Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Magi

An equipment malfunction prevented filming of much of the Christmas story presentation given during the worship service on Sunday, December 4. But the portion related to the coming of the magi provides an illustration of the way the Christmas story was interpreted in the context of exile. Julia Robertson, Marty Lamb, and Doug Barrick appear in this excerpt.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Advent theme for Monday Lunch Group

During Advent, Christmas and Christmastide including the first Monday in January before Epiphany, we will explore ways to use poetry for meditation. On our Monday Lunch days beginning November 28th, seven or eight poems will be handed out for you to use every day during the coming week. They need not to be read in any particular order, you can choose. You may have one that is always meaningful to you, feel free to use it instead.

This time of year, finding the time to use the poems for meditation any given day might be a problem. If you have time, take a brief break and select a poem just to read, reading it aloud is often interesting. Other days, maybe you will have the time to spend with a poem for meditation, journalling, even writing your own poem.

It's all up to you how much or little you do, but making our Advent journeys together is going to be interesting for sure!

Advent begins on Sunday, November 27th so our first MLG will be on the 28th. Since I cannot be there, Geraldine has kindly consented to lead the program for that week. How to use poetry for meditation will be discussed, suggestions for making it happen. She will also hand out the first set of poems for the following week. (If you cannot be there and let me know, I can email them to you.)

We will begin the first Monday with things related to The Annunciation and when Mary goes to be with Elizabeth. Attached are two related sets of information to download with some background that I found interesting. One is about the Church of the Visitation in Ein Karem, Israel which is in the village where Elizabeth and Zechariah lived and where John the Baptist was born. The other is about The Magnificat, or Mary's Song, that she sang when she and Elizabeth met.


Ann Retzer

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Join us during Advent at CUCC

Advent is the four Sunday period before Christmas - the day we celebrate the coming of God to live among us through the birth of Jesus.  During Advent we wait expectantly - for the birth of the Christ child and the coming of Christ again.

One traditional part of Advent is the giving of gifts, a way of saying thank you to God for the gift of Jesus Christ.  Gift-giving opportunities are noted with a star *.

You are welcome to attend any of these Advent events - just show up!

2015 "Fear not!" Christmas tree
1st week of Advent

Sunday, November 27
During 10:30 worship Śānti Matthews and Doug Barrick will  share the message: "What is the Christmas story?"  After the Children's Time, the children and youth will leave worship to work together to create ornaments for CUCC's Christmas tree.  After worship, the youth will eat lunch and then go shopping for CUCC's tree.

Live near Wake Forest?  Worship with CUCC's Prism group.  A special Advent focus runs Nov. 27 to Dec. 11, led by Joy Alford and Amy Burki.  10:30AM, 102 S White St, Wake Forest.

Monday, November 28
Using poetry in meditation.  Monday Lunch Group, 12:15PM

Tuesday, November 29
*Women of CUCC (and their women friends) are invited to the home of Marty Lamb for a potluck and sing-a-long from the Rise Up Singing songbooks.  This is a gathering of SIS, an open monthly assembling of women.  SIS has chosen to collect toiletries to donate to the women's shelter.

2015's creative project
Family Advent Event
2nd week of Advent

Sunday, December 4
*Bring a bag of groceries - another way we can pass along God's love.  Here's the list of groceries requested by the Urban Ministries food pantry.

Today's 10:30 worship service features a celebration of communion; we welcome the Rev. Sheila Barrick who will officiate.  Wherever you are on life's journey, you are welcome at the table Jesus prepares for all of us.  Marty Lamb bring the message via theater:  "Who am I in the Christmas story?" After the Children's Time, the children will leave worship to practice for the Christmas pageant.

Live near Wake Forest?  Worship with CUCC's Prism group.  A special Advent focus runs Nov. 27 to Dec. 11, led by Joy Alford and Amy Burki.  10:30AM, 102 S White St, Wake Forest.

*Sunday afternoon at 5PM, children and their families have fun at the Family Advent Workshop.  Pizza is served (free).  Mrs. Susan will help families make dough ornaments.  Please bring a plate of cookies to share.

