Saturday Breakfast Group to meet Jan. 12

Mark your calendars for the next meeting of the Saturday Breakfast Group at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, in the Conference Room. Elizabeth Davis Russell will talk about her experiences as the founder of a university in Liberia. EJ Hinojosa will furnish breakfast.

Usually, the group will meet on the first Saturday of each month, but we shifted the January meeting since some people might still be traveling or on vacation for the holidays on the first Saturday in January. Contact Phil Fullerton to learn more.

(Photo from the December gathering)

Slideshow from ‘A Festival of Lessons and Carols’

Community United Church of Christ presented “A Festival of Lessons and Carols,” a service of music, scripture and prayer featuring a string quartet, organ, piano, soloists and the Community UCC Chorus on Sunday, Dec. 16. 

Many thanks to our music director EJ Hinojosa and the many talented singers and musicians who brought us this wonderful evening!

Our talented church photographer Terry Cole put together this slideshow of his beautiful images from the event.

A Message from Pastor Ara: God Comes to Us — the Birth of Jesus

We need at least four weeks to unwrap the gift of Jesus. I have been unwrapping for 40-plus years, in a serious way, this gift of God in flesh appearing. It is a most wonderful endeavor.

This year Robin and I will be gathering with all who show up to consider the four Gospel ways that the gift is received. In our more efficient way, we have a fifth story of welcoming the Christ child, as witnessed in the Nativity scenes that include all the major characters at the same time and place, cows, sheep, shepherds, wise ones, Joseph, Mary, and the babe lying in a manger.

I am ready to hear the sixth story, your story. Join us on Sundays, Tuesday’s or Wednesday’s this Advent season, beginning this Sunday evening with dinner.

We have three locations, and three times and days for you to attend. We will be discussing the four Gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth/The Divine present with us.

Sign up for Sunday evenings at 5 p.m.; Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. at the Pressley’s home in the Tower District; or Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Patty Parks’ in Sunnyside. Robin or Ara will be the facilitators. The Study begins on the first Sunday of Advent, Dec. 2.

I am also on the edge of my seat, as I await ‘the Hanging of the Greens’ on Sunday morning.

Another great way to hear a sixth story is by daily reading the Advent Devotional produced in partnership with First Congregational Church (Big Red). Paper copies will be available on Sunday and each day’s devotional will be posted on our website and Facebook page.

Peace,
Pastor Ara

Advent candles.png

 

A Festival of Lessons and Carols

Community United Church of Christ presents “A Festival of Lessons and Carols,” a service of music, scripture and prayer featuring string quartet, organ, piano, soloists and the Community UCC Chorus. “A Festival of Lessons and Carols” will take place at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at Community UCC.

The “Nine Lessons and Carols” is a traditional service originating in the Church of England. The Festival comprises Nine Lessons (readings from the Bible) and Nine musical performances. Together, the readings and the music tell the story of Creation, Prophecies of the Messiah, and Jesus’ Birth.

We’ll be joined by several guest musicians, and many members of our choir will perform solos. Lessons will be read by members of the Congregation and the community.

No admission, a freewill offering will be taken.

Journey Into Advent: ‘The Magnificat’ with EJ Hinojosa — Nov. 16-18

Join us for Journey into Advent, our annual deeper exploration into our faith as we enter the Advent season of our spiritual calendar.

EJ Hinojosa is a composer, conductor, vocalist, pianist and music educator. He has been the director of music at Community United Church of Christ, Fresno for five years, where he leads a band and a choir.

EJ holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Fresno Pacific University, where he studied music composition, biblical critique and church music history. He serves as the piano instructor at Roosevelt School of the Arts in Fresno.

EJ has been commissioned as a composer and arranger by musical ensembles in Canada and the United States, including works for local ensembles like Soli Deo Gloria Women’s Chorus, Quintus and several faith-based choral ensembles. He is sought as a coach by solo vocalists, high school choral ensembles, and barbershop quartets.

This fall, he released an album of original music for worship titled “Banner.” EJ is a proud citizen of Fresno, where he lives with his wife, Erin, and their daughter, Rosalind.

  • 7-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16 in Hayden Hall: EJ will begin our journey with context of the Magnificat then begin to move us into the creative process. Dessert provided.
  • 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 17 in Hayden Hall and the Sanctuary: Breakfast then we will continue our journey by listening to different examples of the Magnificat. We will discuss those styles and themes and what makes a good Christian worship song. We will work together to set lyrics to music and reflect on what we’ve learned together.
  • 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 18 in the Sanctuary: Worship with EJ as he continues our Journey into Advent.

