Stewardship Campaign 2017- Pledge Drive Goal Reached!

Our Joyful Giving Stewardship Campaign set a goal to raise $200,000 to secure the vibrancy of our church community. .
  • We have raised $204,640.00 in pledges. Thank you joyful givers!
  • We have reached 102% of pledged dollarsneeded to carry out the wonderful worship services and attain our church maintenance mission.
  • We still have many financial challenges ahead with projected maintenance of our air conditioning units and other expenses. But we also have plans in the works to increase the renting of our facilities and many more fundraising activities.
  • Let us not forget to thank God for the graces bestowed upon us during this time of hope.
Again, thank you to all of you who have made your pledges.

CUCC E Newsletter

Deadline is June 30 for Pitman and Tidyman Scholarships

Charitable Gifts Committee wishes to announce that scholarships are available from endowments established to help students continue their education beyond high school.

The 2017 Pitman and Tidyman Scholarship applications are available at the church office.

The Pitman Scholarship is a $566 gift for seminary, re-entry or graduate students.

The Tidyman Scholarship is a $372 gift for any educational pursuit of a student.

Deadlines to apply for both for the 2017 year is June 30.

Council would like input on worship time

Council is seeking input from the congregation on the possibility of changing our Sunday worship time from 10:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Possible pros:

  • Easier time for visitors to remember
  • More time for fellowship
  • Meetings could happen before or after worship

Possible cons:

  • Church signs have to be changed
  • Some people need extra time to get to church

We want your input. Please fill out a yellow comment card and leave it in the red comment box in the Narthex. The survey of our congregation will continue through the month of August before any decision is reached.

Composer Showcase at Community UCC on July 15

Poster for Composer Showcase

E.J. Hinojosa, our music director, is pleased to announce the Fresno Composer Showcase. This concert event will feature choral music written by four of Fresno’s many talented local composers, performed by local choral artists.

The four composers featured on this program are Kevin Memley, Matthew Wheeler, Maxton Vieira and E.J. Hinojosa. The concert will be held in the sanctuary of Community UCC at 7:30 p.m. July 15.

A $5 admission fee is payable at the door. Join us for an evening of good music and good company!

VBS project will benefit Dakota EcoGarden residents

Vacation Bible School 2017 – “Caring for Others”
9 a.m.-noon July 10-14

The focus of this year’s VBS is Caring for Others.  One of our projects is to prepare food jars for the residents of Dakota EcoGarden.

We need donations of the following items:

  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Split peas
  • Rolled oats
  • Dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, etc)

Dakota EcoGarden founder Nancy Waidtlow will speak to our kids on Monday, July 10, and we will send her off with jars of love filled by our VBS kids.

Please bring donations to the church by July 5.  Thank you for your help.

Vacation Bible School is free for children ages 4 years through 6th grade. You may register your child for Vacation Bible School by calling the church office at 435-2690.

Congregation adopts a new proclamation

Church adopts proclamation

At the recent Annual Meeting of the Congregation, members adopted a proclamation in support of immigrants, refugees and the marginalized. The full text of the proclamation can be found below:

Immigrant, Refugee and Marginalized Support Proclamation

Whereas the whisper of our sacred scriptures convict us to recall the Creator’s favor for the refugee and immigrant, “When the alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” – Leviticus 19:33-34 ANDThus says our God, render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” – Zechariah 7:9-10 AND “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” Matthew 5:7

Whereas it is the cherished tradition of our church to walk with the marginalized and advocate for the voiceless, as evidenced by our support of individuals such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez, as well our support of refugees from around the world.  

Whereas the steadfast protest of our larger United Church of Christ, the Rev. John Dorhauer, general minister and president of the UCC, exhorts: “Humble people wanting only to be safe and protect their children rely on the hospitality of strangers to survive. Our churches must engage politically to prevent our government from shutting our borders and our hearts; and missionally to welcome the stranger among us.”

Resolved to engage in active solidarity with members of and allies to the undocumented immigrant community, the homeless, and refugees, no matter where they are on life’s journey;

Resolved to prayerfully support the Peace and Justice Committee as they lead the congregation to engage in both specific and practical support to refugees, immigrants, migrants, and threatened persons in need of aid;

Resolved to advocating, if necessary, in nonviolent civil disobedience as exemplified by Jesus the Son of Man, Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in petitioning for sanctuary status in the City of Fresno that further improves and clarifies City of Fresno policy 428 (Fresno Police Department Policy Manual Immigration Violations) in light of the current political landscape and new heightened threats to the undocumented by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as city and county law enforcement.

