Community UCC eNews
July 1, 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.

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.
Time to celebrate:
Sunday worship in person!

This coming Sunday, July 4, at 10:30 a.m. we will meet together in person for the first time in 16 months! EJ Hinojosa will deliver a sermon inspired by Galatians 5:1-12.

You won’t want to miss our celebration in the breezeway, where we’ll greet each other, enjoy coffee together, and welcome our guests! We hope you join us! 

We will not live-stream Sunday's service to YouTube nor will it be live on Zoom because an outdoor service presents technological challenges beyond the capabilities of our equipment.

Masks will be optional, since we will be meeting outdoors.

We will celebrate communion together on July 4. Our worship flow will be slightly different to accommodate a new reality, but we are keeping all of us, including potential guests, in mind. We trust it will be a wonderful time. 

As we meet together again after months of isolation, let’s be mindful that each of us has different needs for “space.” Even in our joy at being together, we encourage each of us to respect individual space physically as well as emotionally.

Let’s also be mindful of people who have only gotten to know us on Zoom and may join us in person. Here, too, we want each person to feel warmly welcomed, yet respected in their need to get to know us in their own way and time. Some may want to talk; others not! That’s okay! Mindfulness is key!
Thursday evening worship

A more intimate evening worship takes place at 7 p.m. Thursdays. Due to excessive heat, evening worship will take place only on Zoom today, July 1. In-person gatherings will resume after July 18. Updates will follow. If you have questions or would like a Zoom link, contact Robin at
Services resume in sanctuary on July 11

The Council has decided on these protocols for indoor services:
  • Masks will be required.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available.
  • Social distancing will be maintained. (Families, of course, can sit together.)
  • Fellowship after church will take place in the breezeway. We expect to serve coffee and water in paper cups.

Beginning on July 11, worship services will ONLY be on YouTube (, NOT on Zoom, using our new camera system.
We will miss you, Sharon and Mike
Sharon Powers and Mike Smith joined the church in 1982. In July, they are moving to Sacramento, where their older daughter, Carsen, and her family live.

They have been active members of CUCC for nearly 40 years, and we want them to know how much they have meant to the church. At eNews' request, several members wrote the following notes.

Terry and Kristi Cole:
We have been fortunate to know Mike and Sharon on both a personal level of friendship and as fellow members of CUCC. We have continually observed their special dedication to our church.

They used much of their time and talent serving on various committees that helped the church's daily functioning. But they also found outreach programs such as El Porvenir that helped our church broaden its community mission.

We will all work together to find ways to fill in the space that they will leave. Their presence will be missed and we wish them continued fellowship in the next part of their journey.

Nancy Pressley:
My very best wishes go with Sharon and Mike as they begin life in their new home in Sacramento, closer to children and grandchildren. 

There is a sense of loss for me as well. Sharon and Mike have been pillars in the CUCC family. They have been there to advise, support and encourage others.
Sharon has an amazing gift in finding positive attributes in others, a gentle reminder for all of us to be thoughtful in our interactions. Mike is always willing to provide very helpful professional and personal insight when called upon.

Both have served successfully in many leadership roles and in faithful stewardship, shepherding us through the years. I am grateful to know them. They will be missed by me and all of their CUCC family.

Sue Hipp:
Many of us at CUCC think of our church as family – either standing in for or supplementing our birth families. And we often say, “it takes a village…” when we talk about raising our children.

Sharon and Mike have been part of our family and our village for over 35 years. Now they are moving to Sacramento. Boo-Hoo!!!! 

Recently, Sharon chaired the Finance Team and Charitable Gifts Team. Mike has been our authority on Personnel. Before that, they served on practically every other committee/team the church has, and both have served as Moderator.

Their cabin at Shaver has been the site of innumerable leadership conferences, confirmation retreats, and youth group gatherings. So many church activities have been enriched by their support and participation, including Women’s Book Group, Adult Education, "Siblings Without Rivalry" parenting class, Habitat for Humanity, pastoral search committees, El Porvenir, and progressive dinners. 

They say no one is irreplaceable, but Mike and Sharon will leave a big hole at CUCC. Other talented folks will take their place – they always do at CUCC – but few will be able to see things realistically, approach things practically, and accomplish things joyfully the way Sharon and Mike have done as they’ve shared their gifts with our church. 

We will miss them. But they are family, and they’ll always be welcomed home.
A message about music from EJ
Welcome back, church! Exciting times are ahead of us! As we make our way back into the sanctuary, I thought you'd like to know how we choose music for our services.

Key is this fact: we will continue to broadcast our services live over YouTube and Facebook to expand our reach into the community. Those broadcasts are bound by specific laws, including licensing and copyright laws. Specifically, it’s illegal to include copyrighted music in a live broadcast without permission from the copyright holder.
So, we only sing music to which we have the legal rights. That’s why you've heard, nearly exclusively, music written by me during quarantine. And I’m working on new music for you.

But we also can now include in our live broadcasts Christian music from other composers, as well. That’s because we recently completed a paid agreement with a licensing agency.

Unfortunately, I’m not aware of such a licensing agreement for “secular” music

Thank you for your enthusiasm, support, and commitment to our church. I cannot WAIT to see you all on Sunday!

If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know! You can contact me at
Important reminder from Finance Team

It’s not too late to submit a pledge for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Currently, we haven't heard from some people who made pledges last year. Pledges enable our Finance Team to make an accurate budget for the church's 2021-22 financial year.

