United Church of the Valley
A Partnership Church
United Church of Christ/Disciples of Christ

A Progressive Christian Community
A Just Peace Congregation

January 2023

Happy New Year

Be Safe, Be Well, Be Happy

Our Sunday service is live and on our Zoom channel. The recording of the service will be available online later that day on Facebook, YouTube and on our Website.

From the Pulpit in January 2023

Jan. 1st - Lee Eddy

Jan.8th - Dr. Sharon Graff (we celebrate Epiphany)

Jan.15th - Rev. Stephanie Toon (we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)

Jan..22nd - Rev. Jennifer Zechlin

Jan. 29th - Sherian Spencer (International Holocaust Remembrance Day)

Sherian Spencer


We Must Remember

It’s no secret as a teenager I was raised in a comfortable, albeit sheltered, middle-class home. I was shielded from the horrors of the world. All I knew of terror was what I saw in movies and read in books. Each time I heard of war, ethnic cleansing, abuses of power, or even murders in my small town, I always felt disconnected from them. Maybe that was how our society (or at least my family) wanted it to be so that the youth of those days would feel safe and secure. Then I grew up and September 11th happened and my world of ignorant bliss was shaken. For the first time I had a taste of just how bad things could get. Yet in the months that followed, once again I distanced myself from such matters because I really didn’t want to believe something so horrible really existed.

What little I remember from learning about the Holocaust in school was a very white-washed version. People are often reluctant to truly look at the horror of what happened; being faced with the fact that humans can be so appallingly cruel to each other. Over the years, I have seen images of Nazi concentration camps and read about the anguished accounts from the survivors, yet nothing could truly prepare me for the harsh reality of this epicenter of evil truth as I was Google searching for information on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Where systematic murder reached it atrocious climax. Auschwitz survivor and United Nations Messenger of Peace Elie Weisel wrote of seeing the fires and thinking “The civilized world would not allow it.” Yet…

I’ve seen photos of the piles of glasses, hair, shoes, prayer shawls and dolls and try to imagine the individuals to whom they belonged. I stare in disbelief at the images of the gas chambers and crematorium and shudder. Simply knowing that 6 million innocent Jews, including 1 million children, were abused and executed. Decades later it remains almost impossible to come to terms with the nature and scale of this genocidal crime. Those numbers are hard for me to wrap my head around – essentially the entire cities of LA and San Diego wiped out in just a handful of years. I miss the childhood bubble in which I was raised but my stark reality check was long past due.

Last fall I wrote about the anniversary of 9-11 and called it “We All Remember”. I think naming this “We MUST Remember” is fitting; if we don’t remember it could happen again.

After decades of progress, Holocaust memory is being challenged. The historical record is increasingly being distorted or disregarded by governments, leading politicians, and others with growing influence over national policy making and public opinion. This is taking place as the survivors and other eyewitnesses to the era of the Holocaust themselves pass into history. Holocaust distortion misrepresents established facts about the Holocaust and minimizes its impact and shifts responsibility for it. Recognizing the global importance of sustaining Holocaust memory is imperative so as to not “bleach” the facts, even as disturbing as the photos and personal accounts can be. As the generation of survivors dwindle, whose words will win?

The proponents and enablers of Holocaust distortion include governments, political leaders and non-state actors. They have increasingly political power and societal influence, and are bringing ideas once considered to be universally unacceptable and extreme into the mainstream of politics and public debate. Disputes and tensions over memory have international implications and therefore international solutions that build on cooperation between governments and Non-Governmental Organizations across borders are needed in response. Call for political leaders and public figures to speak out strongly and promptly when denial or distortion occurs.

Current trends in Holocaust distortion do not exist in a vacuum. Growths in distortion have paralleled other troublesome trends such as an erosion of democratic norms and institutions, the intensification of antisemitism and the rise of aggressive nationalism and xenophobia. Although all nations try to control their historical narratives, in democracies, free speech often increases the negativity and rhetoric.

Many political leaders who are proponents or enablers of the distortion are also at the forefront of campaigns against Romany (Gypsy) and LGBTQ+ people – who were persecuted during the Holocaust – as well as refugees and migrants, Muslims and people of color. These campaigns contribute to social divisions. The memory of the Holocaust serves as a warning against the return of group-targeted hatred within the context of an erosion of democratic principles and institutions.

Many deniers reject the term, describing themselves instead as “revisionists”. This is no different than calling White Supremacy, Nationalism. Both labels only serve to water down the actual intent of the groups. Even today, the fire of prejudice smolders. Anti-Semitism retains its hold in too many places. In the United States, Europe and elsewhere, migrants, Muslims, Roma and other minorities face rising discrimination – and find too many defenders.

The world must never forget, deny, or downplay the Holocaust. We must remain ever on our guard. And we must do more, far more, to promote equality and fundamental freedoms.


