Friday, December 19, 2008

FORUM: DECEMBER 21

Come and celebrate the blessings and wonders of Christmas!

On Dec. 21, Maria Riemann will read from a selection of Christmas Stories.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mike Schafale in the News

Lena Gallitano has informed us of the following publicity given to the work of Mike Schafale. This is an excerpt from the newsletter of One NC Naturally:

25 Year Milestone for Michael Schafale

Many of us have relied on the Classification of the Natural Communities of North Carolina as an invaluable reference, but we may not be as familiar with its lead author, Michael Schafale, who just celebrated 25 years with the Natural Heritage Program. Mike is the main expert behind this publication, having worked with Alan Weakly and a host of other experts to create the first edition and subsequent revisions. This guide, which describes more than 100 natural community types across our state, has been widely adopted by environmental professionals who need to assess the natural environment and identify rare plant species, often as part of environmental impact assessments or preservation projects. Congratulations!

The full article may be found at http://www.onencnaturally.org/pages/newsletter.html

Sunday, December 14, 2008

2008 CUCC Children's Christmas Pageant

The video of the Christmas Pageant (December 13, 2008) is now available online.


The video is also available on disk for use with a DVD-player or computer. The (free) disk version combines a standard DVD-video version packaged with a high definition Quicktime video version for high resolution computer viewing. (If you have a computer and an HDTV, you can show a high resolution version of the video by connecting your computer to your TV.) If you'd like a copy of the disk, contact Lavon Page.

Video Link

For those who requested a link for the Joe Cocker video shown at the Christmas party on Dec. 13, here it is ...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Intergenerational Worship


Briar Little, who was baptized at CUCC last year, returns for a visit.

Friday, December 5, 2008

SHROC VII

Southern Human Rights' Organizers' Conference
Dec. 12-14
Radisson Hotel
RTP

Luncheon Speaker: Dr. Julianne Malveaux, President of Bennett College
Workshops, Plenaries, Films...

www.shroc.org/index1.htm

FORUM: December 7

Are you wondering how the elections turned out the way they did in NC?

Come to Forum this Sunday and hear Brad Thompson share insights on "How NC Turned Blue."

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thinking 'Green' In the Bleak Midwinter returns

January 11, 18, and February 1, 8, and 15
noon - 1:30, Bradow room

We’ll share what we're doing to decrease the size of our carbon footprint at home in our day to day lives and we’ll inspire each other to possibilities. Absolutely no guilt trips allowed. We may be taking giant steps; we may be taking baby steps; but all steps forward are allowed and encouraged. It's a great time for some to take the "sustainable household challenge" to decrease carbon consumption at home and use the time to develop supported positive habits in 2009.
You may wish to add participation in the group to your New Year's resolutions for 2009. Commitment is good, and you can develop a group of persons close to home who can support you in your efforts through the group. You might wish to order for yourself or for friends for Christmas "Discussion Course on Choices for Sustainable Living" which can be ordered from the Northwest Earth Institute at www.nwei.org , which we shall be borrowing ideas from during the sessions to enhance our learning. Purchase is not required for participation, however.
We'll have rituals of prayer, sharing successes, presentation of research findings, and committing to individualized changes each session. General topic areas presently envisioned are:

Session 1: Call to sustainability and ecological principles.
Session 2: Food
Session 3: Buying
Session 4: Communities
Session 5: Visions for Sustainablity and Celebration

Grapes and peanut butter sandwiches will be provided. Call Marty if you have questions or plan on participating.

Share the news; spread the joy; and pray, certainly pray.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hunger No More

David Beckmann, president of the national hunger advocacy group, Bread for the World, is the keynote speaker at a January 27 & 28 conference in Raleigh. CUCC has long been a member of BFW and many of you have signed the annual Offering of Letters.
The conference includes

interfaith worship,

meals,

excellent workshops

which will give us opportunities to meet like-minded Wake Countians and learn about pieces of the puzzle to end hunger around the world.

For those of you with a passion to bring justice for those most harmed by climate change, note the breakout session on hunger and climate change to be led by Dr. William Chameided, Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University (Durham, NC).


The Social Justice Ministry hopes you will join us at Hunger No More. Register online. To carpool, contact Gary & Jane, Grady, or Cy & Carolyn.

Advent Schedule of Events



Have a yen to sing a Christmas carol? Want to try your hand at making Chrismons? Seeking to refresh your spirit through meditation or rehearing the story? These Advent Events might be what you seek.




If one of these dates or times is contrary to what you read in the bulletin, believe the bulletin!




FORUM DECEMBER PROGRAMS

The Forum Committee announces these interesting Forum programs for December:


Dec. 7 – Brad Thompson, "How NC turned Blue: Review of 2008 Elections"
Dec. 14 – Dr. Slater Newman, “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights : 1948 - 2008"
Dec. 21 – Christmas Stories, read by Maria Riemann
Dec. 28 – "Therefore be it resolved" - Review of 2008 and Resolutions for the New Year (Story Circle led by Cynthia Ball)

FORUM: November 30

Sunday, November 30, 2008, 9:15 to 10:15 am

"Experiences of a White Student at a Black University"
Rev. Herbert Schafale

On Sunday, Forum welcomes retired UCC minister, Rev. Herbert Schafele. Rev. Schafele was the only white student at Fisk University in the 1950's and will share those enlightening experiences.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Our Youngest Member

Anna Belle Burkhardt, born to Heather and Chris Burkhardt at at 7:07 PM on November 21. Twenty one inches long and 8 lb. 15 oz. Both Mom and daughter are doing great.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Virtual Marketplace Now in Progress

This year the Wider Outreach Committee has planned a "Virtual Marketplace of Meaningful Gifts." We have a Marketplace web site that allows you to allocate your gifts for Christmas 2008. Once you've made your allocation, the church office will have the information it needs to split your check (which you can mail to the CUCC office or drop in the colleciton plate between now and Christmas) among the various organizations. If you wish to send gift cards to those in whose honor you make contributions, gift cards will be available at the back of the sanctuary during December.

Southern Human Rights Organizers' Conference

FRI – SUN 12/12 to 12/14 -- 7th Bi-Annual Southern Human Rights Organizers’ Conference, Radisson Hotel Research Triangle Park, 150 Park Drive, RTP

THE GOAL OF SHROC VlI is to solidify the Southern Human Rights Organizers’ Network (SHRON) and continue to build broad southern-based coalitions to combat human rights violations in the southern region and forge an agenda for social change.

Pre-Registration DEADLINE: NOVEMBER 24, 2008
FEES $25.00 (or $10.00 for Disabled/Student/Limited Income)
http://www.shroc.org/index1.htm

Direct actions will be planned and participants will show their support for local human rights struggles. Plenaries and workshops will feature the voices of those who suffer daily indignities and are involved in making a difference. Workers, environmental justice activists, faith leaders and labor leaders will tell their stories. Youth activists will deliberate during the youth summit. They will let all participants know the importance of youth participation in this movement. Come to SHROC, where human rights activists join with civil rights and social justice activists to discuss common issues.

