Friday, May 26, 2017

Guest Pastoral Letter

Ascension Day by Jim Knipper

May 25, 2017 - If it has been 40 days since Easter it must be Ascension Thursday, a Solemnity of the Church.  It is the day we commemorate the bodily ascension of Jesus into heaven. In the words of Richard Rohr:

The Ascension is about the final reunion of what appeared to be separated for a while: Earth and Heaven, human and divine, matter and Spirit. If the Christ is the archetype of the full human journey, now we know how it all resolves itself in the end. “So that where I am, you also will be” (John 14:3)

It is no surprise that most artist renderings of the Ascension show the eyes of the crowds looking upward to the sky.  I guess that is where heaven is supposed to be.

But as we celebrate the Feast I think it is also important that we do not take our eye off the body of Christ that dwells among us, in us, and through us. And what better example of this than the article written by my friend Mike Leach about the battle his beautiful wife Vicky has fought for so many years with Alzheimer’s. As her caregiver Mike writes, “Some people spend thousands of dollars to take courses on living in the present moment. In Alzheimer's there is only the present moment.

Perhaps on this Feast day were we celebrate the moment of the ascension of Christ, we can also take some time to recognize the daily moments in our lives where Christ dwells. 


Memorial Day - A Reflection (reprinted from ucc.org)

May 27, 2012 - Written by Daniel Hazard
Hebrews 12:1

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us..."

Reflection by Anthony B. Robinson

It is said that no one can hold back the river of time, and that is true. Time does rush on. But we can build bridges across the rushing river, and today — Memorial Day — is one.

First known as "Decoration Day," Memorial Day began as a day to honor the Union dead after the Civil War. Following World War I it became a day for remembering all those who had died in our nation's wars. And from there it has broadened further, so that now Memorial Day is for remembering all who have died.

When death comes there is an interruption of life as usual. But often things get back to normal—or it seems that they are supposed to—too quickly following a death. Here the Buddhists are wise, holding a service to honor the deceased every 7 days for forty-nine days, allowing a lengthier period of mourning.

Though we may resume normal activities after a funeral service, we don't really get over the loss of a loved one that quickly—nor should we. Grief takes time, time that a too-busy society is often reluctant to give. So a special day for grief, remembrance and honor — Memorial Day — is a gift.

Still, we contemporary Americans receive this gift with ambivalence. As with other holidays that once stood alone on a fixed date, Memorial Day is now part of a three-day weekend, making it more a mini-vacation than a dedicated holy day of remembrance.

How will you "keep" Memorial Day today?

Here are a couple of suggestions for keeping Memorial Day. Write a note or make a call to a person who has experienced a death recently, letting them know you are thinking of them and remembering the one they have lost. Take a few minutes sometime today to sit quietly and reflect on the way that death has touched your life this year, naming in prayer those who have died. Write on a card the names of those in your family or church who have died recently, or those in your family or church who have served in past wars. Put the card on your mantle or kitchen counter with a flower.  Lift up in prayer those who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their loved ones. Put fresh flowers on a grave, maybe the grave of someone you know or, if that's not an option, any grave.

Today is a day to walk across a bridge of memory and hope.

Prayer
We remember before you, O God, those who have gone before us in this life and their sacrifices on our behalf. (You can speak names here.) We honor them and thank you for the gift of their lives to us all. Amen.

About the Author

Anthony B. Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul's Letters to Timothy for a New Day, and he is also the author of the just-published Book of Exodus: A God is still speaking Bible Study. Read his weekly reflections on the current lectionary texts at www.anthonybrobinson.com by clicking on Weekly Reading.

Lectionary for the Week of May 28, 2017

Lectionary for the Week of May 28, 2017 - Seventh Sunday of Easter: White
Acts 1:6-14; Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35; 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11; John 17:1-11


THIS WEEK’S OPPORTUNITIES


  Sunday  5/28       
  9:00am TaizĂ© Worship – Sanctuary
  9:30am Choir Practice - Sanctuary
  9:30am Adult Bible Study - Bradow Room
10:30am Worship Service - Sanctuary
10:45am Children’s Church School - Sunday School Rooms
10:45am Youth Church School - Youth Rooms
11:45am Fellowship - Vaughan Fellowship Hall
12:00pm Stewardship Ministry Meeting - Library
  4:00pm Covenant Community - Bradow Room
    
