Pride parade T-shirts

It’s almost time for the annual Pride Parade in the Tower District on Saturday, June 1. We want our group to look festive and colorful. You can order your church T-shirts this Sunday, May 12, or next Sunday, May 19.

You can order your size and favorite primary color. The shirts will have the church logo printed on them and will be $15 for adults and $10 for youth sizes. If you also want one of the official olive green church T-shirts for other occasions, we will take those orders too.

It is fun to walk the very short parade route and be at the festival that follows. This event lets people know about our church and our social commitment. If you would like to be in the parade or work at our booth, please sign up at church or let us know.

For any additional t-shirt information please contact Kristi Cole at kccole36@gmail.com or
559-908-7212

CUCC’s Party for Community — Coming of Age Celebration

April 27, 2019

YOUR CHANCE — YOUR OPPORTUNITY — YOUR MOMENT

I bet you’ve realized what a diverse, interesting and talented group of people attend CUCC. But did you know how much fun they are?? Plan to attend the CUCC Party for Community on April 27 and you’re practically guaranteed to enjoy yourself and learn more about your church family.

We’ll be celebrating 21 years as an Open and Affirming church.  Tickets will be available soon.  Bring your family, your neighbors and your friends to the party for great food, great company and great opportunities.  

Have even more fun when you purchase one of the many set priced future events or bid on special silent auction goodies.

TO HELP

We hope to raise over $10,000 for the operation of the church with part of the proceeds going to missions. This is a service project for all of us and there are many ways you can make it a success.

  1. Buy Tickets for $25 and invite your friends.
  2. Donate an EVENT that you will host sometime in the coming year.  Decide what you want to do, how many guests you can host (we suggest 4-12), set a date (or offer to negotiate that with your guests), and tell Sue Hipp or Nancy Pressley what you are generously offering to do.  We will set a per person price for your event. Think of providing a dinner or lunch in your home or your favorite restaurant, a guided tour to your special spot, a chance to share a Valley experience: Be creative.  

Here are some ideas:

  • Tuscan Dinner Dessert Extravaganza
  • Kings Canyon Day Trip and Picnic Forestiere Underground Gardens
  • Tea Party Holiday Craft or Cookie Party
  • Halloween Party Madera Wine Country Tour
  • Brunch in the Garden River Rafting or Kayaking
  • Stargazing Mystery Dinner
  • Bike Tour and Picnic Papermaking Party
  • Hawaiian Luau ETC.

Another way you can help is to donate a Silent Auction item – these will be physical things, destination trips or events that would be better purchased by one rather than many.  Perhaps a week in Santa Cruz or Hawaii, a lovely piece of jewelry, a special bottle of wine or a commissioned piece of art.  We’ll set the minimum bid and bid increment for each item.

To donate or ask questions, please contact Sue Hipp (435-7153, sueandspencehipp@gmail.com)

Coming of Age Celebration: CUCC’s Annual Party for Community

Coming April 27!!   Our biggest fundraiser of the year!!!!!  It’s been 21 years since CUCC voted to become an Open and Affirming church – this is cause for celebration and a reason to bring back our Party for Community!!

There will be a festive atmosphere with dinner, entertainment, and the chance to bid on silent auction items and to sign up for parties, events and services scheduled for later in the year.

Tickets for the party will be priced at just $25/person with wine and beer available for purchase.  A percentage of the profit will be used for local and global missions.

Start thinking now of an event you could offer or help sponsor – how about a dinner party, tea, wine-tasting, winery tour, riverside picnic, evening at the opera or Philharmonic, brunch, spa experience, class or outdoor activity?   

Be creative. We want to provide a year full of congregating possibilities, chances to have fun and get to know each other. Each event offered will have a limited number of participants at a set price per person. You’ll be able to buy an individual spot at an event or you can purchase all the reservations and invite your friends!!

Offering an event at the April 27 fundraiser is a wonderful way to share your talents and treasure with your church family.

We also need silent auction items. We’re looking for high-value items worth over $50 or items that can be combined to create a unique offering.  

Do you have something special that needs a new home? Do you have contacts in the community you can ask for gift certificates and donations?

A donation letter to give community vendors is available in the Narthax and the church office. Silent Auction donations can be dropped off at the church office.  Any donation not used for the party will be offered at an upcoming raffle.

If you have questions or want to commit to offering an event ☺ talk to Sue Hipp (sueandspencehipp@gmail.com or 435-7153) or Nancy Pressley (npressley1944@gmail.com or 312-8621).

Put April 27 on your calendar and plan to come and Party for Community with your CUCC friends.  We promise you an evening of fun and the chance to participate in A Year of Congregating Opportunities.

Sue Hipp and Nancy Pressley – Event and Silent Auction Coordinators

 

Recommended reading and viewing for Black History Month

The following is a bibliography of recommended reading for Black History Month. There are two copies of each title available for us provided by the Faith Education team.

  • “Why We Can’t Wait” by Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “The Souls of Black Folk” by W. E. B. DuBois
  • “Tears We Cannot Stop” by Michael Eric Dyson
  • “The Grace of Silence” by Michele Norris
  • “White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism” by Robin Diangelo
  • “The Lonely African” by Colin M. Turnbull
  • “Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home” by Anita Hill
  • “Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal” by Andrew Hacker

Filmography (from 2018)

  • Green Book

Here are some recommended films available through your streaming service or in theaters is Fresno. 2018 was quite a year for movies directed, written and performed by people of color.

