Living the Questions (LTQ) 2.0: Adult Education for the Journey

An Invitation to Journey: Beginning on Sept. 23, we will begin our DVD and discussion gatherings at 9 a.m. in the Conference Room.

Each Sunday morning we will watch a DVD and discuss issues and concepts that may challenge many people’s worldview and understanding of the Divine.  It may, for some, be radically new information.  For others, it will be an affirmation of what they’ve known deep down for a long time.

The intention of this information and discussion is not to provide answers but to expose people to ideas and concepts that may take a while to process.

Sept. 23 — An Invitation to Journey

  • Focus: Faith is not a destination, but a journey

Sept. 30 — Taking the Bible Seriously

  • Focus: The authority one places in the Bible plays a critical role in one’s worldview and understanding of the Christian life.

Oct. 7 — Thinking Theologically

  • Focus:   While family, education, social class, and geography all contribute to how we think about God, our experiences and perceptions along life’s journey also shape our thinking. Being comfortable with ambiguity, metaphor, and uncertainty help us get the Divine “out of the box” and rethink theological ideas that have become barriers to our further spiritual growth.

Oct. 14 — Stories of Creation

  • Focus: How one perceives the creation stories is not only critical to the way one looks at the Bible, but how one understands the purpose of creation, the essence of human nature, and the attitude one takes toward the environment in which we live.

Oct. 21 — Lives of Jesus

  • Focus: From divergent opinions on Jesus’ “program” to the reasons for his having been killed, the many portrayals of Jesus in the gospels, in various traditions, theologies, and the arts, amount to a Jesus who lived many different lives—each of which helps us in teasing out what it means to be a disciple of this mysterious and profoundly significant phenomenon called Jesus of Nazareth.

Oct. 28 — A Passion for Christ: Paul the Apostle

  • Focus: Little of what most people think of as Christianity has been untouched by the legacy of Paul’s writing and influence. The many understandings of his interpretation of Christianity continue to be re-examined in the 21st century.

Nov. 4 — Out into the World: Challenges Facing Progressive Christians

  • Focus: There is a reformation afoot in Christianity—a re-visioning of the traditional understandings of Jesus, the virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, and the Christian life as a whole. Long held ideas of divinity and of faith are changing and evolving to reflect 21st century thought and spirituality. Inspired by these fresh insights, progressive Christians can claim a distinctive voice by being in solidarity with the poor, countering the idolatry of wealth, practicing non-violence, and by seeking justice and inclusivity in a culture dominated by fear.

Nov. 11 — Restoring Relationships

  • Focus: There are three Biblical “macro-stories” that shape the whole of the Biblical narrative: Bondage and Liberation, Exile and Return, Sin and Forgiveness. Each representing a different facet of the human condition, they demonstrate what is necessary for the restoration of relationships on a variety of levels.

Nov. 18 — The Prophetic Jesus

  • Focus: Jesus was a troublemaker. He said and did things that were upsetting to agents of the political and religious domination systems that oppressed the weak and downtrodden. In this way, Jesus stood firmly in the tradition of the prophets of Hebrew Scripture—those who offered a clear and challenging “alternative script” to the status quo.

Nov. 25 — NO LTQ (Thanksgiving Weekend)

Dec. 2 — NO LTQ (Hanging of the Greens)

Dec. 9 — Evil, Suffering & A God of Love

  • Focus: If God is all-powerful, all-loving, and all-good, how do you explain and respond to the existence of so much suffering and evil in the world?

Dec. 16 — The Myth of Redemptive Violence

  • Focus: The most potent religion in Western culture is not Christianity, but a belief in the redemptive power of violence. Although Jesus inaugurated a new order based on partnership, equality, compassion and non-violence, his example and teachings have been eclipsed by an emphasis on a human unworthiness that demands and defends the need for Jesus’ violent, suffering, atoning death.

Dec. 23 — NO LTQ

Dec. 30 — NO LTQ

Jan. 6 — NO LTQ

Jan. 13 — Practicing Resurrection

  • Focus: While much has been made of Jesus’ literal and physical resurrection being the core historical event of Christianity, the Biblical texts themselves present conflicting evidence. For many today, the resuscitation of Jesus’ body is less important than the idea of resurrection as a credible and meaningful principle for living.

DVD speakers include Marcus Borg, Rita Nakashima Brock, Walter Brueggemann, John Dominic Crossan, Yvette Flunder, Amy-Jill Levine, Helen Prejean, John Shelby Spong, just to name of few.

Come and join us on this journey of exploration.

Considering joining Community UCC?

If you want to learn more about becoming a member of our church, please join us at 9 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 19, for an informational meeting. We officially receive new members four times a year:

  • During Kickoff Sunday, Sept. 9
  • First Sunday in Advent (winter)
  • Easter Sunday (spring)
  • Pentecost Sunday (summer)

New members may attend an informational class, usually a month before one of the four Sunday worship services to receive new members. The information class is organized by the Extravagant Welcome Team, or “elders.”

Even between those times, there are many ways you can become involved in the offerings of our church life.

