Deadline extended for Settled Pastor Search Team survey

Dear CUCC members:

You recently received an email (sent May 6, subject line “SPECIAL PASTORAL SEARCH SURVEY”) requesting your responses to a survey, which will assist the Search Team in developing the church profile. The church profile is the job announcement which is posted throughout the UCC inviting interested pastors to submit their profiles (applications) to us.

The deadline to submit your responses has been extended to Friday, May 24. If you are unable to complete the survey electronically, a printed version will be available on request at church this Sunday, May 19. We are looking forward to your input in this most important process.

Please mark your calendars to attend a Day of Discovery on Sunday, June 2, immediately following worship. Our Associate Conference Minister will lead us in a conversation regarding who we are now and who God is calling us to be, both of which are critical components of our profile. It is so important that we hear all of your voices representing our beautiful CUCC community.  We will provide a luncheon with meat and vegetarian options prepared by the Syrian community. And, there will be a free raffle with prizes!!!

In grace and gratitude, CUCC Search Team Members

Linda Baird     Amy Kilburn
Sean Carlson   Nancy Pressley
Bonita Earl     Aravis Rocha
Chad Hayden   Vicky Wall

Looking for your gifts — Part 2!

Annual Meeting

Sunday, June 10

Following Worship

On Sunday, June 10,  we will hold our annual Congregational Meeting following worship.  At this meeting, we will consider and vote on our annual budget, bylaws revisions and elect Council officers and committee members.

Our committees are looking for your gifts! Each of our committees/teams carry out the mission of the church through their fine work.  They provide a way for each of us to share our gifts — our time and talents — in the life of the church for as little or as much time as we can give!

Following is a brief description of some of the work of each committee.  Please prayerfully consider where you might serve. You are welcome to volunteer for a committee at the annual meeting.


  • Participate in worship planning and decorating the worship space
  • Assist in sacraments, such as communion,  and other rites of the church

Elders (Extravagant Welcome Team):

  • Welcome newcomers and greet  church attendees on Sunday mornings
  • Provide orientation to prospective members
  • Reach out to members who are in need of care


  • Raise money for the operation of the church through fundraising events and the annual stewardship drive
  • Prepare the church budget for congregational approval
  • Care for the buildings and grounds of the church

Christian Education:

  • Provide educational programs for all ages
  • Provide youth ministries
  • Assist in confirmation education


  • Arrange fellowship hours following worship
  • Work with other teams in providing social occasions and special seasonal events

Missions and Social Justice:

  • Facilitate congregational involvement of mission and social justice concerns
  • Lead special moment in worship to educate the congregation and request special offerings to support missions  and provide service opportunities

Charitable Gifts and Endowments:

  • Solicit and accept memorials, donations, endowments and bequests into the funds of the church.
  • Manage the funds within the framework of the church’s tax exempt status


Message from our Moderator about this time of transition

Dear CUCC members and friends,

Most, if not all of you, have learned recently that Pastor Chris has accepted a call to Foothill Congregational  Church in Los Altos, CA. His last Sunday with us will be April 1st, Easter Sunday.

Pastor Chris and his family are very dear to me, as I am sure they must be to you, and I will miss them very much. I was deeply touched by his heartfelt letter announcing his decision.

Please join with me in thanking him for his inspiration and leadership in our congregation and in the wider community as we celebrate his remaining time with us, and wish him and his family well on their ministry journey.

Transition can be an unsettling thing, maybe especially to newer members who haven’t experienced a change of pastor with our congregation. In response to questions that have come up and in anticipation of additional questions, I hope the following information will be helpful:

How will we honor Pastor Chris as he is released from covenant with CUCC?

There is a Ritual of Covenant Release, which generally takes place on the pastor’s last Sunday separate and apart from the Sunday service. Participants include the pastor, the congregation and representatives from the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ (NCNCUCC) and the Sequoia Association in which we participate with other Central California UCC churches.  This is generally a time to celebrate the work that has been accomplished together and a time to say good-bye. The date and time for this are yet to be determined.

What is the process when a minister leaves?

There are UCC-defined policies and practices to guide us as we prepare for Pastor Chris’ release from his call with CUCC.  We will be assisted by the NCNCUCC and the Sequoia Association as our covenantal partners in this process.

In the very near future, a search committee, representative of our congregation, will be formed by Council to seek an interim pastor. The Conference will provide us profiles of pastors who are interested in interim work to be considered for this position.

Once the interim is selected, approved and installed by our congregation, a settled pastor search committee will be formed to work with the congregation, Council and the interim to develop a church profile. Pastors who are interested in our church based on this profile will be considered by the search committee for the settled position.

How long can the search and call process take?

Search and call will take time and discernment and will require patience and understanding from all of us. Generally it takes a few months to find an interim and a year to a year and a half to find a settled pastor.

What will we do in the likely event there is a time lapse between selecting an interim pastor and Pastor Chris’ release?

In the past, we have invited others to fill the pulpit on Sundays and have been blessed with ordained ministers associated with our congregation who can carry out the sacraments of communion, baptism, wedding and funerals as well as preach on occasion.

We are extremely fortunate to have our Commissioned Minister of Religious Education Robin Carlson who leads our worship planning team and is an excellent preacher and, our Music Director EJ Hinojosa provides the wonderful music, which is a vital component in the life of our church.

What is an interim pastor?

An interim pastor is one who is trained in the specific skills needed to guide and serve churches between settled pastorates. The interim assists the search committee in developing the church profile through the input provided by the congregation.

