Mission Statement: “Community UCC is an inclusive and progressive Christian church doing social justice, environmental faithfulness, interfaith collaboration and spiritual formation to help ourselves and others grow in faith, hope and love.”
No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome in our sacred space. Here at Community United Church of Christ, we experience God’s love as we follow in the teachings of Jesus. We are an inclusive, progressive beacon shining God’s light for all to see.
We walk our talk as a Just-Peace, LGBTQ Open and Affirming, theologically progressive Congregation of the United Church of Christ, located in Fresno, California.
We are young and old, gay and straight and in between. We are single and partnered, happy and sad, confused and inspired. We are street smart and college-educated, students and residents. Some of us have financial struggles and others share their abundance.
We are God’s people. We are the Body of Christ.
How Do We Walk the Talk?
Feeling called as a church to the Biblical vision of Peace on Earth, we ground our declaration in scripture: “… and what does our God require of us? To do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God.” Micah 6:8. We affirm our understanding that declaring our church to be a Just Peace Church is a statement of becoming rather than being, of process and intention, of journey toward a destination rather than the assumption of permanent status. As a church, we have made this public covenant for peace with justice since 2016.
The Just Peace Church vision is a hallmark of United Church of Christ theological identity. For 30 years, the Just Peace Church pronouncement has inspired a grassroots movement of UCC congregations committed to corporately naming and boldly proclaiming a public identity as a justice-doing, peace-seeking church. The Just Peace pronouncement articulated the UCC position on war and peace distinct from other approaches such as crusade, pacifism or “just war.” Grounded in UCC polity and covenantal theology, the position focuses attention on alleviating systemic injustice of all types using nonviolence and calls us to offer the message, grounded in the hope of reconciliation in Jesus, that “Peace is possible.”
LGBTQ Open and Affirming
At Community UCC, we experience God’s love and justice by following Jesus’ example, we stand with those who suffer discrimination, isolation, and alienation. In this spirit, our family of faith is open to people of every religious background, sexual orientation, family composition, physical and mental ability, race, age, gender, education, and economic status. We welcome all people, who live in love, to participate fully in our church’s life and ministry. We affirm our commitment to work for justice, healing, and wholeness of life for all people. As a church, we have made this public covenant since 1998.
Since 1985, the United Church of Christ has made it possible for UCC churches to make this public declaration, which our denomination refers to as Open and Affirming. Many church bodies throughout history have officially excluded and/or condemned LGBTQ folks. We see, in scripture and throughout the Christian tradition, evidence of God’s extravagant welcome!
At Community UCC, we covenant to take the Bible seriously, not literally. We affirm our alliance with The Center for Progressive Christianity and affirm the 8 points of progressive Christianity.
1. By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who:
Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life;
2. Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;
3. Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:
- Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics.
- Believers and agnostics.
- Women and men.
- Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
- Those of all classes and abilities.
4. Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe.
5. Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes.
6. Strive for peace and justice among all people.
7. Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth.
8. Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.
~ Inspired by and adapted from Community UCC, Champaign, Illinois
Minister: Pastor Julia Penner-Zook
Julia began her ministry as Pastor of Community UCC in May 2020. Julia is a graduate of Fresno Pacific Seminary, where she earned a Masters of Theology degree before going on to serve as co-pastor of a congregation in Munich, Germany, a speaker at conferences and workshops, and an educator in a variety of social services settings. Julia offers leadership and vision for our teams, connection through pastoral care and on social media platforms, and invites growth through teaching and preaching. She is married to Rod; they have two grown children and eight grandchildren. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Commissioned Minister of Christian Education: Robin Carlson
Robin is a creative spirit who loves to share spiritual practices and ways to center oneself in our go-go-go environment. She has a passion for learning and helping others on their spiritual journey. Robin and our Faith Education team offer many educational opportunities for children and adults along with other special events throughout the year. In her free time, she can be found spending time with any one of her five grown children and eight grandchildren. Email: email@example.com
Music/Choir Director: E.J. Hinojosa
EJ is a music educator with Fresno Unified School District, an alumnus of Fresno Pacific University, and a proud Fresnan. He, his wife, and their two daughters, Rosie and Ellie, live in the Fresno High neighborhood where they enjoy going for long walks and eating cold treats at Ampersand Ice Cream. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Administrative Assistant: Marilyn Wall
Marilyn knows all things CUCC. She has been with the Church since 1993 and prides herself as our resident historian and chief of the office. She will disarm anyone with a warm smile and a kind word of encouragement. Marilyn likes to read anything interesting and loves the CUCC family. She also loves being a “Grammie” to her three young grandkids. Email: email@example.com
At CUCC’s Annual Congregational Meeting, new congregational members were added to the several of our leadership committees. We want to thank everyone who stepped up to help lead our church and to our incumbents that have volunteered many hours of service. And there are still open opportunities who others with a desire to share their talents and time.
- Moderator — Felicia Rocha
- Vice Moderator – Doug Hoagland
- Treasurer – Carol Kilburn
- Council Members at Large – Vicky Wall, Steve Reynolds
CHURCH BYLAWS: Last updated in Bylaws – June 2018
In addition to our staff, the business of our church is conducted by officers (listed above), who are elected at the annual meeting (usually held in June), the Council, and several teams, listed below. The teams offer ways for members to contribute according to their interests and skills.
WORSHIP TEAM — This team shall plan and implement the worship life of the Congregation, in close consultation with the Pastor(s) and Music Director.
EXTRAVAGANT WELCOME TEAM — This team shall focus on the invitation, reception, and nurturing of the members of this Church.
FACILITIES AND GROUNDS — This team’s primary focus is the oversight and management of Community United Church of Christ’s buildings and grounds.
FINANCE TEAM — This team’s primary focus is the oversight and management of budget development, stewardship, and fundraising.
FAITH EDUCATION TEAM — This team’s primary focus is to provide educational programs for all ages., youth ministries, and assist in confirmation education.
FELLOWSHIP TEAM — Nurtures relationships and builds a sense of community by providing recreational and social occasions for Church members and friends.
PASTORAL RELATIONS TEAM — This team’s primary focus is to serve as a support group for the pastors and their families. Also, facilitate communication between the pastors and the congregation to ensure positive and healthy relationships.
MISSIONS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE TEAM — This team shall provide information and education on social justice issues and the mission/ service needs of the human community.
CHARITABLE GIFTS AND ENDOWMENT FUNDS TEAM — This team shall be the Gifts custodian of the Charitable Gifts and Endowments Funds of CUCC. Also, shall act as the financial investment agent of the Church.
Meet our Members: Learn about some of our church members.
Click here to learn some of our church’s rich history.
Click here to learn the stories behind the beautiful stained glass windows in our Sanctuary and Narthex.