On the Threshold of Lent

The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, March 6. Ashes to Go (drive-thru imposition of ashes) will be available from 7 to 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot. Then in the evening beginning at 5:30 p.m. we will have a brief service of Ashes and Communion. We will cycle through the Service four times in this hour. All are welcome at any time with the cycle.

The central portion of our Lenten Season this year will be our LENTEN SERVICE SUNDAYS.

Each Sunday of Lent, beginning on March 10, we will have a light lunch and then engage in an activity that will build up the body and spirit of our congregation. The first step is gathering the resources for the season. Therefore…

Needs for Lenten Service Sundays

Week 1, March 10:

Bread-baking machines, experienced bread bakers

Beginning around 9 a.m. by preparing the dough, we will bake dozens of loaves of bread. Each participating baker will take one loaf home, one loaf to give to someone within 24 hours. Dozens of loaves will remain refrigerated/frozen at the church for Week 2’s activity and for communion throughout the Lenten season and Holy Week.

Week 2, March 17:

4 cases of 36 (500 ml) bottles of water; peanut butter, jelly, jam, or preserves; cans of tuna; travel size hand sanitizer; Ziploc bags- sandwich and gallon size; socks

Going to G Street to distribute after making sandwiches with the bread we baked last Sunday.

Week 3, March 24:

What music/song(s) address your spirit? Please forward song title and artist of music you associate with refuge, inspiration, celebration, and/or meditation to EJ Hinojosa prior to March 15. Send to ejhinojosa@hotmail.com. We will be enriched by the varied and myriad music we will experience on this afternoon.

Week 4, March 31:

Laundry detergent pods; dryer sheets; money to purchase laundry cards; Ziploc quart size bags.

We will offer a free wash and dry at various laundromats throughout Fresno for Lent.

Week 5, April 7:

All Church Work afternoon!

We will have all sorts of tasks appropriate for every person in our congregation as we prepare our buildings and grounds for Palm Sunday and Easter. Specific information will be available by March 15.

There will be a Lenten study at Roger and Vicky Wall’s home (5139 N. Poplar) on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m., beginning on March 13. We will be studying five pastoral psalms that inform the theme for Lenten worship:

BUSY and Missing the Beautiful

A full Lenten and Holy Week schedule will be available on the website, eNews and on paper at the church next week at this time.

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 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.

 

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.

Celebrate release of band’s CD, ‘Banner,’ Sept. 28

Community UCC will celebrate the release of our church band’s CD, titled “Banner,” with a dinner at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, in Hayden Hall. Dinner will be spaghetti with salad.  Gluten-free and vegan options will also be available.

Our band, led by music director E.J. Hinojosa, will perform songs from the CD, which was more than a year in the making.

“Banner” includes 12 original songs, written to provide nontraditional offerings with a more inclusive perspective. The band members performing on the album are:

  • Michael Bonner, Drums
  • Adam Elmore, Bass
  • David Heckman, Guitar and Album Engineer
  • EJ Hinojosa, Keyboards and Vocals
  • Crissy Martinez, Bass

“We owe everything to the church where this project is concerned,” said E.J. “Christian Ed, Robin, Nancy, Eileen, Marilyn, Pastor Chris. Without Community UCC, these songs wouldn’t exist in the first place. The original songs were written to serve our congregation’s commitment to inclusive language and progressive theology. I hope everyone will enjoy listening to it from time to time.”

This CD and a book which will be available later of the printed music and lyrics are a resource that could be used by other progressive churches.

Tickets to this event are $30, which includes dinner and a copy of the CD. Funds raised from the event will help repay the investment by Christian Ed in producing the CD.

shtvvst3sesiges6bshlsw.jpgJen Bloomer of RadiciStudios, whose artwork was featured in a recent worship service, designed a special image to help promote “Banner.” (shown below)

Those who order tickets in advance can have a special name tag created, incorporating Jen’s design.

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