Community UCC eNews
November 7, 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.

Sunday Sermon  

On Sunday, Nov. 10, Pastor Ara will deliver the sermon titled " Hold On, " based on the scripture readings Haggai 2:1-9 and
2 Thessalonians 2:1-5,13-17.

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.
Living the Questions 2.0 returns

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


Nov. 10 Taking the Bible Seriously
Nov. 17 Thinking Theologically
Nov. 24 Stories of Creation
Dec. 1 Lives of Jesus
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
Beginning tonight!
Thursday Evening Worship

Beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7 , we will hold a weekly contemplative, interactive, spirit-filled worship service in the Sanctuary.

Come worship with us!
At the Coming of Age event, a Tastee Burger feed was offered as a fundraiser. There were 40 spaces available and 18 folks signed up. The event will take place in Hayden Hall following church on Nov. 10 .

Tastee Burgers were a signature sandwich served at Nancy Pressley’s family’s restaurants in Nebraska. The meal will include side dishes, soft drinks, and dessert. The cost to attend is $15. The proceeds go to the CUCC operating budget.

Please contact Nancy Pressley (559.312.8621) or Vicky Wall (559.250.7544) if you would like to attend. RSVP's are requested by Thursday, Nov. 7.
Men's Book Study Group

Facilitators Rod Zook and Chad Hayden lead a men's book study group from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Room 1 on the book "Naked Spirituality" by Brian McLaren. Now reading Chapters 8 and 9.
For this recurring feature in eNews, Doug Hoagland, a longtime Fresno Bee reporter, interviews members of our congregation so we can get to know each other better. New profiles run at least once a month. To read previous Meet Our Members profiles,  visit our website .

Susan Chavez, member since 2014

Tell us about yourself:
I was born at the old St. Agnes Hospital, one of 10 children. I’m the fourth child and the oldest girl. We were a Catholic family, and I went to 12 years of Catholic school, graduating from San Joaquin Memorial High School in 1968. In high school, my friends and I opposed the Vietnam War. After high school, I worked at Yosemite as a waitress and a maid. I went to Fresno City College, but I wasn’t really serious about my education at that point. I lived in Santa Barbara, San Diego and Oklahoma, and when I came back to Fresno, I was a waitress at the old Richard’s Restaurant on Belmont. It’s a hard job, and I thought, “I can’t do this for the rest of my life.” So I went back to school and became a special education teacher. I taught in the Central Unified School District for 25 years.

And your family:
My husband, Leo, and I have 22-year-old twins, Michelle and Angela. Their mother is one of Leo’s daughters from his first marriage. She suffered from mental illness, and she let us adopt the girls. They’ve always been good kids. Michelle and her husband, Jessie, live in North Carolina. He was in the Marines, and they’re moving to the Phoenix area, where he plans to become a police officer. Angela lives in Fresno, and she works with children who have behavior issues at a Fresno elementary school. She’s a mentor to the kids and trouble shoots for the teachers. She’s a little thing – only 5-foot-1 – but I guess she’s pretty strict. I didn’t know this about her (laughter).

What brought you to Community UCC?
I’ve always been a liberal and really open. I went to an evangelical church for many years and over time I realized in many ways that church didn’t see the world as I do. I loved the people, and they loved me. That was not the problem, but especially when Barack Obama became president, oh my goodness, did I feel a difference. I was very open that I was proud to vote for him. I became more uncomfortable, and I knew I wasn’t going to change the church. Well, I was in a walking group with Vicky Wall. We went to high school together, and she told me about Community UCC. I visited one Sunday, and I knew this was the place I needed to be.

What church activities have you been involved with?
I’ve served on the Pastoral Relations, Extravagant Welcome, Worship, and Missions and Social Justice teams. I’ve also sung in the choir, taught Sunday school, and served on the Interim Pastor Selection Committee.

What do you find special or different about Community UCC?
No matter who you are and where you come from, you’re welcome here!

What’s your vision for the church?
I would like us to have a more diverse membership, and I know the church wants that, too. I also want us to connect in a greater way with young people.