Vandy's Mom attends church


On November 16 we were happy to see Vandy's mother (Ida) at church. She participated in the entire service and pronounced it to be much to her liking.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

REMINDER: FORUM, NOV. 16

"The Termination and Prevention of War"
Dr. Keith Otterbein

This Sunday, Dr. Keith Otterbein, professor emeritus of anthropology at University at Buffalo, New York, will discuss his writings. Dr. Otterbein has written several books on the causes of war and has just completed a book with a chapter on the prevention of war.

NC's Budget Shortfall

Chris Fitzsimon from NC Policy Watch discusses the challenges facing the Legislature as the NC budget shortfall is estimated to reach $3 billion.

"....There are two ways to balance the budget. Lawmakers can make up the shortfall entirely though budget cuts, regardless of the implications for state services and the people who need them, or use a combination of thoughtful cuts and tax increases that protects programs that serve the most vulnerable people in the state.

The anti-government crowd refuses to even discuss raising any taxes, which means at least a ten percent reduction in state spending if the shortfall is $2 billion, much less the three billion that Mejia says could happen. Education, human services, and criminal justice spending accounts for 90 percent of the state's $21 billion budget, which means the majority of budget cuts would come from those services...."

For more go to the Fitzsimon File.

Impact of Hispanic Vote in NC

Public Policy Polling has done an analysis of the emerging influence of Hispanic voters in NC. http://publicpolicypolling.blogspot.com/2008/11/hispanic-voters-in-north-carolina.html

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Forum: Immigration Injustices

An article of interest in today's N&O re. immigration and the 287(g) program: "Wake jail widens immigration checks". Wake County is one of 7 agencies in the country selected for the pilot program.

Restraining Our Own Excesses

Many of us have been enjoying the afterglow of an election that hopefully marks the end of certain types of excess, apathy, and incompetence. But before we (as a nation) start lurching down another road with different potholes, we might do well to put together a list of campaign promises that deserve to be broken. Froma Harrop (in today's N&O) has a suggestion that ought to be at the top of our list. I first heard of the "Employee Free Choice Act" at a CUCC congregational meeting a year or two ago. I don't recall whether the Social Action Committee actually did anything in support of this proposed legislation, but if so then I suggest it's time that we revisit this issue. Some of the people who are now coming to power in Washington are folks that we helped put there. So if they follow through on this sort of nonsense, the blame falls squarely on us.

Unions' Creepy Push Against Secret Ballot by Froma Harrop

(Addendum following a bit of research: Yep, a bit of research does indicate that we stepped in the cow pie on this one. Excerpt from the Oct. 2006 newsletter reporting on the Sept. 17, 2006 congregational meeting .... "The first agenda item was a resolution presented by the Social Justice Ministry, asking Community United Church of Christ to support establishing the UFCW union to represent the employees of Smithfield Foods at its Tar Heel, NC plant, and specifically by the card process. The congregation voted to approve the resolution.")

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

YES WE CAN! Steve Halsted's sermon November 9, 2008

On Tuesday of this past week, the eyes of the world were watching as the American people tallied their votes to see who would be the next President of the United States of America.

The question on many minds seemed to be: Can the racial prejudices of the past be set aside in sufficient numbers to elect, for the very first time, a candidate of African-American descent? History was on the line and all eyes seemed to be watching! It reminded me of the first Presidential election that I was keenly aware of as a young child - going back to 1960. At that time history was also in the making and the question on many minds was this: Can the religious prejudices of the past be set aside in sufficient numbers to elect for the very first time a candidate of Roman Catholic heritage?

John F. Kennedy was the candidate, history was on the line, and the eyes of the world were watching!

And the resounding answer given by the American people in both these historic elections was:

Yes, we can!
Yes, we can!
Yes, we can!

I just loved the way Barack Obama began his Election Night acceptance speech! To me it seemed the perfect expression for capturing the historic spirit of that magnificent moment as he said:

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the 'dream' of our 'founders' is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer. It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America!"

I truely believe that the founders of our nation like Thomas Jefferson & James Madison, George and Martha Washington, Abigail and John Adams are now jumping for joy in the eternal realm!

As Tavis Smilley, a highly respected black talk show host proclaimed after the election, We now live in a nation as good as its promise."

Andrew Young, former United Nations Ambassador, Mayor of Atlanta, and Congressman as well as being an ordained UCC pastor, in an interview expressed his pleasant surprise that racism wasn't a large factor in this election.

And Maya Angelou, writer & poet extraordinaire, expressed the opinion that "our country has grown up."

I believe we cannot over-emphasize just how important this election result is in the eyes of "people of color" in America today! For them, indeed for us all, the words expressed in the formative document of our nation, the "Declaration of Independence" have found full, and exonerating expression in the free election of the very first President of the United States of America who is of African-American heritage. To them the highest barrier of, "No you can't" has been overcome by, "Yes, we can!"

In his book, "American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic," Joseph Ellis, pulitzer prize winning author, and historian, puts forth his view that the American Revolution was less a "revolution" than it was an "evolution". He argues that the founders realized their shortcomings and failures in their inability to abolish slavery, and inability to reach a just settlement with the Native Americans, and in failing to advance the voting rights of women. All these being progressive, liberal issues raised at that "so called" revolutionary period of history. It has taken a long "evolution" to get to where we are today! The "Declaration of Independence" stated: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (shall we say today "all people" in the most inclusive way), 'all people' are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights"...

We all know that African-Americans in their long history among us, have not shared equally in these "unalienable rights" of our nation. And although a new day has dawned, ("Yes, we can"), we must continue to remember the prophetic and courageous work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and those who supported him in the Civil Rights Movement, and we all know that the Rev. Dr. King died a martyr's death before seeing his dream fulfilled.

Perhaps it is no coincidence, (could it be Divine Providence?) that one of our lectionary Bible readings designated for this Sunday, the Sunday following this historic Presidential Election, is in fact one of Dr. King's favorite and most often quoted passages: "Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." He referred to it on the eve before his assassination in Memphis, on April 3rd, 1968, where he had come to seek justice for the predominantly African-American sanitations workers in their strike against unfair labor practices. At the end of his speech he warned, "We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And he's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

That, I believe was Martin Luther King, Jr.'s way of saying: "Yes we can!"
Yes we can live in a nation where his four children and all children will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Yes we can sit down at the table of sisterhood and brotherhood, where the sons & daughters of former slaves, and the sons and daughters of former slave owners, will be one in body, mind, heart and spirit!

