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Thursday, December 7, 2023

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A message from our Pastor and Teacher

December 10 ~ Second Sunday of Advent

Welcome to the second week of Advent! Today we will celebrate the Gift of Joy that God has given us. Joy is a gift that we can experience right here and right now, regardless of life's circumstances. We'll explore giving the gift of our presence to the world and enjoy the creativity of our children and youth as they present A Very Mixed Up Christmas Pageant!

Sunday's Scripture:

Isaiah 61:1-3a, Luke 1:45-53

Concerns / Prayers:

  • Betty Jacobs, a founding member of RUCC, passed from life to Life. (12/7)
  • Beth Welsh's brother, Coyne ("Butch"), is hospitalized after being struck as a pedestrian by a drunk driver. (12/7)
  • Mark Janz's mother, Martini, had a stroke. Mark is traveling to be with her. (12/7)
  • Karen Walsh fell and broke her arm. (11/16)
  • Nancy Ternasky, this year's AFHS's featured artist, is experiencing serious health concerns. (11/16)
  • Jim Sommer’s surgery from knee replacement is slowly healing. Diana's second cataract surgery is scheduled for December 18th. (12/7)
  • Steve Arth continues in his recovery from a broken hip. (11/16)
  • We continue to hold in our prayers the people of Ukraine and the Middle East.

Ongoing Concerns:

Karen & Daniella

Jerry Andrews

Scott Ault

Dave, brother of Johanna Ballard

Carla Becerril

Bill Buchanan

Cousin of Rick Cruz

Janet Edwards

Norma Erickson

Samantha Sanchez-French's father

Katia Hage

Mary Lou Haney

Beki Hill

Harriet Holt, Beki Hill's mother

Jenny, Sister of Jules Rattray

Amber McGuigan

Cynthia McGuigan

Pastor Elaine's nephew Michael and brother Dan

Floyd Orr

Ryan and Evan Paul

Dick Ault's brother-in-law, Charles Proctor

Rev. Dr. Rebecca Voelkel, Maggie George and Maggie's siblings

Spencer, friend of Stacey Greene

Robert Silver

Arika Torres

Rosemary Tuohy

bunnies and clock

We need you!

If you plan to covenant for 2024, but haven't yet, the time is now! We will be finalizing the 2024 budget proposal after church on Sunday, December 10. Of course, you can still covenant after that - all are welcome after all! But after Sunday, we won't be able to use your pledge information to help set the budget.

Here are a few tips to help get it done:

  • If you want to make your financial pledge now, even while you continue to think about other aspects of the covenant book, you can do so directly in Realm, or by contacting Treasurer Stacey Greene at [email protected].
  • If you need a new booklet, there are extras in the church office, or you can access one online
  • If you have questions, Pastor Elaine, your shepherd leader, or board members are available to help.
  • If the covenant booklet feels daunting, you can just send an email to [email protected] and write in your own language whatever you wish to say. You can even make a covenant verbally by just speaking with Pastor Elaine.

The point is, please don't let the process or the paperwork be a barrier to covenanting with RUCC for 2024. We're better with you IN!

Advent Cookies at RUCC Dec 05 2023

Come join us during Advent to bake cookies and spread holiday cheer!

The first Advent Cookie Baking event on December 5 was very successful and fun! We were able to deliver 60+ bags of cookies to YouthHope!

We will gather again in the church kitchen on Monday, December 11 at 9:30 a.m., and Monday, December 18 at 9:30 a.m., to bake and bag cookies. The cookies will then be delivered to a different group each week, this week's recipient being Steps4Life.

We will open with a short Advent devotional, then get to baking while enjoying hot chocolate, holiday music and conversation with friends. Come for the whole morning or just pop in, whatever works at this busy time of year!

Questions? Email [email protected]

Racial Justice reflection of the week

Research published in the journal Pediatrics found that blood lead levels are higher in children living in racially segregated neighborhoods ─ underscoring the negative health effects of policies stemming from systemic racism.