What’s something about you that might surprise people?
I’ve had so many jobs that I’ve lost track. When I was younger, I painted houses, and I worked in sales at a lumber yard. I also have roots in the Middle East. My paternal grandfather came to the United States from Lebanon, and he and my grandmother ran a market in Reedley for many years. Finally, next year I’m going with two of my sisters and a brother-in-law to walk  El Camino de Santiago.  It begins in France and ends in Spain and is hundreds of miles long. Many people walk it as a spiritual pilgrimage. I hear it’s great for the soul but hard on the feet.

How would classmates in high school have described you?
I was a free spirit and an activist, and that got me into trouble. One time, a nun got so angry, she threw a book at me. My mother went to see that nun, and after they talked, my mother told me that people have all kinds of problems and issues that we don’t know about. She was talking about the nun. My mother – Esther Allen – was a very wise woman.

What’s your favorite TV show and movie?
I really liked the show, “Lost.” The characters were flawed but redeeming qualities appeared over time! Hope was alive! My favorite childhood movie is “The Wizard of Oz.”

There’s a big change coming in your life. Tell us about it.
Leo and I are moving to Yuma, Ariz. in January. We have a house there, and up to now we’ve split our time between Fresno and Yuma. In mid-November, Leo and I are driving to North Carolina to help Michelle and Jessie get ready for their move to Arizona. I’m going to really miss Community UCC, but I plan to come back to Fresno every three months or so. I’ll stay for a month at a time with one of my sisters, and when I’m in town, and I’ll definitely be at church.
FIRM's Senior Fridays

One of the community programs that the Missions and Social Justice Team is engaging in is FIRM’s Senior Fridays. This is targeted to seniors in FIRM’s programs who are primarily Hmong, Cambodian, and a mixture of other ethnic groups.

Missions and Social Justice has selected Friday, Nov. 15 , for its service. We need volunteers to engage in activities/games with the seniors and volunteers to donate items.
Items needed are:
  • Games (Bingo, etc.)
  • Food:
  • Chicken
  • Salads
  • Dinner rolls
  • Rice
  • Cookies
  • Lemonade

Please contact Elizabeth Davis-Russell (559.862.6914) or Susan Chavez (559.269.0838) to donate your service and /or food.
Music: Holiday Happenings at Community UCC

Announcing: The Community UCC Choir Advent Program! We’d love for you to join the choir for a short stint this Holiday Season!

Here’s the time commitment: Rehearsals from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 20, Dec. 4 and Dec. 20. Performances on Dec. 8 (Hanging of the Greens), Dec. 20 (Christmas Program), and Dec. 22 (Last Sunday before Christmas).

Rehearsals are in the church Sanctuary, and they’re lots of fun! If you’re interested in joining us for a short stint, please contact EJ Hinojosa at  or by phone at 559.303.8658.

No long-term commitments, and ALL SKILL LEVELS ARE ENCOURAGED TO JOIN !
Journey into Advent: "While it Was Yet Dark"
Nov. 22-24
Join us for Journey into Advent, our annual deeper exploration into our faith as we enter the Advent season of our spiritual calendar.

As we witness the encroaching darkness in our social, political, and spiritual environments, we can welcome the darkest time of the calendar year (the Winter Solstice) as a time to ponder new territory, which can be discovered "While It Was Yet Dark."

This year’s featured speaker, Julia Penner-Zook , member of Community United Church of Christ and member in discernment for ordination with the UCC, will collaborate with a musician and a photographer, inviting us to encounter the darkness from an entirely different angle. Collaborating with Julia are Jenny Regehr and Stacey Rhoades. 

"While It Was Yet Dark" — a collaboration
  • 7-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22 in the CUCC Sanctuary: we will gather for an inspiring evening of poetry, music, and photography, introducing three biblical women, each of whom experienced the Divine within profound darkness. (Drinks and snacks follow.)
  • 8 a.m.-noon Saturday, Nov. 23 in Hayden Hall and the Sanctuary: after a light breakfast, we will offer an interactive morning to consider how various mediums (music, visual, writing) can provide tools for us to encounter the Divine in the darkness or the desert of the Advent season.
  • 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 24 in the Sanctuary: worship with Julia as she continues to lead us in our Journey into Advent. Special music by Jenny Regehr; photography by Stacey Rhoades to underscore elements of worship .

