Community UCC eNews
March 11, 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 (
Make sure to set your clocks ahead before going to bed on Saturday. Daylight Savings Time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday.

Join us for worship this Sunday, March 14.
Robin Carlson will deliver a sermon titled "Jesus and Women" inspired by Mark 12: 41-44; Mark 14: 3-9; Luke 10:38-42.
Sunday worship onYouTube begins at 10:30 a.m.
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 worship services go out each Friday in a separate email just to church members. Look for "Zoom links" in that email subject line. If you would like to receive the Zoom links to participate in the Sunday service in a more interactive way, please contact the church office or let Lisa know.
No evening worship
on March 15

Monday evening worship will not be held on March 15 but will resume on Zoom at 7 p.m. Monday, March 22. If you have questions or would like a Zoom link, contact Robin at
Week 7 update on our campaign progress!

Since launching our campaign in January, we have raised $12,950 — 86% of the way toward our goal! We need $2,050 more to reach 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.

You can read more about how this capital campaign will help our church grow on our church homepage.
The perfect thing for your Easter table
Just in time for your Easter dinner!

The Missions and Social Justice Team is selling tickets to win a $50 gift certificate from The HoneyBaked Ham Co. in Fresno.

In addition to ham, the store sells turkey and pork ribs. 

The gift certificate will come in a nice gift basket that also will include a homemade pie from Rod Zook.

Tickets are $5 each.
This is a fundraiser, and proceeds will go to the church’s operating budget.

Tickets are now on sale, and you can buy them through Givelify or by sending a check to the church.

Please designate this is for the Missions’ gift basket.

A drawing will be held at the Sunday service on March 28 (Palm Sunday) to pick the winner.

Can’t We Get Back to Normal? 
by Pastor Julia Penner-Zook

It’s been a year since we were confronted with a deadly virus requiring us to lock down, pivot quickly, and adopt a comprehensive mission to help stop the spread of this invisible threat.

The experiences of this year have driven us to become nearly obsessed with masks, distancing, hand washing, and weighing the necessity of each trip outside of the house.

We’ve been alone for critical life events: births, deaths, graduations, weddings, and birthdays.

We’ve foregone concerts, art galleries, and movie theaters. Many haven’t even eaten inside a restaurant.

Our lives have been upended, and we carry the toll in our bodies and psyches. 

With the acceleration of the vaccination process and an uptick in fully-vaccinated persons in our community, what we’re hearing more loudly is, “Can’t we get back to normal?” 

Exactly what is normal and can we assume that the reality we describe with this word is
1) attainable, or 2) desirable? 

When we use the word, normal, we may mean being able to participate fully in all aspects of life that nurture us in the way that we choose without external guidelines and limitations.

And yet, our world has changed fundamentally over the past 13 months.
Photo Credit: Sorapong Chaipanya via (open source)

Some changes were long overdue while others have caused deep pain. If we think about the church, what we once considered routine and normal may be changed forever.

Is that an invigorating thought, or does that feel threatening? 

We have grown accustomed to the ease with which we can meet, talk, and participate in events without needing to be anywhere specific, except in front of our devices with sufficient bandwidth.

Will everyone be anxious to meet in person and pick up where we left off, or do we collectively have different needs now? Is what we offer relevant in our extremely polarized culture?

What will it take to heal the loss and depression, and address the professional challenges and strain that this upheaval has placed on us? 

Jesus epitomized a lifestyle of being with people — sharing space with them. What does it mean to share space with people now? 

I invite you to ponder and talk about this in the coming weeks and months.
Women's Book Discussion Group
resumes Tuesday

The Women's Book Discussion Group will start a new book "There There" by Tommy Orange at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 16. Please read the prologue through Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield before the first gathering. The group will take five to six weeks to discuss the book. If you have questions or need a Zoom link, please contact Sharon Powers at
Lenten Series on lament concludes next Wednesday

We will continue our four-part Lenten Series on lament at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 17, on Zoom. Next week, Donna Wright will share her journey after receiving a difficult diagnosis.

Everyone's story is unique, and you will likely hear methods of dealing with a diagnosis you've not considered before.

There may be accompanying poetry, music, art, Scripture, and times for quiet reflection and journaling. A journaling booklet can be requested from the office, or you can use your own journal.

A link will be sent out along with all weekly links.
Book study begins March 21 on mental health challenges

A new book study group will begin meeting at noon Sunday, March 21, to discuss "Blessed Are The Crazy" by Sarah Griffith Lund. This is part of CUCC's preparation for becoming a WISE — Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive and Engaged — congregation to all persons who experience mental health challenges.

