Journey into Advent: Special Guest Speaker Nicole Lamarche — Nov. 17-19


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

In a period of great anxiety and massive disruption, what is our role as communities of faith? What do we have to offer that our hurting world needs?

This year’s featured speaker will be Nicole Lamarche, a minister in the United Church of Christ and a spiritual entrepreneur. She is pastor and founder of Silicon Valley Progressive Faith Community, a congregation of progressive Christians, agnostics, spiritual independents and other people of conscience.

Nicole is a clergy leader with PACT, a PICO affiliate and has been a part of the work to improve community and police relations with accountability and oversight as part of the Black Lives Matter Movement, and is currently involved in the Solidarity Network, supporting local community members facing deportation.

Nicole has appeared on CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s Larry King Live and has been a featured writer and speaker on matters of faith, life and politics.  As a spiritual leader, she is committed to experimentation and fresh expressions of faith community for this time.

Schedule of Events

7-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17 — We will gather for inspiration and visioning as we explore what it means to be an innovative church in a time such as this. (dessert & coffee will be served) Hayden Hall 
8-11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 18 — Workshop on being a provocative church, channeling righteous indignation and building a just world for all. (breakfast from 8-9 a.m. will be served in Hayden Hall) Sanctuary

Cost is $25 per person for this event. Full and partial scholarships available upon request. Or if you are able, please fund a scholarship.

For more information, call CUCC at 559.435.2690.

VBS project will benefit Dakota EcoGarden residents

Vacation Bible School 2017 – “Caring for Others”
9 a.m.-noon July 10-14

The focus of this year’s VBS is Caring for Others.  One of our projects is to prepare food jars for the residents of Dakota EcoGarden.

We need donations of the following items:

  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Split peas
  • Rolled oats
  • Dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, etc)

Dakota EcoGarden founder Nancy Waidtlow will speak to our kids on Monday, July 10, and we will send her off with jars of love filled by our VBS kids.

Please bring donations to the church by July 5.  Thank you for your help.

Vacation Bible School is free for children ages 4 years through 6th grade. You may register your child for Vacation Bible School by calling the church office at 435-2690.

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

Stewardship Moment – by Lisa Boyles

Giving hands

Lisa Maria BoylesBy Lisa Maria Boyles, presented during worship on April 30, 2017

Like Pastor Chris, I’m an introvert. Writing is my thing – public speaking, not so much. So I’ve written down some thoughts to share with you.

My path to this church has been circuitous. I first belonged for about 5 years in the late 1990s. I was a journalist then, and I met Rev. Gail while interviewing her for an article. She impressed me, so I started coming here and bringing my Grandma, who had Alzheimer’s.

While I was a member then, we celebrated the church’s 40th anniversary. I edited the church newsletter, Tapestries, and I chaperoned some work-service trips with our congregation’s young people.

Some things in my life changed, and I left for a few years, but I always stayed peripherally connected. I attended another church for a while, but nowhere else ever felt so much like my church home as this congregation did, even when I didn’t come regularly.

A few years ago, Charlene Toews told me about the new pastor and his family, and suggested I come back and check things out. I did.

Later, I started coming to the Women’s Book Club Discussion group. A year ago, Sharon Powers-Smith invited me to join a church committee, and I became a Trustee. And a couple of months ago, my youngest daughter – who wasn’t even born when I first came to Community UCC – asked about coming to church with me.

During last year’s Stewardship Campaign, Tony Fazio called me and talked to me about making a pledge. “You can even make an automatic donation through the church website,” he told me. This appealed to me.

Sometimes, when I came here before, the collection part of the service was uncomfortable for me. I was in a different place in my life, financially, back then. Sometimes I felt bad when the basket went by when I couldn’t give enough or maybe couldn’t give anything at all. Also, I’m not here every Sunday, and I felt guilty that I wasn’t helping the church financially on the weeks when I’m not in church.

After talking to Tony, I thought about it, considered what I can afford to give, and decided to do a monthly automatic pledge. Like Ruben said last week, it’s almost painless coming out automatically. And I know from my perspective as a member of the Trustees, it helps to have regular donations we can count on coming in to keep our church going, paying our staff and our bills and meeting our mission obligations.

I don’t feel uncomfortable anymore during the collection, or if I miss a Sunday. I know I’ve still met my pledge with my monthly gift to the church. And I can add something extra for special offerings. Making my pledge automatically helps me to be a joyful giver.

There’s a reason this church feels like the right place for me to be. It’s a different kind of church. Community UCC shines as a beacon of social justice in our community.

Our forebears in faith were early advocates in the anti-slavery movement. The United Church of Christ was the first denomination to ordain an African-American pastor, first to ordain a woman pastor, first to ordain an openly gay pastor.

I was proud to be a member here with my Grandma when our congregation went through the important work of becoming an Open and Affirming congregation. Fresno can be an unwelcoming place for the LGBTQ community. Our doors and our arms are open to all.

I woke up the day after the election in November despondent about the outcome. So many things happening every day since then make me feel, “This is not my country.”

But the day after the inauguration, when women across our nation – and many men – took to the streets to protest, I was reassured to see so many of our church members joining those protests, not only here in Fresno, but in Sacramento, in San Jose and in Idaho. Vicki Wall’s sign in the Fresno protest read, “We march for the poor, the outcasts, the earth.”

The messages I hear in this church, and the actions I see members and our pastor carrying out inspire me to be more and do more in my own life. Our community and our world need what Community UCC leads us to be.

No matter who you are, or where you are on your journey, you are welcome here.

Our church gives me hope. If it gives you that same hope, I ask that you consider what you can give to help keep our congregation’s light keep shining in this community.



Pride Festival and Parade Saturday, June 3

Gay Pride Parade

The Fresno Pride Parade will take place on Saturday, June 3rd. The Parade starts at 10:00 a.m. at the North East corner of Olive and Palm and goes to Maroa.

We need 2 people for one  hour from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

We also need your help to set up the booth at about 8:00 a.m. and to take it down at 3:00p.m. It is a great and easy way to connect with the community and let everyone know that our church is Open and Affirming.

For more information please contact Kristi Cole at email: or text: (559) 908-7212 or call (559) 229-2191.