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

A Progressive Christian Community
A Just Peace Congregation

May 2023

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 May 2023

May 7th - Dr. Sharon Graff

May 13th - Dr. Fred Schaeffer

May 20th - Rev. Stephanie Toon

May 27th - PENTECOST details coming soon! Wear red to church!

Masks are Optional

Sherian Spencer


Yep, I’m That Kind of Girl…

Unless you live in a cave, you have heard of the label “Christian Right”. The “Christian” Right has a billion-dollar messaging empire that would make Joseph Goebbels envious. They have nationwide radio networks, worldwide television networks, publishers, mega-churches, political pundits, best-selling authors, media personalities, celebrity pastors, a vast number of wealthy donors, Political Action Committees and on and on. The Christian Coalition (one of the largest PACs) produces “non-partisan” Voter’s Guide that it distributes to churches nationwide. The guides are anything but “non-partisan”. The “Christian” Right has an agenda, a ton of money, and they’re continuously seeking the power to impose their vision of the country via public policy.

Wait, wait… take a breath! Let me be CRYSTAL clear – “Christian Right” is NOT me. And for more good news, did you know there is an online group called TCL? The Christian LEFT. The Christian Left is a term used to describe a spectrum of left-wing Christian political and social movements which largely embraces social justice. Lefties like to focus on behaviors that Jesus focused on while he was here in body – things like hypocrisy, organized oppression, exorbitant greed, self-righteousness, judgmentalism, selfishness, abuse of power, violence, etc.

The most common viewpoint that might be described as “left wing” is social justice, or care for the poor and the oppressed. Supporters of this might encourage universal health care (YES!) welfare provision and revision (YES!), subsidized education (YES!), foreign aid (YES!), and Affirmative Action for improving the conditions of the disadvantaged (YES!).

The Left stands for social justice, renunciation of power, humility, forgiveness and private observation of prayer (as opposed to publicly mandated prayer). We often hearken towards pacifism in opposition to laws advancing militarism.

Like many others, I’ve felt a bit alone out there. I’ve heard “You can’t be a Christian and a Liberal.” Conservative Christians have turned their backs on one of the central tenets of the Bible, the one about Jesus saying “Love God and love your neighbor as you do yourself.” And who is our neighbor? Jesus taught us it was a stranger… A stranger of a foreign belief system, who stopped to help another stranger beat up and left for dead on the roadside while religious types passed him by.

We are part of the Body of Christ. We’re Christians. We’re Liberal. We make no apologies. In fact, Jesus’ ways were “liberal.” That’s why he was killed. As soon as the temple incident happened and Jesus meddled in the business of the moneychangers, a target was placed on his back. We’re not waiting for some earthly leader to come and make everything alright – that person already came. We are part of the Body of Christ. We will not “be quiet”. We’re Christians. We’re Liberals. Get used to it.

It wasn’t just Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection that matter. It was his life too! The life he lived is a huge part of the deal. Not only is what Jesus said the Word of God, but what Jesus DID is also the Word of God. If we look closely, we see that Jesus made room for those cut off from the rest of society. He put a name and face on all who had been forgotten or pushed aside. That’s what Social Justice means.

“The Christian Left” – left hate behind, left prejudice, left callous attitudes, and followed Jesus as HE left the 99 in the fold, to find the one was lost, ignored, excluded, overlooked, abandoned, uncared for – all “the least of these.”

Another Christian Lefty, Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, Professor of English at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, put it this way in her article “A Voice from the Christian Left

“Many on the Christian Right are fond of posing the question WWJD? What would Jesus do? I’d like to remind them what Jesus DID do: He cared for the poor. He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery. He prayed alone. He commanded us to love our enemies. He preached peace. He ate, drank, and lived with “tax collectors and sinners” – the lowlifes and outcasts of his day., while reserving his condemnation for the religious leaders who, from a place of privilege, imposed their legalism and literalism on the people they were responsible for leading… The Gospels make some pretty clear indications about what Jesus would and wouldn’t do.