WISE is an initiative of the United Church of Christ.

About the book: When do you learn that “normal” doesn’t include lots of yelling, lots of sleeping, lots of beating? In "Blessed Are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence About Mental Health, Family and Church," Sarah Griffith Lund looks back at her father’s bipolar disorder, and the helpless sense of deja vu as her brother and cousin endure mental illness, as well.

"Blessed Are the Crazy" is more than a memoir — it’s a resource for churches and other faith-based groups to provide healing and comfort.

About the author: Sarah Griffith Lund, an ordained minister, serves as vice chair for the UCC Mental Health Network.

If you have questions or want to receive Zoom links for the study, please contact Kathy Lukan at or Elizabeth Davis-Russell at
Adult Education meets Mondays

Adult Education meets from 9-10 a.m. Mondays. 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 taking a break

The Men's Book Discussion Group has finished "Inspired" by Rachel Held Evans. The group will take a break and resume in the future.

Please contact Rod Zook at if you're interested in participating.
Wanted: Candy donations for Sunday school kids

The Faith Education Team asks again for the congregation to donate Easter candy for the children in our Sunday School. The candy needs to be wrapped and be without peanuts.

Please drop off donations at the church office by Monday, March 22. Your help is greatly appreciated. If you have questions, contact Eileen White at 559.251.3357 or
Marilyn's office hours at church

Marilyn is 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.
Contacting Pastor Julia at church

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

Robin on vacation next week

Robin will be on vacation from March 15-21. She will return on March 22. 
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
Rod Zook helping community explore work of America's first Native American Poet Laureate

Rod Zook will help lead a community discussion of Joy Harjo’s new volume of poems – “An American Sunrise” – as part of the Fresno County Public Library’s The Big Read 2021. Harjo is the current Poet Laureate of the United States, and she is the first Native American to hold that position.

The online discussions are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, March 20, and 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 24. Rod will facilitate with a colleague from the Woodward Park Library.

For more information click here. (Scroll down until you find Fresno County Public Library Book Discussions Schedule. Look for the Woodward Park Library. A link to Rod's events will soon be provided at that website.)
Interfaith Scholar event continues March 15
The Interfaith Scholar event continues at 4 p.m. on Monday, March 15. All sessions are virtual and free.
On March 15, Dr. Veena Howard, professor of Asian Religions and coordinator of Peace and Conflict Studies at Fresno State, will offer a Hindu perspective on chapters 6 and 7 from “Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lessons for Our Own” by Eddie S. Glaude Jr. 

Other participants will be:
  • Darren Duerksen, Ph.D., associate professor of Intercultural and Religious Studies at Fresno Pacific University, offering an Evangelical-Anabaptist Christian perspective.
  • Rev. Akiko Miyake-Stoner, senior pastor United Japanese Christian Church in Clovis, offering a UCC Christian perspective. 

The topic of this year's Interfaith Scholar event is "Bearing Witness from Fresno's Mason-Dixon Line." The event will conclude on March 22.

You can join via Fresno City College’s Facebook page where you will see the Livestream option. Click here for that page.
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.

Helping people grieve over damage to the planet is a special contribution the church can make in the environmental movement.

That was just one of the messages from the Rev. Jim Antalclimate activist and author, in a March 2 webinar, “The State of Creation.”

Offered on Zoom, the one-hour program was part of the United Church of Christ’s State-of-the-Union-inspired series, “The State of the Matter.” 

A recording of the program is available here, at the UCC YouTube channel. Click Continue reading at to read the rest of the article.
Happy Birthday to all who are celebrating this month!

March Birthdays

4 Dala Ramirez
6 Kristi Cole
8  Emma Haring
9  Ashlyn Chaffin and Olivia LeBeau
14 Lynette Mulvihill
15  Jack Van Patten
16  Marie Edwards and Benjamin Williams
17  Michael Dillahunty
23  David Rocha
24  Pam Mighaccio and Lu Parks
25  Sophie Gilbert
27  Carol Dailey, Kate Hayden and Debbie Schroer
30  Jerry Thompson

March Anniversaries

19 Carol and Bill Dailey
26 Penny and Tom Carroll
31  Carolyn and Al Evans

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.

Due to COVID-19, worship will remain virtual for now. Limited office hours have resumed.

Phone: 559.435.2690