Saturday, February 6, 2016

Reading List for Congregational Meeting

This is the reading list provided by Moderator Geri Bowen for the Congregational Meeting to be held following 10:30 worship on February 7. These are being provided to you in lieu of the thousands of pages of printed material we used to distribute at congregational meetings. Please support Geri in her efforts to cut down on paper use. All these documents are permanently located on the church website and so will be available for reference throughout the year.

Annual Reports for Committees and Ministries for Year 2015
Draft Minutes for November Congregational Meeting
Draft Ministry and Committee Membership 2016 (Email any changes to

Friday, February 5, 2016

Lenten Film Series

The Deacons are again planning a 5-week Lenten film series which begins on Feb. 19. The committee selecting the films consists of Geraldine Bryan, Jo Perry, and Betsy Towler from the Deacons Ministry along with Karen Withem and Lavon Page. All films will begin at 7 PM in the Vaughan Fellowship Hall. Popcorn will generally be available, and admission is free. Following the viewing of each film, a discussion period will be hosted by one of the selection committee members.

Feb. 19 - Nebraska

Recommended by: Geraldine Bryan
Year: 2013
Length: 115 minutes
Language: English
Cast:  Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb

One of our Lenten programs this year is a study of the Gospel of Mark. As the blog post announcing that series says, Mark's Gospel is a journey narrative.

The film Nebraska is a journey narrative of a strange sort. An old man is going on a journey to claim his "prize." There is much to be learned by this pursuit, and the film entertains as well as providing many lessons along the way.

Feb. 26 - The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Recommended by: Betsy Towler
Year: 2008
Length: 94 minutes
Language: English
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Vera Farmiga, David Thewlis

Betsy saw this film with her daughter-in-law and asked me to watch it with her. Before I did so, Jo showed me a review from the NY Times. It was scathing. I'm not sure I've ever seen a film so badly ridiculed. But Betsy pressed me, so I watched it with her in spite of the review. And I'm very glad I did, because I found it to be a wonderfully simple morality play with a childlike quality to it. To me it's a Lenten film of a peculiar nature, i.e. a Lenten passion play where the Jesus character is 9-years old. But the journey to the cross is inexorable.

This film is set with Auschwitz as a backdrop. The NY Times bashed the film because of its unrealistic depiction of the concentration camp. In this film, however, the camp isn't the point. It's simply the backdrop to Jesus' realization of what he was called to do. The passion play is complete with the carrying of the cross to Golgatha, the rending of the Temple, and the agony of the Mother of Jesus. A childlike narrative, but a very moving parable of Jesus' journey to the cross.

March 4 - Ballast

Recommended by: Karen Withem
Year: 2008
Length: 96 minutes
Language: English (but English subtitles will be used)
Cast: unknown cast

"Ballast" is the very life of life. It observes three good, quiet people as they sink into depression, resentment and rebellion. Then it watches patiently, gently, as they help one another find their futures together. The film has a bedrock reality that could not be fabricated. It was filmed on locations in the Mississippi Delta, and uses actors who had never acted before, but who never step wrong. Few professional actors could convince us so deeply.

Life goes on from day to day. We grow more and more intensely absorbed. The film uses no devices to punch up tension, manufacture suspense, underline motives. When there is anger, we see it coming from a long way away, and we watch it take its time to subside. Ordinary life begins to stir, because it must. There is an ending that in one sense we probably anticipated, but it's like very few endings. When it comes, we think, Yes. It would be like that. Exactly like that. We don't even need to see their faces. We feel their hearts.
-- Roger Ebert

March 11 - Marvin's Room

Recommended by: Lavon Page
Year: 1996
Length: 98 minutes
Language: English
Cast: Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Leonard DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro, Hume Cronyn, Gwyn Verdon

This film deals with a topic that the film industry has a difficult time with, i.e. spiritual healing in the absence of physical healing. Most folks go to the movies for entertainment, and terminal illness isn't generally a very entertaining subject. I think that's why this movie isn't better known. You can't get a more star-studded cast than the cast in this film. It's no accident that I've positioned this film as #4 in the film series. Films #3 and #5 are films that don't use any known actors at all. Positioning Marvin's Room between those films gives us some familiar faces to look at between those two. And Marvin's Room is a great film. You'll be moved at the spiritual healing that takes place in the family that is depicted in this film.

