Community UCC eNews
December 5, 2019
Community UCC is an inclusive and progressive Christian Church doing social justice, environmental faithfulness, interfaith collaboration and and spiritual formation to help ourselves and others grow in faith, hope and love.

This Sunday — Hanging of the Greens  

Sunday, Dec. 8, the second Sunday of Advent , is when we decorate the Sanctuary for the Advent Season, with the Christmas tree and all of the poinsettias that members have dedicated in honor or memory of loved ones.

Worship Service Each Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
NOTE: We broadcast our Sunday Worship service on Facebook Live beginning at 10:30 a.m. We want to make service accessible to members or friends who can't be with us on Sunday mornings. The camera captures the front of the Sanctuary and the first couple of rows of seats.
2019 Advent Devotional is Here!

Once again, Community United Church of Christ and The Big Red Church have collaborated on the 2019 Advent and Christmas Devotional and Journal , written by members and clergy of Big Red Church and  Community UCC ! Click here to download a copy of the 2019 Advent Devotional and Journal! There will also a limited number of hard copies available at church.
Each year the Missions and Social Justice Team plans Advent projects for the four Sundays in Advent, beginning this year on Sunday, Dec. 1. The committee picks four organizations that will benefit, and the congregation can bring requested items for each week’s project.

Here are this year’s recipients:
  • Dec. 1 — Snowflake tree to buy gifts for underprivileged elementary-aged children at Robinson Elementary, our neighborhood school. Students have been identified by their teachers. The tree will be up for people to pick a child’s name on Dec. 2, return gifts by the Dec. 8. Due to light attendance last Sunday, several snowflakes are still available. Contact Marilyn in the church office if you can help with one.
  • Dec. 8 — Cash Donations or gift cards for teens in foster care. Many younger children in foster care receive gifts from things similar to the snowflake tree, but there is usually an age limit and the teens get left out. For this Advent project, bring $10 gift card to anywhere a teen may want to shop — Jamba Juice, McDonald’s, Target, Walmart, Claire’s, stuff like that.
  • Dec. 15 — Cash donations to buy bus passes for residents of  Dakota EcoGarden, a transitional homeless shelter with an environmentally-friendly approach.
  • Dec. 22 — Collecting small gifts for senior residents of Twilight Haven retirement facility, like mittens, socks and scarves to help residents stay warm.
Saturday Morning Breakfast Group
Saturday, Dec. 7 , Conference Room
Breakfast at 8:45 a.m., talk begins at 9 a.m.

For Dec. 7, Michael Kunz will discuss "John Muir, Climate Change, and the Future of the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem.” Michael published a book titled " Muir's Temples; A Natural History of Sequoia Grove Plants," available on Amazon . The Hoaglands' will provide breakfast for this date.

On Jan. 4, Elizabeth Davis Russell will discuss "What does it mean to be a progressive Christian Church?" This presentation will explore what CUCC is doing, and poses the question, "What else can CUCC do to confront some of the challenges of today's world?” A volunteer is still needed for the breakfast in January. 
Christmas quilt winners announced, new raffle begins! 

Sue Hipp was the winner of the "I Believe in Giving" quilt and Ann Scott won the "Santa" quilt, both of which were made by local quilter Becci Zaninovich.

Next up, just in time for Christmas, Lisa Boyles will raffle off a jigsaw puzzle fun basket with puzzles for all ages, and yummy snacks and refreshments!

If you win this basket, you can plan a fun family evening (or several), use the basket contents as Christmas gifts, or save it to offer later as a hosted church event that people can bid on at our next big fundraiser/silent auction!

Tickets will be on sale in the breezeway before and after worship for three Sundays Dec. 8, 15 and 22, with the drawing to be held Dec. 22. Tickets are $5 each or five for $25.
Calling all actors and actresses of all ages!

Our Christmas Eve service is right around the corner. If you are interested in participating in the service, please let Robin know. There are many parts, speaking and non-speaking. Come and join us as we bring the light of Jesus into the World!
Early Christmas for the Soukis!

From Pastor Ara: Our refugee family is about to receive six bicycles. Janet and Melissa have been working on getting bikes for all the children in our family. There was little interest until Melissa posted the need on the NextDoor app early Thanksgiving morning. By that evening, she had six bicycles donated from neighbors. Tower Velo is cleaning and repairing the bikes. Next helmets (donated) and locks (approx. $100.00). Thanks be to God!
Recipe for Za’atar Peasant Bread

Several people at last Sunday's worship asked Pastor Ara for the bread recipe that his daughter Madeleine baked for communion. Here is the recipe:

  • 2.5 - 3.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 package or tablespoon dry active yeast
  • 1.25 cups warm whole milk or nondairy substitute 
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter or oil
  • 3 heaping tablespoon za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice mixture; Jordanian mix preferred, Lebanese is tasty also, I haven’t tried Palestinian mix yet) 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1.5 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Za’atar and sea salt for topping

Bloom yeast in warm milk, mix in oil, sugar, za’atar, pepper. Stir in flour till a smooth dough forms; halfway through the process, mix in salt. Transfer to an oiled bowl, let rise for 45 minutes.