*CUCC's 2016 angel tree debuts.  Select your angel from the tree and bring the described gift for one of the families CUCC is sponsoring.

Monday, December 5
Using poetry in meditation.  Monday Lunch Group, 12:15PM

Saturday, December 10
Join us at 6:30PM for the annual CUCC Adult Christmas Party  It's a chance to get to know your fellow CUCCers in a festive atmosphere.  Hot hors d'oeuvres, scrumptious dessert table, spiral ham, vegetarian and vegan appetizers, and wine will be available.  A special soloist will provide musical entertainment and lead us in caroling.  Please come!  (No fee, but we welcome a small donation to defray the cost of the food and beverage.)

2015 Christmas pageant
3rd week of Advent

Sunday, December 11
The children will lead us in worship by presenting a Christmas pageant:  the story of the birth of the baby Jesus.  Then Julie Robertson will provide the message: "Why do we tell the Christmas story?"  10:30AM, Sanctuary

Live near Wake Forest?  Worship with CUCC's Prism group.  A special Advent focus runs Nov. 27 to Dec. 11, led by Joy Alford and Amy Burki.  10:30AM, 102 S White St, Wake Forest.

Monday, December 12
Using poetry in meditation.  Monday Lunch Group, 12:15PM

4th week of Advent

Sunday, December 18
At 9AM Taize worship, you are invited to participate in communion.  After the Children's Time, the children will leave worship to sing carols with "Mr. Monty" Smith.

At 10:30AM Chancel Choir members will share their answers to the question,  "Where do we go from here, or what do we do with the Christmas story?"

Monday, December 19
Using poetry in meditation.  Monday Lunch Group, 12:15PM

Saturday, December 24, 5PM
We gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  This will be Pastor Jenny Shultz-Thomas' first official worship with us as our new pastor.

Christmas Day

Sunday, December 25


At 10:30 AM families worship together and all ages are invited to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  There will be no Sunday School for children or youth, and no nursery will be provided.

Monday, December 26
Using poetry in meditation.  Monday Lunch Group, 12:15PM



Candlelight Labyrinth Walk for World AIDS Day

From Adrienne Little, the Social Justice Ministry's representative at Congregations for Social Action:

World AIDS Day “A Time to Remember Candlelight Labyrinth Walk” from Carolyn McClendon, carolynjmcc@aol.com

Millbrook Baptist Church, 1519 E. Millbrook Road in Raleigh, will host the 8th annual World AIDS Day “A Time to Remember Candlelight Labyrinth Walk” on Thursday, December 1, 2016.

The walk will occur from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., and will include a continuous bell ringing and reading of names of persons who have died as a result of HIV/AIDS.  A time of reflection, remembrance and light refreshment will follow the walk from 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. indoors. All are invited to attend and remember…

The labyrinth and garden will be open throughout the day for any and all who wish to walk in silent meditation or sit, remember and pray.  Meditation Guides and red ribbons will be available on site.
           *          *          *
For more information on World AIDS Day, the Labyrinth Walk, or to participate in the reading of names, contact Carolyn McClendon, carolynjmcc@aol.com or 919-247-4240

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Thanksgiving worship in the neighborhood

Community Thanksgiving Service
Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 7PM
West Raleigh Presbyterian Church, 27 Horne Street

West Raleigh PC will be our hosts.  Pastors, members and the choirs of Fairmont UMC and Community UCC will lead us in worship.  If you would like to sing in the choir, arrive to rehearse at 6PM.

Childcare is available beginning at 6PM.

Working together we go farther

Adrienne Little extends these invitations from congregations in Congregations for Social Justice.  She represents CUCC at their meetings.

1 - Fight for $15 Community Meeting from Ben Carroll  
       Thursday, November 17 | 6:30pm
       Raise Up office | 2220 N Roxboro St, Durham, 27704
On November 29th, 4 years to the day after the first fast food worker strike in New York City, low wage workers across the nation will walk off the job in the largest ever low wage worker day of action. We will demand that elected officials and global corporations raise wages and allow workers to form unions. We see this as the beginning of sustained activity to hold elected officials accountable to the 64 million workers in this country who make less than $15 / hour.