If you’ve misplaced your pledge card or time and talent sheet, please call Marilyn at the church office. You can also submit your pledge online via these links to Google Forms:
Last chance: June fund-raising raffle — Win a Desert Beauty basket; drawing this Sunday

Just in time for the blazing summer heat, the Worship Team and Communications have prepared a wonderful succulent basket for the June fundraiser filled with goodies to help you keep cool. The basket contains:

  • Garden tools and gloves
  • Potting soil
  • Three medium pots containing a variety of plants
  • Ten small pots with individual plants
  • A book entitled The Beginner's Guide to Succulent Gardening
  • Notecards with original watercolor paintings of succulents done by Nancy Pressley
  • A refreshing bottle of Fresno State Albariño white wine
  • A $20 gift card for Ampersand ice cream
  • A garden gnome

Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20. We will do the drawing on July 4, our first in-person gathering back at the church campus! You can buy tickets through Givelify. Please note your contribution is for the June fundraiser.
Honoring Jazzy Wall on July 11 during worship

Jazzy Wall is leaving her position in our nursery. She has provided many years of service and touched the lives of many children. Jazzy's last day was June 27. Please join us on July 11 to honor her. 
Extra! Extra!
eNews takes a summer vacation (sort of)

For part of July and August, eNews will publish every other week instead of weekly. For as long as either worship service is meeting virtually, you will still receive a "Zoom links" email if you are on that mailing list.

The publication schedule (and deadlines) after July 8 are listed below:
  • NO eNews on July 15.
  • eNews will publish on July 22.
  • NO eNews on July 29.
  • eNews will publish on Aug. 5.
  • NO eNews Aug. 12.

Our normal weekly publication schedule will resume on Thursday, Aug. 19 (deadline is at 10 a.m. Wednesdays). Please send articles and photos for eNews to both Lisa Bell at and Doug Hoagland at
A Gift We Cannot Yet Measure
by Pastor Julia Penner-Zook
Meeting in person at our church facility after 16 months of being apart is a momentous milestone. There is so much that is captured in the few words, “We will meet in person again.” 

This short sentence includes things such as: 

  • The fear all of us felt at the outset when there was little clarity coupled with dire warnings. 
  • The precautions all of us took in our personal lives — how we shopped, how we isolated, how we complied, how we endured nearly complete shutdown.
  • The bewilderment we felt when we met for FacebookLive worship, then moved to Zoom and YouTube.
  • The time we (parents, grandparents, educators, therapists, social workers) invested to ensure the ongoing stability and well-being of children.
  • The deepening anxiety and grief we felt as thousands — some of our loved ones — were infected with Covid, some of whom died.
  • The depression we began wearing like a cloak we could not shed.
  • The celebrations we missed and the people we honored at a distance — bittersweet pain of milestones reached yet somehow left abandoned by the wayside. 
  • The exhaustion we felt (especially those in medical and essential professions) as weeks turned into many months.
  • The hesitant hope we felt as the first few were reached with the vaccine. 
Photo Credit: Joanna Kosinkska via (open source)

  • The mounting anticipation and impatience we held as we heard that we may be safe — indeed we would be — in each other’s presence if we adhered to responsible guidelines.

And this is where we are. How do we commemorate something as monumental as this? 

“I’m so thankful to see you in person,” translates to mean:
Thank God you and (most of) your loved ones are safe.

How do we rejoice and still acknowledge, yet again, that we are privileged while loved ones on other continents have entirely different realities?

How do we say thank you, yet bear in mind that our blessings are neither earned nor certain? 

But we will say, “Thank you!” We will celebrate. We will laugh and look into each other's eyes, acknowledging the ordeal we have come through.

This will not be a “mindless” celebration, but one of humble joy! We can do both: hold our troubled world in one hand before our ever-present God, and celebrate with joy and thanksgiving. 

Let’s begin this celebration together on Sunday, July 4, and carry it forward into the coming weeks and months. 
On Sunday, June 27, Robin delivered a sermon titled "A Touching Interruption" inspired by Mark 5:21-43. Click on the above triangle to watch and hear the sermon.
Deadline for Tidyman Scholarship extended

Applications for the Tidyman Scholarship are now due by July 31.

Applicants can pick up the paperwork at the church office or by emailing Marilyn (

The Tidyman Scholarship Fund – established in 1999 by the Tidyman family – provides scholarships for church members.
Church office closed July 5

The church office will be closed Monday, July 5, in observance of the July 4 holiday.

Marilyn is normally in the office from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Please be sure to call ahead (559.435.2690) and remember to wear a mask if you need to come to the office.

Note: The church gates have been rekeyed. Any questions: call the church office.
Contacting Pastor Julia at church

Pastor Julia will be in the office Thursday mornings 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 it to Pastor Julia at You can also submit prayer requests 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.

Eight United Church of Christ congregations in the Washington, D.C., area joined together and changed the lives of more than 7,800 households in four states.

The churches teamed up with the UCC national setting and the Potomac Association of the Central Atlantic Conference to abolish more than $9 million in medical debt in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia.

Several pastors gathered in Bethesda, Md., on the steps of Westmoreland Congregational UCC Tuesday, June 29, to share this great news. Continue reading at
July Birthdays and Anniversaries
July Birthdays

1 Kyrie Oneal
3 Carol Phillips
9  Erin Hinojosa and Mike Smith
11 Kristen White-Barrett
16  Marge Kelly
19 Bobbie Vivian
21 Amy Richardson
22 Bryan Clark
23  Maggie Dutton
28 Jack Jackson; Devin and Deshawn Ruffin 
29 June Supersad
30  Susan Chavez and Carolyn Evans
31 Al Evans  

July Anniversaries

8  Stacy and Tony Fazio
21 Bobbie and Ron Vivian
31Elizabeth Davis-Russell and Thomas Russell
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). Send your announcements to both Lisa Boyles Bell and Doug Hoagland. Doug is now the primary newsletter designer, but Doug and Lisa collaborate on its production. 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.

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