Community UCC eNews
March 18, 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, March 21. Pastor Julia Penner-Zook will deliver the sermon.

She writes: "The Lenten season has warmed us like a blanket, soothing us after this past year’s icy losses. When we’ve felt every possible emotion in response to pain, the holy opportunity to grieve has been welcome.

"We continue this Sunday the exploration of how Jesus dealt with the human experience and will be invited to think through grief looking at excerpts from John’s Gospel, the 11th chapter."
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.
Monday evening worship
resumes on March 22

Robin is back from vacation, and evening worship resumes on Zoom at 7 p.m. Monday, March 22. If you have questions or would like a Zoom link, contact Robin at
Week 8 update on our campaign progress!

Since launching our campaign in January, we have raised $13,550 — 90% of the way toward our goal! We need $1,450 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.
Maundy Thursday
Virtual Maundy Thursday
soup supper scheduled

The Fellowship Team invites everyone to a virtual soup and bread meal on Maundy Thursday, April 1. All you will need is your soup, bread and a Zoom link, which will be sent later. Time will be determined and announced. 
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.
Takeoff, Re-entry, Landing
by Pastor Julia Penner-Zook
Much has changed since NASA’s first space mission launched the Mercury Freedom 7 spacecraft on May 5, 1961.

Diligent work, protocols created and meticulously followed, and laser focus have gone into multiple ventures over decades. At this point a decreasing number of people can even remember a time before space travel. 

The landscape of NASA space travel was forever marred through Challenger’s takeoff disaster in 1986, Columbia’s disintegration in the approach for landing in 2003, and the fire that engulfed and killed three astronauts aboard Apollo 1 during an orbital test in 1967.

Every space mission is surrounded by intrigue and laced with danger. Years of research have highlighted the unique risk for crew and craft during takeoff and re-entry due to the dramatic external changes that occur when leaving and returning to earth’s atmosphere. 

NASA evidences a remarkable track record in every aspect, albeit not flawless. In reviewing what went wrong during the Columbia mission, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) reported factors that contributed to the disaster:

• “safety issues being minimized over the years. 
• reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.
• organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information."
Our church was catapulted into a mission and set onto a trajectory we were not expecting one year ago.

Pivoting, assessing our takeoff, and recalibrating for the duration of the mission became our immediate focus.

Now we’re anticipating re-entry and landing after this unusual mission. More specifically: we want to come back into “earth’s atmosphere” to meet in person. 

Even though we could not be adequately prepared for takeoff, we can prepare for re-entry and landing. 

If we heed the counsel which the CAIB raised in its post-mission analysis, we will:
• take seriously the issues that have surfaced over the past year. 
• avoid the danger of allowing past success to eclipse sound ministry practices.
• assess whether we, too, have organizational barriers preventing effective communication. 

Cultivating a meaningful and life-changing ministry never happens in a vacuum.

A strong sense of mission, a growing understanding of our community, continued prayer, and respectful dialogue in decision-making are indispensable components for this to take place. 

This is a task we must embrace together. I value your partnership and input.
Something new: Click on the triangle to hear Pastor Julia deliver her message.
Women's Book Discussion Group

The Women's Book Discussion Group meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 23, to reflect on "There There" by Tommy Orange. The group will take five to six weeks to discuss the book. If you have questions or need a Zoom link, please contact Robin at
Book study on mental health challenges

A new book study group is meeting at noon on Sundays to discuss "Blessed Are The Crazy" by Sarah Griffith Lund. For Sunday, March 21, please read the foreword, the preface and Chapter 1.

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.

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.
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
Last Sunday, Robin delivered a sermon titled "Jesus And Women" inspired by Mark 12: 41-44; Mark 14: 3-9; and Luke 10: 38-42. Click on the triangle above to listen to the sermon.
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
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:
  • 2-3 p.m. Saturday, March 20. Click here to register.
  • 7-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 24. Click here to register.

Rod will facilitate with a colleague from the Woodward Park Library.

The ebook, as well as the audio book of "An American Sunrise," are available with a library card. You can get a card by calling the library at 559.600.7323.
Interfaith Scholar event concludes Monday
This year's Interfaith Scholar event concludes at 4 p.m. Monday, March 22. A closing roundtable discussion will feature three guest scholars and four interfaith speakers who will reflect on lessons learned and urgent questions needed to call forth a new America in our communities. The topic of this year's Interfaith Scholar event has been "Bearing Witness from Fresno's Mason-Dixon Line."

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.
Colorado church named a ‘Cool Congregation’
for planning its way to reduce energy use

The COVID-19 pandemic put church projects on pause in many places. But a United Church of Christ congregation in Colorado used the time to reduce its carbon footprint – and won a national award for the work.

First Plymouth Congregational Church UCC in Englewood took the Interfaith Power & Light Cool Congregations challenge. One of five national winners, the church claimed the organization’s annual planning award for prioritizing energy efficiency and sustainability.

The congregation will collect $1,000 for its collaborative environmental study that led to the replacement of all the lighting in the building with LED technology. 
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