Yes we can transform racially divided states sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression; they will be as Dr. King predicted, transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice!

Yes we can live in a society where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers!

Yes we can!
Yes we can!
Yes we can!

Yes we can elect a president as a nation of "we the people" regardless of the color of one's skin! That is a huge change from the past! And it has taken an "evolutionary" revolution to achieve!

Our nation's founders seriously believed that all people are created equal in the eyes of their Creator God, but that belief was unfulfilled (in our nation) as they went to meet their maker.

Martin Luther King, Jr. faithfully believed that all people are created equal by their Creator God, but that belief was still a "dream" when he died.

As the election results were coming in on TV this past Tuesday night, I couldn't help but wish he were still alive to see it, and I couldn't help but think of his historic "I Have a Dream" speech delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in our nation's capitol on August 28, 1963. He closed that eloquent speech by saying: "There will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning -

"My country 'tis of thee; sweet land of liberty; of thee I sing; land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims' pride; from every mountainside, let freedom ring"

and if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that,

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and hamlet, from every state and city, we will be able to speed up the day when all of God's children - black and white, Jews and Gentiles, Catholics and Protestants - will be able to join hands and sing the words of the old Negro spiritual,

"Free at last, free at last;
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

Yes we can, Martin, Yes we can!
Yes we can, Barack, Yes we can!

And let God's People together say AMEN!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Called to Serve

Just a short message---our church needs several new deacons. Please see Shannon Core, Bill Lamb or me if you would like to serve.
Thank you.
Jeanne Ledbetter

Pastor Nsumbu Puati

I heard from Nsumbu this week via e-mail. I have posted his email below.

I have received your e-mail and thank you very much for your kindness.Your poem came in time because I need words of comfort in this hardship time. My wife and childreen are very thankful too. We decided to keep that poem forever. Keep us in your prays. May God bless you, the USA , the New President and CUCC. Again thank you and greet evrybody. I miss you.
Pastor Nsumbu

May we continue to pray that they will have strength and feel God's presence and love. Peace, Jeanne

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Training on Immigration Reform

Chris Liu Beers, our Forum speaker on November 2, invites us to a training workshop hosted by Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CCIR):

"Media and Message Training on Immigration for Faith Leaders"

Friday, November 14, 1:00 to 4:00pm
NC Council of Churches
The Methodist Building
1307 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh
(in the Cabinet Conference Room)

The training is designed for faith leaders who are interested in becoming advocates and champions for welcoming immigrants in their communities.

Topics to be covered:
* story of the CCIR campaign and media successes
* how to speak with a clear and consistent message on immigration reform
* how to interact with media and address immigration from the faith perspective
* how to provide a coordinated faith response to immigration raids and punitive state and local ordinances
* formation of a Rapid Response Task Force in NC

RSVP to chris@nccouncilofchurches.org by Nov. 10 if you'd like to attend.

FORUM: Sunday, November 16

THE TERMINATION AND PREVENTION OF WAR.

Forum welcomes Dr. Keith Otterbein, professor emeritus of anthropology, University at Buffalo, New York. Dr. Otterbein, a friend of CUCC member Peg Hulslander, has written several books on the causes of war and has just completed a book with a chapter on the prevention of war.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Forum: November 9

Sunday, November 9, 2008

"Immigration Injustices"
Irene Godinez, Advocacy Director of El Pueblo



This Sunday, the Forum welcomes Irene Godinez, the Advocacy Director of El Pueblo. As a follow-up to last Sunday's presentation by Chris Liu Beers, she will discuss the "immigration injustices" occurring now in NC. El Pueblo is a North Carolina non-profit statewide advocacy and public policy organization dedicated to strengthening the Latino Community.

Irene Godínez is a native North Carolinian of proud Mexican heritage. Growing up in Durham in an immigrant household, as a first-generation US American, gave her a unique perspective on race relations, economic disparities and a desire to pursue social justice.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New grandchild for Steve and Marcy Halsted


Avery Ella Black was born at 4:35 pm on October 31, 2008.
She weighed 7 pounds 1 ounce and measured 21 inches long.
Birth went very smoothly.
She is loved by her parents and grandparents!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Turkey Dinner Nov. 8 and Mary Pickering Concert Nov. 14

On November 8, there will be a turkey dinner and square dance and on November 14 Mary Pickering will offer a concert. There will be no fees for these events, but a basket will be passed for love offerings. The Mary Pickering Concert will be held in the sanctuary 7:30-9:00 PM. The turkey dinner will be in the evening in the Fellowship Hall, with final details to be announced soon.

Save the Congo

Here's a story of interest about the Congo:

Mining for minerals fuels Congo conflict.

And a message forwarded by Kambale Musavuli, our speaker on October 19:

Subject: PETITION FROM OUR SUPPORTERS IN THE UK

Dear friends,

Congo is once again at war: a militia group loyal to Laurent Nkunda who is wanted by the UN for war crimes and crimes against humanity but supported by the Kigali government; and the Congolese Army, have been raining heavy artilleries on each other for 2 months; and, as usual, senior citizen, women and children have been caught in between.

Thus far 200 000 have been displaced; schools, hospitals and churches looted and blown up and civilian death is estimated at around 180 000 (since August 28th alone).

The World Superpowers remain unwilling to act; the existing domestic mechanisms for the protection of civilians have totally collapsed; and the UN forces on the ground are ill equipped to decisively deter perpetrators.

But in-spite of this, we can still effect the situation positively, for, as history has shown us: the most heroic deeds that have thrilled humanity through generations have been deeds championed by small and often powerless people of the world.

And as redeemers and benefactors of humanity, we implore to you, on humanitarian ground, not to turn a blind eye to campaigns of sexual atrocities against women and young girls; violations of humanitarian law and basic human rights; the speed at which disease and conditions such as HIV AIDS and Fistula are spreading and the indiscriminate raining of artilleries that the people of the Congo have once again been indulged to.

Save the Congo has launched an online petition ­Save Our Souls: Stand For Peace, to gather signatures and present them to Prime Minister Gordon Brown on November 22nd in an effort to bring an end to the on-going military escalation.
We are aiming to gather a minimum of 5 000 signatures; and we implore you not to sit by: because evil only triumph when good men and women do nothing. Please do not allow evil to triumph in the Congo -- sign the petition on: http://www.petition.fm/petitions/save_our_souls/ and spread the word.

Thank you for your support,

Save The Congo Team

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

FORUM: November schedule

The Forum Committee announces the NOVEMBER FORUM SCHEDULE:

November 2 - IMMIGRATION INJUSTICES. Chris Liu Beers, Program Associate at NC Council of Churches, and Irene Godinez, Advocacy Director at El Pueblo, discuss the NC Religious Coalition for Justice for Immigrants and the specifics of the immigration injustices occurring right now in NC.