2 - Save the date - CSJ Annual Dinner Meeting from Al Reberg
      Monday, February 6, 2017 – 6:00 PM
      Highland United Methodist Church - Bradley Hall
      1901 Ridge Road, Raleigh 27607
Our Guest Speaker will be David Guice, Commissioner of NC Department of Corrections

An outreach program in Raleigh worth knowing about

Charlotte Yongue grew up next door to Jo and me and became something of a surrogate daughter. She's finishing nursing school at ECU now, and she posted on Facebook a link to a video about a program in Raleigh neither Jo nor I was aware of. Support for the program comes from Christ Church in Raleigh. I share this 8-minute video simply because it's a good thing going on in our community that deserves to be more widely recognized. (Thanks to Betsy Towler for alerting me to Charlotte's post.)


Reconciliation is Hard

So far this week I've attended Monday Lunch Group (Monday), a Religious Education Ministry meeting (Tuesday), and have Bible Study coming up (Wednesday). No matter what the topic or agenda of the meeting, we seem to be still in the mode where something will come up that turns attention to last week's election, and still tears, anger, grief, and unresolved issues are barely skin deep. One person at the meeting last night commented that she was all set to be a gracious winner and offer reconciliation to others until the election broke the wrong way, and then she suddenly found that her reconciliatory intensions few out the window. On the home front my own wife Jo has retreated from the TV altogether and refuses any overture to "come and look at this".

Our niece Sabrina Tavernise has been on the science and medicine desk at the NY Times for well over a year, but she was called onto the political beat to take a look at the wreckage among friends and families that was left in the wake of this election. One of her articles appears in this morning's edition. Here's an excerpt ...

Matthew Horn, a software engineer from Boulder, Colo., canceled Christmas plans with his family in Texas. Nancy Sundin, a social worker in Spokane, Wash., has called off Thanksgiving with her mother and brother. Ruth Dorancy, a software designer in Chicago, decided to move her wedding so that her fiancé’s grandmother and aunt, strong Trump supporters from Florida, could not attend.

The election is over, but the repercussions in people’s lives may be just beginning as families across the United States contemplate uncomfortable holidays — or decide to bypass them — and relationships among friends, relatives and spouses are tested across the political divide.

Democrats have dug in their heels, and in some cases are refusing to sit across the table from relatives who voted for President-elect Donald J. Trump, a man they say stands for things they abhor. Many who voted for Mr. Trump say it is the liberals who are to blame for discord, unfairly tarring them with the odious label of “racist” just because they voted for someone else.

“It’s all one big giant contradiction in my eyes,” said Laura Smith, 30, a small-business owner in Massachusetts who was attacked on Facebook by a relative for voting for Mr. Trump. “She’s saying to spread the love,” Ms. Smith said. “But then you’re throwing this feeling of hate toward me, your own family member.”

Complete article at NY Times

Monday, November 14, 2016

Safety pin - your signal that you stand with vulnerable people

Have you noticed that people have begun wearing safety pins?

According to a New York Times report, "As a show of support, groups of people across America are attaching safety pins to their lapels, shirts and dresses to signify that they are linked, willing to stand up for the vulnerable."

This Wednesday the youth will decorate safety pins which they will offer to the congregation on Sunday.  Or, you can wear an unadorned pin from your junk drawer.

As Pastor Peg reminded us, actually standing up for vulnerable people takes courage in the moment.  Let us pray for one another - whether or not we wear a safety pin - that we will act in love when the opportunity arises.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Your letter to Santa = $1 to Make a Wish

Dear Friends,

I am sending this to you and asking Cathy to share it in the next several newsletters. By simply sending a letter to Santa via email you can donate to the Make A Wish Foundation Christmas Campaign.

Since 2003 Macy's has been participating in a Believe Campaign. They donate $1 for every letter sent in to Santa (up to $1Million) to the Make A Wish Campaign. Please take a minute to send Santa your best wishes this Christmas and help a sick child's wish be granted in the future.

Thank you,

Anne Bailey