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.

Please respond by Nov. 9 so we may plan for food.

 

Vote Common Good’s final stop before election will be at Community UCC

The Vote Common Good national tour is coming to town. It’s final rally stop before the critical midterm election will be at Community United Church of Christ in Fresno.

  • What: Vote Common Good Rally
  • When: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2
  • Where: Community United Church of Christ, 5550 N. Fresno St., Fresno, CA 93710

Volunteers are needed! Contact Felicia Rocha (flearocha82@gmail.com) if you can help with this event.

Vote Common Good is a group of religious leaders, authors, speakers, and musicians who are part of a bus tour traveling across the U.S. Vote Common Good hopes to share the good news of God, which should be good news for all people, and to shift the national conversation from fear to faith.

Christian speakers, musicians and thought leaders are inviting fellow believers to flip Congress for the Common Good in 2018. Nationally renowned speakers will lead a lively event giving reasons why evangelicals should switch their votes this year.

Come out to hear John Pavlovitz, Frank Schaeffer, Doug Pagitt, Christy Berghoef and other speakers accompanied by awesome music from the Rev. Vince Anderson.

Behind the fun, Vote Common Good sends a message: In the 2018 election a follower of Jesus can’t help but know that Congress must change. The Trump administration’s practices go against the biblical Jesus.

Doug Pagitt explains: “The way they treat children; the way they treat refugees and immigrants; the way they treat the disadvantaged; the way they treat our overall sense of kindness and goodness; their seeming total commitment to cruelty, crassness, and corruption” stand in contradiction to Jesus’s teachings.

It is an opportunity to come together and try to live out the teachings of Jesus, not just in our everyday lives, but in the voting booth as well.

For more information: https://www.votecommongood.com/events/fresno-california/

 

Boutique returns to Community UCC

The Boutique at Community UCC will return from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, in the Church parking lot. Booth spaces are $20 each. If you know a vendor who would like to display and sell their wares, let them know! Contact Donna Wright to reserve a space.

Come by that day to do a little holiday shopping!

  • 6 a.m. – Set-up
  • 7 a.m. – Open
  • 1 p.m. – Close & clean-up

Wanted: Vendors!

  • Homemade items-boutique
  • Rummage
  • Art/Photo
  • Food: tamales, pizza, snacks, drinks, shaved ice, tacos, food trucks, etc.
  • Furniture
  • Clothing

Provided to vendors:  Space: the size of 2 parking stalls, electricity if needed, restrooms

Vendors need to bring: tables & chairs, awnings/umbrellas, money for change, electrical cords, if needed

Prohibited: firearms, ammunition, weapons, pornography, alcohol.

Whatever you bring with you that you don’t sell has to go home with you at the end of the day.

Contacts:

  • Donna Wright (559) 917-8979
  • Karri Jones (541) 912-9275

Contact the Marilyn Wall in the church office to register and pay for a booth, (559) 435-2690.

Fight hunger at the Crop Walk

The 2018 CROP Hunger Walk will be on Sunday, October 21st in the Tower District, starting at BBO’s Vintage Boutique 1130 N Wishon Ave Fresno, CA   93728.

Registration begins at 1:30 pm and the walk begins at 2:30pm.  The event will raise money for Church World Service and the Central California Food Bank.

You can register walkers and make donations online by following this link: https://www. crophungerwalk.org/fresnoca.  Or you can get a walker’s envelope from Al Evans, or call him at 435-7439.

Boone Watkins will take part in the walk again, and we invite you to be one of his sponsors.

~ From the Missions and Social Justice Team

Recap of Banner CD release party

~ By EJ Hinojosa, music director

Words can’t begin to describe the gratitude I feel toward our beloved church and every member of the congregation. Our CD Release Party was an incredible success enjoyed by all who could be there.

In all of the festivities, I again would like to acknowledge the primary goal of the project: the celebration of God’s permanence, and the contemplation of what it means to live a prophetic life.

If you were unable to attend the Release Party, fear not! CD’s are available for purchase in the church office. If you would like to get your hands on a copy of the album, please contact Marilyn.

Thank you again, and again. What a joy it is to have the love and support of our extravagantly-welcoming church.