Videos from the recent 60th Anniversary Celebration

Our 60-year anniversary events on Jan. 27, 2018, were very successful in celebrating our church’s past and hopes for the next 60 years.

Many thanks go out to so many volunteers that helped put on this wonderful event.
  • CUCC Youth Group
  • Robin Carlson
  • Sean Carlson
  • Penny Carroll
  • Pearl Supersad
  • Susan Chavez
  • Kristi Cole
  • Terry Cole
  • Bonita Earl
  • Marie Edwards
  • Ruben Fernandez
  • Meg Gallagher
  • Sarah Hayden
  • EJ Hinojosa
  • Spencer Hipp
  • Sue Hipp
  • Wade Hobson
  • Cheryl Jones
  • Jeff Jones
  • Karri Jones
  • Marge Kelly
  • Amy Kilburn
  • Carol Kilburn
  • Patty Parks
  • Sharon Powers
  • Nancy Pressley
  • Felicia Rocha
  • Mike Smith
  • Marilyn Wall
  • Eileen White
  • Rod Zook

We will be sharing some of the information from the program for that night’s program on our website soon.

In our program for the evening, Terry Cole provided a historical view of CUCC with photos of past, present and future. Here is that video. It was shown that evening after the dinner:

Community UCC historical tour

On Jan. 27, 2018, earlier in the day before the 60th Anniversary Dinner Celebration, Sharon Powers-Smith and Sarah Fey led a group of 10 members of our congregation on a journey into the historic sites from our church’s past.

The group began and ended at our current site, our campus at 5550 N. Fresno St., between Bullard and Barstow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our first stop (photos above) was in the Fashion Fair parking lot, near Chick-Fil-A. Our congregation’s first address was 645 E. Shaw Ave. and the first worship service was held on March 11, 1956. The Rev. Henry Hayden was our founding minister.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next (photos above), we went to where our original little redwood church was moved to, 4144 N. Millbrook Ave. The Little Redwood Church was relocated there in 1965 by the congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno, who bought our building when Community College Congregation Church (our original name) built a new church on land on Fresno Street, where we are still today. Our Lady of La Vang Catholic Church, served by Father Victor Ding, now occupies the Little Redwood Church.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The third stop on our tour (photos above) was to visit Zion Congregational Church’s second location (must not waste gas trying to stay in chronological order!) — 4718 E. Yale Ave. in Fresno on the corner of Sierra Vista and Yale in southeast Fresno. Our congregation merged with Zion in 2006. Zion brought many gifts to our church, including the beautiful stained glass windows (designed by artist Corky Normart to mark Zion’s 100-year anniversary) that grace the front of our Sanctuary, the wooden cross carved by Stan Bitters, the “lollipop” cross outside of the Sanctuary created by Stan Bitters, and the tradition of berrocks. Today this site is the Spanish Church of the Nazarene.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our final stop (photos above) was the original site of Zion Congregational Church, on the corner of E and Monterey streets in downtown Fresno. The original building burned in 1930; Zion rebuilt on that site and that church still stands today, where it is now the Greater Faith Missionary Baptist Church.

img_1127.jpgSarah Fey suggested picking up a small memento at each of our stops along the way — a magnolia pod from the Fashion Fair parking lot, a chip of redwood that had flaked off of our original building, a pine cone from Zion’s second home and a white chunk of landscaping rock from Zion’s first church site.

When we returned to our church campus, we had a small ceremony in our Peace Garden, and Sarah buried the items on the berm, not as any kind of time capsule to be reflected upon at a later date, but rather to integrate a small piece of the places that have held the many people who have contributed to the church we know today.



Message from our Moderator about this time of transition

Dear CUCC members and friends,

Most, if not all of you, have learned recently that Pastor Chris has accepted a call to Foothill Congregational  Church in Los Altos, CA. His last Sunday with us will be April 1st, Easter Sunday.

Pastor Chris and his family are very dear to me, as I am sure they must be to you, and I will miss them very much. I was deeply touched by his heartfelt letter announcing his decision.

Please join with me in thanking him for his inspiration and leadership in our congregation and in the wider community as we celebrate his remaining time with us, and wish him and his family well on their ministry journey.

