Community UCC eNews
Jan. 14, 2021
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. 17. Robin will deliver a guest sermon titled "Engage, Learn, Take Action, Lead — Where Are You Called?," based on 1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20). See below for how we "do church" now.
Sunday worship onYouTube begins at 10:30 a.m.
Evening worship service now Mondays

Thursday evening worship services via Zoom have moved to 7 p.m. MondaysFor 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.
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! 
Office closed Monday for MLK holiday

The church office will be closed on Monday, Jan. 18, in honor of the holiday for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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.
 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.
Next virtual fellowship Jan. 24

Our Sunday Fellowship Time following the morning worship service will resume Sunday, Jan. 24. Our Fellowship Team extends a warm invitation to everyone to come and chat. This is an opportunity to catch up with friends!
We Reach for the Poet
by Pastor Julia Penner-Zook
We are often at a loss for words—or at least the words that quickly form in our minds and are easily spoken are not the ones we want. This is happening to me frequently these weeks. 

There are ways we can restore equilibrium, to “cleanse the palate” of our minds, so to speak, to remove the residue that causes distortion, so that we can again be fully alive. 

I frequently turn to poetry to cleanse my mental and emotional palate, although this is not a primary function of this art form. Some turn to music; others to healing activities such as hiking or baking. 

What follows is offered in the spirit of restoration:

Words (in italics) are taken from the poetry ancestor, "White Bear," by Joy Harjo, U.S. poet laureat. Listen to the poet by clicking here.

all darkness 
is open to all light

Is all light open to all darkness? 

it's more than simply ebony and ice,
clear black nights and
ivory rocking cradle. 
Photo credit: Annie Spratt via

it could go either way.

it is oh so hard 

this space between leaving and staying

when words fail, we reach. listen. breathe. 
drink from reservoirs of sparkling clear water, 
resist false equivalency, 
recoil from poisonous streams,
struggle to be free from the trap of 
the world of up and down,
in and out,
the dichotomy that would snatch
away both ebony and ice,
leaving and staying,
darkness and light. 

we wrestle to preserve our humanity.
Men's Book Discussion Group

The Men's Book Study has resumed virtually via Zoom from 7-8 p.m.on Tuesdays after a hiatus due to COVID. Please contact Rod Zook at if you're interested.
The group is reading and discussing "Inspired" by Rachel Held Evans. On Jan. 19, the group will work with pages 29-57. A Zoom link will be sent out on Monday. 
Generous hearts at Christmas

Thanks to the generosity of CUCC members and friends, our Advent Projects
received wonderful support in December. Here’s what we did:

  • Contributed $545 for gift cards for teenagers living in foster care.
  • Contributed $275 for residents at Dakota Eco Gardens.
  • Donated more than 20 blankets and pairs of socks for seniors living at Twilight Haven.
  • Purchased gifts for children attending Robinson Elementary School, which is next to the church.

The Missions and Social Justice Team – which coordinates the annual Advent Projects – extends a heartfelt thanks to everyone.
Helping feed children in Fresno Unified

CUCC members and friends can help distribute food at Fresno Unified schools in January and February.

Every Neighborhood Partnership – a faith-based nonprofit in Fresno – has organized churches and organizations to help with this effort throughout the school district. Distributions are drive-by so there is limited contact.

Some members of the Missions and Social Justice Team have signed up to help at Lane Elementary School in southeast Fresno from 2:30 to 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12. Click here to sign up for that distribution.

Click here to sign up at other schools in January and February.

If you have questions, please contact Elizabeth Davis-Russell at or 559.862.6914.
Jan. 10 sermon: "A Different Sound"

Last Sunday Pastor Julia delivered a sermon titled "A Different Sound" based on Mark 1: 4-11. 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 requests via our web page at
Sign up to be notified when it's your turn for the COVID-19 vaccine

If you live in Fresno County and want to be notified when you're eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, click here to fill out this form. Fresno County officials will notify you when the COVID-19 vaccine is made available in your applicable tier or when the vaccine is made available to the general public.

Also, Helmut shared new findings that more than half of coronavirus cases are spread by asymptomatic carriers, a new CDC model shows. Click here to read more, in the JAMA Network Open.
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.
A Fraying Hope: Steps to Repairing Democracy

The 2020 elections reminded us in stark terms of the fragility of our democracy. As former President Obama remarked in his eulogy for the late Rep. John Lewis last year, “democracy is not automatic. It has to be tended. You have to work at it.”

And there is important work to do. Not only are we challenged with long-neglected steps to strengthen our democracy, but we are also challenged to address direct threats to voter rights and election integrity in recent years. Too often we set aside the critical work of democracy reform when we are not in the midst of a midterm or presidential campaign, and this has serious repercussions. Continue reading at
Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

The Fresno Martin Luther King Unity Committee has several virtual events planned to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Learn more on their Facebook page.
Happy Birthday to all who are celebrating this month!

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

January Anniversaries

3 — Erin and EJ Hinojosa

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