Whatever Jesus would do, given what he did do, and has promised he will do, I don’t think it looks much like what the insulated, self-congratulatory Fox News fans on the “Christian Right” are doing.”

Unfortunately, in this country today, we have a sort of spiritual revival of people who don’t want to practice love, grace, or compassion, but would rather try to bury people under legalistic demands they themselves are not capable of keeping.

Many folks tell the Lefties to keep up the great work in the name of Christian Charity. But charity is only part of the message. The danger here is allowing it to become about charity only, rather than social justice as well. Charity tries to fix up people so that the system will work better. Justice tries to fix up the system so people will work better. We agree that a charitable attitude is important, but it does not address the root of the problem, a system that sets up obstacles and barriers that make it nearly impossible for people to break the cycle of poverty, or the cycle of victimization, or marginalization, or the cycle of… Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. The system will never be perfect here on earth because it is developed and run by very fallible humans. Charity will always be required, but that’s no excuse to not advocate for The System to be just for all. When it is, the need for charity decreases. The two are inextricably enmeshed.

“Sometimes I would like to ask why God allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it. But I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.” ~~ Anonymous


I have found my tribe 😊!!

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.

Liturgical Seasons

We remain in the liturgical season of Eastertide until the last Sunday in May so the liturgical colors are white. The lectionary scriptures during this season tell stories of times that people saw Jesus after the resurrection, speaking peace to his disciple and breaking bread with them. On Sunday, May 28 we celebrate Pentecost. The liturgical color is red representing the “tongues of fire” that were seen when the Holy Spirit appeared. Read more about Pentecost at UCV below.

But first, I’m just overflowing with appreciation and gratitude for all the wonderful gifts of UCV. The amazing love and care shown by the multitude of people who cared for Linda, Becky and Jerry Hawkins were—and continue to be—Christ’s hands in action. During Lent and through the month of April, the messages from our speakers have enlightened and moved us. We are happy to have welcomed Rachel Dennis to the

pulpit in April, and in May we welcome another new face, the Rev. Dr. Fred Schaeffer. Fred was the hospice chaplain who counseled Linda, Jerry and Becky. Fred’s background is both UCC and DOC so we’re glad he’s with us! We look forward to getting to know him. We are blessed beyond measure with such rich gifts.

Back to Pentecost Sunday. Watch for details as they become available, but here’s a teaser. Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit came in with a mighty wind. When I was a child, the Holy Spirit was called the “Holy Ghost” which never made any sense to me at all so I pretty much discounted it. Today my understanding of Holy Spirit which I translate to “God in me” makes it perhaps the most important image of God for me.

Scripture says that everyone could suddenly understand one another, even though they were speaking different languages. How wonderful it would be today if everyone could understand one another. I think one of our most important callings is to be agents for bringing people together and tearing down the walls that divide us.

Since Pentecost falls on the 4th Sunday of the month, we will celebrate our May birthdays. Many traditions consider Pentecost the “birthday of the church” though there is no specific indication of that in the Bible. Nevertheless we want to make this month’s potluck and birthday celebration an extra special one. We encourage people to invite

friends to join us, which, of course, is true each and every Sunday!

Christian Education

Creation Spirituality

Young Angel's Parent-Participation Kid's Class

In the Classroom (Zoom is also an option)

following the main Worship Service

The Parent-Participation Children's class will meet in the classroom following the main service. During Lent we will explore our litany themes, hear stories of Jesus' time in the wilderness, and enjoy songs, games, crafts, and more.

Former LA police officer DeeDee Lewis & then UCV Pastor Joe Zarro came together in hope of providing an informative, safe & social place for our LGBTQ youth in the Temecula/Murrieta Valley. It was toward the end of 2012 that UCV started began the “Drop-In Center”

Emily and her partner Meghan were members of UCV. Their enthusiasm, talent and desire to make a difference made them a welcomed and beloved couple. The UCV Dove logo is the work of Emily…talented artist was just one of her amazing talents.