Transition can be an unsettling thing, maybe especially to newer members who haven’t experienced a change of pastor with our congregation. In response to questions that have come up and in anticipation of additional questions, I hope the following information will be helpful:

How will we honor Pastor Chris as he is released from covenant with CUCC?

There is a Ritual of Covenant Release, which generally takes place on the pastor’s last Sunday separate and apart from the Sunday service. Participants include the pastor, the congregation and representatives from the Northern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ (NCNCUCC) and the Sequoia Association in which we participate with other Central California UCC churches.  This is generally a time to celebrate the work that has been accomplished together and a time to say good-bye. The date and time for this are yet to be determined.

What is the process when a minister leaves?

There are UCC-defined policies and practices to guide us as we prepare for Pastor Chris’ release from his call with CUCC.  We will be assisted by the NCNCUCC and the Sequoia Association as our covenantal partners in this process.

In the very near future, a search committee, representative of our congregation, will be formed by Council to seek an interim pastor. The Conference will provide us profiles of pastors who are interested in interim work to be considered for this position.

Once the interim is selected, approved and installed by our congregation, a settled pastor search committee will be formed to work with the congregation, Council and the interim to develop a church profile. Pastors who are interested in our church based on this profile will be considered by the search committee for the settled position.

How long can the search and call process take?

Search and call will take time and discernment and will require patience and understanding from all of us. Generally it takes a few months to find an interim and a year to a year and a half to find a settled pastor.

What will we do in the likely event there is a time lapse between selecting an interim pastor and Pastor Chris’ release?

In the past, we have invited others to fill the pulpit on Sundays and have been blessed with ordained ministers associated with our congregation who can carry out the sacraments of communion, baptism, wedding and funerals as well as preach on occasion.

We are extremely fortunate to have our Commissioned Minister of Religious Education Robin Carlson who leads our worship planning team and is an excellent preacher and, our Music Director EJ Hinojosa provides the wonderful music, which is a vital component in the life of our church.

What is an interim pastor?

An interim pastor is one who is trained in the specific skills needed to guide and serve churches between settled pastorates. The interim assists the search committee in developing the church profile through the input provided by the congregation.

The interim will help us take this time as an opportunity to look at our strengths and weaknesses, to capitalize on our strengths and to be open to new opportunities. The interim cannot become the settled pastor under any circumstances.

How will the congregation be involved in the selection of the pastor?

The congregation will provide the vital input needed for the development of the church profile. This is generally accomplished through meetings, surveys, etc. The search committee will represent the wishes of the congregation.

How will the congregation be informed about the progress of the search committees?

Once the church profile has been developed with input from the congregation and interim pastor, and the search committee begins considering candidates for the position, the work of the search committees becomes confidential until such time a pastor is recommended for consideration by the congregation.

Change and transition have always been a part of the life of our church.  Please take a look at the timeline below that has been prepared for the 60th Anniversary Celebration as a way of seeing the transitions that have occurred since our church was formed 60 years ago. In our church’s history, we have had 10 settled pastors and six interim pastors.

The process I have described in this letter has worked well for us in the past and I believe it will lead us to a successful outcome. I look forward to our work together as we say goodbye to Pastor Chris and welcome a future minister.

In grace and gratitude,

Nancy Pressley, Moderator, 2017-18

CUCC Timeline_Page_1

CUCC Timeline_Page_2

We mourn the passing of Ted Andrews, 94

Memorial Service for Ted Andrews

This morning the church received news that longtime church member Ted Andrews died today. Here is the message from his daughter, Pat Black:

“With a heavy heart I’m letting you know that my father, Ted Andrews, passed away early this morning at the age of 94. Dad suffered from cerebrovascular disease and has been under hospice care for the last several weeks. He and Mom just celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary on June 20.”

From Phil Fullerton:

“Ted was a faithful member of our church and a regular attendee of the Saturday Morning Breakfast Group. He once modestly joked that when he was a sailer and torpedoed in the Mediterranean and cast into the  sea in World War II that most of the other guys got a purple heart for rope burns on their hands but he didn’t. His understatement of this event was typical of this extraordinary man.”