*Childcare is provided on all 3 days.

Cost is $25 per person for this event. Full and partial scholarships available upon request. Or if you are able, please fund a scholarship. To register or for more information, call Marilyn in the Church Office at 559.435.2690 . More information about the presenters and videos can be found on our homepage .
Raffle tickets available for two Christmas quilts 

Two Christmas quilts made by local quilter Becci Zaninovich especially for our church will be raffled off separately on Sunday, Dec. 1 . Raffle tickets will be available each Sunday in November and in the church office for $10 each.

There will be a separate raffle for each quilt so buy several tickets and put them all toward your favorite quilt or split them between the two. Sponsored by the Finance Team. Contact Sharon Powers for more information.
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.
Shop on  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 . Register Community UCC as your charity and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the eligible purchase price to our church. How does it work?

  1. Log onto Use your regular Amazon log in information. The online page will look exactly like your regular page and all your lists and history will be there. Prices will be the same. There is no difference between the and sites except that the AmazonSmile Foundation will make charitable donations to your selected organization if you use for eligible purchases. 
  2. Select Community Ucc as your charitable foundation and be sure you pick the one in Fresno CA. The last two "c"s are lower case letters. If you can't find it by name, use our EIN:  94-6050078.
  3. Whenever you want to shop on Amazon, log on to
  4. Phone shopping: Android has an app for AmazonSmile, but the iPhone does not. There are many suggestions online for how to set up a work-around on the iPhone if you shop from your phone.
CURRENT WORSHIP THEME: Coercion vs. Freedom

Our general worship focus for the fall will be Coercion vs. Freedom. We will be inspired by the minor prophets and the Pastoral epistles, as we struggle with the short term efficacy of coercion and threat, and the long view guided by a love ethic.

How do we mature as persons of faith and disciples of Christ? It is for freedom Christ set us free. How may we live this as fully and faithfully as possible? It captures and hopefully addresses our challenge of being an Open and Affirming congregation of welcoming each of us as we are. How to be our best self, individually and as a Body!
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.
Oregon church sees hosting 'houseless' people on its property as Christian duty

A community of more than a dozen people with no place else to live has established a camp on the property of a UCC church in Corvallis, Ore. So,  First Congregational United Church of Christ  has started a " Safe Camp " ministry to host and support them.

It wasn't as simple as it sounds. The church has spent months working with Benton County and the city of Corvallis to find the best ways to support this group experiencing what the Rev. Jennifer Butler calls "houselessness" — because home is not necessarily four walls and a roof. Continue reading at the website.
Happy Birthday and Anniversary to all who are celebrating this month!

November Birthdays
4 Terry Cole
8 Meg Gallagher
9 Lisa Boyles
13 Shelia Earl
17 Laurie Labbitt
18 Margery Mulvihill, Vivienne Barrett, Sarah Hayden
19 Janice Perrigo
21 Jack Wolfe
22 Tony Fazio
24 John Donaldson, Eileen White
27 Jordan Ruffin
30 Carol Kilburn

November Anniversaries
17 Laurie Labbitt and Ron Perry

Upcoming Church Events

  • Sundays at 9 a.m. - Adult Education in the Conference Room
  • Monday, Church Office closed/Veteran's Day
  • Tuesdays - Women's Book Discussion Group, Conference Room, 6 p. m.
  • Tuesdays - Men's Book Study, Room 1, 6 p.m.
  • Nov. 7 - Council meeting, 5:30 p.m. Conference Room
  • Nov 15 - FIRM's Senior Fridays, see Elizabeth Davis-Russell
  • Nov. 22-24 - Journey into Advent, with Julia Penner-Zook, theme is "While it Was Yet Dark"
  • Dec. 1 - Recycling Sunday, First Sundays of the month
  • Dec. 7 - Saturday Morning Breakfast Group, Michael Kunz will speak

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 .
Phone: 559.435.2690