Resolved in the spirit of hope, to answering the call to serve alongside fellow compassionate organizations in the city and county of Fresno.

~ Revised June 4, 2017, at the Annual Meeting of the Congregation

Next two dates/times set for Experiential Book Study – Aramaic Jesus

We are reading “The Genesis Meditations: A Shared Practice of Peace for Christians, Jews, and Muslims” by Neil Douglas-Klotz.

The next two dates for the Genesis Meditations Book study led by Ellen Bush are:

  • July 18, at 10:00 a.m. at the home of Kristi Cole. Contact the church office for the address. This session will revisit Chapter 2.
  • August 29 at 3:00 p.m. in the Church Sanctuary

Any questions, please contact Robin at faithgrowth@communityucc.com or Ellen Bush at milandra@comcast.net

Stewardship Moment – by Lisa Boyles

Giving hands

Lisa Maria BoylesBy Lisa Maria Boyles, presented during worship on April 30, 2017

Like Pastor Chris, I’m an introvert. Writing is my thing – public speaking, not so much. So I’ve written down some thoughts to share with you.

My path to this church has been circuitous. I first belonged for about 5 years in the late 1990s. I was a journalist then, and I met Rev. Gail while interviewing her for an article. She impressed me, so I started coming here and bringing my Grandma, who had Alzheimer’s.

While I was a member then, we celebrated the church’s 40th anniversary. I edited the church newsletter, Tapestries, and I chaperoned some work-service trips with our congregation’s young people.

Some things in my life changed, and I left for a few years, but I always stayed peripherally connected. I attended another church for a while, but nowhere else ever felt so much like my church home as this congregation did, even when I didn’t come regularly.

A few years ago, Charlene Toews told me about the new pastor and his family, and suggested I come back and check things out. I did.

Later, I started coming to the Women’s Book Club Discussion group. A year ago, Sharon Powers-Smith invited me to join a church committee, and I became a Trustee. And a couple of months ago, my youngest daughter – who wasn’t even born when I first came to Community UCC – asked about coming to church with me.

During last year’s Stewardship Campaign, Tony Fazio called me and talked to me about making a pledge. “You can even make an automatic donation through the church website,” he told me. This appealed to me.

Sometimes, when I came here before, the collection part of the service was uncomfortable for me. I was in a different place in my life, financially, back then. Sometimes I felt bad when the basket went by when I couldn’t give enough or maybe couldn’t give anything at all. Also, I’m not here every Sunday, and I felt guilty that I wasn’t helping the church financially on the weeks when I’m not in church.

After talking to Tony, I thought about it, considered what I can afford to give, and decided to do a monthly automatic pledge. Like Ruben said last week, it’s almost painless coming out automatically. And I know from my perspective as a member of the Trustees, it helps to have regular donations we can count on coming in to keep our church going, paying our staff and our bills and meeting our mission obligations.

I don’t feel uncomfortable anymore during the collection, or if I miss a Sunday. I know I’ve still met my pledge with my monthly gift to the church. And I can add something extra for special offerings. Making my pledge automatically helps me to be a joyful giver.

There’s a reason this church feels like the right place for me to be. It’s a different kind of church. Community UCC shines as a beacon of social justice in our community.

Our forebears in faith were early advocates in the anti-slavery movement. The United Church of Christ was the first denomination to ordain an African-American pastor, first to ordain a woman pastor, first to ordain an openly gay pastor.

I was proud to be a member here with my Grandma when our congregation went through the important work of becoming an Open and Affirming congregation. Fresno can be an unwelcoming place for the LGBTQ community. Our doors and our arms are open to all.

I woke up the day after the election in November despondent about the outcome. So many things happening every day since then make me feel, “This is not my country.”

But the day after the inauguration, when women across our nation – and many men – took to the streets to protest, I was reassured to see so many of our church members joining those protests, not only here in Fresno, but in Sacramento, in San Jose and in Idaho. Vicki Wall’s sign in the Fresno protest read, “We march for the poor, the outcasts, the earth.”

The messages I hear in this church, and the actions I see members and our pastor carrying out inspire me to be more and do more in my own life. Our community and our world need what Community UCC leads us to be.

No matter who you are, or where you are on your journey, you are welcome here.

Our church gives me hope. If it gives you that same hope, I ask that you consider what you can give to help keep our congregation’s light keep shining in this community.