The address for Ted’s wife, Louise, is:

Louise Andrews

7442 N. Millbrook Ave., Apt. 219

Fresno, CA  93720

We will keep Ted’s family in our prayers at this difficult time. Ted’s memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, at our church, Community United Church of Christ, 5550 N. Fresno St., Fresno, CA 93710. A reception in Hayden Hall will follow the service. Please bring finger foods to share.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations can be made in Ted’s name either to The First Tee or to Community United Church of Christ (address above or click here to make a secure online donation).

Our church’s stained glass windows

Eileen White 04 2019A~ By Eileen White, Photos by Terry Cole

When I walk into our sanctuary and look at the stained glass windows, I often wonder how many people who are visiting or are new to our church realize that the windows depict the seven days of creation.

The windows came about when those of us who were members of Zion Congregational Church at the time decided we wanted to create something special for our sanctuary, namely stained glass windows.  Corky Normart is the artist we found and the one who suggested we consider doing the creation story.

The windows were then created by Corky and dedicated on June 11, 2000.  When Zion and College Community Congregational Churches merged, the windows were then brought over from Zion and installed at College Community Congregational Church.  The dedication took place on Oct. 21, 2007.

Each of the windows in front of the church depicts one of the seven days of creation and is in memory of people who had been members of the church or were related to members.  There is a plaque under each window with the Scripture on which the window is based along with the names of the people in whose memory it is dedicated.

The windows are very special to me because I know almost every one of those people.

CUCC SG 1a_peThe first day is from Genesis 1:3 – In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth…
In memory of the three former pastors of Zion – Ferdinand Zahl, John Sauer and Abner Frost

CUCC SG 2a_peThe second day is from Genesis 1:8 – And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.”
In memory of Carl, Elsie and Dennis Schwabenland, father, mother and brother of Eileen White, a member of Community UCC.

CUCC SG 3a_peThe third day is from Genesis 1:9 – And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place and let dry ground appear.”  And it was so.
In memory of George and Ann Schafer, father and mother of Janice Perrigo, a member of Community UCC.

cucc-sg-4a_pe.jpgThe fourth day is from Genesis 1:16 – God made the two great lights — the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night.  He also made the stars.
In memory of Walter, Adam, Anna and William Reitz, members of Zion.

CUCC SG 5a_peThe fifth day is from Genesis 1:22 – God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on earth.”
In memory of Mary and Goringer and Fred Ginther, members of Zion.

cucc-sg-6a_pe.jpgThe sixth day is from Genesis 1:24 – And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kind:  livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.”  And it was so.
In memory of Phillip and Anna Krum, members of Zion.

cucc-sg-7a_pe.jpgThe seventh day is from Genesis 1:31 – Then God looked over all he had made and it was excellent in every way.
In memory of Sandy Lust Meadows, daughter of Ken and Helen Lust, members of Community UCC.

CUCC Narthex 4In the narthex center, Genesis 2:3 – And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it, he rested from all the work of creating that he had done in creation.
In memory of Jack and Mollie Lust, father and mother os Ken Lust, a member of Community UCC.

cucc-narthex-2.jpgNarthex left, Genesis 2:9 – And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground — trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.  In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
In memory of J. Henry Miller, Mary E. Miller, Elma Swinehart and Ralph Swinehart, family members of Zion.
In honor of the ongoing life of Zion by the Rev. Stanley Friesen and Delores Friesen.

cucc-narthex-3.jpgNarthex right, Genesis 2:10 – A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, from there it divides and becomes four branches.
In memory of Ralph Ruby, husband of Marilyn Ruby, both members of Zion.

CUCC Narthex 1Narthex arch, Psalm 42:3 – My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
In memory of Jay Andrew Liberty, son of Susan Liberty, member of Community UCC.

There were four people whose memorial money was used to install the windows at Community UCC.  They are Jean Easterson, Edna and Tom Butler and Christopher Calderwood.

There were ten memorial windows from Zion with one from Community UCC.

All of these people whose memorials made these windows possible are no longer with us, but we are able to enjoy and appreciate their beauty because of those who have gone before us.