Farewell Luncheon for Shelia and Arville Earl

Join us for a farewell luncheon in honor of Shelia and Arville Earl on Sunday, Aug. 19, following the worship service.

Fellowship will provide a salad bar luncheon for Sheila and Arville after the worship service on Aug. 19.  Please join with our congregation as we say farewell and extend best wishes to these dear church members as they relocate for their next endeavor.

DEADLINE APPROACHING — Escape to the mountains at All-Church Family Camp

Time is almost up to register for All Church Family Camp.  The deadline for camp registration is Sunday, Aug. 26.

Click here to download the registration form, then print out, complete and return to the church office: 2018 — Registration Form- with logo — 2018

For more information please contact Annie Van Patten at 209.902.2033.

It’s time to get serious about Family Camp at Tamarack. We want YOU to come “Frolic in the Forest” during Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31-Sept. 2.

Get away from triple-digit heat, eat delicious food, sleep comfortably in your cozy tent on new cots, participate in a fun variety of activities like hiking, swimming, TNT skits, playing music, Morning Meadow-tations, Sunday worship, visiting, hanging out together and making new friends — but keeping the old.

There are bath houses with flush toilets and hot water showers. There is a lodge with a huge stone fireplace and a fire pit outside for s’mores and fellowship.

You won’t be disappointed. It’s a GREAT experience! One to remember.

Click here to see a slideshow of Camp Tam memories from across the years.

Click here to read the Hayden family’s experience at last year’s Camp Tam.

Women’s Book group will discuss ‘On the Brink of Everything’ beginning Aug. 28

Women's Book Club Discussion

A new Women’s Book Discussion Group will begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28. 

The book is “On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old” by Parker J. Palmer, author of “Let Your Life Speak,” “The Courage to Teach,” “Healing the Heart of Democracy.”  It is available on Amazon.

Robin Carlson, our commissioned minister of Christian education, will guide this discussion, which will go through Sept. 18.

Drawing on eight decades of life — and his career as a writer, teacher, and activist — Palmer explores the questions age raises and the promises it holds. “Old,” he writes, “is just another word for nothing left to lose, a time to dive deep into life, not withdraw to the shallows.”

But this book is not for elders only. It was written to encourage adults of all ages to explore the way their lives are unfolding. It’s not a how-to-do-it book on aging, but a set of meditations in prose and poetry that turn the prism on the meaning(s) of one’s life, refracting new light at every turn.

Reading Assignment is:

  • Aug 28 – Prelude and Chapter 1
  • Sept 4 – Chapters 2 & 3
  • Sept 11 – Chapters 4 & 5
  • Sept 18 – Chapter 7 & Postlude

Words of Gratitude from Robin

Cliffs of Moher in Northern Ireland

Photo above:  Cliffs of Moher in Northern Ireland, breathtakingly beautiful!

I am grateful to this congregation for my time away. The sabbatical was amazing.  I am spiritually filled and open to God in new and exciting ways.

Robin CarlsonI traveled to Ireland with my son, Sean, and we walked on the land of our ancestors as well as drove all over the island (on the ‘other’ side of the road).

I met so many wonderful, kind, and generous people in Ireland and experienced amazing moments of grace.

I want to express my thanks to this church, and to Rev. Dr. Norman Broadbent, Julia Penner-Zook, EJ Hinojosa, Marilyn Wall, Nancy Pressley and all of the VBS volunteers for their gifts so freely shared.

I am excited to be back and look forward to our time together.

Peace,
Robin

Vacation Bible School: God’s Paintbrush

9 a.m.-noon July 9-13 at Community UCC, 5550 N. Fresno St.

Community UCC’s Vacation Bible School is open to children from 4 years old through sixth grade.

This year’s theme is God’s Paintbrush. Registration forms are in the Church Narthex or you can call the church office at 559.435.2690 to register.

Camp Tamarack Youth Camps

~ Submitted by Jeannie Hobson

Sign up for Camp Tamarack (Camp Tam). Youth camp is underway.

Camp Tam is truly one of God’s gifts to us. It is nestled at about 7,000 ft. and above Shaver Lake in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. Camp Tam offers our youth a safe haven to be themselves and learn about God through nature and small group settings. Many lifelong relationships happen at camp.

Many of pastors and church leaders have started their journey when attending camp. We have assembled an outstanding group of leaders for this summer and would love to see your youth at one of the camps.

Camp dates are:

  • Counselor in Training camp – July 12 – 14: camp for counselor’s in training – must have graduated from high school
  • Jr. Camp – July 15-21: Entering grades 3-6
  • Jr. High – July 22-28: Entering grades 7-9
  • Sr. High – July 29-Aug. 4: Entering grades 10-12

Applications are available in the church office or on the NCNC UCC website under youth and young adult. You can also contact Joy Davis (NCNC office), joy@ncncucc.org; Michelle Krenz, seachellemom@yahoo.com; or Jeannie Hobson, jeanniehob@comcast.net

In addition, we are in need of counselors for all three camps so please think about volunteering. From personal experience, I can tell you what an incredible experience this is. You will receive more from those kids than you ever give.

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.

Deacons:

  • 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

Trustees:

  • 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

Fellowship:

  • 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