Monday 5/29 
12:15pm Monday Lunch Group - Hoffmann Room
          
Tuesday 5/30 
10:00am Office Staff Meeting - Pilgrim House
    
Wednesday 5/31   
  9:30am Tai Chi – Vaughan Fellowship Hall
 
Thursday 6/01  
  5:30pm CUCC Staff Meeting - Pilgrim House
  7:00pm Deacons Meeting - Hoffmann Room
 
Saturday 6/03   
  9:30am Saturday Morning Book Club – Library
  5:00pm Summer*Daze - Church Grounds
    
Sunday 6/04   
  9:00am TaizĂ© Worship – Sanctuary
  9:30am Adult Sunday School - Bradow Room
10:30am Worship Service with Communion - Sanctuary 
10:45am Children’s Church - Sunday School Room
11:45am Fellowship - Vaughan Fellowship Hall
12:00pm Social Justice Groups Gathering - Bradow Room
12:00pm Religious Education Ministry Meeting - Hoffmann Room
  4:00pm Covenant Community - Bradow Room
               Food Bags Due 


Next Summer*Daze is Saturday, June 3, 2017

Next Summer*Daze is Saturday, June 3, 2017
5:00pm - 8:00pm - CUCC Church Grounds

If you enjoy great live music, ice cold smoothies, sitting by a campfire & amazing food & fellowship, this event is for you!

Bring a lawn chair, blanket, and a side dish to share. This is an inter-generational event with activities for all ages; instrument making, body art, and storytelling abound! If you would like to volunteer to help with set-up or clean-up please email Jenny at rev.cucc@gmail.com.





A Need Request...

Sampson Cotton is a very poor person who lives next door to Robert Parrish at the Murphy School Apartments.  He was placed at Murphy School as a result of Hurricane Matthew.  Sampson is in need of three things; a small table, a small dresser and a small chair.  If you have any of these items available and are able to give them to Mr. Cotton, please let Cathy Marshall at the church office know (919-809-8850) or office.cucc@gmail.com
Thank you. - Robert Parrish

Food Bags Due Sunday, June 4

Food bags for Urban Ministries are due Sunday, June 4.  Please double bag your items and if you separate the bags into two different bags, please tie them together so that we know that they belong together.

The items to place in the food bags are:
1 lb. grits,
1 lb. rice,
1 lb. dried beans,
1 can of carrots,
2 cans of tomatoes,
2 cans or jars of applesauce,
2 1-qt pkgs of dry milk,
1 jar of peanut butter,
2 pkgs macaroni/cheese,
2 cans of navy, pinto, or pork’n beans.
Thank you for your support of this ministry.

What are CUCC's Justice Groups Doing and How Can I Join In?

Please join the conversation on Sunday, June 4, at 12:00 in the Hoffman Room to share information about what groups and individuals are doing, to explore ways to collaborate and support each other, and to suggest new initiatives and projects. Everyone is welcome. Contact Don or Shirley Birt at dhsrbirt@aol.com for more information.


Join Social Justice at the NC Legislature - Monday, June 5, 4:00pm

Join Social Justice at the NC Legislature in Raleigh on Monday, June 5, from 4:00-6:00 p.m to ask for fair NC legislature districting. 

When in power, both NC Republicans and Democrats have used that power to draw districts that favor them and that do not reflect the NC population.  This process leads to unfair elections, extreme partisan politics and discourages voters.  It must end.

House Bill 200 would end gerrymandering in North Carolina by establishing a nonpartisan system for drawing the state's congressional and legislative voting maps.  The bill has 39 bipartisan co-sponsors in the NC House and is supported by an overwhelming majority of North Carolina voters.  But since it was introduced in February, House Bill 200 has not been given a vote or even a hearing in the NC House Rules Committee.

Common Cause has organized a  People's Hearing for House Bill 200 at the NC Legislature in Raleigh on Monday, June 5, from 4:00-6:00 p.m.  The hearing will give North Carolina citizens the opportunity to voice their support for passage of HB200 and fair voting maps. 
Come and express your discontent with the status quo.  You can learn more here http://commoncausenc.org/hearing/

Youth Summer Kick-Off!


Youth Summer Kick-Off! 
United Church of Chapel Hill

Fellowship, Service, and Fun with UCC Youth from around the Triangle

Win Game Tournaments!

Pack Hunger Bags!

Eat Ice Cream Sundaes!

Get to Know Other UCC Youth!

We will meet in the CUCC parking lot at 12:30PM and return at 4:30PM.