The study showed that from 1990 to 2015 blood lead levels in children declined substantially — but levels in non-Hispanic Black children living in racially segregated neighborhoods remain higher than in children living outside those communities.


“In the United States, one of the clearest examples of the link between racial residential segregation and environmental exposures is childhood lead exposure – which has been shown to be disproportionately burdensome to members of the Black community…”



From the Environmental Justice Team

According to the EPA, Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys: 

  • The same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and
  • Equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

To learn more, visit the Office of Environmental Justice at the US Environmental Protection Agency -

Chanukah Storytime with Rabbi Lindy / Interfaith Light Up the Night

Chanukah Storytime with Rabbi Lindy @ Frugal Frigate, Friday Dec. 8th 6:30pm

Register by clicking here

Wear your favorite Chanukah PJ's, listen to inspiring Chanukah stories, celebrate Tot Shabbat & have Chanukah fun!

Interfaith Light Up the Night

Ed Hales Park, Sunday, December 10th, 4pm Downtown Redlands

We will gather together with our interfaith partners to light our menorahs and show support as an interfaith community in a time of increased anti-semitism. Invite your friends of other faith communities, bring a menorah and candles.

Let us know you are coming and who you are bringing! RSVP Yes I'm coming and bringing friends!

Christmas Eve is coming soon

With December 24th falling on a Sunday this year, things will be a little different. We will celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent in the morning service at 10:30 a.m. followed by Fellowship Time. Then, we'll have a Christmas Eve Service of Lessons and Carols at 5:30 p.m. (No tamales this year.)

Spread Holiday Cheer with Caring for Kin

For the month of December, we will continue collecting foods for the holidays, including both staples and special treats. This month, our donations will go to Redlands Family Services. Let's continue to share our holiday blessings with our neighbors in need!

Blue Christmas Gathering, December 12, at 7 p.m.

Right here, right now, as we journey through the season of Advent, we honor the Gift of Emmanuel, God With Us, who came to us in living flesh and even now holds us close. This season, we are invited to be the gift of presence for our loved ones, for our communities, for those who need it most.

And yet, during this season of sparkling lights, Christmas movies, and merry-making, it may be that you are experiencing a personal grief that's sharp and unmistakable and unrelenting. This time of worship is just for you.

Some of you are carrying a heavy burden of sorrow as you hear and see reports of the daily horrors of war and violence. You may feel like you, yourself, have taken on the pain of the whole world. This worship gathering is for you.

As we learn, daily, of new sadness and loss, it can sometimes feel like too much to take in. If you are finding it difficult to feel anything at all, this night is for you, too. 

As much as we would rather avoid them, expressions of grief and lament are important and necessary if we want to avoid living numb and small lives, and learn to "have life, and have it abundantly."

We hope you'll join us for RUCC’s Blue Christmas Gathering taking place on December 12, at 7 p.m. We will light the traditional candles of Blue Christmas-tide, and share a quiet time of prayer, familiar carols, poetry, and silence.

Here are some ideas for dealing with difficult times during the season.

FEASTINGS - December 17 at 2 p.m.

RUCC's Covenant Choir presents its Christmas Concert in the Sanctuary, followed by refreshments in Covenant Hall. All are invited to attend. The choir is directed by David Wells and accompanied by Sophia Ohanian.


Friends of FEASTINGS!

Donate any amount to our Music and Musicians Fund and you will be listed in our program as a Friend of Feastings. Money will be used to pay for music and musicians for this concert and for other events throughout the year. 

Thank you for supporting this special RUCC musical offering.

Amount you’d like to donate: _____________ (checks payable to RUCC/note “for Feastings”)

Name(s) as you would like to appear in the program: ____________________________________________

Thank you from the RUCC Covenant Choir!

Jeffrey Rickard director of Community Chorus of Redlands

Community Chorus of Redlands, Jeffrey H. Rickard, director, Presents

A Concert of Anthems, Readings, and Carols of the Season - 2023 Edition

Friday, December 8 - 8:00 p.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church

Corner of 4th and Fern, Redlands

Saturday, December 9 - 4:00 p.m.

