Baking bread in Lent

On Sunday, March 10, congregation members baked dozens of loaves of bread. Some of the loaves tantalized us with their comforting aroma during worship as bread machine timers punctuated the service.

Each participating baker took one loaf home, one loaf to give to someone within 24 hours. Dozens of loaves will remain refrigerated/frozen at the church for Week 2’s activity and for communion throughout the Lenten season and Holy Week.

Thanks to all who participated!

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On the Threshold of Lent

The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, March 6. Ashes to Go (drive-thru imposition of ashes) will be available from 7 to 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot. Then in the evening beginning at 5:30 p.m. we will have a brief service of Ashes and Communion. We will cycle through the Service four times in this hour. All are welcome at any time with the cycle.

The central portion of our Lenten Season this year will be our LENTEN SERVICE SUNDAYS.

Each Sunday of Lent, beginning on March 10, we will have a light lunch and then engage in an activity that will build up the body and spirit of our congregation. The first step is gathering the resources for the season. Therefore…

Needs for Lenten Service Sundays

Week 1, March 10:

Bread-baking machines, experienced bread bakers

Beginning around 9 a.m. by preparing the dough, we will bake dozens of loaves of bread. Each participating baker will take one loaf home, one loaf to give to someone within 24 hours. Dozens of loaves will remain refrigerated/frozen at the church for Week 2’s activity and for communion throughout the Lenten season and Holy Week.

Week 2, March 17:

4 cases of 36 (500 ml) bottles of water; peanut butter, jelly, jam, or preserves; cans of tuna; travel size hand sanitizer; Ziploc bags- sandwich and gallon size; socks

Going to G Street to distribute after making sandwiches with the bread we baked last Sunday.

Week 3, March 24:

What music/song(s) address your spirit? Please forward song title and artist of music you associate with refuge, inspiration, celebration, and/or meditation to EJ Hinojosa prior to March 15. Send to ejhinojosa@hotmail.com. We will be enriched by the varied and myriad music we will experience on this afternoon.

Week 4, March 31:

Laundry detergent pods; dryer sheets; money to purchase laundry cards; Ziploc quart size bags.

We will offer a free wash and dry at various laundromats throughout Fresno for Lent.

Week 5, April 7:

All Church Work afternoon!

We will have all sorts of tasks appropriate for every person in our congregation as we prepare our buildings and grounds for Palm Sunday and Easter. Specific information will be available by March 15.

There will be a Lenten study at Roger and Vicky Wall’s home (5139 N. Poplar) on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m., beginning on March 13. We will be studying five pastoral psalms that inform the theme for Lenten worship:

BUSY and Missing the Beautiful

A full Lenten and Holy Week schedule will be available on the website, eNews and on paper at the church next week at this time.

Community UCC to offer ‘Ashes To Go’ again, and Glitter+ Ash

~ Photo above by Silvia Flores/The Fresno Bee

Glitter_Ash_810_500_55_s_c1Community UCC will again offer Ashes to Go on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14 (Here is a link to a Fresno Bee article and video about our first ever Ashes To Go in 2017.). And for the first time, our church will also offer Glitter+ Ash, an inherently queer sign of Christian belief, blending symbols of mortality and hope, of penance and celebration.  (This 2017 LA Times article talks about the relatively new Glitter+ Ash tradition.)

Glitter+ Ash exquisitely captures the relationship between death and new life. We do not live in fear of ash — of death — we place it on our foreheads for the world to see. We know that fear will rise, cramping our hearts. We also know that God specifically calls us not to project that fear onto the Other, the alien, the stranger in our midst.

God insists that we look for the spark of life, of hope, in ourselves and one another. This Ash Wednesday, we will make that spark easier to see. We will stand witness to the gritty, glittery, scandalous hope that exists in the very marrow of our tradition.

Ashes to go and Glitter+ Ash will be available in the Community UCC parking lot from 7 to 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, and then from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at United Japanese Christian Church, 136 N. Villa Ave. in Clovis.

Celebrate with an evening service at 7:30 p.m. that day at the United Japanese Christian Church with Rev. Akiko Miyake-Stoner and Pastor Chris Breedlove.

“Marked by Ashes” by Walter Brueggemann

Ruler of the Night, Guarantor of the day . . .
This day — a gift from you.
This day — like none other you have ever given, or we have ever received.
This Wednesday dazzles us with gift and newness and possibility.
This Wednesday burdens us with the tasks of the day, for we are already halfway home
     halfway back to committees and memos,
     halfway back to calls and appointments,
     halfway on to next Sunday,
     halfway back, half frazzled, half expectant,
     half turned toward you, half rather not.

This Wednesday is a long way from Ash Wednesday,
   but all our Wednesdays are marked by ashes —
     we begin this day with that taste of ash in our mouth:
       of failed hope and broken promises,
       of forgotten children and frightened women,
     we ourselves are ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
     we can taste our mortality as we roll the ash around on our tongues.

We are able to ponder our ashness with
   some confidence, only because our every Wednesday of ashes
   anticipates your Easter victory over that dry, flaky taste of death.

On this Wednesday, we submit our ashen way to you —
   you Easter parade of newness.
   Before the sun sets, take our Wednesday and Easter us,
     Easter us to joy and energy and courage and freedom;
     Easter us that we may be fearless for your truth.
   Come here and Easter our Wednesday with
     mercy and justice and peace and generosity.

We pray as we wait for the Risen One who comes soon.