Community UCC eNews
Nov. 19, 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.


Virtual worship for now. 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

On Sunday, Nov. 22, Pastor Julia will give a sermon titled “An Old, Old Resumé: I Will from the I AM," based on the scripture Ezekiel 34:11-16; 20-24. See below for how we "do church" now.
Worship on YouTube begins at 10:30 a.m.

Thursday evening worship is canceled until further notice.
Instructions for Zoom worship

For now, we will continue to provide worship live on our YouTube channel (bit.ly/cuccyoutube) 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 Wednesday in a separate email just to church members. Look for "Zoom links" in that email subject line.
This week: Journey Into Advent

Journey Into Advent is from 7-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20. This evening of meditation, music, and journaling will help usher us into this annual time of waiting and reflection before Christmas. If you haven’t pre-registered and would still like to join us, please let Pastor Julia know; she can still send you the Zoom link. 
Early eNews deadline/publication for Thanksgiving week

Next week, eNews will publish on Wednesday, Nov. 25, the day before Thanskgiving. To accommodate this, the deadline for all content will be due by 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24. Also that week, a special e-blast will go out on Friday, Nov. 27 (Black Friday) to describe how this year’s Advent Projects will work — what organizations we will be helping, how we can give and when the deadlines are.

Also, the church office will be closed Thursday and Friday next week for Thanksgiving and the day after, Nov. 26-27.
Celebration of Life for Georgeann Mason

We will gather and remember the life of Georgeann Mason at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, in Robinson Park, right next to the church. We surround Georgeann's wife, Marge Kelly, with our love and prayers.

Like the Tower Quartet event, those who attend must wear masks, maintain social distancing and bring their own chairs.

A service had been planned in March for Georgeann, who passed away on Feb. 28, but it had to be postponed due to COVID-19 precautions and the statewide shelter-in-place order.
Be part of Hanging of the Greens on Dec. 6

We have a change of plans for our Dec. 6 Hanging of the Greens service. We are withdrawing our request for videos of your Christmas tradition. Instead, we are asking instead for volunteers, adults or children, to read during worship that day. We will tell the meaning of our Hanging of the Greens traditions and will use photos of those things that you might have in your homes. Examples would be wreaths, angels, or Christmas trees.

Please contact Nancy Pressley no later than Monday, Nov. 30, for more details and if you would like to participate. Nancy's email is npressley1944@gmail.com.
Adult Education

Adult Education will begin discussing the Richard Rohr daily meditations and summary from 9-10 a.m. Sundays via Zoom. Please register for the meditations at the Center for Action and Contemplation: cac.org. For Nov. 22, please read the daily meditations from Nov. 16-21 and summary from Nov. 22.  
 Women's Book Discussion Group

The Women's Book Discussion Group will continue reading Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24,

As we enter what can be a busy time of year for many, we will shorten our meetings a little for this book study, meeting from 6-7 p.m. each week, instead of 90 minutes. Discussions will be led by members of the group, as Robin continues to heal. Pastor Julia will send out the Zoom link each week to participants.

If you have never attended before and are interested in participating, contact Robin to be added to the email list.
Roger Wall wins quilt raffle!

Congratulations to Roger Wall, the winner of the Postcards from Hawaii quilt and accompanying treats. Thank you to everyone who supported this fundraiser for the church. The raffle raised $520 for church operations.

For December, instead of a raffle, we will focus our giving efforts on our Advent Projects. Details of this will be announced in a special e-blast next week on Nov. 27 — Black Friday. Fundraisers for church operations will resume in the new year.
Tonic for the Soul
by Pastor Julia Penner-Zook
“This 4pm darkness + quarantine + winter feels like it might be brutal on the psyche.”
 ~ DeRay McKesson @deray

I read this Twitter statement of vulnerable honesty a few days ago. While our climate and position on the map give us a little more sunlight despite the approaching winter solstice, we are deeply impacted by our purple (COVID tier) designation. Winter is sure to follow!

A few weeks ago we heard four inspiring stories from our own members who shared what this time of isolation has meant for them. 

We all have stories, and as this situation wears on and we wear down, we look for ways to help us clear the next hurdle: the holidays!

Holiday traditions can be enjoyed, even if adapted. Research shows that those who choose to lean into stressful events rather than shy away from them find more joy along the way. David Robson writes in The Guardian: “People who see stressful events as ‘challenges,’ with an opportunity to learn and adapt, tend to cope much better than those who focus more on the threatening aspects...” Robson points out that we can choose 'active coping' — such as setting up a proper office at home, scheduling home-schooling times for the children, and making sure to eat well, sleep well, and exercise.” 

Of course, denial or toxic positivity can do more harm than good. Robson cautions that we dare not “sugar-coat
Photo Credit: Aditya Joshi via unsplash.com

the situation or deny the difficulties that we will face; we can’t hide from the shadow cast by the pandemic.” 

Indeed we cannot! And we don’t advocate for that. When the load becomes heavy — and it does for each of us — we reach out for a helping hand, a listening ear, and an open heart. Each of us can be there for someone, validating their pain and fear. 

We can also invite others into our sacred space — whether on Sundays or around a Zoom coffee time. We can avail ourselves of opportunities to reflect and refocus, like this Friday evening’s Journey Into Advent. 