10 yrs ago, this April, Emily Blake was issued a personal set of Angel Wings. On that day, she left behind so many that cared and loved her, only to be welcomed into the loving arms of those who left before her.

It was with Emily’s passing that UCV wanted to honor her in some way…thus Emily’s House was born. It was also agreed that it would not be just a “drop-in center”…under the leadership of a group of UCV folks, it was decided to become a resource center as well.

We wanted to get the word out that there was a safe place for LGBTQ youth, young adults, parents, friends and allies to meet, interact, ask questions, have some fun and be a part of something special. We visited several of the GSA groups in Temecula/Murrieta area doing informational talks and giving out information on Emily’s House. While our hearts were in the right place and so much love and effort was put forth, the response just didn’t warrant the man hours that we were trying to maintain with a small congregation. So Emily’s House was put on the proverbial “back-burner”.

Given the current political climate and the influence of some pretty fundamentalist ideologies UCV is going to explore the possibilities of bringing Emily’s House back to the front burner again. There are groups and individuals that seem pretty intent on shutting down and silencing any attempt to offer education, support and or understanding if the LGBTQ community. Here at UCV, we hope to explore what is needed to stop this from happening. We can’t stop folks from spewing hatred & disinformation BUT we can offer a safe place for gatherings and discussion.

We hope that you’ll reach out and offer your input, support & encouragement as we begin this process. It won’t be easy…it will take financial resources, volunteerism and a true desire to make a difference….let us put actions into words


For more information or comments please contact Deb Hudson admin@ucvchurch.org.

Subject: Emily’s House

UCV is now offering a change in our name badges. We are offering to put your requested pronouns (below your name). If this is a replacement name badge, there will be a charge of $12.00 otherwise there is no cost for your 1st one. If you are a member and don't have a name badge or want a replacement just let Deb Hudson know.

Lunch Bunch is Back

May 7th

Like to eat? Like to talk? Like to talk while you eat? Then Lunch Bunch is for you! Every 1st Sunday we will choose a different restaurant for lunch after church. We will meet at 12pm for those of you who might have slept in but still gotta eat! Send your restaurant ideas to Sandy Selby at bookkeepper@ucvchurch.org. ALL ARE WELCOME!

May 7th

8Bit Brewery, corner of Date and Jefferson 

Music News

It was such a joy to hear our handbells on Easter Sunday. Well done, ringers! Hopefully, we won’t have to wait for the next major church holiday to do some more ringing! We have been so grateful to Pei-Ying Li for the beautiful music she has playing in our services. Her artistry is inspiring and her willingness to work with singers and instrumentalists is definitely appreciated. Unfortunately, she will be leaving us at the end of April. She and her family are traveling to Taiwan in May and when she returns,

she wants to spend Sundays with her family as it is the only day they can be together. We will deeply miss her but we wish her will.

**Available Now**

These bumper stickers are available. UCV is selling them for $5.00 each. The proceeds (after cost) will go to UCV's General Fund. Thank you Sherian for finding these and getting them ordered. If anyone has a suggestion for fund raising please let us know. Be sure and talk to Sherian and see if it's a possibility. Be aware that if you suggest it, you will need to spearhead and organize the marketing. Deb Hudson is available to help with getting the word out.

2023 Church Council

Sherian Spencer


Rick Hayden

Vice Moderator

Darcie Dunlop


Lynne Bradley


Keira Eddy


Rev. Jen Zechlin

Christian Education

Sandy Selby

Congregational Life

Lorian Dunlop


Reflection and Call to Action: UCV's First Quarter of 2023

Hello Beloved UCV Community!