Imagine one day, all that’s left is a green plain,

No fences or camps to see.

The only thing that will remain is what we tell our grandchildren we saw,

The day we stepped out of the deadly Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp.

It is our duty to see.

It is our duty to never forget.


It's Stewardship Time and Not Too Late

Please Fill Out Your UCV Pledge Card for 2023

Help Us Reach our Goal

It's that time of year where you search your heart and ask that very important question, "How important is UCV to me, how does it affect my life, how do we affect our community?" Then come up with a pledge amount that is manageable, we don't want to create stress in your life by asking for a pledge that may be difficult to reach each week/month. 

The pledge card is a very important tool used by your church council to put together a balanced budget. Without you, we would fall short of that task.

Thank you from the bottom of our heart.

Click to fill out your pledge card

Our January Worship Services

Season of Epiphany

Before we turn the page to 2023, let’s take a minute to reflect on the gifts of the season. In our services, we were visited by an innkeeper, an angel, Mary and Joseph, a shepherd and, finally, on Christmas Eve, a star. Speaking of Christmas Eve, hopefully everyone found a quiet time to watch the Christmas Eve video. A big thank you to everyone who made videos of readings and music, and, especially to Dr. Sharon Graff for the star’s message. If you haven’t had a chance to watch the video yet, there is still time! The link to the video is on our website (www.ucvchurch.org)


Now we look forward as we enter the season of Epiphany. The liturgical color is white for Epiphany Sunday and then switches to green, the color of “Common Time”. On Jan. 8, Dr. Sharon Graff will again bring us “Epiphany words” to guide us during the new year. Sharon will also be bringing her magical singing bells for another Sound Bath at 2pm that day. Jan. 15 we will remember the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King and his work for just peace through non-violence. Jan 29 another special day is being planned. Sherian Spencer is working on a special service to observe the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.


It takes a village to put together our weekly services. We encourage everyone who is able to sign up to be Lay Leaders, Greeters, and Set up helpers. There is a clip board as you enter the sanctuary.

Our Peace Pole has been refreshed and relocated, it now sits in front of the United Church of the Valley building, a totem of peace and hope for all people. A place to come and sit and reflect on life.

Thanks Ruth, Sherian and everyone who made this happen.

Music News

We are grateful, as always, for the talents shared each Sunday by our choir and the musicians in our church. I hope that we will be able to resume a more regular choir schedule in 2023. If you would like to sing, ring a bell or play an instrument in our services, please let Lynne know (lbradley93168@gmail).  

Click here to view this flyer

Current 2022 Church Council

2023 Council vote pending

Annual Congregational Meeting to be held January 22nd

Sherian Spencer - Moderator

Rick Hayden - Vice Moderator

Darcie Dunlop - Clerk

Keira Eddy - Treasurer

Lynne Bradley - Worship

Rev. Jen Zechlin

Christian Education

Sandy Selby -

Congregational Life

Lorian Dunlop - Member-at-Large

All services will be live and on Zoom beginning at 10am every Sunday. The live service will be recorded and available on the UCV website, Facebook and YouTube later in the day.

Christmas Raffle Winner

Irene Martinez's family member in Texas won the Prayers and Squares Christmas quilt.

About $500 was donated to provide batting for future quilts and to support UCV general fund.

Thank you to all who bought raffle tickets


 Need Space for your Recovery Meeting?

3 Sizes of Rooms Available·     

3 Sizes of Rooms Available
  •  Room A: up to 6 people (top)
  •  Library: 7 – 15 people (middle)
  •  Sanctuary: 16 – 50 people (bottom)
Storage available for Recovery brochures and supplies (limited)

Coffee Pot and supplies available for use in Kitchen

TV screens available in Library and Sanctuary for presentations


Room A - $15 / week based on one meeting per week

Library - $20 / week based on one meeting per week

Sanctuary - $25 / week based on one meeting per week
**½ off first month’s cost while you establish your meeting
(During Covid we ask that all CDC guidelines are followed regarding masks, cleaning and chair spacing)

Who We Are… United Church of the Valley is a small United Church of Christ / Disciples of Christ located in the Temecula/Murrieta Valley. No matter where you are on your journey, you are welcome here.
United church of the valley
41685 Date Street, Suite 100
Murrieta, CA 92562
Website: ucvchurch.org
Phone: 951.698.1520
T'ai Chi with Paul Dallas
Bringing our tithes and offerings to God is an important spiritual practice that cultivates gratitude and generosity. While we cannot physically pass the offering plate, we can continue to bring our gifts to God through online or mail-in donations. 
To send a check, please use:
United Church of the Valley
P.O. Box 1312
Murrieta, CA 92564

Or donate online:



(3.5% fee)

Venmo: @ucvchurch (free)

