Community UCC eNews
Oct. 8, 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. 11, our music director EJ Hinojosa will deliver a guest sermon inspired by Matthew 17:14-20.

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.
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 two weeks. She will be away from work at least through the end of next week. Please continue to remember her with cards, letting her know how much she means to us all.
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.
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. 

  • The dates: Oct. 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.
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.
Helping feed the children of Fresno

CUCC members and friends have two opportunities in October and November to help distribute food at Fresno Unified schools.

The dates are tomorrow, Oct. 9, and Friday, Nov. 13. The time commitment each day is 2:30 to 5 p.m. Some members of the Missions and Social Justice Team are signed up for Nov. 13.

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
Keep Moving
by Pastor Julia Penner-Zook
Summer has hung on for a long time again, this year with the added components of extremely poor air quality and the complexities of COVID-19. We long for change! 

I doubt that we’re looking for any dramatic changes in temperature, however. As someone who grew up with harsh, cold winters, there is one phenomena I will never forget regardless of how long I live in a warm climate. Hypothermia. When one is outside in extreme cold and body temperature falls below 95°F, a wide range of dangerous conditions result including: drowsiness, uncontrollable shivering, incoherence, disorientation, memory loss, exhaustion, or slurred speech. 

For anyone driving any distances in the winter, there is a strict protocol of what is safe and what constitutes a survival kit for the road. I recall grave warnings should I ever be caught outside, unable to find shelter: do NOT allow yourself to go to sleep, as this would be certain death by hypothermia. Keep moving; clap your hands firmly together; rub your feet vigorously if need be. But do not succumb to inactivity or slip into unconsciousness. 

Forgive me for drawing parallels to what we’re experiencing with long term exposure to isolation, uncertainty, and fear. As one month melts into the next, we are tempted to curl up and stay in bed rather than face the day; we feel incoherent and disoriented at
times; we most certainly feel the
exhaustion of the pandemic. It’s difficult to maintain vigilance and stay safe. It’s equally difficult to resist falling into inactivity. 

Rest is imperative for physical, mental, and spiritual health; inaction, however, represents a threat to our well-being. Even though it’s hard to continue regimens of regular, nutritious meals, ongoing, even intensifying spiritual practices, and choosing a focus that takes us away from the chaos we see, read, and hear each time we connect with any type of media, we must persist. 

In the spirit of safety and survival in this deadly winter of isolation and pandemic: please do NOT allow yourself to “go to sleep” — do NOT lose focus, or suspend connection with others, or allow other nourishing disciplines to fade. We owe it to ourselves and one another to keep moving. Let’s resolve to resist the hypothermia of this pandemic together. Please reach out if you need support.; 

Photo credit: Victória Kubiaki 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. Pastor Julia will send out the Zoom link to participants.

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

Continue to keep Robin in our prayers.
Oct. 4 sermon by Pastor Julia

Last week Pastor Julia delivered a sermon titled “Getting Out of our Own Way" inspired by Exodus 20:1-4, 7-10 and 12-20. Click here to watch her 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.

"All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we're giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world."
~ Fred Rogers
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.

Marilyn will be out of the office on Thursday, Oct. 15.
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
Peace gathering inspires 8-year-old

Janet Capella – CUCC’s main contact with the Souki family from Syria – recently took four of the Souki children to a peace gathering. It was a local commemoration of International Peace Day, sponsored by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Veterans for Peace, and other groups.

Janet believed the children would benefit from seeing Americans promote peace at the candlelight vigil in Robinson Park, next to the church. The Soukis fled Syria in 2013 because of that country’s civil war.

At the park, the children of an organizer said they hoped for a world free of wars. Inspired by their example, 8-year-old Mohamad Souki (above left) went to the mic and said, “I hope everyone will be helpful.”

Janet’s reaction: “I was so proud of Mohamad for going to the microphone in front of a group of adults and speaking his mind.” Three of Mohamad’s sisters – Sidra, 18; Salsabeel, 15; Sundos, 12 – congratulated Mohamad for speaking up.
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.
Neighbors in Need helps people understand housing insecurity, provides pandemic relief

Helping people understand homelessness through the insight of others who have lived with housing instability is the focus of two successful community projects funded by gifts to United Church of Christ Neighbors in Need. 
The special mission offering, which supports ministries of justice and compassion across the country, traditionally funds a number of grants annually to support local justice initiatives, advocacy efforts and direct service projects. Continue reading 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