All Saint’s Day — Sunday, Nov. 5, Day of the Dead Worship Service

lighted candles

On Sunday, Nov. 5, during our All Saint’s Day/Day of the Dead Worship Service, we will recognize all of our loved ones who have passed.

During this sacred time, you are invited to offer an item that represents someone who has passed and place it on a special table.

If you would like someone’s name to be lifted up during this service please call Marilyn at 559-435-2690, or send an email to office@communityucc.com. The deadline for names to be contributed is Oct. 29.

Photos from Kick-Off Sunday

New church members join our congregation

Kick-Off Sunday is when Community UCC members come together to welcome new members, commission our Sunday School teachers, bless our confirmands and break bread together following worship. It was great to see our Sanctuary so full today for this vibrant day in the life of our church!

Pastor Chris and Robin Carlson commission our Sunday school teachers.

Pastor Chris and Robin commission our Sunday school teachers.

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Several new members joined our congregation during today’s worship service.

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Pastor Chris and our congregation gave blessing on the journey of our confirmands, their mentors and parents.

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The choir provided joyful song, singing “Let There be Love.”

Join the Choir!

Community UCC Choir

The Community UCC choir is ramping up again! We are seeking all members of our church who interested in singing — ages 8 to 108!

Rehearsals are from 7-8 p.m. Wednesdays, beginning Aug. 30. Parents are welcome to hang out during rehearsal if their children want to sing! Better yet, parents are encouraged to sing in the choir with the children!

Join us for music, fun and fellowship! Additional information is available by contacting EJ at 559.303.8658 or by email at Ejhinojosa@hotmail.com/.

Experiential worship: Heartaches and Hope

Experiential worship service - The Hope of Fresno

~Video by Terry Cole

The Worship Planning Team put together a wonderful experiential worship service for Aug. 6, centering on the theme, “The Hope of Fresno.” Congregation members spent time during the service visiting various interactive stations. Thank you, Terry, for putting your beautiful photos together into this video.

Worship July 2: Sharing refreshing water

Altar with jugs of water

Water and hospitality were recurring themes in today’s worship, from the music to the scripture to the sermon, by Robin Carlson.

“Let Justice Roll Like a River”

Forgive us Lord, for passing by

When children cry for bread

Forbid it Lord, that justice lie

in tatters cold and dead

 

Outside these walls run desperate streets

Where greed is law and life is cheap

We bar the doors, refuse to see

Or hear the words you said

 

Let justice roll like a river

Like a river let it roll

Let justice roll like a river

Like a river let it roll

 

The gap between the rich and poor

Grows ever wider, shore to shore

There’s racial hate, religious war

And wolves among the sheep

 

Robin encouraged us to not just think about inviting people to our church that we know would be a good fit, but to offer that “refreshing drink of water” that we get from our worship and fellowship time together more broadly, taking a chance on the blessings that can result, both to them and to us.

Matthew 10:40-42: “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

 

 

 

Council would like input on worship time

Council is seeking input from the congregation on the possibility of changing our Sunday worship time from 10:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Possible pros:

  • Easier time for visitors to remember
  • More time for fellowship
  • Meetings could happen before or after worship

Possible cons:

  • Church signs have to be changed
  • Some people need extra time to get to church

We want your input. Please fill out a yellow comment card and leave it in the red comment box in the Narthex. The survey of our congregation will continue through the month of August before any decision is reached.

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.

 

 

Worship June 4 – Pentecost

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~ Photos by Terry Cole and Lisa Boyles

Inhale Grace. Exhale Gratitude.

Our Sanctuary was ablaze with red on June 4, both in the vivid decorations of the church and in the dress of our members.

We welcomed five new members to our congregation. We broke bread together during communion, and following the service, we gathered for the annual meeting, where church members approved the budget for the 2017-18 year, and approved two other motions.

May the energy and vibrancy of yesterday’s worship carry us into this next week and into our church congregation’s next year of church life.

Inhale Grace. Exhale Gratitude.