Friends responded to Mr. McKesson’s tweet with things that have worked for them. One respondent urged: “lean in hard to things like soup, tea, candles, slippers.” I would add, read uplifting poetry, search out the Advent and Christmas story of Luke’s Gospel, tune in to Christmas music, dance and sing. Join us during these weeks as we celebrate this season of thanks, waiting, and joy together. And we may find that... 
Honesty + compassion + connection 
feels like it might be a tonic for the soul.
Photos by Roger Wall

The Tower Quartet

Last weekend, we experienced a beautiful evening, listening to wonderful music performed by The Tower Quartet. We got to see our church friends in person — masked and socially distanced.

About 22 people attended this event, our first time together in person since March.
The Tower Quartet's music can be viewed on their YouTube channel. Many thanks to EJ for arranging this special treat!
Limited office hours have resumed

Marilyn is now in the office part of each week for limited office hours. Generally she will be there from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays (but see note above regarding closure Thanksgiving week), but please call before stopping by (559.435.2690), both to ensure that she is there (her hours may be a little flexible) and to limit the number of people in the office at one time for social distancing. If you plan to stop by, please wear a mask or facial covering.
Office hours for Pastor Julia
Next week Pastor Julia will be in the office Wednesday morning. Please feel free to call or text her or Marilyn to let them know you'd like to come in -- masks and physical distancing are important. She’s still available for phone or Zoom appointments on Mondays and Wednesdays, so please don’t hesitate to text or e-mail her at j.penner.zook@gmail.com
Nov. 15 guest sermon: 'Hearing the Holy Spirit Like Little Children'

Last Sunday, member Chad Hayden delivered a guest sermon titled "Hearing the Holy Spirit Like Little Children," based on John 14:15-26. Click here to watch the sermon.
Julia's story
Here are Julia and Rod in the 1980s during their seminary years. We have produced a video that traces Julia's journey from the Canadian prairie to the pastorate at CUCC. The video begins with Amy telling about our church and ends with EJ's music. Click here to watch it. It's being broadcast in Fresno by the Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC).
Let me start first of all, by thanking you so much for the two lovely masks that appeared in our mailbox recently. What a surprise and such a tangible reminder of you dear folks at CUCC. Thank you for your generosity. 

Time has moved on and it is nearly a year ago now since we spent the Journey into Advent weekend with you. We are still moved and grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know so many of you at that time. Now with Covid, we have been blessed and inspired by your Sunday morning Zoom services which we’ve attended when possible. 

We wish you health, safety and endurance as this challenging time wears on, as well as a continued sense of calling and vision both individually and collectively. We keep up with what is transpiring in the congregation through Julia and Rod and keep you in our prayers.
With our love and continued prayers
Jenny & Rennie Regehr
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  j.penner.zook@gmail.com. You can also submit prayer request via our web page at communityucc-fresno.org/worship/prayer-requests/.
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.
Virtual ‘Nollau To You’ seminar creates renewed approach to ministry

Developing personal purpose statements, examining similarities and differences between personal and organizational core values, taking time to focus on one’s ministry: these were just some of the many benefits cited by attendees of a recent Nollau To You serving leader seminar. The one-day virtual Council of Health & Human Services Ministries United Church of Christ (CHHSM) event, held Oct. 28, was sponsored by the UCC’s Heartland Conference and open to employees of UCC Designated Ministries and staff of congregations within the conference. The seminar also was supported by a Heartland Conference grant.

“We’re Covenantal Partners with CHHSM, and for that covenant to take meaningful shape, it needs lived expressions,” said the Rev. David Long-Higgins, conference minister. “Nollau to You supports leadership development and fits the shared mission that we have.” Continue reading at UCC.com.
News from the Interfaith Alliance
of Central California

From the Rev. Dr. Norman Broadbent:
Friends and partners in ministry,

The Interfaith Alliance of Central California is offering its 16th annual Community Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22. Due to current community health concerns, we are offering this via Zoom. At this very special time, reflecting on Giving Thanks in Difficult Times, it is our contribution in offering a means for people of our Fresno region (and even beyond) to engage meaningfully in the blessings we already share, as well as to embrace by both lament and joy a recognition of what we might yet strive to become. Therein rests this year's Thanksgiving theme.

A LOVE offering will be taken to support our community. Donate Online:

Meeting ID: 816 9869 5800
Passcode: 890887

In other news, the Interfaith Alliance of Central California will be a recipient of the 2020 Spirit of Abraham Awards, presented by the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno. The annual prize goes “to groups and/or individuals who significantly contribute towards enhancing the understanding of Islam and Muslims as well as creating more harmonious relationships between faiths.” Norman will accept the award on behalf of the Alliance during a ceremony on Zoom at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5.
Happy Birthday to all who are celebrating this month!

November Birthdays

— Terry Cole
— Meg Gallagher
— Lisa Boyles Bell
10— Felicia Rocha
13 — Shelia Earl
17 — Laurie Labbitt
18 — Margery Mulvihill, Vivienne Barrett, Sarah Hayden
19 — Janice Perrigo
21 — Doug Hoagland
22 — Tony Fazio
24 — John Donaldson, Eileen White
27 — Jordan Ruffin
30 — Carol Kilburn

November Anniversaries

— Myra and Tim Coble
17  Laurie Labbitt and Ron Perry
20  Roger and Vicky Wall, celebrating 50 years!

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 virtually.
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 Bell (lisamboyles12@gmail.com, 559.244.9502) is the volunteer communications liaison for our church.

Lisa and Doug Hoagland (doughoagland@att.net) alternate working on eNews. Send your announcements to both of them. Emails: lisamboyles12@gmail.com and doughoagland@att.net
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
Email: office@communityucc.com