November 9 - TEACHER "DIS-EMPOWERMENT". Speakers to be announced.

November 16 - THE TERMINATION AND PREVENTION OF WAR. Dr. Keith Otterbein, professor emeritus of anthropology, University at Buffalo, New York.

November 23 - THANKFULNESS & ACTION: CONSERVATION/RECYCLING. Marty Lamb

November 30 - EXPERIENCES OF A WHITE STUDENT AT A BLACK UNIVERSITY. Rev. Herbert Schafale, retired UCC minister, discusses his experiences as the only white student at Fisk University in the mid-1950's.

Monday, October 20, 2008

More about Luis Alvarenga

The video of the complete worship service yesterday, culminating in the ordination of Luis Alvarenga, is now available in DVD-video format. (A high resolution version is also available in Quicktime format if you'd prefer a version to watch at high resolution on your computer or on a HDTV connected to your computer.) Let me (Lavon Page) know if you'd like a copy.

A video of the ordination portion of the service is available on the "Telling Our Stories" podcast page.

For those who would like to know more about Luis' work, there's an informative video at the Mutimedia Collaborative Studio 209 website.
Click picture for photos of Reception

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The "head scarf" issue -- more complicated than you might think

CUCC has a long interest in the issue of separation of church and state. (See, for example, the podcast of the panel discussion on this topic held in the sanctuary in 2006. )

Sabrina Tavernise (Jo Perry's niece whom Jo just visited in Istanbul) has an interesting video at the NY Times website on the "head scarf" issue in Turkey. Sabrina's narration of this video conveys that the issue is more complicated than one might first imagine. You can find the video at this link on the NY Times website. Scroll down the page to get to the picture labeled "Video" (not the picture labeled "Multimedia"). Notice that there is a "full screen" button to beneath the video, i.e. clicking this will play the video in full screen mode on your computer display.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Parent-to-Parent

Steve Halsted invites the middle & high school parents to join him for conversation on the joys and challenges we face. Possible outcomes: a periodic parent supper club? A monthly check-in for parents of youth? Study & discussion of topics of our choice?

Sunday, November 9
noon-1:15
Hoffmann room
Bring: your own lunch; drinks will be provided.

Assisting those harmed by Hurricane Ike

If you would like to make a contribution to the UCC Hurricane Fund to aid victims of the Gulf Coast, please make checks payable to CUCC with a notation saying "UCC Hurricane Fund." For more on UCC hurricane response, go to the UCC Disaster Ministries site.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Birthday Party Invitation

You are invited to help Mike Schafale celebrate his 50th birthday. Party October 11 in Fuquay-Varina. More info and directions (pdf)

Monday, September 22, 2008

OUR FAITH, OUR VOTE 2008

The United Church of Christ has developed resources for nonpartisan voter education and empowerment. Included are briefings on key issues and suggestions about ways to get involved in the political process. The theme of the Our Faith Our Vote 2008 is "Imagine Another World is Possible." "The vision is to imagine and create a world free from violence, free from poverty, free from hunger and free from oppression and discrimination."

The resources provide key briefings on Health Care, Poverty, Climate Change, Immigration, the Global Economy, the War in Iraq and Media Justice. "The challenges before our nation and our world are great, and it is as important as ever that we equip ourselves to make informed, thoughtful decisions about those who will lead us into the future."

Read the Our Faith Our Vote materials online or order a printed packet from Jessie Palatucci, Policy Advocate, 100 Maryland Avenue NE, Suite 330, Washington, DC 20002 or at palatucj@ucc.org.

The briefings on key issues are also posted on the Social Justice Ministry bulletin board at the church.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Opportunities for Ministry

The Nominating Committee would like to hear from you regarding your interests for service in the coming year. A churchwide e-mail was sent out this week encouraging each of us to reflect on how we would like to serve.

Please let Shannon Core, Bill Lamb or me know if there is a Ministry that fits your time availability and talents or if you would consider or welcome a change.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Laughing at ourselves ...

A favorite item during the pre-meeting chit chat at Monday Lunch Group this week was the Saturday Night Live political spoof that aired on Sept. 13. Such things quickly wind up on YouTube, and several group members had seen it there. By Monday afternoon, however, NBC had exercised its copyright option and demanded that Google pull the video, which Google of course did. NBC then released a copy with it's own "brand" included. It's higher quality than what was on YouTube in the first place, and here it is for those who missed it. (The video may be preceded by a 30-sec. commercial, but the wait is worth it.)

Race and Racism: Checking Out Our Theology

All are welcome to participate in a discussion of how theology influences our views on race. Led by Mac Hulslander, this program continues the congregation's Sacred Conversation on Race. Our hosts for the event are the Retired Peoples' Group. Bring your lunch; they will provide drinks and dessert. Monday, October 13, 10:30 to noon, Vaughan Fellowship Hall.

No Lake Wheeler Picnic

The picnic scheduled for this Saturday, September 20, will not be held. Watch this space for information about future picnic possibilities.

Early Voting + Bus Lunch, Oct. 26

Our friends in the Congo risk their lives to vote even though fairness of the elections is in question. Our votes can influence US policy. As the UCC says, "Our Faith, Our Vote."

So, on Sunday, Oct. 26, you are invited to eat a light lunch (provided) and join others from CUCC in Early Voting together.

Not simply an opportunity to exercise your faith and franchise, this event also is a chance to reduce your carbon footprint! We'll board CAT bus 4 (bring $2 exact change for the roundtrip) to ride to the Pullen Arts Center polling station for its opening at 1:00pm. After voting, you can catch a bus back to CUCC at any hour + 8 minutes. If the walk from the NCSU Belltower to the PAC is too far or you are on a tight schedule, carpool from the church lot to voting and back. Add to the fun: bring $2 to buy a locally-grown & made Locopop.

Bring: $2 for the bus, $2 for Locopops (optional), and your CUCC canvas bag as your "badge" if you made one at God's Green Earth






Teach your children about voting in a faith context - bring them along. Invite your friends to worship, lunch, the bus, and voting!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cy King talks about his experiences in World War II

On August 8, 2008, Cy agreed to an interview with the National Veterans History Archival Institute on his experiences in the infantry during the Second World War. The interview (video) has been added to the "Telling Our Stories" podcast series at this web site ...

http://www.communityucc.org/podcasts/stories.html

Monday, September 1, 2008

FORUM: SEPTEMBER 7

Next Sunday we welcome Mary Rider who with her husband runs the Father Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker House in Garner. Rider will talk about being jailed for civil disobedience after praying for death row inmate Sammy Flippen. She and three other protesters knelt on a prison driveway and were charged with second-degree trespassing. An editorial in the N&O offers an opinion. Hope you'll come and hear her and offer yours.

