Community UCC eNews
Oct. 1, 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.
Communion Sunday
Worship — Zoom and

On Sunday, Oct. 4, Pastor Julia Penner-Zook will deliver a sermon about drawing the circle wide based on Exodus 20:1-4; 7-10; and 12-20.

Julia writes: "One of the songs we often sing on Sunday mornings is, 'Draw The Circle Wide.' Even if you aren’t familiar with the song, the title says it all. We will consider Exodus 20 on Sunday — a text often used to justify excluding people. The sermon, however, will head in the direction of drawing the circle wide."

The first Sunday of each month is Communion Sunday, so please have some bread and a small glass of wine or juice prepared, so we may celebrate Holy Communion together virtually. 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 upcoming worship services, we are doing Zoom meetings, so we can see each other's faces even as we are apart because of COVID-19.

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.

We will continue to provide 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. (We have switched from Facebook Live to YouTube to be accessible to more people.)
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 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.
Note from Robin

Thank you all for your prayers, cards, and healing words of comfort. I have felt your love wrapped around me. I am definitely feeling and doing better each day. Thank you for continued prayers of healing and strength.

The Kilburn kids show off the church's masks. They are, from left, Arthur, Abbie, Maddie, and Ellie.

CUCC masks are here and ready for you
The CUCC face masks are here, and they look great!

The masks are ready to be distributed now. It would really help the church save a little money on special envelopes and postage if you could drop by the church office to pick up your masks.

Marilyn will be in the office Mondays through Thursdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Please be sure to wear a face mask when entering the office, and, if someone is there before you, please wait outside until the coast is clear.

Those masks not picked up by Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 2 p.m., will be mailed out the following day.
We will ensure that the 41 face masks purchased for donation to the Poverello House and to others in need are distributed this week.  
Thank you for your donation!  

So far, 144 face masks have been sold.  We have six black “All Are Welcome” masks left at $10 each.  Just call Marilyn and let her know that you want one.

Thanks for your help in supporting the church with this fundraiser!  We have made a profit of $319. If we sell the remaining six masks, we will have made a profit of $379.

Wear your masks with joy and please stay healthy! 
Millennial/Xennial Happy Hour 

Grab your drink of choice and join us on Zoom. Let’s chat, laugh and just have a good time, social distancing style! 

Our first Happy Hour is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 2. Contact Felicia for more info:
Next Church Council meeting

The next meeting of the church leadership council is at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, via Zoom. All council meetings are open to the congregation. If you wish to attend a meeting, please reach out to Felicia at and she will get you connected. 
"White Fragility" testimonials

CUCC members recently read "White Fragility" and discussed the book in weekly Zoom meetings. In their own words, some of those folks tell what they learned. Click here to watch the video.
Upcoming informational meeting for new members

Whether you found us on the web, heard about us from a friend or noticed us because you live in the neighborhood, we are happy to have you here. 

If you have questions about the church and its ministry, please contact our church office (by phone at 559.435.2690 or email at, and our administrative assistant, Marilyn, will connect you with someone who can help you learn more about our church.

Our next informational meeting for potential new members will be held at noon on Sunday, Oct. 18, right after worship. 

At this meeting, we'll respond to your questions, talk about our church history and vision, and outline how members can contribute to the life of our congregation. The new member meeting is organized by the Extravagant Welcome Team which is currently organized by Donna Wright.

Following participation at this meeting (which will be held virtually this time), all who wish to become more closely connected with the congregation will have the opportunity to become members at a service later this fall.
Remembering those we miss on All Saints' Day

We will honor All Saints' Day together during our worship on Sunday, Nov. 1.
The Christian celebration of All Saints' Day stems from a belief that there is a powerful spiritual bond between those in heaven and the living.

During that service we will remember those in our lives who have passed. To help us prepare for this special remembrance, you can participate in the following ways:

  • Send a horizontal photo — either a memory with you and your loved one or a picture you take of a special shrine (like the photo above, remembering Lisa's brother) — and the name of your loved one to Lisa Bell, at Lisa will combine these photos and names into a slideshow that we will play during our worship on Nov. 1. Deadline for submissions is Monday, Oct. 26.
  • If you need special assistance with this, feel free to reach out to Lisa before Friday, Oct. 16 — 559.244.9502.

We hope you will join us for this meaningful worship experience.
Join in Get Out
The Vote

Would you like to encourage new voters or infrequent voters to go to the polls in the upcoming election? Please join members of the Missions and Social Justice Team in participating in a phone bank organized by Faith in the Valley. 

  • The dates: Oct. 7, 14, 21 and 28.
  • Time: 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Phone bankers will not ask voters to support or oppose any candidate or proposition. The goal is to encourage people to exercise their right to vote.