March 18 - Silent Light

Recommended by: Jo Perry
Year: 2007
Length: 136 minutes
Language: Plattgerman
Cast: members of Mennonite communities, mostly Mexican

This movie was filmed within a Mennonite community in Mexico. None of the cast are really professional actors. The cast comes from Mennonite communities in Mexico, Canada, and Europe. The script is based on writings by one of the cast who is a Mennonite from Ontario. And the language of the movie is "Plattgerman", a form of low-German that is spoken within the Mennonite Community in Mexico (who are descended from German immigrants).

When this movie began I didn't know what to think. It opens with a 7-minute time lapse scene at dawn. As the movie unfolds, you quickly realize that you're not watching a "normal" movie. It's a movie that isn't going to be about things "happening", but rather about "being" in a sense that's foreign to Hollywood and the film industry in general. By the time the film ended I was feeling that this film represents a form of depiction that I had never conceived of in a movie, where instead of "acting" the cast simply allows you to absorb them.

There's a strong reason I selected this film to close the Lenten film series, but I can't give it away without including a spoiler for the film. Count on it that we'll have a lot to talk about during the discussion that follows this film. This one will run a bit late. The film is 137 minutes, so the viewing will last until 9:30 or so even if we get started at 7 PM. And the conversation afterward is likely to be one that we will not want to end. This film will provide good fodder for thought as we all move from the film series into Holy Week.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Cancelled - workshop led by General Minister of the UCC

John Dorhauer
The workshop has been cancelled so that Rev. Dorhauer can be with his father who is dying.  Please pray for the Dorhauer family.

United Church of Chapel Hill will reschedule if possible, or will refund if necessary.


United Church of Chapel Hill has invited us to attend a workshop on racial justice to be led by the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, the UCC's General Minister and President.

Please register via UCCH's website immediately.  Jane Smith and Joan McAllister plan to carpool.  If you would like to carpool, contact either of them.

Saturday, February 6, 2016
United Church of Chapel Hill
The cost for the workshop, including lunch, is $15 per person.


9 am to 12 pm - Morning teaching on racial justice with Reverend Dr. John Dorhauer – with a mid-morning break.

Movie poster includes photo of the Wilmington 10 with their names
Lunch 12 pm – Lunch with documentary clip from Cash Michaels’ documentary film, “Wilmington Ten: Pardons of Innocence.”  Madeline Faucette, Union Chapel UCC, will cater the morning coffee break and a simple lunch.

Kenneth Janken
Afternoon discussion with Dr. Kenneth R. Janken, UNC professor, Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies, and Director, UNC Center for the Study of the American South, and author of a new book on the Wilmington 10 — to be published on January 4 — who will speak about the UCC and the Wilmington 10 and be available for questions.  The Wilmington 10 is a part of our heritage as UCC people and as citizens of North Carolina.  (1/3/16 book review in the News and Observer)

[Note from Jane:  CUCC's Nancy Peeler Keppel worked with the UCC to gain the release of the Wilmington 10.]

Taize' and walking the labyrinth

Pullen Memorial Baptist Church has invited the community to join them for an evening of Taize'-style worship and time to walk the labyrinth.  February 29, 7PM, Poteat Chapel

Amy Jensen's mother

Miriam C. Sitler, the mother of Amy Jensen, passed away Monday night in Middlefield OH. Amy will be attending the funeral service this weekend and is planning to play a flute prelude "Shall We Gather at the River" at the service using the same arrangement of that old hymn that she used with Doug when they played the piece in 10:30 worship a few weeks ago at CUCC.

Obituary for Miriam C. Sitler

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sermon from Sunday, Jan. 31

Rev. Ken Williams as guest pastor spoke on Wilderness, On the Way to Mission.

Pre-weatherization surges in 2016

8 men wearing dirty clothes smile at the camera
January 30 team after cleaning out an attic
Maybe the cold weather has brought the phone calls, but we're getting steady requests to pre-weatherize homes.  One morning of work makes a huge impact in the energy costs of a low income homeowner.  This is the perfect volunteer opportunity for someone who is meeting-averse!

