Community UCC eNews
Sept. 3, 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.
Sunday Worship — Zoom and YouTube  

On Sunday, Sept. 6, Pastor Julia will deliver a sermon based on Acts 17: 22-28, where we find Paul, a messenger of Christ, speaking with people unfamiliar with the God he has come to love and trust. It’s interesting to note what things he chooses to highlight in this conversation.

Join us Sunday as we take a closer look. See below for details of how we will "do church" for now.

NEW: Worship on YouTube will begin at 10:30 a.m. (not Facebook Live)
Instructions for Zoom worship

For upcoming worship services, we are doing Zoom videoconferencing 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 (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. (We are switching 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. Also, the office will be closed on Monday, Sept. 7, for the Labor Day holiday.
Save the Date! Homecoming Sunday will be Sept. 13

Homecoming Sunday (sometimes called Kick Off Sunday in the past) will be Sept. 13. Traditionally this is the service where we "return together" from the quieter summer, introduce our Sunday School teachers and welcome new members.

Things look a little different this year. Most of us haven't really gone anywhere in months, and we are still meeting virtually. But traditions are important! So our worship planning team is focusing on bringing some special guests to our Homecoming Sunday, and a special guest sermon.

We hope to see you all there!
Don't miss your chance to get one (or two, or three . . .)
of these CUCC masks

Want a creative way to stay safe and help advertise our church? Get your eye-catching CUCC face masks here! Each mask is $10, with three options from which to choose...or get one of each. We will continue selling the masks until we sell all that we ordered (and prepaid for). There are less than 40 remaining.

Masks are lightweight, double-lined, and have adjustable, elastic bands that fit comfortably over the ears. Order forms were recently mailed to church families, but you also can order our masks by going to: https://tinyurl.com/cuccfacemaskorderform

There are a limited number of masks so first come, first served, but we are getting low. If you'd like to sponsor a face mask for someone else, please indicate the name of the person on your order form and include the price in your payment. 

You also can donate masks to Poverello House as part of the Missions and Social Justice Team's outreach to underserved folks. Indicate Poverello House on your order form.

The church will mail out all masks in mid-September. Since we must wear masks, let's make a positive statement for our church at the same time!
Movement of Mystery
by Pastor Julia Penner-Zook
Whatever happened to movement? 
— that exhilaration of energy, speed, 
progress toward a goal,
the invigorating feeling
of reaching a destination,
exchanging one place —
physical or metaphorical —
for another. 
we crave what’s
different.
new.
hope-filled. 

Movement seems a distant memory
in our present state of existence,
which seems more characterized
by static, sedentary drudgery,
stuck in every day’s mire.

And yet, who can deny
the movement of the 
firmly rooted tree —
unshakable
immovable — 
yet undeniably bending,
swaying,
reaching toward
the heavens, responding 
to strong force of 
autumn’s breeze? 

Each time we breathe
in and out, in and out,
we feel the expansion 
and contraction,
receiving and eliminating —
delicate balance that 
sustains life. 
is this not movement? 
How can we forget magnificent
ocean’s waves, the  
soothing sound of crashing,
receding, rolling back upon 
the shore, only to repeat
without hesitation?
does this not embody the 
epitome of movement?
yet it remains. 

Unhurried, unsolicited,
uninterrupted movement
heals body, soul, spirit. 
the rhythms of light and dark, 
heat and cold,
rest and toil,
laughter and weeping
refill life’s reservoir of
grace over and over 
and over again. 

This is the movement of God, for 
in God we live, and move,
and have our being. 

Photo Credit: Khamkéo Vilaysing via unsplash.com (open source)
Adult Education

We are changing the day for Adult Education via Zoom. It is moving from 10 a.m. Mondays to 9 a.m. Sundays for the foreseeable future. Robin will send Zoom links. Here is the new schedule:

Women's Book Discussion Group

We are reading and discussing "The Dissident Daughter: A Woman's Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine" by Sue Monk Kidd. Meetings will continue to be via Zoom, at 6 p.m. Tuesdays. Robin will send out the Zoom links.

If you have never attended before and are interested in participating, contact Robin at faithgrowth@communityucc.com.

From Goodreads: "Sue Monk was a 'conventionally religious, churchgoing woman, a traditional wife and mother' with a thriving career as a Christian writer until she began to question her role as a woman in her culture, her family, and her church."

Upcoming Reading Assignments:
  • Sept 8: Faces of Daughterhood – Trusting Your Own Feminine Source
  • Sept 15: Initiation – A Guiding Feminine Myth
  • Sept 22: Grounding – They Symbol Functions
  • Sept 29: The Dawn of Feminine Spiritual Consciousness – The Dance of Dissidence
  • Oct 6: Empowerment – The Story

After we finish that book, we will take a week off then begin "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou.
Last Sunday, Robin Carlson delivered a guest sermon titled “Does it Have to be a Burning Bush?” based on Exodus 3:1-15.