  • Blackkklansman
  • Black Panther
  • Blindspotting
  • Sorry to Bother You
  • The Hate U Give
  • If Beale Street Could Talk

(from 2017 and earlier)

  • Get Out
  • Fruitvale
  • Fences
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • Barbershop
  • Boyz in the Hood
  • Purple Rain
  • Do the Right Thing
  • 4 School Girls

A New Hope

We having been praying for our neighbor, Hope Lutheran Church, for the past few months, as they studied, prepared and voted on taking the faithful step of becoming in word and deed a Reconciling in Christ [their version of Open and Affirming] congregation within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA).

The congregation voted overwhelmingly in favor of Reconciling in Christ (72% for). Now the work begins for them. There was the expected loss of some congregants. There is the challenge of maintaining the ministry and mission of the church that remains unchanged: reflecting the love of God now even more fully and faithfully.

Hope Lutheran is a strong and faithful congregation. They have an excellent hunger ministry. We take our contributions of food for our narthex to their pantry for distribution to those in need.

We had the great opportunity and privilege of contributing testimony of our experience at an informational session at Hope a couple of months ago. We hope to be an encouragement to our sibling congregation through prayer and anything else they need during this moment of transition. Please pray for them ceaselessly.

Note: We of Community United Church of Christ will be celebrating our 21st anniversary of our faithful response to God’s call to be Open and Affirming at our COMING OF AGE banquet on Friday, April 26, 2019 beginning at 6 p.m. in Hayden Hall.

Peace,

Pastor Ara

Four weeks of Advent projects

Each year the Missions and Social Justice Team plans Advent projects for the four Sundays in Advent, beginning this year on Sunday, Dec. 2. The committee picks four organizations that will benefit, and the congregation can bring requested items for each week’s project.

Here are this year’s recipients:

  • Dec. 2 — Cash Donations or gift cards for teens in foster care through Uplift Family Services. Many younger children in foster care receive gifts from things similar to the snowflake tree, but there is usually an age limit and the teens get left out. For this Advent project, bring $10 gift card to anywhere a teen may want to shop — Jamba Juice, McDonald’s, Target, Walmart, Claire’s, stuff like that.
  • Dec. 9 — Snowflake tree to buy gifts for underprivileged elementary-aged children at Robinson Elementary, our neighborhood school. Students have been identified by their teachers. The tree will be up for people to pick a child’s name on Dec. 2, return gifts by the Dec. 9.
  • Dec. 16 — Collecting small gifts for senior residents of Twilight Haven retirement facility, like mittens, socks and scarves to help residents stay warm.
  • Dec. 23 — Cash donations to buy bus passes for residents of  Dakota EcoGarden, a transitional homeless shelter with an environmentally-friendly approach.

For more information, contact Felicia Rocha at flearocha82@gmail.com.

 

Our neighbors have started down a path we took 20 years ago

Last week, four members of our congregation — Sharon Powers Smith, Robin Carlson, Lisa Boyles and Pastor Ara Guekguezian — visited our neighbor, Hope Lutheran Church, on Wednesday, Oct. 24.

Their congregation is going through the process to consider becoming Reconciling in Christ (RIC), the Lutheran Church’s equivalent to our denomination’s Open and Affirming process (a public covenant welcoming into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions). We were invited to share our experience about making that change in our church’s fabric in 1998.

We spoke to one of Hope Lutheran’s adult education classes. About 15 people heard our stories and recollections from that period. They asked us questions — many of the same questions we had when we went through the process.

“Listening to their concerns and fears reminded me of us 20 years ago,” Robin said. “I think it was helpful for their church to hear that we had those same fears and concerns and that we listened to our Still Speaking God and chose to walk in the ways of justice and love.  We chose to become an open and welcoming church and we are still here, still doing church 20 years later.”

Sharon described the steps we took on our own journey, led by our co-pastors at the time, the Reverends Gail McDougle and David Brown.

First, we did a book study of “What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality” by Daniel A. Helminiak. Then Gail and David led four congregational meetings after worship on Sundays. The first two were biblically based, reviewing some of what we covered in the book study.

The third week was a powerful discussion with two children of our church — a young man and woman who told us what it was like to grow up coming to terms as a gay man and lesbian woman.

One question that comes up during this process is, “Why do we have to go through this? We are open and welcoming. Why do we have to take this official step?” But hearing from children who grew up among us disputed that, telling us that our informal acceptance didn’t feel very accepting at all.

The final week of those sessions was decision time. After going through the process — all of which took more than a year — we had to decide where to go from there.

The thing about going through all this turmoil is that you are going to lose some people either way. Some will leave if you go through with it, but if you don’t, after all that, some will decide that they can’t abide with staying if we can’t grow.

“We acknowledged the cost of faithful following as well as the cost in merely entering into the discussion,” Pastor Ara said. “The aim is not to make everyone happy, but to faithfully fulfill God’s will for God’s people.”

Some of the discussion at Hope Lutheran centered on what a different place we, as a nation, are in now compared to where we were 20 years ago. But that societal progress is not set in stone.

Lisa brought up President Trump’s recent move to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people. Our country may be a different place than it was in 1998, but in today’s political climate, the presidential administration is taking us backward every day. It’s more important than ever to take a stand for what’s right.

The Hope Lutheran members we spoke to seemed very appreciative of our viewpoints as they weigh this step for their congregation.

Hearing from one another from different places on the journey of faith was a great blessing to me,” Pastor Ara said. “As the four folks from Community shared our story and engaged in dialogue as questions were asked and answered, it was clear that the Holy Spirit continues to move in a powerful way among bodies and hearts that are open.”

Hope Lutheran’s congregation will take this issue to a congregational vote on Wednesday, Dec. 5. Let us hold them in our prayers as they thoughtfully consider this step.

~ By Lisa Maria Boyles, communications/marketing liaison for Community UCC