CUCC, Raleigh Friends Meeting, and NCIPL have been doing clean outs and repairs of homes in our area so that the homes can then be weatherized for free.  Our preparatory work leverages federal funds to pay for professionals to insulate the home or install a new HVAC system.  Most of our work is low-skill - moving boxes away from walls,  emptying an attic and hauling unwanted items to the landfill.  We have worked in Wake and Durham Counties so far.  Friends are welcome.  This is truly a community effort.

If you are interested in being notified by email about future workdays, contact Gary Smith.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Lenten Reading Group: The Third Reconstruction

Lenten Reading Group,
Community United Church of Christ
814 Dixie Trial, Raleigh NC 27607    Bradow Room
Three Wednesdays:  February 24, March 2 and March 9, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
If this is your lunch hour, bring a bag lunch. Drinks will be provided.

We plan to read The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement by The Rev. William J. Barber, II (with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove).

Many of us plan to go (CUCC plans) to the HKon J Moral March on Saturday, February 13, 2016. We expect to be encouraged to believe that things can change for the better!

The book presents Rev. Barber’s view that it is time for the pendulum of history to swing back to a more just society in the United States.  Let’s read the book together, discuss his ideas, and plan to act!

If you sign up for the group by February 15, we at CUCC will make a group book  order at Quail Ridge Books. Please sign up at  Or you can buy your own book. It will be good to have started reading before the first meeting February 24, but you are welcome even if you haven’t started reading. Please come and join the conversation.

The details of the book are:
The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, The Third Reconstruction. Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement. Boston: The Beacon Press, 2016.

Sponsored by the CUCC Economic Justice Task Force and the Saturday Morning Book Group.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

January 27, 2016 Weekly News (PDF)

January 27, 2016 Weekly News (PDF)

The online calendar is always available and is always up-to-date.

Old newsletters and recent weekly news can be found in these two archives:

Deadlines to submit articles to the church office (
  • Weekly News email - TUESDAY by NOON.
  • Sunday bulletin - TUESDAY by NOON.
  • Newsletter - WEDNESDAY following the Church Council meeting by 2:00 PM.  (The Church Council meets the 3rd Monday of the month, so the deadline is the Wednesday following the third Monday of the month.  Check the calendar.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Save the date: Walk with HKonJ Feb. 13

CUCC people behind our banner lined upa dozen across in the HKonJ march
Get Out the Vote Gathering and Mobilization 
Saturday, February 13, 2016 

9:30 a.m. Meet ready to march at McDonald's,105 E.South St. (near Shaw University). There are parking decks available on Wilmington Street.
9:30 a.m. Meet in the church parking lot to carpool directly to the assembly (let Joan McAllister know if you plan to carpool.)

10:00 a.m. Those meeting at McDonald’s will march to the State Capitol.

10:30 a.m. Assembly will be held near the State Capitol on Fayetteville Street (There will be chairs in front of the stage for those who need to sit.)

12-2 p.m. Lunch at Jersey Mike’s on Hillsborough St. Across from NCSU library

Whether you are taking place in the march, or gathering at the Capitol Building, look for the Community UCC signs and banners, and let's stand together! Wear your red hat and we’ll find each other more easily!

Set your minds on justice and don’t miss the 10th anniversary of this important march and assembly! CUCC is a Coalition Partner in this movement and we hope as many people as possible will participate. Coalition Partner organizations from over the state of North Carolina will come together to support: voting rights, labor rights, education equality, health care for all, environmental justice, equal protection under the law, criminal justice reform and ending racialized police brutality. Since the NC primary vote will take place in March and the general election in November, HKonJ is emphasizing getting out the vote this year! The rally is a nonviolent and peaceful one in accordance with the historic custom of the Civil Rights Movement. It does not involve civil disobedience, but does include movement, crowd participation, and dynamic speakers!


Also, please be sure to have lunch afterward at Jersey Mike’s at 2712 Hillsborough St; 20% of your purchase will go to our Summer Youth ASP summer mission trip!