FORUM REPORT

Yesterday, we were pleased to hear Rev. Rollin Russell at Forum who spoke on "Economic Justice: What is it?". He shared the experiences of United Church of Chapel Hill on adopting an Economic Justice Covenant and challenged CUCC to begin the process of discernment towards the same goal. http://www.unitedchurch.org/Justice/

He recommended several resources:

Broccoli and Desire: Global Connections and Maya Struggles in Postwar Guatamala by Edward F. Fischer/Peter Benson

In Search of a Good Life: The Ethics of Globalization by Rebecca Todd Peters of Elon University.

Both can be purchased locally at Quail Ridge Books or online at www.QuailRidgeBooks.booksense.com

He also referred to several publications and initiatives of the NC Justice Center including Making Ends Meet on Low Wages.

UPCOMING ENVIRONMENTAL LECTURES

Two upcoming lectures of interest (also posted on Climate blog):

Greenpeace USA Executive Director John Passacantando.
"Your Environment, My Environment: A fight for Survival"
Tuesday, September 9. 7:00 pm
Jones Auditorium, Meredith College, 3800 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh

BCBS Presidential Lecture Series
As executive director of Greenpeace USA, the world’s largest environmental action organization, John Passacantando is at the forefront of the fight for clean air, clean water and the survival of the planet. He has been instrumental in guiding a tremendous shift in public awareness and concern about the conditions of the planet. A one-time political conservative and supply side economics disciple, he was converted to the environmental cause in 1987 when Mike Roselle, founder of Earth First! and the Ruckus Society, scaled Mt. Rushmore and hung a giant gas mask on George Washington—landing Roselle in prison and Passacantando in the ranks of the environmentalists. Public Welcome.

Local Living Economies: Green, Fair, & Fun
Tuesday, September 16. 7:00 pm
NC Museum of Natural History, 5 East Edenton Street, Raleigh, NC

Sustainable Agriculture lecture sponsored by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems. http://www.cefs.ncsu.edu/ Judy Wicks Owner and founder of Philadelphia's famed White Dog Café (www.judywicks.com)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

need help

Catherine Fairbanks will be moving to Florida in September. She needs help with loading the truck for the move. Tentative plans are as follows: At 4pm on Friday, September 5, she will need help loading the contents of the storage unit at Atlantic Ave. onto the a 16 foot van. The next morning at 930am, (Saturday, September 6) she needs help loading things from her apartment to the van. Catherine has gotten rid of her furniture, so the items to be loaded are mostly boxes. Please let me know if you can help on either or both days. The storage unit is at 5000 Atlantic Ave. and the apartment is at 7625 Wellesley Park North. (both in North Raleigh) Thanks.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Audio in Fellowship Hall

When I installed the flat screen TV in the Fellowship Hall, I also put an audio system in the cabinet beneath the screen, and two external speakers beside the cabinet. The primary purpose was to have high quality and high volume sound available for use primarily with movies.

While I did use the audio with last spring's Lenten Film series, I don't think there have been many other uses of the external audio system. (The speakers built into the TV are actually pretty good.) 

The amplifier in the audio system recently died a natural death. (It was an old one I had donated.) And the question is whether to replace it or to just go with the speakers built into the TV. If you have an opinion on this, your comments would be appreciated. If you're a contributor to this blog, you can comment on this post by clicking the little "comment" link immediately beneath it.

Thanks!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Walk for Hope


You don't have to be a teenager to join the CUCC Walk for Hope team!


When: Sunday, October 12, turn in your pledge form and donations at 9:30 am, look for your CUCC teammates. The walk begins at 10:00.


Where: The 10 k walk begins at the Angus Barn Restaurant parking lot on US 70 and winds along the paved roads of Umstead State Park. You don't have to walk the whole route; a shuttle will bring you back from any point along the route. Suzette is already planning to keep her walk short, so you won't be alone.


Why: Walk for Hope raises funds for scientific research into the causes, cures and to discover more effective treatment of mental illness.


Celebrate: The Walk ends back at the Angus Barn for a fabulous post walk celebration with live music, great food and prizes. It is a fun day, a great way to get exercise and spend time with friends and family and all the while helping many who suffer in silence.

Just click the link below to register and join the team. Note our team code is: CUCC.

http://walkforhope.com/registration.aspx?TheTeamJoinCode=CUCC


Can't walk with us? You can pledge online at http://walkforhope.com/donate.aspx (CUCC team) or after worship Sept. 28 and Oct. 5.


Posted for Suzette


Lake Wheeler Picnic

Saturday, September 20 from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Bring your lunch and come for all of the day or part of it.
Activities are planned for all ages and all mobilities.

Directions to Lake Wheeler Park

Plan your day!
10:30 Games for the whole crowd led by Marty and Steve
11:00 Choose from a selection of games to play in small groups
(imagine tossing a wet ball or playing cards
or guessing fun facts about each other)
Noon Bring your own lunch,
then decorate a fan to chase the afternoon breezes
12:30 Getting to know you activities
1:45 Sing-a-long led by Mike & Tom
2:30 Nature hike led by Mike, Lena & Vandy
or (if we can find a ball) volleyball (play or cheer)
3:30 Closing worship
4:00 Day is done

Jo is looking into boat rental for before 10:30 or after 4:00; contact her if you want more information.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Free Viewing of "Taken for a Ride"

On Wednesday, August 27, The Capital Group Sierra Club presents Taken for a Ride, a film by Jim Klein and Martha Olson. It is the little known story of an auto and oil industry campaign to buy and dismantle transit.

It is the first in a series of free films focusing on transit. The film of 52 minutes will be followed by a discussion highlighting the Group's efforts to improve local transit options and raise public awareness.

It will be shown at The Colony Theatre at 7:00 pm. For more information contact conservation-cg@sierraclub-nc.org.

www.NC.SierraClub.org/Capital

A New Breed of Evangelical

I've been in many conversations at CUCC where someone would be groping for a phrase and would more or less arbitrarily choose one from the list: evangelical, fundamentalist, conservative Christian. Now more than ever we have reason to be careful in choosing our terms. The landscape has changed, and it might be an opportune moment to think about what we're doing to adjust to the new landscape. A good place to start is with a recent article by E. J. Dionne entitled The New Evangelical Politics. Where do we see ourselves in this new landscape? What are we doing to adjust to these changes?

Monday, August 18, 2008

SUNDAY FORUM RESUMES

It's time to go back to our "studies"...our FORUM studies, that is!

The Forum Committee announces the following schedule for September, as well as a special session on August 31:

August 31- Rev. Rollin Russell, Former Southern Conference Minister and former Professor of Theology at Lancaster Theological Seminary, "Economic Justice: What is it?"