Please email any joys & concerns you would like read aloud to Sherian Spencer at sherianspencer@gmail.com. You can also send confidential prayer requests. Just indicate as such and let Sandy know if you want it shared with any of the other spiritual counselors.
You can find our Sermons, past and present, on our YouTube channel (click the video) as well as our website (click the button).
Sermons on our Website

News from Nicaragua & Ukraine

Conditions in Nicaragua continue to pose many, many difficult challenges which is evident in the number of immigrants from Nicaragua who recently have been arriving seeking asylum. (a big change from previous waves of arriving immigrants that contained relatively few Nicaraguans). It has become increasingly risky for Nicaraguans to have any connection with non-profit organizations. As a result, Just Hope is making the very difficult decision of stepping away from “official” involvement in Chacraseca (hopefully, temporarily). As a result, the wonderful Nicaraguan Just Hope staff now face unemployment and the people of Chacraseca, already existing on a very tenuous thread, will be without the support that they have gratefully received. This situation is still in flux, but until we have a better idea how we can help, please remember to keep all of our friends in Nicaragua in our prayers.


Conditions in Ukraine, of course, continue to be dire and we certainly need to send strong prayers to the people there who are dealing with wide spread power outages, minefields in many areas and, of course, the constant threat of bombings. Veronica Perez and I delivered a carload of hand warmers, emergency blankets and a big sack of warm winter coats and clothes to the House of Ukraine last week. They are packing a large container to go to Ukraine via Poland. Thank you to all who have donated.

Congregational Care

Congregational Care

Thank you to all who helped with the candy tubes. We had almost 200 tubes. There were appreciated by the people at the Murrieta food bank. Than you to Sherian for delivering the tubes

Continue prayers for Lynnie after her successful shoulder surgery.

Thank you to all who participated in the paper angel project and the gifts for our Christmas family. 

Thank you to Jamie for helping at the Murrieta food pantry. We will continue collecting socks for the food pantry.

Continue prayers for Steve who finally has an appointment for surgery soon.

For Linda while she waits for a treatment plan. The family is appreciating the dinners from the church family. There is a meal train on line for dates to take food to the family (contact Sherian)

For Rick and for Jennifer's family. Jennifer lost her battle with cancer.

For Grandpa Neil of the Farr-Toon family.

For the Martinez family that they will have a safe trip home after being in Mexico for Christmas.

For Sandy who is under the weather. She will start Physical Therapy for her knee this month.

For Darcy for the healing of her knee.

For Helen's mother who is recovering from pneumonia.

For our Annual meeting and stewardship drive.

Book study group will start again after the first of the Year. Watch for the date


  • January 8, 2023 at 3pm: Ecclesiastical Council for Member in Discernment Camille Pederson--Zoom
  • January 15, 2023, 3pm: Installation of Rev. Victoria Freiheit and Community Congregation Church of Chula Vista--In person
  • February 26th, 3pm: Annual Association Meeting-In person(hopefully!) and Zoom

Pilgrim Pines News

The new director Tracy Brown will start her new job as camp director on Jan. 1st. She is recovering from Covid now. New committees and boards are being formed now.

Watch for information on Winter Camp for 6th-12th graders. It will be sometime in February. Go to pilgrimpinescamp.org for camp information.

The previous camp director Connie will be director over at our sister camp which is Loch Leven. This DOC camp will also have a winter camp in February. Ask Donna for more information.

Online Fellowship at UCV
Services will be live and on Zoom at 10am on Sundays. The live service will be recorded and available on the UCV website, Facebook and YouTube later in the day.
Even fellowship can be online, thanks to the innovative minds at Zoom! Join us for Sunday Service live and on zoom beginning at 10am. UCV has its own Zoom meeting room at https://zoom.us/j/9516981520

You can join from your Zoom app using meeting number 9516981520 

Or you can join by phone:
One tap mobile
+16699006833,9516981520# US (San Jose)

or dial 
and then enter 

You can start your own online fellowship, too! Just email Sandy Selby at moderator@ucvchurch.org to get on the meeting schedule. 

Sunday Service - Live and on Zoom, 10AM

Book Club - We are meeting online every Sunday at 9am Zoom Meeting Room

UCV Council Meeting - 1st Sunday of the month 11:15am Zoom Meeting Room

AA Meeting - Every Monday 7pm

Women's Al-Anon Meeting - Every Wednesday 5:30pm

Men's AA Meeting - Every Wednesday 7pm

A Big Book Study - Every Friday 7pm

C.O.D.A.Meeting - Every Sunday 5:30pm (Currently still on Zoom)

The Community House is located at

41685 Date Street, Murrieta 92562

Submit a Prayer Request
Submit a Prayer Request
Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer Opportunities
United Church of the Valley is a Partnership Church
United Church of Christ/Disciples of Christ
951-698-1520 admin@ucvchurch.org
41685 Date St. Murrieta

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