Community UCC eNews
Jan. 28, 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. 31. Pastor Julia Penner-Zook will deliver a sermon titled "Platitude or Attitude?" based on Matthew 5:1-12. See below for how we "do church" now.
Sunday worship onYouTube begins at 10:30 a.m.
Evening worship service on 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.
Week 1 update on our campaign progress!

Since launching our campaign last week, so far we have raised $1,600 — 10.67% of the way toward our goal! Thank you to all who have donated!

If you would like to donate, you can give to our capital campaign through Givelify or send a check to the church. In either case, please designate that it’s for the capital campaign in the memo field. We will continue to provide regular updates as we progress toward our goal.

Questions and answers about our capital campaign
We’ve kicked off a campaign – “Lights, Camera, Action!” – to raise money for two capital projects at church. Here’s what you need to know:

What are the goals of the campaign?

A camera system for the sanctuary and updated exterior lighting.

Why do we need cameras?

To improve our services via Zoom and YouTube. The new system will allow viewers to see the pulpit, the musicians, and people in the congregation.

Does that mean we won’t have services at the church when the pandemic ends?

No. We will return to the sanctuary for Sunday services when it’s safe to do so.

So why then continue to have services on Zoom?

Several reasons:
• Some members may not be physically able to come to the church. Or some may be out of the geographic area.
• New people may find us via our YouTube broadcasts and want to join our Zoom worships, which are
more interactive than just watching the stream on YouTube. Several
have found us this way since we began sheltering in place, and now they are regulars with us on Sundays.
• We’ll be able to do more on social media to attract new members.

Why is social media important?

It’s the way many people – especially younger people – communicate and gather information.

Why not return to the camera we used before the pandemic?

That camera was an iPhone mounted on a small platform. Its range is limited.

What will change with the exterior lighting?

We’ll install new light fixtures with energy-efficient LED light bulbs and better timers. That will save money in the long run and provide better lighting. The change also is in keeping with our commitment to protect the environment.

How much money do we need?

We need to raise $15,000 to implement these goals.
Growing Together! – Restoring Faith, Justice, Creation

Our church is one of 40 churches in 11 denominations from across the country participating in a new national pilot program called Growing Together! This program engages churches on the journey of restoring faith, justice, and creation.

Sessions are held via Zoom at 4 p.m. (Pacific) and 7 p.m. (Pacific) on the second Thursday of each month. If you're interested in registering, please email Robin at and she will send you the link.
by Pastor Julia Penner-Zook
You know that feeling when you’re talking with a friend and you suddenly realize your entire conversation has been overheard? A knot forms in your stomach and your heart begins to pound; soon you’re perspiring, and you wish you could reverse time! 

This happens less frequently now that we don’t meet in public spaces and definitely less than during a time when people shared a phone line with other families in the community! 

Or does it? We are quite aware that every online purchase, every log into social media accounts strips us of privacy. In fact, just talking about a certain product in the proximity of your phone will trigger ads for that very product, which you’ll see the next time you open your device. It’s a bit unnerving!

Have you ever thought about being overheard each time we interact on a social media platform? Every post, every comment, every share, re-post or re-tweet takes on a life of its own and is “overheard’ by potentially thousands of people. Or 5-10. It doesn’t matter how many. We are constantly being overheard, and therefore people are building their impressions of who we are and what’s important to us without so much as a word being exchanged between us. 

Our goal is to spread decency rather than degradation, respect instead of disregard, kindness in place of rudeness. 

I’ve always thought my social media “conversations” were restrained until I began to imagine myself in another person’s shoes—someone with a different belief, but holding it with the
Photo Credit: Danie James via (open source)

same conviction that I have. Will my words cause deeper understanding or contribute to a widening rift? Will the times I call out injustice be perceived as an attack on a person or political party or theological position rather than pointing out necessary change? 

Our words matter. Our tone matters. The message we align with and how we articulate it automatically casts a long shadow that envelopes ourselves, our loved ones, our community, and our faith. 

This should not dissuade us from calling for justice and supporting initiatives that chart bold direction. As common courtesies seem to be in short supply, the awareness that we are constantly being overheard can serve as a filter for the words we choose. 
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. Contact Robin at if you're interested.
Men's Book Discussion Group

The Men's Book Study has resumed virtually via Zoom from 7-8 p.m. Tuesdays. Please contact Rod Zook at if you're interested.
The group is reading and discussing "Inspired" by Rachel Held Evans. A Zoom link will be sent out on Monday. 
 Women's Book Discussion Group

The Women's Book Discussion Group will continue with a new book at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2 — "Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic — and Beyond" by Matthew Fox.

Please read Chapters 4 and 5 for our next discussion via Zoom. Contact Robin if you are interested in learning more.
Jan. 24 sermon: 'Yes, But...'

Last Sunday Pastor Julia delivered a sermon titled "Yes, But..." based on Matthew 5:38-42 and Luke 19:1-10. Click here to watch the sermon.
Marilyn resumes office hours at church

Marilyn’s office days and hours will be back to Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please be sure to call ahead (559.435.2690) and remember to wear a mask if you need to come to the office.
Office hours for Pastor Julia

Pastor Julia will be in the office Thursday morning and can be reached by phone, text, e-mail or Facetime other days of the week as well. 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
Interfaith Scholar event goes virtual this year
The Fresno Interfaith Scholar Weekend will adapt to safety measures during the pandemic by holding six Zoom sessions every Monday at 4 p.m. from Feb. 15 to March 22.

The topic will be “Bearing Witness from Fresno’s Mason-Dixon Line.” All sessions are free, and they will be recorded.

Click here to register.

On Feb. 15, Andrew Fiala, Ph.D., director of The Ethics Center at Fresno State, will moderate a 90-minute panel discussion featuring:
  • Malik Simba, Ph.D., professor emeritus of history and Africana studies at Fresno State.
  • Nathan Hensley, Ph.D.,
associate professor of
English at Georgetown
University in Washington,
  • Uziel Jimenez, M.A., co-founder of the Fresno Ethnic Studies Coalition and a teacher at Fresno’s Sunnyside High School.

On Feb. 22, March 1, March 8, and March 15, representatives from four faith traditions will lead 60-minute discussions of “Begin Again: James Baldwin’s American and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own” by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

On March 22, Simba, Hensley, and Jimenez will participate in a 90-minute roundtable discussion on what we must ask to call forth a new America in our community.
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.
Window open for new, humane U.S. policies in 2021, UCC advocates say

It’s a year of opportunity. It will take work. Church people can help. Now.

That’s the word from United Church of Christ policy advocates and their allies as they look ahead to 2021.

The Year 2021 could bring “a renewed will in Washington to pursue polices that uphold human dignity,” said United Church of Christ advocate Katie Adams.
Changes in the White House and the Senate could mean “a renewed will in Washington to pursue policies that uphold human dignity,” said Katie Adams. She works in the UCC’s Capitol Hill office on social policies voted by the church’s General Synod. Continue reading at
Happy Birthday to all who are celebrating this month!

January Birthdays (still to come this month)

29 Carter Reynolds
31 Roger Wall

February Birthdays

2 Rod Zook
4 Arthur Kilburn, Diana Kloos, Dwayne Ruffin
7 Michelle Williams
10 Bonita Earl, John Comegys, Beryl Weinschenk
12 Alexandra FitzGibbon
14 Cathie Moseley
15 Christian Fazio
16 Ruben Fernandez, Bob Garcia
17 Rose Rowe
19 Charlene Toews
22 Vhuso Sukuta
26 Cheryl Jones
27 Anne Simone

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