Faith Lutheran Church

12449 California Street, Yucaipa

Sunday, December 10 - 4:00 p.m.

St. Rita Roman Catholic Church

318 North Baldwin, Sierra Madre

A freewill offering will be accepted at all venues

Calling all engineers for December 9

(or wannabes- no experience necessary!)

Save the date, this Saturday, December 9, because that’s when we will be building the gingerbread houses to be decorated by the kids the following day!

We’ll gather in Covenant Hall as close to 10 a.m. as is achievable, and under the expert tutelage of Heidi Malone and Barb Lord, we’ll build houses that will make you wish you were one inch tall!

............................................................................ Hope to see you there!

Decorating supplies needed by December 10

It’s GINGERBREAD HOUSE making time! Please help by donating colorful decorations for the houses like:

  • Red vines
  • Froot Loops or similar cereal
  • Red hots
  • Pretzels
  • Small candy canes
  • Other small candies

Bring the goodies to the counter with the microwave in the kitchen. THANKS so much!!

Gingerbread houses are coming to town December 10

Mark your calendars for this Sunday, December 10, because that’s when the Gingerbread houses are coming to our town! The Gingerbread engineers are working hard to produce the delicious bases for our kids’ masterpieces of design.

Kids! Come to Covenant Hall after the service on December 10, get your house, grab a seat, and slather on the frosting to get started!

This Sunday, December 10 is the deadline for Angel Tree donations

This year, Wider Ministries has selected four recipients for Angel Tree donations. The Angel Tree, adorned with the giving envelopes, is in the narthex, and the envelopes will also be available at the Scrip table.

Place your cash or check in the envelope and using the form on the outside of the envelope, indicate which group(s) you wish to support, and the amount of your donation.You may also make your donation on Realm. December 10 is the deadline for donations.

The four recipients include:

  • Family Services - This year, Wider Ministries will shop with your monetary donations for a family of four: Mom, Dad, a one-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl. 
  • Village Elementary (Barb Lord’s School) is a very high poverty school. We have frequently had this group on our Angel Tree list, and Barb reports that your gifts make a significant difference to these families.
  •  Steps4Life, which provides transitional housing, is another familiar organization that certainly deserves our support to make the holidays brighter for these families.
  •  Afghan Refugee Families - We thank Cherie Rouse for bringing a group of Afghan refugees to our attention. These are people who helped U.S. Forces in opposition to the Taliban. They were forced to flee their homes, spent several years in exile, and finally were admitted to this country recently with virtually nothing. Basic necessities such as clothing and food will help them feel more secure and welcome in their new situation.

Wider Ministries hopes you will agree that these are four worthwhile candidates for the Angel Tree and urges you to be as generous as you are able. Drop your donation envelope in the offering plate or at the scrip table.


The Christmas Fund

The Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross is an annual UCC offering that expresses thanks to retired and active UCC pastors and lay church workers and their families, providing direct assistance to supplement pensions, medical insurance costs, and funds to meet emergency needs.


This year's Christmas Fund theme is "Grace Upon Grace," from John 1:16: "From Christ's fullness we have all received grace upon grace."

Join with others in the United Church of Christ to return "grace upon grace" to those who have given so much to each of us and to our churches. You can donate to "The Christmas Fund" by making a note on the comment line of your check. RUCC will receive the Christmas Fund offering on December 24.

The Rummage Sale is Back!!!! And We Need Volunteers!!!!

We will need volunteers before, during, and after the sale. The actual sale date is February 10, 2024. There are jobs you can do from home, there are jobs where you will mingle with the public, there are jobs that you won’t have to talk to anyone, and there are jobs that will make you tired and/or get you dirty! So, there is something for everyone! Here are some ways you can help:

Before the sale:

  • Being on the Rummage Sale Committee
  • Advertising—Putting up signs, getting articles on Facebook, etc.
  • Contacting organizations that will take our “leftovers”
  • Organizing the treasures that come in
  • Hanging clothes 
  • Providing boxes, bags, and hangers
  • Collecting your donations (no furniture, please)

During the sale:

  • Walking the floor
  • Re-organizing

After the sale:

  • Packing up
  • Providing a vehicle to take leftover treasures to designated places

If any of these jobs appeals to you, please let us know ASAP. We will start having organizational meetings in January. Thanks so much! Pam Dunn (909) 963-8305 Claudia Tolar (909) 725-1794 Kathie Blakley (909) 213-9469

RaiseRight makes your holiday shopping easier and helps RUCC at the same time!