Form into ball, top with za’atar and sea salt, let rise again 45 minutes more. Bake at 375 F for 25-35 minutes on a dark metal pan, till hollow when knocked and golden brown.
Just Peace: 12 Small Steps

We have been suggesting a small step to take toward greater environmental justice and more faithful stewardship of the earth’s resources. Two small steps are provided by CUCC and the Worship Planning team:
  • Using reusable Kcups for your Keurig type coffeemaker. There are still 15 reusable pods remaining. Pick one up in the narthex on Sunday.
  • Using toilet paper made from recycled material or bamboo. There are a dozen rolls remaining, again, available in the narthex. We hope to begin using this paper in our church restrooms as well. The journey to a healthier home is a little nearer.
Presbytery of San Joaquin: Why we we should care

Our interim pastor, the Rev. Ara Guekguezian, has been the moderator of the Presbytery of San Joaquin (the equivalent of our Sequoia Association) for 2019. The moderator’s congregation hosts the last meeting of the year.

This year the meeting is this Saturday, Dec. 7, at Community UCC. The day begins with a welcome at 9 a.m., followed by the "business" meeting from 9:30-11:15 a.m. Then worship from 11:30-12:25. Worship includes the celebration of holy communion. E.J. and the band will lead us in singing E.J.-composed songs exclusively.

E.J.’s music is great, but its exposure is limited. More people need to hear it and sing it throughout Christ’s Church. If you would like to worship with the Presbytery and add your voice to singing these songs you know well, Pastor Ara would appreciate it. Then the group will have lunch, and those who sing are welcome to break bread with us.
Living the Questions 2.0

Living the Questions resumed beginning Sunday, Nov. 3 . Below are the upcoming calendars (subject to change) and themes for November and December.

Theme: INVITATION TO JOURNEY 

Dec. 8 No LTQ , Hanging of the Greens
Dec. 15 A Passion for Christ: Paul the Apostle
Dec. 22 Out into the World: Challenges Facing Progressive Christians
Dec. 29 No LTQ
Men's Book Study Group

The Men's Book Study Group will resume its study of "Naked Spirituality" after the holidays, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 6 .
Shop on  Smile.Amazon.com  and Amazon will donate money to Community UCC!  

Community UCC is now part of the AmazonSmile Foundation charitable organizations that can be supported while you shop at  Smile.Amazon.com . Register Community UCC as your charity and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the eligible purchase price to our church.  Learn more on our website .

In each week's eNews, we include a news article from our larger denomination, United Church of Christ , to show the faithful work being done in other places.
First Transgender Day of Remembrance service in NW Connecticut draws 70

Back in September, the Rev. Robyn Gray was planning ahead. A new resident of rural Washington, Conn., she wanted to attend and support a Transgender Day of Remembrance service on Nov. 20. The nearest one she could find was in New Haven, an hour away.

So she and some clergy colleagues decided to create one locally, in nearby New Milford. It would be the first such service ever held in northwest Connecticut as part of the annual international observance that honors the lives of transgender persons lost during the past year. Continue reading at the UCC.com website .
Happy Birthday and Anniversary to all who are celebrating this month!

December Birthdays
2 Steve Edwards
3 Miles Barrett
7 Jessica Swan
8 Curtis Richardson
10 Janina Smith-Schulz
16 Matt Horton, Amy Kilburn
17 Barbara Kilburn, Pearl Supersad, Kyle Carlson
18 Ed Sanchez
26 Julia Penner-Zook, Tim Tidyman-Jones
28 Seth Tilley
31 Allen Church, Noah Ruffin

December Anniversaries
10 Marilyn and David Wall
26 – Rod Zook and Julia Penner-Zook

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

  • Thursday Evening Worship - weekly at 7 p.m., we hold a weekly contemplative, interactive, spirit-filled worship service in the Sanctuary
  • Thursday, Dec. 5 - Council meeting, 5:30 p.m. in the Conference Room
  • (No Living the Questions on Dec. 8) Sundays at 9 a.m. - Adult Education in the Conference Room
  • Dec. 7 - Saturday Morning Breakfast Group, Michael Kunz will speak
  • Dec. 8 - Hanging of the Greens
  • Dec. 18 - Aramaic Jesus, 2:30 p.m. in Sanctuary
  • Dec. 20 - Christmas Concert, 7 p.m., Sanctuary
  • Jan. 5 - Recycling Sunday, first Sunday of the month

Keep up to date with our Church's online calendar!
 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 .
Phone: 559.435.2690 
Email: office@communityucc.com