Sept. 7 - Mary Rider, “Why I Went to Jail"

Sept. 14 - “Sacred Conversation on Race” continues (topic and speakers to be announced)

Sept. 21 - Karen Rindge, Executive Director of WakeUp Wake County, “Planning for growth in rapidly growing Wake County: What WakeUP Wake County is doing.”

Sept. 28- Bridgette Burge, “Heirs to a fighting tradition”

Come and continue our study of important social and economic justice issues that affect our communities and the lives of our fellow citizens. You may post your comments and suggestions here on the blog. For more information, contact Forum Committee Chair Cynthia Ball at cball@BallMediation.com or 919.387.9479.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Potluck Sunday August 24

To celebrate the rebeginning of church school, the education ministry would like to invite you to bring a favorite goodie to share for a potluck in the Vaughan Fellowship Hall after church on August 24th. If you're committed to eating locally, here's an opportunity to share.

One idea was to request you bring a food from the Bible as a novel idea to share. (This tests your Bible knowledge as well). I guess that means salt would be O.K. in memory of Sodom and Gomorrha, and there are a number of other options as well inclusive of milk and honey. See if your imagination inspires ideas. Put the date on the social calendars, and we'll look forward to seeing you and hearing about your summer!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Newcomer's Brunch Sept. 7


Would you like to learn more about CUCC? Do you have questions about who does what or ways to connect to the life and work of the congregation? Have you wondered what we believe? Enjoy a delicious brunch for newcomers to CUCC after worship on Sunday, September 7, noon - 1:30. RSVP to the church office. Let us know if you have any dietary restrictions or need childcare. We look forward to getting to know you.

Friday, July 18, 2008

IMPORTANT NOTICE: RESCHEDULING "CONVERSATION ON RACE"

The next "Sacred Conversation on Race" has been postponed, due to the scheduling of an event that many participants may want to attend, the official opening/kickoff of the Barack Obama Campaign office for the Raleigh area.

INSTEAD OF MEETING NEXT TUESDAY EVENING, JULY 22, WE WILL MEET ON SUNDAY MORNING, AUGUST 3, AT 9:15 AM (THE REGULAR FORUM TIME). More details on the program will be announced later.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

PFLAG Fundraiser

(from Joan McAllister)

The Triangle Chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) will once again publish a Signature Ad in the Independent Weekly in September 2008. This is our only fund raiser of the year, and these funds help area gay youth as well as help PFLAG with education, support and advocacy. Our goal is to show that people across the Triangle support gay,lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) people.

Furthermore, by highlighting religious groups in the area, we hope to show that people of all faiths affirm and support the LGBT community. We invite you to join us with our most successful ad yet. Last year over 300 individuals and families participated in the signature ad.Our message is simple: "We, the undersigned, affirm the lives of gay,lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. We condemn acts of bigotry and hatred. We join PFLAG in celebrating the lives of those we love and admire; acceptance and love; family values for a lifetime."

To send a powerful message that people of all faiths support LGBT people,signatures will be organized by religious denomination with individual congregations, followed by other organizations, businesses, and then unaffiliated individuals. To help us fulfill our mission of support,education, and advocacy on behalf of our LBGT loved ones, we request a donation of $15 per individual/family or organization and $30 per business.If you wish to charge your donation, please see www.rtpnet.org/pflag/advocacy.html, and click on "online store".

Monday, June 30, 2008

P2e Fest

The 7th annual P2e watermelon and hot dog fest will be held next Sunday (July 6) in the fellowship hall following the 10:30 worship service.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New moveon.org campaign commercial

For those who haven't seen the controversial new campaign add from moveon.org.


Food for thought

A little humility is good for folks at both ends of the spectrum. Here's a teaser from today's NY Times column by David Brooks.

The cocksure war supporters learned this humbling lesson during the dark days of 2006. And now the cocksure surge opponents, drunk on their own vindication, will get to enjoy their season of humility. They have already gone through the stages of intellectual denial. First, they simply disbelieved that the surge and the Petraeus strategy was doing any good. Then they accused people who noticed progress in Iraq of duplicity and derangement. Then they acknowledged military, but not political, progress. Lately they have skipped over to the argument that Iraq is progressing so well that the U.S. forces can quickly come home.

The column is The Bush Paradox by David Brooks. It's a good reminder that we don't always get it right either. (And there's an interesting response to the David Brooks column by Joe Klein of Time Magazine.)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Transit Forum

You will recall that the CUCC Forum had a program recently, led by Greg Flynn, about the recommendations from the Special Transit Advisory Commission (STACC), a committee comprised of Triangle leaders, dealing with Transit needs and options for Wake County and the Triangle.


Dealing with this important topic, WakeUp Wake County is hosting a forum this Thursday evening, June 26, 7:00 to 9:00pm (registration begins at 6:30pm) at the NC State University McKimmon Center, Transit: Is Wake County Ready for It? I am proud to note that Community United Church of Christ - Justice in a Changing Climate is among the sponsors.

You can read more about WakeUp Wake County and about the Transit Forum at http://wakeupwakecounty.com/cms/ where there are links in the box about the Transit Forum for more information including a detailed flyer.

With the financial support of sponsors, admission is FREE. You can register on-line and I hope you'll plan to come. If you have any questions, please contact me at cball@ballmediation.com or 387-9479.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Conversation on Race, continued

We will continue our "Conversation on Race" this Sunday, June 22, at the regular Forum time, 9:15 to 10:15am. More information about panel speakers and topics will be announced tomorrow (Friday). Please plan to come and participate.

And, we will meet again on Tuesday, July 22, at 6:30pm. More information tba. Please put it on your calendar.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sermons: A Sacred Conversation on Race

Below find links to notes from which sermons and ministry moments were preached at CUCC as part of A Sacred Conversation on Race.

Keep in mind that a sermon when preached differs from the notes used to prepare for the preaching.

May 18, 2008 "Alive in the Spirit" - The Rev. Steve Halsted Click here: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcxkfpb_5d4266hgd

May 25, 2008 "It's Not Martin Luther King Day! Or Is It?" - The Rev. Robert Parrish Click here: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcxkfpb_4fckns9cz

May 25, 2008 "Conversation on Race: A Bit of History" - Cy King Click here: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcxkfpb_6ck9ms4zq

Peggy Hoffmann wrote a wonderful play, "A Peculiar People," which gives more information about the context of the events Cy describes. Click here: http://homepage.mac.com/lavon/church/peculiar_people/

June 1, 2008 "God Leads" - The Rev. Steve Halsted Click here: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcxkfpb_8c3mxhjfw

COMING SOON

May 25, 2008 Reflections on our relationship with our friends from the DRC - Margaret Osborne

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Conversation on Race, continued

We began our "Conversation on Race" on Sunday, May 18, with three speakers who shared their perspectives, prompting a challenging discussion among the 80+ participants. Stories were shared about how we have been affected in the past and how today's environment is still an unhealthy and divisive one.