If you're interested, please contact Elizabeth Davis-Russell at or 559.862.6914.
CUCC will host local NAACP president

The Missions and Social Justice Team will host a Zoom conversation about racism with Leroy Candler, president of the Fresno chapter of the NAACP. The conversation is scheduled from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12.

Please join us as we learn more about systemic racism and what we can do as
individuals, and as a church, to move our community and nation toward equality
and social justice.

If you plan to attend, please email Elizabeth Davis-Russell, We hope to see you on Oct. 12.
Pockets of Belonging
by Pastor Julia Penner-Zook

Every garment needs a pocket. I’ve had plenty of pocketless clothes over the years, and each one is an annoyance. There’s no place to put your stuff — everything from your keys to your phone to things that give you confidence to a throat lozenge and on and on. 

Even though a piece of clothing is completely wearable without pockets, a pocket transforms it from simply providing cover for one’s body to being so functional it may become one of your favorite things to wear. 

Pockets of belonging are like that. Do we feel equally comfortable in every environment? Does each situation offer enough security to feel we can relax? No. That won’t happen, even though many spaces may be reasonably “safe.”

But when you find yourself in surroundings where you can relax, where you know you’re safe, where you don’t have to defend yourself, where you feel accepted no matter what, you’ve found a pocket of belonging.

Hopefully we all have at least one pocket of belonging in our life — one place where we can be 100% accepted for who we are. 
We all need a sense of belonging! Finding a pocket of belonging is transformative. Whom can you, as an individual or family, offer a pocket of belonging? Whom can we as a church offer this unconditional place of acceptance? 

Photo Credit: Steshka Willems via (open source)
Adult Education

Adult Education via Zoom is at 9 a.m. Sundays. Ann Scott will send Zoom links to those who have been participating. Here is the new schedule:

Women's Book Discussion Group

Sharon will lead next week's Women's Book Discussion Group while Robin is dealing with a medical issue.

Upcoming Reading Assignments:
  • Oct. 6: Grounding – They Symbol Functions
  • Oct. 13: The Dawn of Feminine Spiritual Consciousness – The Dance of Dissidence
  • Oct. 20: Empowerment – The Story

Continue to keep Robin in our prayers.
Sept. 27 guest sermon by EJ Hinojosa

Last week our music director EJ delivered a sermon titled “Staying Focused" inspired by Philippians 2:1-13. Click here to watch his sermon.
"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.

“We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.”
—Maya Angelou, poet
Office hours for Pastor Julia
Julia wants to connect with folks even though she's not in the church office regularly. If you'd like to chat, please text or email her at to set up a time. She is available Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday for appointments. She can talk by phone or Zoom, whatever works best for you.
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 You can also submit prayer request 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.
UCC National Setting mourns passing of
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The national staff of the United Church of Christ has issued a statement mourning the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The second woman to serve on the high court and a warrior for gender equality died Sept. 18 at her home in Washington, D.C. from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. She was 87. 

We speak with one voice on the passing of a woman of courage, of integrity, and of the highest order of jurisprudence. Continue reading at
Robert Costa ‘returns’ to discuss 2020 election in virtual President’s Lecture Series

Robert Costa, a national political reporter with The Washington Post and moderator and managing editor for PBS’s “Washington Week,” said “Fresno, California is a hotspot on the political map this year.” Costa will be the featured speaker for a first-ever virtual version of the President’s Lecture Series at Fresno State, less than a month before the 2020 presidential election. The President’s Lecture with Costa is scheduled from 6 to 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8. It’s free to participate, by visiting Zoom at the time of the event. Read more at
Happy Birthday to all who are celebrating this month!

October Birthdays

1 David Contreras and Jess Garcia
2 Lauren Booker
3 Adrian Ramirez and Nayele Wall
5 Joe Mack
6 Dena Reynolds
8 Cristi Newport and Chad Hayden
12 Sarah LeBeau
25 Nancy Pressley and Dru Ramirez
27 Debra Westhaver-Church
28 Nanete Maki-Dearsan and Boone Watkins
31 Lynn Samuelian, Maddie Kilburn, and Claire and William Knapp

October Anniversaries

2 Lynn Samuelian and Ruben Fernandez
6 Charlene Toews and Michael Dillahunty
8 Annie and Jack Van Patten
26 Kelli and Alan Chaffin

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.
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 Lisa Boyles Bell (, 559.244.9502) is the volunteer communications liaison for our church.

Lisa and Doug Hoagland ( alternate working on eNews. Send your announcements to both of them. Emails: and
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.

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

Phone: 559.435.2690