID-19, formally known as “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2,” or “SARS-CoV-2,” affected just about every other item on this list.

These 10 news topics were the top ones covered in 2020 at the UCC website and in the weekly UCC e-news digest, “Keeping You Posted.” A few representative examples follow each topic heading. Continue reading at
Happy Birthday to all who are celebrating this month!

Remaining December Birthdays (Today!)

31 Allen Church and Noah Ruffin

January Birthdays

1 Henry Phillips
2 Theodore Dutton
4 Lonna Walker
5 Stacy Fazio, Paige Newport
6 Mike Mighaccio
11 Kellin Chaffin, Nancy Parks
15 Jeff Jones
16 Helen Winkel
17 Joseph LeBeau, Patty Parks
19 Joel Van Patten
21 Betty Lundberg
24 Sue Hipp
25 Ben Parks
29 Carter Reynolds
31 Roger Wall

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