Tomorrow, June 1, we will continue the "conversation" with Dorothy Thompson and Terence Morrison as our guest panelists. In preparation, let's consider two questions we might discuss: Is affirmative action still the right course? And, what policies and programs should we implement (or get rid of) to address the economic disparity faced by minorities in our community?

Come and voice your own thoughts and challenge others and yourself to really look hard at what society does and what part we all play in it, good and bad.

Cy King eloquently described last Sunday at Worship the chronology of Community UCC 's efforts to end racial discrimination, all the way back to April, 1936. The chronology can be found here .

This is a journey, not a destination. Let's make these "Conversations" real ones...ones that are tough, thorough and healing.

Blessings,
Cynthia Ball

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Yoga at CUCC

When: Sundays, 4:00 - 5:00 pm, Vaughan Fellowship Hall for six weeks
First class: May 25

Who: Adults and older youth. Gentle and suitable for beginners; experienced yogis and yoginis welcome

Wear: comfortable clothes and slip-off shoes
Bring: any props you may have such as blankets and straps (old neckties make great straps)
Don't need to bring: Mats and blocks

Teacher: Ellen Beidler. Ellen recently received her 230-hour yoga teacher certification through Yoga-Body, Mind, and Spirit.
Sponsor: CUCC's Arts in Worship Committee
Charge: none

Yoga offers more than physical exercise; it allows practitioners a way to explore their spiritual path. Best of all, it is fun!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Talking About Race

With regard to the upcoming "Conversation on Race" ...

In the 1990s there was a custom at CUCC of having a sermon on "race" the week of the MLK holiday in January. Sometimes I found myself sitting in the pew thinking, "What the preacher is calling racism isn't racism, and what's being proposed as a solution isn't a solution." I do have some experience with racism, having twice been jailed for being in the wrong place with someone of the wrong color. But the term is used much more broadly now, and for many different purposes.

Currently race is lurking just around the corner in nearly every conversation about the Presidential election process. Both Geraldine Ferraro and Bill Clinton have been accused of "racist" comments. And every exit poll seems to be asking voters, "Was your vote influenced by race?"

The goal of MLK was to get past race altogether, not to institutionalize it via a morass of agencies and regulations to service the "victims" of racism. We liberals have been very good at the latter, but not so hot at the former. Barack Obama began his quest for the Presidency with every intent to avoid racial identity politics. But Bill Clinton's remark comparing Obama's candidacy to the token candidacy of Jesse Jackson began the process of negating that effort. I don't consider Clinton's remark to be racist, just dumb. But it did demonstrate that even within the Democratic Party Obama would not get to choose his own seat at the table. He was pigeon holed against his will. And that, followed by publicity about the various Rev. Wright shenanigans, began the white backlash that has led to Obama's current problem with the "white, working class" vote.

Before we throw stones at the TV sound bytes and "uneducated" WVA voters, we'd do well to look in the mirror. Obama did well with the white vote early in the primary process. (He actually won the white male vote in Virginia back in February.) The torpedoes that have been sinking his ship since then were launched not from afar but within his own party and his own church. So, at least in terms of Presidential politics, we might want to use the word "racism" sparingly. And with a little humility.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Conversation on Race

The national office of the United Church of Christ has called for UCC congregations to engage in a conversation on race. You are invited to be part of Community UCC's on-going engagement through these next steps:

May 18 The Forum (9:15 to 10:15am) presents a participatory "Conversation about Race." Panel speakers who have committed to come are Brad Thompson, Former Raleigh City Councilman, and Daniel Coleman, Chairman of the RWCA, two longtime community leaders. And we anticipate that several other leaders from the African American community will also join us.
Also in preparation, several readings are recommended. One for your reference: Principles and Assumptions Underlying a Conversation on Race (Perkins/Otto) which you can also link to on the website.

May 24 The Rev. Robert Parrish will present a sermon to spark our thinking.

May 29 & 30 The Rev. Steve Halsted is attending the clergy conference at Franklinton Center at Bricks. Conference leadership will be provided by Conversation Leaders: Rev. Henry Simmons and Rev. Steven Sterner; Listener: Rev. Linda Jaramillio from Justice and Witness; Worship Leader: Rev. Steve Camp and Facilitator: Rev. Ervin Milton. When Steve returns, ask him about this exciting opportunity.

For more on A Conversation on Race:
"On Sunday, May 18, many pastors across the UCC will be preaching on race in hopes of beginning a sacred conversation, a dialogue that is needed in our pews, our homes and the hallways of power across our country. After May 18, congregations are encouraged to develop a months-long process in order to set aside the necessary time and attention needed to structure a sacred conversation about race.The UCC is holding this national dialogue in order to foster a spirit of healing and unity in our churches and communities. While much has been said during the past few weeks about the Rev. Jeremiah A Wright Jr., this dialogue among our members is intended to be a larger conversation, one not focused directly or exclusively on the recent controversy, but one certainly influenced by it."You can read more at http://www.ucc.org/sacred-conversation/.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Check Request Now Online

Need to submit a check request to reimburse you for a CUCC expense? You can now find the document online. Go to http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcxkfpb_3chqd4cg2 . Page 1 is the form you print, fill out, and return to CUCC with your receipts. Page 2 gives the line item #'s from our budget to help you fill out the form; you don't need to print this.

Let Jane know if you have any trouble using the form. This is a new effort to help you in your work at CUCC.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why are you a member of CUCC?

Jane Smith would like to quote you on CUCC's website. A word, a verbal image, a sentence or two, an anecdote, a photo - these can give potential CUCC members a taste of our life together. Send your comments to Jane by May 31.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Holy Week Worship

Maundy Thursday, March 20
6:30pm 100,000 Lights for Peace Vigil remembering 5th anniversary of the war in Iraq
Where: front lawn and patio, CUCC
Bring: a bell or other joyful noisemaker
7pm Maundy Thursday worship: Tennebrae, handwashing, communion
Where: CUCC sanctuary

Good Friday, March 21
9am-1pm Personal Devotions
Where: CUCC sanctuary

Easter Sunday, March 23
7am Community Sunrise worship
Where: West Raleigh Presbyterian Church, 27 Horne Street, outside
9am Taize' worship
Where: CUCC sanctuary
No Forum or Sunday Morning Bible Study today!
10:30am Main worship
Where: CUCC sanctuary
Bring: a flower for the Resurrection cross on the CUCC front lawn

CUCC Vigil for Peace in Iraq

Come early to Maundy Thursday worship to vigil in recognition of the 5th anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq. We'll meet on the front lawn and patio at 6:30pm and use the prayer recommended by the United Church of Christ*. The vigil will be conclude to allow people to attend the Maundy Thursday worship service. Please invite anyone who might be interested. The event is designed to include children. Bring a bell or other joyful noisemaker if you have one.