Last Chance to Order Physical Cards Before the Holidays! – This Sunday is your last chance to place an order in person for physical cards to get here before Christmas. Bring a check or cash to the RaiseRight table after worship this Sunday, Dec. 10. You can also place an online order for physical cards until Dec. 11.


Dazzle Days – Through Friday, December 8, there will be bonus rebate opportunities on physical and eGift cards for more than 75 brands. Take advantage of this great opportunity!


About RaiseRight: When you purchase gift cards through the RaiseRight program to pay for your day-to-day expenses or provide as gifts, RUCC receives a rebate that helps fund our missions. It’s an easy way to raise some money for RUCC. Hundreds of retailers participate, including grocery stores, gas stations, home improvement stores, department stores, online retailers, and many more. Please contact Jennifer and Pam at [email protected] if you need an enrollment link, need help setting up/accessing your online account or placing an order, have any questions, or want to learn more about the program. This video will give you an overview of how to get started:


Upcoming order dates for physical gift cards:

  • Order by Dec 11 – available for pick up Dec 17
  • Order by Jan 15 – available for pick up Jan 21
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  • December 8 - Chanukah Story time at Frugal Frigate
  • December 9 - Adults/elves will meet at 10 a.m. to assemble Gingerbread Houses
  • December 10 - The Youth Group's Annual Christmas Pageant
  • December 10 - Gingerbread House Decorating at Ed Hales Park
  • December 10 - Interfaith Light Up the Night
  • December 11 - Cookie baking in the church kitchen at 9:30 a.m.
  • December 12 - "Blue Christmas" service at 7 p.m.
  • December 17 - Feastings - 2 p.m.
  • December 18 - Cookie baking in the church kitchen at 9:30 a.m.
  • December 24 (Christmas Eve) - Fourth Sunday of Advent service 10:30 a.m.; Christmas Eve service of lessons and carols 5:30 p.m.
  • February 10, 2024 - RUCC Rummage Sale

The church calendar is found at

Click on "calendar" in the red banner near the top of the page

This Week at Redlands United Church of Christ

Sunday, December 10 - 2nd Sunday of Advent

  • 9:15 a.m. Seekers
  • 9:30 a.m. - Kids' Zone
  • 10:30 a.m. - Worship Service and Christmas Pageant
  • 11:30 a.m. - Decorate gingerbread houses
  • 11:30 p.m.- Fellowship time

Monday, December 11

  • Cookie baking in the church kitchen at 9 a.m.

Tuesday, December 12

  • Blue Christmas Gathering at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, December 13

  • Noon - Lunch Bunch with Pastor Elaine

Thursday, December 14

Friday, December 15

  • 7:00 p.m. Closed women's AA meeting

Saturday, December 16

Sunday, December 17 - 3rd Sunday of Advent

  • 9:15 a.m. Seekers
  • 9:30 a.m. - Kids' Zone
  • 10:30 a.m. - Worship service
  • 11:30 a.m. - Decorate Gingerbread Houses
  • 11:30 a.m.- Fellowship time
  • 2:00 p.m. - Feastings

RUCC Staff

Interim Pastor: Rev. Elaine Schoepf

Honorary Minister of Arts and Worship:  Rev. Erin Beardemphl

Music Director: David Wells

Associate Music Director: Sophia Ohanian

Children's Education Director: Susi Jacobsen

Director of Youth Ministries: Vacant

Office and Property Manager: Veronica Bermudez

Child Care: Joette Orman



Phone: 909-793-3520


Staff and Other Emails

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]

[email protected]