As the days begin to lengthen and the hills erupt in floral color, would you join me in taking stock of the plans made as we began this year with hearts full? In 2023, we have come together to learn, to grieve, to be in community, to celebrate, to support those in pain and experiencing loss, to break bread and to hear messages from wonderful ministers and lay speakers without filter. UCV has been Jesus to each other and the local community. We have welcomed visitors from our neighboring community and from other countries. We have rung out our joy with the bells, learned new hymns and anthems, and been blessed by song and music. We also welcomed a new meeting group partner, donated socks and food bank supplies, and are planning to help feed the food insecure in the region. We have been working to update the sound system to serve those in our online community better, made coffee and repairs, and are working on more ways to be of service in the hot summer months to come. We provide a space for community partners to meet and do their good work in building up our community and the world we want to see. We are blessed by our young people and every member. There are myriad more connections and blessings that happen quietly, unseen, but important.

All of this is possible because of the generosity of spirit of each and every one of you. However, financially, we are $1500 behind where we had budgeted through pledges and other revenue. 

  • Reminder: If you made a pledge, please check the recent statement sent out and catch up if you've fallen behind so we can continue to move forward with the plans and ministries of UCV.
  • If you have been planning to make a donation or start a birthday fundraiser...yes please!
  • We also have bumper stickers available for purchase. Proceeds go towards our sound system.

Thank you, and please help us to catch up to stay in the green and continue the important work of UCV's Beloved Community in the Temecula Valley.

Keira Eddy

UCV Council Treasurer

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.
 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

Donations (please contact us for pricing):

**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

May Potluck on the 28th!

We will celebrate May birthdays on Sunday, May 28th, immediately after church. Bring whatever you want to share - no sign-ups required. If we end up with all desserts, so be it! Come enjoy hanging out and meet some old and new friends!

The group is completing quilts to send to Ukraine. They are ready to sew the edging around the quilts and then they will take the quilts down to a place in San Diego. That group will send them to Ukraine.

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

There isn’t much new to report in Nicaragua right now. Politically, conditions are still oppressed and uncertain. The visioning meeting for JustHope’s future, which Austin Linsley and I attended (on zoom) reported on current conditions but leaders remain determined to find ways to support our friends and partners in Chacraseca. They are all trying to be creative in finding ways. Julio has offered zoom Spanish lessons (not only

has he lost his job as JustHope lead translator but also his English teaching job at the university has been eliminated. So many others have similar stories. They need our continuing prayers.

Congregational Care

Prayers and Concerns for:

  • The memorial service for Linda Hawkins was held on Saturday April 20th. What a celebration of life!
  • Jerry and Becky would still enjoy a meal with anyone who is willing to take a dinner to their home. Becky and Jerry like to play games while you are there. Give Jerry a call.
  • Prayers for Edna for relief from pain and discomfort.
  • For all the countries who are at war or who are challenged with life because of the rulers of their country. For those affected by weather conditions.


  • Steve and Mary Beth are on vacation in Europe. 
  • Christi will be in Tennessee for several weeks this month. 
  • Lorian will be babysitting cats in Las Vegas. She may be home by the time this newsletter is out.
  • Donna will be on vacation in Carlsbad.
  • Thank you to all of you who have stepped up to help with Jerry and Becky. They appreciate all the love and friendship from our church.

Conference News

The Southern Calif/Nevada Conference annual meeting is on June 9th and 10th. It will be in person at Chapman University in Orange and also on zoom. Register now on http://www.scncucc.org for information and registration. It is an awesome event. You can see all the places and events that we support in our area.  

Check the website at www.pilgrimpinescamp.org for registration and information for the Spring Up To Camp weekend. You call also just come up on Saturday to visit the camp and have a good lunch and a tour of camp. Camp is up in Oak Glen which is a little over an hour away from our area. There will be an online auction fundraiser to help support the campership fund which allows people to attend summer camp. This starts on May 13 and ends at camp on May 20th.

Also on line is the information regarding this year Summer Camp program. There is a need for adult volunteers and campers.

May Birthdays

  • Craig Thorsen - 3rd
  • Glaser Harris - 14th
  • Deandre Williams - 16th
  • Lynne Bradley - 17th
  • Suzi Linsley - 23rd
  • Kathy Linsley - 25th
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

OA - 12 Step Program - Thursday 6:30pm - 7:30pm

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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