* 100,000 Lights for Peace: From Lamentation to Action to Hope
The UCC has also prepared morning and noon prayers which you might wish to use. These move from Lamentation (light a candle in morning) to Action (midday) to Hope (peel bells in the evening). While 100,000 Lights for Peace is scheduled nationally for Wednesday, we will be holding our candlelight vigil on Thursday prior to Maundy Thursday worship.
http://www.ucc.org/100kforpeace/100k_lights.html


From the UCC website "On March 19, 2008, the world will pause to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq. Five years of bloodshed, destruction, displacement and death.
On this day — the Wednesday of Holy Week — our members, supporters and congregations will remember the day with meditation and action. Together, on March 19, we will move from lamentation to action to hope." Reminder: our vigil is on THURSDAY.

For more information, call Jane or Gary Smith.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

what the success of the "surge" tells us

We aren't hearing much about the fact that the security situation in Iraq is much improved. Conservatives will tell you that this is because of a liberal bias in the media. The real reason is that in news, conflict sells. No conflict, no story. You know the old adage "if it bleeds, it leads" that the news business is famous for.
So what does the security situation improvement tell us?

First
, it proves that we didn't send in enough troops to begin with. Some may remember when the general who said it would take more troops to occupy Iraq was later forced out of his job. Well, the surge clearly shows that more troops have had a good effect. I would have liked to see president bush travel around the world on bended knee asking every major power for troops to help a real coalition.

Second, it proves that there was incompetence at the top. For years after the invasion, rumsfeld, bush, and generals talked about the "insurgency". However, they were not using counter-insurgency tactics. As a strictly amateur military history buff, I remember thinking this odd. The "bunker, green zone" mentality with surgical operations into Baghdad struck me as a new version of "search and destroy" (as the vietnam war era tactic was known). I guess if you don't have enough troops to "clear and hold" then you are forced into using search and destroy. I have a copy of the book and video series Vietnam: The Ten Thousand Day War by Michael Maclear. Rewatching the series recently, I was amazed at how many times I felt I could simply replace "vietnam" with "iraq" when they talked about tactics and strategy (and the failures of).

Third, the success of the surge shows us that real success in this war is not about the military. Yes, the security situation is improved, but that does not mean we are any closer to getting out of Iraq. If you look at the politics, you see that divisiveness reigns and the 3 major groups in Iraq are not much closer to reconciliation. We cannot win this war militarily. This means we need to engage Iraq's neighbors even if we don't want to. I am no fan of regimes such as Syria and Iran. But we will never leave Iraq as long as we don't have active engagement of Iraq's neighbors good and bad.

So we have a real counter-insurgency in place, we have (at least temporarily) enough troops to provide security, and the American people, while not happy with, are still supporting the policy. Now is the time to push for dramatic diplomatic and civilian efforts to improve Iraq internally.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Your Opinions? Welcoming the Stranger via the Web

How would you answer this: "How could we tweak CUCC's web site to offer God's 'extravagant welcome' to people seeking a place to nurture their faith journey?"


Here's how to give your suggestions.


1) Take a 15 minute exploration of the web site. Print a simple instruction page at http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcxkfpb_0gp7pjjf3 . It includes a short form for jotting your notes as you explore. Drop off your completed form at the office or email it directly to me (Jane Smith) by Thursday, March 13.


OR


2) Enjoy an hour of light supper and brainstorming on Tuesday, March 4, 6:00-7:00 pm. RSVP to me so I make enough food. You'll be done in time to attend Robert's Lenten prayer workshop.


OR


3) Call or email with your comments by Thursday, March 13.





Thanks.


Jane

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Steve and Marcy and Binks' Mom

Steve went home early yesterday afternoon. I told Marcy yesterday morning to give me a call if she needed any help with logistics (since I live right in her neighborhood). Late yesterday afternoon she called and said they needed help eating all the food that had been sent in. So Jo and Binks and I ended up joining Marcy and Elizabeth for dinner (while Steve napped upstairs). Binks' mother has pneumonia and moved into Steve's hospital room when Steve moved out (which explains why Binks was in the neighborhood). Small world, isn't it?

Don Lane

Don Lane's hip replacement surgery at Rex Hospital went smoothly and according to plan this morning. He went into surgery at 7:30 and was in recovery by 8:30. Susan went to the hospital with him at 5:30, and Jo and I left her around 9:15 AM. Her plan is to go to his hospital room (when a room is assigned) and meet him there when he comes out of recovery. Susan will remain at Rex for most of the day. The surgeon reported following the surgery that everything had gone well. Don probably won't be on his feet any today, but the plan is to get him up and about and moving around some tomorrow. Current indications are that he may go home on Saturday.

Monday, February 11, 2008

More on Steve

Steve will be going home this afternoon. Last night was a rough night because of abdominal gas resulting from the surgery. Marcy spent the night at the hospital, and they were glad that she did that. But today Steve says the gas pains are gone, so they're both looking forward to being at home. Steve says that he's had many calls and cards from members of the congregation, and he says he has intensely felt the prayer support from everyone. He sends his thanks for all the types of care and support he has received.

Report on Steve

Steve was cleared by his doctor to go home whenever he wants to, but because of continuing pain from the surgery Steve elected to remain at Western Wake Hospital (Room 224) Sunday night. Quite a lot of folks from the church visited Steve on Sunday. Even though Steve was still uncomfortable from the surgery, he was in good spirits and conversed with visitors on a wide variety of topics. I'll post another report later today after I talk with Steve or Marcy.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

E-mail Notification

Some people have asked if there's a way to be notified via e-mail when something new is added to the blog. Info has been added in the left column of this page that tells you how to arrange that.

More News on Steve

Binks had a long chat with Marcy this morning and reports that Steve is doing fine. He didn't get to his hospital room until about 6 PM yesterday, and Marcy did stay overnight in the room with him. Elizabeth is with Steve today. He's still on morphine but they will be starting to wean him from that today. No definite indication yet as to when he will be going home. Nancy Callaham is visiting him regularly and keeping in touch with Marcy. So the good news is that everything so far is going according to plan.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Steve Halsted's Surgery

Steve's surgery took place today from 11:15 until mid afternoon. Marcy met with the surgeon and learned that everything went according to plan, with no visible evidence that the cancer had spread beyond the prostate. Steve is expected to be in Western Wake Hospital at least until Sunday. Several CUCC members were at Western Wake today to be with Marcy during the surgery, and Marcy extends her thanks to all who have provided calls and other support for the family.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Christine Mumma to speak at NCSU on Jan. 28

Christine Mumma (The N&O's Tarheel of the Year) will speak at NCSU on January 28 regarding the work of the N.C. Center on Actual Innocence. Further info is available at the NCSU Pre Law Services web site.