Community UCC eNews
June 11, 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.


The Church and Office will remain closed for now.
Sunday Sermon — Zoom and Facebook Live  

On Sunday, June 14 , Pastor Julia Penner-Zook will deliver her sermon titled “ He Came, He Saw, He Commissioned, ” based on Matthew 9:35 and Matthew 10:1- 20 . See below for details of how we will "do church" for now.

Worship on Facebook Live will begin at 10:30 a.m.
Instructions for Zoom worship

For upcoming worship services, we are doing Zoom videoconferencing meetings, so we can see each other's faces even as we are apart.

Links to the Zoom worships go out each Wednesday in a separate email just to church members, to ensure security. Look for "Zoom links" in that email subject line.

Lisa will continue to provide Facebook Live on Sundays at 10:30 a.m., by capturing her computer screen during the Zoom worship.
Community UCC will NOT reopen church, office for now

The past few months in this pandemic have shown us that the Church is neither a building nor defined by in-person meetings; it is people!

We miss being and worshiping together; we miss welcoming new people into our worship; we miss joining together in fellowship, sharing life’s joys and sorrows. But despite our sense of loss and longing, we will keep our church building doors closed at this time out of an abundance of caution and concern for the health and safety of all members of our congregation and our staff. Read more about this decision on our website.
Got Boats?
By Pastor Julia Penner-Zook
 
This is a time when I wish we were sitting together having a conversation over a drink. I would ask whether any of you own a boat or some type of seafaring vessel. If you’re a boat owner, I’d love to hear your perspectives on your first boat, how you decided to invest in a boat, and why you chose the one(s) you did. Because I can't do that right now, I had to rely on Google.
 
One of the most interesting features of a boat is its anchoring system. I gather that a boat is only as safe as the ground tackle , which includes anchor, line, chain, and connecting elements. (See source below.) Boaters, mariners, or seafarers: feel free to correct me. 
 
With so much investment literally riding on your anchor, your boat's anchoring system is no place to cut corners. Your choice of anchor depends on the size and type of your boat, and the weather and anchoring conditions you generally encounter.” (Source: boatsus.org )
 
The best time to think through the numerous facets of boat ownership, including how you will anchor and moor it, is prior to encountering treacherous weather.
 
What happens when a storm catches you off guard and you’ve not yet invested in your ground tackle?
 
This metaphor helps me understand the feeling of being hit with unexpected turbulence. What do we do when life catches us off guard and we have cut corners on our anchor, and what we’d always relied on no longer serves us well? We begin to ask other questions, ponder how we got to where we are, and wonder: am I alone in feeling this? 
 
We are not alone. Although it feels like an isolating, lonely experience — one we’d rather keep to ourselves — the ancient writers of the Psalms already lament this: 
 
“How long, o God? 
How long must I bear this pain in my soul, 
and live with sorrow all the day? 
How long will fear rule my life?” (Psalm 13)
What’s the ground tackle we reach for during these times? Typically we reach for panaceas that we think will bring relief. Some do; many don’t. 
 
Ground tackle consists of elements that are rigid as well as some with give. Ironically, it’s possible to tie a boat too tightly.
 
Maintaining control in turbulent times becomes more and more difficult. At some point it becomes impossible. Releasing control is the most difficult thing to do, and yet, it offers a surprising opportunity for outcomes we could never have seen coming. 
 
Learning to let go is like making that high-priced investment in your ground tackle. 
 
The writer of Psalm 13 eventually comes to a place of letting go. I don’t know if it took days or weeks or even years to get there, but he concludes, 
 
I trust in your steadfast Love …for in you is freedom.” 
"A Space for Reflection" will contain quotes and poetry to contemplate and reflect upon as you move through your week. Take a moment to read the quote or poem, allow the words to wash over you. Then, see what word(s) spoke to you, what thought(s) came up for you and then you might journal those thoughts or just sit with them for a while.

“In every human Breast, God has implanted a Principle, which we call Love of Freedom; it is impatient of Oppression, and pants for Deliverance.”
~ Phillis Wheatley
Congregational Meeting is June 14

Our annual congregational meeting will take place virtually right after worship on Sunday, June 14 . Either stay on the Zoom worship meeting after church ends, or join the Facebook Live broadcast within the private group for church members. (After worship the Facebook Live on our public Facebook page will end, then Lisa will restart it within the private Facebook group for those who can't participate via Zoom.)

In addition to discussion of the annual reports, the congregational meeting is where we will take action on the proposed budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
Margery Mulvihill  is now recovering from her surgery and some unexpected complications she is having at:
  • Westmont Living/Retirement Community, 7442 N. Millbrook Ave. Suite 239, Fresno, CA 93710

She continues to appreciate your calls, emails and cards during this time of healing.
For this recurring feature in eNews, Doug Hoagland, a longtime Fresno Bee reporter, interviews members of our congregation so we can get to know each other better. New profiles run about once a month. In this edition, Janet Capella tells her story.

