May birthdays

Each month we recognize the birthdays and anniversaries of our church members. Here are the ones for the month of May.

1 — Wendy Thompson
3 — Sarah Fey, Thomas Russell
6 — Benjamin Kloos
7 — Louise Andrews, Bill Dailey
8 — Adriana Wall
11 — Gail McDougle
15 — Marty Mulvihill
16 — Patrick Furlong, Hayden Shea
17 — Lynn Samuelian, Victoria Wall
19 — Marilyn Wall
21 — Tom Carroll, Pam Mahtab
22 — Robin Carlson, Karri Jones
24 — Sib White
25 — Spence Hipp
29 — Maria Contreras
31 — Donna Wright

Advent Devotional: Sunday, December 23

Theme: Living Into Joy

Written by Miranda Deis (age 13), First Congregational Church of Fresno

Luke 1:46-55

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

Call to Action

You should love and respect your neighbor regardless of how much money they have, their skin color, where they live or who they love. If money and titles were not the most important thing to God they shouldn’t be the most important things in your life either.

Instead of a prayer, I want you to be a mirror to reflect God’s plan by putting it into action. On this day, two days before you celebrate the birth of Jesus I want you to get out in your community and show the disadvantaged people some love, show them that you care and that they matter.

Women’s Book group will discuss ‘Love Beyond Belief’ beginning Jan. 15

A new Women’s Book Discussion Group will begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15The book is “Love Beyond Belief: Finding the Access Point to Spiritual Awareness” by the Rev. Dr. Thandeka, a Unitarian Universalist theologian, journalist, and congregational consultant. Thandeka will be the guest speaker at the Interfaith Scholar Weekend, March 1-3.

She was given the Xhosa name Thandeka, which means “beloved,” by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1984. She is the founder of Affect Theology, which investigates the links between religion and emotions using insights from affective neuroscience.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said:

“’Love Beyond Belief’ is a hope-filled book reminding us in historical and contemporary terms that we are loved always, even when we feel lost and alone.”

“Love Beyond Belief” is available on Amazon: “Using insights from the brain science of emotions, “Love Beyond Belief: Finding the Access Point to Spiritual Awareness” narrates two millennia of lost-and-found stories about love beyond belief as the access point to the heart and soul of spiritual life. Many of today’s “spiritual but not religious” people — one in four U.S. adults — have found the access point to spiritual experience that Western Christianity lost: unconditional love. “Love Beyond Belief” tracks the history of this lost emotion.”

Robin Carlson, our commissioned minister of Christian education, will guide this discussion, which will go through Feb. 26. Reading assignments are one chapter per week.

If you would like to order a book for $20.75 from the church office, please call 559-435-2690 or email Marilyn (office@communityucc.com) before Nov. 20. Books are also available on Amazon for $24 (paperback) and for $9.99 (Kindle).

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.

June birthdays and anniversaries

Each month we recognize the birthdays and anniversaries of our church members. Here are the ones for the month of June.

Birthdays

1 – Bob Lundal
3 – Penny Carroll
8 – Phil Carroll, Laural Fawcett, Clay Pressley
9 – Virginia Virag
12 – Sam Mahtab
13 – Laurie Tidyman-Jones
16 – Jacque Garcia
17 – Sean Carlson
18 – JT Carlson,  Annie Van Patten
22 – Steve Reynolds, Ron Vivian
23 – Georgia Sisson, Tatenda Sukuta
24 – Jazmyn Wall
25 – Max McCurry
29 – Tom Carroll Jr.

Anniversaries

2 – Bob & Mirth Lundal
13 – Helmut & Diana Kloos
18 – Sharon Powers & Mike Smith
21 – Anne & Don Simone

Stewardship Campaign 2017- Pledge Drive Goal Reached!

Our Joyful Giving Stewardship Campaign set a goal to raise $200,000 to secure the vibrancy of our church community. .
  • We have raised $204,640.00 in pledges. Thank you joyful givers!
  • We have reached 102% of pledged dollarsneeded to carry out the wonderful worship services and attain our church maintenance mission.
  • We still have many financial challenges ahead with projected maintenance of our air conditioning units and other expenses. But we also have plans in the works to increase the renting of our facilities and many more fundraising activities.
  • Let us not forget to thank God for the graces bestowed upon us during this time of hope.
Again, thank you to all of you who have made your pledges.

CUCC E Newsletter