The interim will help us take this time as an opportunity to look at our strengths and weaknesses, to capitalize on our strengths and to be open to new opportunities. The interim cannot become the settled pastor under any circumstances.

How will the congregation be involved in the selection of the pastor?

The congregation will provide the vital input needed for the development of the church profile. This is generally accomplished through meetings, surveys, etc. The search committee will represent the wishes of the congregation.

How will the congregation be informed about the progress of the search committees?

Once the church profile has been developed with input from the congregation and interim pastor, and the search committee begins considering candidates for the position, the work of the search committees becomes confidential until such time a pastor is recommended for consideration by the congregation.

Change and transition have always been a part of the life of our church.  Please take a look at the timeline below that has been prepared for the 60th Anniversary Celebration as a way of seeing the transitions that have occurred since our church was formed 60 years ago. In our church’s history, we have had 10 settled pastors and six interim pastors.

The process I have described in this letter has worked well for us in the past and I believe it will lead us to a successful outcome. I look forward to our work together as we say goodbye to Pastor Chris and welcome a future minister.

In grace and gratitude,

Nancy Pressley, Moderator, 2017-18

CUCC Timeline_Page_1

CUCC Timeline_Page_2

Leadership Retreat — Inhale Grace … Exhale Gratitude

retreat altarOn Sept. 8-9, CUCC Council members escaped the busy-ness of work and everyday life to unite our spirit and refresh our minds.

Thanks go out to the Smith-Powers family for letting us stay at their cabin in beautiful Shaver Lake.

The Council tackled many issues faced by our church. It was a very special place where we created a sacred space to set our personal items that reminded us of our faith. The Council shared their spiritual journey, and received communion. Leadership and friendship was nurtured by those who attended. Nancy Pressley, Amy Kilburn, Carol Kilburn, Eileen White, Chris Breedlove, Robin Carlson, Ruben Fernandez, Donna Wright, Felicia Rocha, Vicki Wall, and Susan Chavez shared their vision and ideas for the future of our church.

Here are some of the plans and dreams advanced by our council leaders.
  • Revising our Mission Statement and forming a Bylaws review committee
  • Addressing church size and leadership
  • Committee to coordinate fundraisers
  • Handling church conflict and enhancing communication
  • Leading Change

Also, the church needs your time and talent now. The Council has many projects and fundraisers to come so it needs all the help it can get. The church will have a very exciting and graceful year. If you are interested, please contact our church office, 559-435-2690.


CUCC Ad Hoc Fundraising Committee Report

A meeting was held on June 28 to brainstorm ideas for fundraising events and evaluate past and present fundraisers. In attendance were Sue Hipp, Amy Kilburn, Sharon Powers and Ruben Fernandez.

All fundraising events must state a purpose for the money to be raised, such as for operations, fellowship funds, youth group, special music programs, choir, and other needs. Coordination of these events can be shared by trustees and council. Some ideas include:

  • Party for Community: It was recommended not to hold this event in October 2017 because it is too late for planning and no one has been assigned to coordinate it. Other reasons are that the concept may be outdated, too much coordination with sponsoring baskets and events (theme dinners, parties, tours, etc.).
  • New ideas to replace Party for Community
    1. Dinner or Dinner Dance with theme or at time of a season such as Christmas, in January, Valentine’s Day
    2. Celebratory Theme like honoring church pioneers, Volunteer of the Year, CUCC milestone anniversaries (60 years coming up).
    3. Must have a silent auction
    4. Raffle
    5. Location: Hayden Hall
    6. Use of alcohol: Sales Permit to raise money
    7. Must have major sponsors
    8. Invite community and inter-faith partners
  • Brainstorming Ideas for New Events
    1. Community Supper (or Lunch) Club: This concept would center on a group (such as members of council, trustees, and others) coordinating a dinner or lunch every month at a restaurant where all participants pay a fee of $25 (or more) to attend. This fee would not include meal but instead go toward a particular need of the church such as operations, maintenance, or capital projects. There would be no agenda except to enhance church or community member relationships. Members of this Club would rotate turns to coordinate and choose a restaurant and announce. E-News, Website, Facebook and other social media would be used for announcements and updates.
    2. Fellowship Restaurant Fundraisers: Find a restaurant that will donate a part of the proceeds from meals purchased with coupon or flyer (like the “Sweet Tomatoes Restaurant”). Other events that Fellowship used to do were potlucks, Moms & Muffins, Father’s Day Root Beer, and sell food.
    3. Farmer’s Market (or Makers and Growers Market):  This would require a lot of planning, seeking information about the competition, recruiting vendors, and getting “state certified.”
    4. Bingo Night: There are vendors who run this event and church would get a part of proceeds.
    5. Raffles, Raffles, Raffles: It has been recommended that raffles of small and large prizes be conducted continuously throughout the year and at every event (even after church). There would be a need to coordinate major prizes such as Disneyland, Monterey Aquarium, professional sporting events (local and major league), and other such events. Also, small prizes are important such as wines, dinners, antiques, etc.
    6. Yard Sales and Boutiques: It has been recommended that these events be planned throughout the year with much earlier notice and publicity. An annual calendar has been advised.
    7. Sales, Sales, Sales: It has been recommended that various types of sales campaigns be conducted throughout the year. These include but not limited to candy sales, coupon booklets, “daffodil bulbs,” seasonal items, Peace Garden Bricks, and other types of sales.
    8. Other ideas include: “Trick or Trunk Halloween at CUCC Parking Lot,” Granville’s Home for Hope, International Dinners, and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Caramel Apple Sale.

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.

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