Robin writes: "I wonder, does it have to be a burning bush to get our attention to hear God’s call, or might we examine a bit closer in our own world today the idea that ‘God is hidden within the suffering.' 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.

“Living kindness ... is kindness with the power of mindful action behind it. Rather than being reduced to a 'random acts of kindness' bumper sticker, this kindness is uniquely boundless, purposeful, and empowering. It is also more open and forgiving than the self-sacrificing kindness that I learned about in Sunday school. Living kindness is a vehicle by which our love, generosity, and other vital values make contact with the real world. This is kindness where it counts.”

Office hours for Pastor Julia

Office hours for our pastor, Julia Penner-Zook, are Tuesday afternoons. If you'd like to chat with Julia by phone, please email her at j.penner.zook@gmail.com to schedule a time. She would love to hear from you.
Don't be counted out: Complete your Census forms
The Missions and Social Justice Team wants to remind church members and friends about the importance of completing their census forms.

In April, the Trump administration asked Congress to push back the deadline for Census reporting, but the administration has since withdrawn the extension request and instead pushed up the deadline.

The U.S. Census Bureau is ending all counting efforts for the 2020 census on Sept. 30, a month sooner than previously announced, according to National Public Radio.
That includes critical door-knocking efforts and collecting responses online, over the phone, and by mail.

Critics of that decision say that rushing the Census is politically motivated and will result in massive undercounting of Black, indigenous and people of color communities as well as people with disabilities, rural communities and young children.

Census data determines the number of congressional seats in each state as well as the flow of funding for schools, hospitals and infrastructure.

People can complete the census online or on paper forms.



Sharon Powers, fourth from the left, in Nicaragua in 2005. Also pictured, from left, are Charlene Toews, Tim Tidyman-Jones, the Rev. Dave Schlicher, Michael Dillahunty, and Laurie Tidyman-Jones. Others on the trip but not pictured were Kristi Cole, Jenny Cole, and Mike Smith.
Walking more than three miles for water everyday
We all need hope.

CUCC member Sharon Powers has a way for all of us to provide some for people who need clean water for their children. More on that in a moment.

First some background: for many years, CUCC members have supported El Porvenir, a nonprofit dedicated to providing clean water to people living in the countryside of Nicaragua. (El Porvenir means The Future in Spanish.)

CUCC sent groups to Nicaragua five times beginning in 2003 to work alongside Nicaraguan communities building wells and lavenderos (places for people to bathe and wash clothes).
Other church members have financially supported El Porvenir through fundraisers and donations.

Now back to Sharon, who traveled to Nicaragua in 2003, 2005, and 2007 to work with El Porvenir. She’s on the nonprofit’s board of directors, and here’s her hopeful plan: Each day from Sept. 1-7, she plans to walk 3.7 miles in Fresno. (That’s a total of 25.9 miles.) 

She selected 3.7 miles because that’s the average distance rural women walk each day to a river or spring to get water for cooking and cleaning. Those women carry buckets to transport the precious water. “I’m walking so that others don’t have to,” Sharon says.
She would welcome financial support for El Porvenir, and every $100 she raises before Sept. 30 is eligible for a $100 match.

The money will help purchase supplies for building latrines, wells, water systems, and washing stations, as well as planting trees for watershed protection. It’s easy to contribute: click on on the link below to reach Sharon’s fundraiser page.

El Porvenir plans to host a virtual fiesta at 5 p.m. (PDT) on Thursday, Sept. 17. It will feature a variety show that will be unlike anything done before by El Porvenir. For more information: contact Sharon at sharonpowers@comcast.net.
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 Robin at faithgrowth@communityucc.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.
Poor, low-income people have the power to reshape the election, new study shows

Poor and low-income voters across the country have the power to impact the outcome of the United States presidential election and 16 U.S. Senate races, according to a national study released recently by the Poor People’s Campaign.

The groundbreaking study, “Unleashing the Power of Poor and Low-Income Americans: Changing the Political Landscape,” was written by Robert Paul Hartley, an assistant professor at Columbia School of Social Work. It underscores how quickly an election can change if low income Americans who are less likely to vote actually cast a ballot. Continue reading at UCC.com.
Happy Birthday to all who are celebrating this month!

September Birthdays
7 Gretchen Choate
10 Jaidyn Ramirez and Serenity Shea
11  Mike R. Smith
12  Ann Scott
14  Elizabeth Davis-Russell, Keithie Earl, and Gary Walker
16  Rachel Van Patten
17  Sommer Earl
21 Janet Capella
25  Philip Dutton 
26  Phil Fullerton
27  Spencer Parks and Selena Wall

September Anniversaries
1 Jacque and Bob Garcia
3 – Sally and Doug Hoagland
4  Laurie and Tim Tidyman-Jones, and Michelle and Seth Tilley
Bryan Clark and Brian Isbell

Special anniversary: Marilyn Wall, our administrative assistant, celebrates 27 years with the church on Sept. 7. Congratulations, Marilyn!

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.

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
Email: office@communityucc.com