To read other Meet Our Members profiles,  visit our website.

Tell us about yourself:

I grew up near Fresno High, and my family went to First Congregational. In 1964, when I was a sophomore at Fresno High, I was one of about 5,000 people who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Fresno.

The ministers at First Congregational had made me aware of political issues, but I didn’t yet totally understand the national and international impact of Dr. King. But we went to the march as a youth group, and we just kept getting involved in social issues. We did a lot of work with farmworker kids in the South Valley.

Your activism continued as you got older:

In the summer of 1968, I went to Europe – it was a time of great unrest. In Paris, the blood of protesting students was still on the streets of the Left Bank. I’ll always remember that – it was chilling.

At Fresno State, I was involved in the anti-war movement, and I recently wrote an article about that time for the Community Alliance newspaper ( fresnoalliance.com, June 2020 ). In the early 1970s, I joined the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and I’m still active.

Tell us about your professional background:

I graduated from Fresno State with a degree in theater arts, and I’ve had a lot of jobs that centered around helping people. In the mid-1970s, I worked at Catholic Charities, helping resettle Vietnamese refugees who came here after the Vietnam War. I took big groups of men to factories trying to get them jobs. 

At the California Department of Rehabilitation, I also worked on job placement. Then in the mid-1980s, I worked as the lone assistant for Karen Humphrey, who was then on the Fresno City Council. (She was later elected mayor.) 

After that, I went to the Fresno County Public Library, where I ran the volunteer program and also worked in several branches. At the same time, I started substitute teaching, which led me to getting a credential. I taught for Fresno Unified for 20 years, mostly in middle schools.

Tell us about your family:

My daughter, Laurel Fawcett, lives in Oakland. She was baptized at CUCC when she was 12 along with my son, Josiah Maskaleris, who was a baby. Laurel lived in Fresno for a long time, working as a forest ranger. Josiah passed away in 2012, and his wife, Erica, died in 2013. I have a grandson, Shaylon Hovey, who’s 28, and a granddaughter, Citlalli Sanchez, who’s 20. I have two brothers, Bruce Morris in Sweden, and Randy Morris in Fresno. 

What do you find special about Community UCC?

Our congregation is not only enthusiastic about worship but also about mission and outreach, welcoming new members, helping one another, and visiting one another. This church has always built bridges into the community. It goes back to Henry Hayden (founding minister) building bridges to Martin Luther King. We’ve always called very socially conscious ministers who were in tune with the times. 

What brought you to Community UCC?

Over the years, I moved back and forth between Community and Big Red (First Congregational). For a time, we lived near CUCC, and we’d walk by, and Josiah would say, “Why don’t we go to this church?” I said, “I don’t know. That’s a good idea. Let’s go here.” At CUCC, I developed a stronger connection to Jesus when Helen Winkel and I, along with other women, would sit by the altar once a week to pray, drum, dance, and be together. We did it for years. 

What’s your vision for the church?

That we would add younger families and we would become even more involved in community issues. I also would like our church to join other UCC congregations that are welcoming and supportive of people who have mental illness. It’s called the WISE movement. (WISE stands for Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged.) Our Missions and Social Justice Team is working to bring WISE to the congregation.

I also would like our church to help people learn more about the Bible and to continue our study of racism and white privilege.

Tell us about your love for the Syrian family, the Soukis (Pastor Ara connected the family to church members) :

First, let me explain that my work with the Vietnamese in the 1970s led me to helping Hmong refugees in the 1980s. My parents encouraged us to be aware of other people who didn’t have as many advantages as we did.

I met the Soukis when they moved to Fresno from New York in 2019. I have become family with them. I go to their house and drink tea, and I have conversations with mom and dad, Mayssa and Taiseer, and with their six kids. We learn from each other about war, peace, education and what it means to love your neighbors. It’s a sacred time – sitting and sharing tea with them.

You have a special relationship with the Soukis’ oldest child, 18-year-old Sidra:

She just graduated from Fresno High and will start at Fresno City College in August. We’ve spent many hours on school work and figuring out things about her education. I advocated for her at Fresno High with her counselor. I love her very much. She wants to be a doctor, partly because of her experience in the Jordanian refugee camp where her family lived for three years after fleeing Syria because of the civil war. Sidra was extremely sick in Jordan and almost died. 

Is there anything else you’d like to say about the Soukis?

They’ve been searching for a home – a safe place to raise their children – since leaving Syria. When Taiseer and I talk about Sidra going to college, I ask him, “What about the other children?” He says, “One by one, they will go.” I find them very profound, and very much like my family of origin because of the love. 

What’s one thing about you that might surprise people?

I once worked as a lifeguard. And, I keep my financial papers in a ledger that my grandfather, Frank Morris, used. It still has blank pages.

How would classmates in high school have described you?

Friendly, studious, active in theater, played the cello.

