Community UCC eNews
Oct. 22, 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, Oct. 25, several members of our congregation will share their "Word from the Congregation" during the sermon portion of worship. Our scripture for God is Still Speaking is excerpts from Psalm 90. 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 ( 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.
Aloha, folks at CUCC! Check out this quilt!

A Hawaiian-themed award-winning quilt – featuring floral designs and depictions of classic beach scenes – is the centerpiece of a raffle put together by the Finance Team. Proceeds will go the church’s general fund.

Seventy postcard-size rectangles depicting tropical flowers fill one side of the 60-inch by 66-inch quilt. The other side is a montage of Woodie station wagons from the 1960s, palm trees, beach shacks, and surf boards. The quilt will fit a twin bed or can serve as a topper for full and queen size beds.

Local quilter Becci Zaninovich donated the quilt for the raffle. Becci won a second-place ribbon at the Big Fresno Fair for the quilt.

In addition to the quilt, the Finance Team is including a bottle of Malibu Caribbean Rum, dry roasted macadamia nuts, a Coastal Cocktail Mixer collection in a cardboard Woodie, and Air Wick's Hawaii Essential Oils with electric diffuser.

Tickets are $10 each and the drawing will be held on Sunday, Nov. 15.
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:

We want to see and share your Halloween costume photos!

With Halloween looking different this year, Faith Education wants to see everyone's costumes, kids and adults!

Please share your photos with us for a slide show that we will share on our social media platforms. Email photos to Karri @ by Nov. 1.

By submitting photos of you or your children for this project, you are consenting to the photos being shared on our public social media channels.
Join in to help 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. 

  • One date remaining: Oct. 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.
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! 6:30 p.m. Friday Oct. 30. Contact Felicia for more info:
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.

We hope you will join us for this meaningful worship experience.
 Women's Book Discussion Group

The Women's Book Discussion Group will take the next two Tuesdays off, then start a new book study at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, reading Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." For the first week, which will be led by Sharon Powers, please read the first six chapters of the book.

From GoodReads: Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local "powhitetrash." At 8 years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age — and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors ("I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare") will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.

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 Pastor Julia to be added to the email list.
Helping feed the children of Fresno

CUCC members and friends have an opportunity in November to help distribute food at Fresno Unified schools from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13. Some members of the Missions and Social Justice Team are signed up to help on that date.

Every Neighborhood Partnership, a faith-based nonprofit in Fresno, has organized churches and organizations to help with this effort. Distributions are drive-by so there is limited contact, organizers say.

If you have questions or want to volunteer, please contact Elizabeth Davis-Russell at or 559.862.6914
Grab Your Things and Come With Me
by Pastor Julia Penner-Zook

The message of one of Dr. Bertice Berry’s daily videos from a few months back has stayed with me. Dr. Berry tells a story of two business colleagues who were to catch the last flight from Atlanta to Boston on a Friday night. Then came the dreaded pilot’s announcement: the plane’s check engine light was on, and the flight would be canceled. 

What now? They were stuck! 

One of them was frustrated; the other said, “Grab your things and come with me.” 

Why? Where were they going? The decisive colleague negotiated a change to their tickets, allowing them to fly to New York that night.

“Why would we want to go to New York,” demanded the one who was dragged to the next flight. 

“Once we get to New York there are many ways to get to Boston. Tonight there is only one way from Atlanta to Boston and that way is blocked.” 

What the innovative colleague knew was that “as long as you keep moving in the general direction of where you want to go, you will eventually get there.” 

This is a profound story on so many levels. Are we allowing the check engine light to dictate how long we remain in the same place? Will the malfunction of a machine (i.e. some force) keep us immobile? 

Where is each of us headed personally? Where are we headed as a church community? We’re all living with the “check engine light” of Covid-19; for others, the check engine light of health
Photo credit; Yeray Sánchez via (open source)

issues, loss of a job, relational challenges is blinking. 

These two colleagues knew exactly where they were headed when they were confronted with a roadblock. Had their destination been vague, they could not have embarked on an alternate route. 

What is your personal goal? Is it connecting with more people by phone? Making changes to your lifestyle? Finding ways to help someone else? Finding a way to stay hope-filled?

What is an urgent goal for us as a church? Is it finding ways to feel more connected? To get the message we are passionate about out to the community? To make our times together more meaningful? 

If we have multiple destinations (goals), we may do well to choose one that is workable for now! If we are eminently clear on where we are headed, we can look at what (alternative) ways we have to get there, given the confusing snafus confronting us. 

Come on! Grab your things and let’s find the best route to head us “in the general direction.”
A Note About Robin

From Pastor Julia: Please keep Robin in your prayers as her doctor has prescribed new medication and rest for the coming weeks. Please continue to remember her with cards, letting her know how much she means to us all.
Oct. 18 sermon by Pastor Julia

Last week Pastor Julia delivered a sermon titled "Smooth Talker," inspired by Matthew 22:15-21. Julia writes: "We are bombarded with words, images, sounds, impressions and opinions. They are everywhere! Beware of smooth talkers! Take just a few minutes to step back when you interact with those who smile and give you disingenuous messages about who they are, and who they perceive you to be. Always weigh questions about the right and wrong, politics and faith carefully. Click here to watch her sermon.
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.
Office hours for Pastor Julia

Pastor Julia will be in the office Tuesday mornings. If you’d like to meet her in person — masked and keeping a 6-foot distance — please let her or Marilyn know. Of course, 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
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.
Missouri church committed to weekly Black Lives Matter vigils ‘until change occurs’

Every Friday evening for the last 19 weeks, members of Peace United Church of Christ have gathered out in front of the church in Webster Groves, Mo., in support of Black Lives Matter. They have been joined by other faith communities, friends and neighbors. They have also been harassed by others who don’t believe as they do.

But they are resolute in making their support visible and have been since early June. After George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police, Sarah Webster went to her pastor and suggested a vigil. Continue reading at
NPR’s Tamara Keith keynotes second fall President’s Lecture Series at Fresno State

Tamara Keith, NPR White House correspondent and co-host of the NPR Politics Podcast, will be the featured guest for a second virtual version of the President’s Lecture Series this fall at Fresno State from 6-7:20 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26.

During the virtual event, Keith will share her experiences as a journalist and her observations of politics just one week before the 2020 presidential election with host Joe Moore of Valley Public Radio. A moderated question-and-answer session will follow. It is free to join by visiting Zoom at the time of the event.
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