Tell us about other interests:

I’m an artist and have been since I was young. From 2010 to 2020, I was part of Chris Sorensen’s studio near downtown Fresno. I’m now working on a national poster project for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. I also like to write and to garden. 
LAST CHANCE! Going, going wait you still have a chance to win some cool items

There’s still time to buy tickets for The Gifting Tree drawing, now scheduled during the Congregational Meeting on June 14 . The tree is filled with various gift cards valued at more than $400.

Tickets are $10 each, six for $50 or 13 for $100. 

All ticket money needs to be at the church by 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 13 . Checks should include the notation: Gifting Tree Raffle. Cash should include the same note plus the name of the purchaser. You can use the mail slot in the door of the church office or the U.S. mail. Tickets also can be purchased through Givelify, with a notation it’s for The Gifting Tree.

This is a fundraiser brought to you by the Missions and Social Justice Team. Tickets were sold in February and March, and the drawing was originally scheduled for March 15. The pandemic led to a postponement of the drawing.

Cards on the tree include:
  • $80 – Curves: Women’s Health & Fitness Club, two-month membership
  • $60 – Perfect Balance Yoga
  • $50 – Southwest Airlines
  • $50 – Olive Garden
  • $25/$25 – two gift cards for Alla’s Mediterranean Armenian Restaurant
  • $25 – Amazon
  • $25 – Regal Cinemas
  • $10/$10 – two Starbucks gift cards
  • $20 – Target
  • $20 – Panera
  • $20 – R&G Threading Bar
Pitman and Tidyman scholarships available

CUCC annually offers two scholarships: the Martha and Paul Pitman Scholarship and the Phyllis A. Tidyman Scholarship.

The Pitman Scholarship Fund – established in 1998 – supports the theological education of students preparing for ordained ministry and “in care” of the church.
Graduate students or re-entry students returning to school after a two-year absence are eligible if a seminary student doesn’t apply.

The Tidyman Scholarship Fund – established in 1999 by the Tidyman family –provides scholarships for church members.

The Pitmans and Mrs. Tidyman were longtime church members.

Completed applications are due in the church office by July 31.
Pledges are still welcomed!

It's not too late to submit your pledges for this year's Stewardship Campaign  – Four Great Loves. In our annual stewardship drive each spring, we ask church members and supporters what they will bring to the mission of the church for the following fiscal year, from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. Pledges received from our members helps our Finance Team develop a realistic budget for the coming year.

You can submit your answers online via these links to Google Forms:
Living the Questions

We are doing Living the Questions study at 10 a.m. Mondays via Zoom.

  • June 15: A video from Pete Enns, host of "The Bible for Normal People" podcast
  • June 22: Begin Richard Rohr's "The Wisdom Pattern."

Contact Robin if you need a link to the Zoom meeting (or check the email to church members that went out on Wednesday with Zoom links for this week).
Office hours for Pastor Julia

Office hours for our Pastor, Julia Penner-Zook, are Tuesday afternoons . If you’d like to chat with Julia by phone, please email or call Marilyn to have her set up a time for a call. Marilyn will organize this flow. If you have any questions, please contact Marilyn.
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  faithgrowth@communityucc.com.
In each week's eNews, we include a news article from our larger denomination,  United Church of Christ ,  to show the faithful work being done in other places.
Vandals invade peaceful protests in Cleveland; Church House escapes damage

Around the United States on Saturday, peaceful protests calling for justice in response to the death of George Floyd morphed into violent demonstrations against police in several cities, with rioters setting fires, looting businesses and destroying property in central business districts.

In Cleveland, home to the United Church of Christ National Setting, the chaos prompted the mayor to declare a state of civil emergency, under curfew, as law enforcement and national guard worked to restore order. On May 31, Pentecost Sunday morning, the UCC Church House was only one of two buildings in its neighborhood that stood unscathed. Continue reading at UCC.com to obtain link to register.
Happy Birthday to all who are celebrating this month!

June Birthdays
3 Penny Carroll
8 Clay Pressley
Virginia Virag
12 Sam Mahtab
13 Laurie Tidyman-Jones
16 Jacque Garcia
17 Sean Carlson
18 Annie Van Patten
22 Steve Reynolds, Ron Vivian
24 Jazmyn Wall

June Anniversaries
13 Helmut and Diana Kloos
18 Sharon Powers and Mike Smith

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.
Upcoming Church Events

  • We will resume listing in-person events after things get back to normal. For now, events have either been cancelled, will be rescheduled or will be held remotely.
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 (lisamboyles12@gmail.com, 559.244.9502) is the eNews editor and communications liaison for our church.
To help keep us all connected over the summer, since we still won't be seeing each other in person for now, we have decided NOT to go to our usual every-other-week summer eNews schedule.

Instead, Doug and Lisa will alternate the eNews production. So just send your announcements to both of them for newsletters from June to August.
We've updated our Joyful Giving page to reflect the many ways members can help support our Church's missions and operations, especially needed in these critical and uncertain times.

The Church and Office will remain closed for the time being, due to COVID-19.

Phone: 559.435.2690 
Email: office@communityucc.com